Has the Price of E-Books Really Increased?

Average price of a Kindle best-seller over the past year. (Source: e-Book Market View)

By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid

While the price of e-readers has come down dramatically in the past several years, the price of e-books is reportedly edging up.

According to The Wall Street Journal, owners of new e-readers who unwrap them on Christmas morning will face “sticker shock” at the price of books. In some cases, WSJ points out, e-books are priced higher than their print counterparts.

While there are isolated cases of e-books costing more than print books, overall, the price of e-books has dropped by 11% since 2009, according to the WSJ report.

Isolated cases and macro-trends aside, for most of the books that people buy, the price has actually dropped significantly since last Christmas.

The average price of an Amazon Kindle best-seller on Christmas day 2010 was $8.21 and 17 of the 100 books on the list were priced $2.99 or lower, according to data provided by e-Book Market View.

Since then, average price has decreased appreciably. As of December 14, 2011, the average price of a book on the same list was $7.08, a 14% decrease, and 35 of the 100 books on the list were priced $2.99 or lower.

The average price of an Amazon print best-seller is currently $15.08 and there are no books on that list priced at $2.99 or below.

To be sure, the number of books on the Kindle best-seller list priced at $10 or higher has increased since last Christmas from 22 to 32, meaning that more higher-priced books are being sold on the device.

Still, it bears pointing out that the top-selling book on the Kindle best-sellers list on December 14, 2011 was The Grail Conspiracy (A Cotton Stone Mystery) from Woodbury, Minn.-based publisher Midnight Ink, priced at $0.99. The book was promoted as a Kindle Daily Deal on the Amazon landing page.

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5 thoughts on “Has the Price of E-Books Really Increased?

  1. Carradee

    Er, that increased number of ≤$2.99 bestsellers just reflects the detail that more of the bestsellers are self-publishing authors, who tend to price low.

      1. Jeremy Greenfield Post author

        Ordinarily, I wouldn’t reply to this kind of comment, but something is compelling me.

        Perhaps it’s that it was the WSJ article that “cherry picked” and not the DBW article. We took a look at the top 100 selling books on Kindle as a whole — the books that most people are buying. We showed pretty clearly that the average price dropped from a year ago and there were more inexpensive books on the list.

        At the same time, there were more books on the list priced at $10 and above than a year ago, suggesting that for some readers, some e-book prices were increasing.

        I think we were fairly even-handed in this article and didn’t cherry-pick in the lease. If you disagree, please enlighten me.



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