Average Ebook Best-Seller Price Rises for Third Week as Self-Published Titles Drop Off List

WorldWarZWhat is going on with ebook best-seller prices?

After months of consistent declines to a low near $6.00, they’re on the rise again. This week, the average price of an ebook best-seller is $9.48, up slightly from last week, which was the first time the price was north of $9.00 in all of 2013.

The reasons that ebook prices declined over a period of months have been explained and long-discussed:

— The rise of some self-published works, all of which were priced at $3.99 and below, to the best-seller list.
— Given control over the pricing of ebooks from HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, Amazon and other retailers began discounting them at will from $14.99 and $12.99 to points lower.
— Publishers and retailers started experimenting with discounting back-list titles and old best-sellers in attempts to juice sales.

This week, the list seems, again, to be dominated by high-profile titles priced above $10. While it’s confusing, there are some possible explanations:

— The ebook retailers have run out of room when it comes to discounting and can’t afford to fight a price war just now.
— The publishers are setting relatively high digital list prices for their new titles, making it less attractive for retailers to discount them below $10.
— There are fewer self-published hits at lower price points. There is only one self-published title on the list this week: Forever Too Far by Abbi Glines, which is priced at $3.99.

The irony is that prices started rising at the start of the much-publicized ebook price-fixing trial and continued to rise throughout it. While the Department of Justice’s action no doubt had a part in pushing ebook prices down in the latter half of 2012 and through most of 2013, it’s odd (and most likely coincidental) that when the trial that the the DOJ set in motion starts, prices again begin to rise.

Ebook best-sellers from the week ending 6/23:

— Top Selling Ebooks: $10 and above
— Top Selling Ebooks: $8.00 – $9.99
— Top Selling Ebooks: $3.00 – $7.99
— Top Selling Ebooks: $0.00 – $2.99

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 6/23/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price** Change
1 (1) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Random House  $   12.99
2 (2) Entwined with You (Crossfire Trilogy Series #3) Sylvia Day Penguin  $    9.99
3 (4) And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel Khaled Hosseini Penguin  $   12.99 +1
4 (3) Forever Too Far Abbi Glines Self-published  $    3.99 -1
5 (5) Bad Monkey Carl Hiaasen Random House  $   12.99
6 (12) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks Random House  $    9.99 +6
7 (6) The Hit (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette  $    8.99 -1
8 (7) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99 -1
9 (n/a) The Heist: A Novel Janet Evanovich; Lee Goldberg Random House  $   13.99 New
10 (n/a) The Empty Chair: A Novel (Lincoln Rhyme Novels) Jeffery Deaver Simon & Schuster  $    0.99 New
11 (13) The Kill Room (Lincoln Rhyme) Jeffery Deaver Hachette  $   11.99 +2
12 (8) Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts Penguin  $    9.99 -4
13 (10) 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette  $   11.99 -3
14 (19) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    5.69 +5
15 (n/a) The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel (A Lincoln Lawyer Novel) Michael Connelly Hachette  $    2.99 New
16 (15) Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel Sylvia Day Penguin  $    9.99 -1
17 (9) A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One George R.R. Martin Random House  $    9.99 -8
18 (14) Silken Prey John Sandford Penguin  $   12.99 -4
19 (n/a) The King’s Deception: A Novel (Cotton Malone) Steve Berry Random House  $   12.99 New
20 (22) The Light Between Oceans: A Novel ML Stedman Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 +2
21 (n/a) White Cargo Stuart Woods Simon & Schuster  $    8.54 New
22 (n/a) The Fort Aric Davis Amazon  $    4.99 New
23 (n/a) The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel Neil Gaiman HarperCollins  $   12.80 New
24 (16) Breath of Scandal Sandra Brown Hachette  $    4.27 -8
25 (n/a) The Last Original Wife: A Novel Dorothea Benton Frank HarperCollins  $   12.80 New

* Previous week’s list rank in parentheses.
** Price reflects minimum price across all retailers throughout the week. Price may vary between retailers and may change throughout the week. Contact Iobyte Solutions for more information on ebook pricing.
Methodology available here.

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