On Sept. 11 and 12, new contracts went into place between HarperCollins and ebook retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The new contracts, instigated by a settlement between HarperCollins and the Department of Justice over the issue of ebook price-fixing, allowed Amazon and others to set the prices on ebooks.
The moment it was possible, discounting began on HarperCollins ebooks. Now that a few months have passed, we’ve taken a look at the data to see what, if any, effect the price changes had.
In several examples, we found that price decreases didn’t have much effect on sales ranking. If an ebook’s price is lowered from $10 to $8, for example, it needs to sell about 25% more copies than it would have without a price decrease to maintain the same level of revenue. We didn’t observe any sales rank bumps that would indicate that kind of increase in sales. Ideally, when the price is changed, it results in an overall increase in revenue than what would have happened had the price not been changed.
Read our five case-studies, including charts.
We will be presenting this data and more in a webcast tomorrow in partnership with the Book Industry Study Group. Register here.
We will be presenting a deeper dive on the data at Digital Book World 2013.
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The rest of the day’s top news:
Apologies and Ebook Best-Seller Insights (DBW)
For the second week in a row, we’ve been unable to bring you our top-25 ebook best-seller list. We have a good reason: Because of Sandy, our data center that handles that project has been mostly without electricity until this past Saturday. Still, we gleaned a small amount of data and have some insights for you nonetheless.
Rise of iBooks Author (PW)
A range of publishers – including the largest trade publishers – are using iBooks Author to create and sell ebooks. Ebooks created using the tool can only be sold in the iBookstore, helping Apple create a new library of exclusive content.
$20 Tablet Computer (Quartz)
Indian start-up Datawind is producing a tablet computer that Indian students will pay $20 for. Half the cost is subsidized by the Indian government, still leaving the Aakash 2 plenty of breathing room as the cheapest tablet in the world at $40. It’s no iPad, but it could turn the tablet market on its head. The company has a back-log of 4 million unfulfilled pre-orders.
Consumers Ignorant About Ebook Licensing (The Economist)
In an informal online survey conducted by the economist, less than half of readers knew that they didn’t own the ebooks they bought (for the most part). Click through, vote and see the most updated results.
Thinking Fast (DBW)
The Washington Post with its partner Diversion Books has published a quick-turnaround election ebook. The rise of ebooks and advanced publishing tools has made this sort of things possible – and popular. Believe it or not, the WashPo title isn’t the first post-election ebook. This is. And the Jeremy Lin phenomenon spurred a spate of quick-turnaround ebooks.
High Praise for Nook (Bloomberg)
The Nook HD tablet isn’t as good as the competition (Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, Google’s Nexus 7, Apple’s iPad Mini), but it’s not much worse – this despite coming from much humbler beginnings.
Fifty Shades for Sixty-Somethings (Daily Mail)
Move over Fifty Shades of Grey – there’s a new contemporary romance title in town and “sixty” might be the new “fifty,” in a way. UK publisher Quercus has an ebook hit on its hands with Thursdays in the Park by first-time author Hilary Boyd. It’s a “raunchy” tale about a grandmother who discovers love.
When a Book Is a Poster (Litographs.com)
Talk about publishing innovation. These are complete books printed on posters. We’re not talking about novellas, either. Ulysses and A Tale of Two Cities are among the titles available.
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