Because we are, after all, scientists. Well, I am, anyhow, the Original Cyberpunk is apparently pursuing a degree in Amazonology:

Archaeologists spelunking through the majestic ruins of Castle Voxenstein have recently stumbled across a treasure trove of copies of REBEL MOON, in absolutely NEW, PERFECT, and UNTOUCHED condition. In point of fact, these books are so untouched, they are STILL IN THE ORIGINAL SEALED BOXES in which Simon & Shuster shipped them to Vox!

And then the brilliant idea hit us: Why don’t we put them on Amazon.com for as close to free as Amazon will let us post them? So that’s what we did, and you can buy as many copies as you want for the lordly price of 1-cent per copy, plus Amazon’s standard shipping charges.

But — and you just knew there’d be a “but,” didn’t you? — here’s the catch. We want to get something out of this experience, and what we want to get is information: specifically, some empirical data on just how easy or hard it may be to game the Amazon.com sales rankings.

So here’s the deal. If you’re at all interested in buying one or more copies of this book, we want you to place your order on Wednesday, July 11, 2007, preferably between the hours of 6 a.m. and noon U.S. Central time.

And in answer to the inevitable question, no, I can’t sign them unless you’d be satisfied with some kind of plate attached to the inside. But if you’re willing to spend the $4 required to participate in this grand experiment – and I would appreciate it if you’d help the OC gather this data since nearly every author in the world would be interested in it – let us know if you’re going to participate here in the comments.

I’m not sure what the optimal number of books to order would be, but at one penny per additional book, you can surely afford to buy more than one.

UPDATE: We’re going to postpone this, as the OC figures that the imminent release of the new Harry Potter novel is likely going to skew the results.