Amazon Raising Book Prices?

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Amazin-Shopping-CartThe moment many have feared in the book publishing industry may be finally here, according to the New York Times: Amazon, having established control of a large portion of the book market in the U.S., is raising its prices.

Or, more specifically, in some cases, it’s reducing the discount it offers so that the prices its customers pay are scarcely different from what they’d pay in an old-fashioned, bricks-and-mortar bookshop. Then again, the Times article focused on small and academic presses, citing only a few more mainstream titles.

Over the past month, we’ve observed a steady increase in the average price of an ebook best-seller to over $9.00 for the first time in 2013 – until last week when it plummeted about $2.00.

Related (NYT): One Small Publisher Speaks Out


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The rest of the day’s top news:

Following Amazon (DBW)
In an attempt to better serve its authors, a small Seattle-based publisher is following Amazon and paying out royalties on a monthly basis.

 

Amazon Awarded New Ebook Patent (Wired)
The new patent, originally applied for near the end of 2010, outlines enhanced ebooks, basically, as well as personalized and social ebooks.

 

Tablet Price Wars (GigaOm)
Barnes & Noble is deeply discounting its Nook tablets in Europe as it clears out its inventory and ends its tablet manufacturing business. Amazon is following suit with discounts in the UK and Europe on its devices.

 

Faber Dabbling in Ebook Retail (DBW)
UK publisher Faber and Faber is launching a customized retail presence on the TheBookPeople.co.uk, a UK retail network. It will be called FaberShop.

 

Hong Kong Booksellers, Publishers Launch Ebook Retail Site (South China Morning Post)
Super Book City, as the business will be known, is a joint effort between Hong Kong’s largest book concerns, including Commercial Press, Joint Publishing and Chung Hwa Book. The store will launch with 1,000 new ebooks.

 

Sony Launches Affiliate Program (Good E Reader)
Over the past few months, Sony has been attempting to invigorate its ebook retail operation, including with new discovery initiatives. Now, it’s adding an affiliate program for partners that will pay 6% for every ebook sold.

 

Nintendo Ebooks for Kids (Good E Reader)
Nintendo will be selling kids ebooks on its newest handheld three-dimensional gaming device, the Nintendo 3DS. The company will start with 300 Japanese titles in the fall.

 

Opening for Self-Published Children’s Authors? (Good E Reader)
A children’s author has broken through onto the self-published best-seller list. With new tools for authors and illustrators, this could become a more common occurrence.

 

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2 thoughts on “Amazon Raising Book Prices?

  1. This is a misleading headline. Amazon doesn’t set the prices– the publishers do. As you note, Amazon is cutting back on discounting. Which if I remember was the cause of the whole DOJ thing and Agency pricing and everyone bitching. Now they’re bitching the other way. Can’t make anyone happy it seems.

    • Of course you’re right, Bob — in a way. Amazon doesn’t control the list price of titles. However, it can control the effective price consumers pay by adjusting its discounting. What the NYT article observes is a smattering of cases of reduced discounting. The company hasn’t said it has changed its policy and there are a million possible explanations.

      That said, the people who are complaining in the article (small presses, academic presses, lesser-known authors) do not seem to be the same people who had been against lower prices for ebooks.

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