#EtherIssue: Is the Price Ever Right for Books?

Image - iStockphoto: Miluxiian
Image – iStockphoto: Miluxiian

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Issues on the Ether: Is the Price Ever Right for Books?

[su_dropcap size=”4″]H[/su_dropcap]ow our #EtherIssue works

  1. Tuesday, “Issues on the Ether” looks at one issue or a set of related issues.
  2. WednesdayPublishing Perspectives Editor-in-Chief Edward Nawotka and I will host a live Twitter chat on that week’s Ether topic(s) at 4 p.m. GMT / 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT. We’ll use the hashtag #EtherIssue — Watch for @PubPerspectives and @Porter_Anderson on Twitter.

Is the Price Ever Right for Books?

By Porter Anderson

Another way to ask the question: Will the price for books ever seem right again?

No. 1 bestseller prices ranged from $0.99 to $14.99.

Small square buttonThat’s Digital Book World’s (DBW) Rich Bellis writing about 2013 results of DBW’s weekly US ebook best seller rankings.

In Bestselling Ebooks of 2013: Safe Haven, Inferno and More, Bellis writes:

If there was any consistent feature of the ebook market in 2013, it was volatility – especially when it came to bestselling ebooks. Prices climbed and plummeted from week-to-week, self-published authors achieved more than one No. 1 best-selling title and a few from “big six” (and later, “five”) publishers clung to the top slot for weeks at a time.

As he wrote that piece, the ranking, in fact, showed Hachette’s ebook edition of Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven at No. 1 in late-December electronic bestsellers…and selling for $3.99.

Penguin Random House held the next three top-ebook spots with:

(Remember these prices were in effect as data was gathered for that last report in December. There may be considerable changes at this point. Volatility rules, as Bellis tells us.)

Of the US Top 25 as a whole, three spots were held in the December 26 listing by self-publishers—J.Lynn (who is also J. Armentrout), H.M. Ward, and Rachel Van Dyken — with their top-ranking books each priced at $0.99.

In the UK, Joshua Farrington at The Bookseller is reporting:

Nook is selling 100 of 2013′s most popular books for only 99p for a new promotion.

In “Catton and Tartt on Nook’s 99p List”, Farrington writes:

Bestselling titles including Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winner The Luminaries (Granta), Billy Bryson’s One Summer: America 1927 (Transworld) and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (Little, Brown) are all included in the offer, alongside books such as Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed (Bloomsbury), Charles Moore’s Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography (Penguin) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah (HarperCollins). Many of the titles in Nook’s 100 Best Books of 2013 offer are being price-matched on Amazon.

And how much does this mean the reader might be saving by buying, say, Catton’s acclaimed prize-winner?

For a title such as The Luminaries, which has an RRP [recommended retail price] of £18.99, the deal offers a saving of 95% on the full price.

Okay, so hold on to these transatlantic thoughts, and let’s look at a few more comments that touch on book pricing. 

Read the full post: PublishingPerspectives


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