A New Wrinkle in Ebook Pricing

shutterstock_127304378In the early days of ebooks, there was a struggle between publishers and retailers on pricing, the former wanting higher prices, the latter generally wanting lower prices. Then came Apple and agency and for five publishers and many of the ebooks sold, pricing became stabilized and uniform across retailers and generally went up for the consumer.

Then came the U.S. Department of Justice and agency pricing as it once was is mostly gone with a few exceptions. The result? The ebook pricing landscape has completely changed. Most best-sellers were priced above $10 or, in the case of some, $8.00 to $9.99. Self-published titles were in the $0.99 to $2.99 range and the rare back-list or mid-list title priced somewhere in the middle snuck on to the best-seller list from time to time.

Today, that middle pricing zone, roughly $4.00 to $8.00 is the most popular for all kinds of books. In a way, price isn’t much of a consideration now for consumers choosing between a blue-chip author and one of her best books and, well, anything else.

More, including charts of the new paradigm.

Related: Seven Ebook Pricing Strategies


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The rest of the day’s top news:

Three Forces Shaping Trade Publishing (The Shatzkin Files)
“There are three overarching realities that are determining the future course of book publishing. They are clear and they are inexorable,” writes publishing consultant and DBW partner Mike Shatzkin. They are: Scale (how big a publisher is); verticalization (creating vertical channels of interest for purposes of content and audience development); and atomization (everyone is now a publisher or soon will be). Related: Snapshot of the Atomization of Publishing

Technology and Rise in Self-Publishing Pumps Heart of London Book Fair (PW)
What was once the sleepy backwater of the London Book Fair has become its most exciting thoroughfare: The Digital Zone, powered by publishing technology firms and self-publishing vendors.

The State of America’s Libraries (DBW)
The American Library Association has released its annual report on libraries in America. Amid budget cutbacks, libraries continue to thrive and innovate. Ebooks are still a huge issue, even though the last of the big-six publishers is now somewhat on board with the concept of libraries loaning them out.

Amazon’s New E-Comic Creation Tool (The Digital Reader)
Amazon continues to pile on the tools and services for authors. Perhaps in response to Comixology launching its own graphic narrative self-publishing tool, Amazon has quietly done the same.

How to Get Your Next Job in Publishing (Pub Trends)
The path to promotion in publishing is well-marked: start off as an assistant and work, work, work your way up. Here’s some practical advice on how to go from that first step to the second one.

Five Ways Publishers Can Be More Like Start-ups (Pub Perspective)
There are many ways big companies have advantages over start-ups. However, there is much that they can learn from the small, scrappy firms, like how to understand their markets, how to pivot and much more.

More New E-Readers (The Digital Reader)
Pocketbook is expected to announce three new e-reading devices next week. Kobo announced its latest addition earlier this week. Does that mean the next fleet of Kindle devices is around the corner?

RocketReader.com Tells You What E-Reader to Buy (DBW)
A new website will compare prices and specs for you for a variety of e-reading devices and help you decide which one to purchase. Launches April 18.

George Saunders on His Digital Exclusive (L.A. Times)
A George Saunders short story has been released as a standalone digital exclusive. The admired short-story author didn’t know that it was possible to do such a thing: When he decided to keep it out of his latest collection, he assumed it would be on the cutting floor to stay.

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