DOJ Has Huge Impact on Best-Seller Pricing

No. 5 on the list this week at $2.99

No. 5 on the list this week from Hachette at $2.99

Little of consequence is happening in the next two weeks in the publishing world compared with the ebook price-fixing trial that recently started in lower Manhattan. Nonetheless, books keep coming out, getting sold and turning into best-sellers.

Given the price-fixing trial, perhaps it’s best to take a look at the list today versus the first week we started tracking ebook best-sellers, way back in August. A few weeks after we started tracking best-sellers, the first of the agency contracts (HarperCollins) was replaced with new deals at the retailers and the discounting began immediately.

Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Macmillan have all followed HarperCollins and now their books are being discounted, too. Penguin has yet to sign a new agreement and Random House will only have its books fall under a new agreement when the two large publishers merge.

It’s hard to say what the overall affect has been on the larger ebook market but on the top best-sellers, the effect has been obvious and significant:

— The average price of an ebook best-seller this week is $6.95 (virtually unchanged from last week when it was $6.94), just over half of what it was last summer before the discounting began (though discounting is only one of the factors that has led to this phenomena). Read more.

— The $10 and above price range used to be the most popular for best-selling books. There are only six books in that price range on the list this week.

Undoubtedly, for the books that many readers are buying, the Department of Justice’s action have made them cheaper. With all the publishers having settled the complaint with the government, submitting to new kinds of ebook retail contracts that will permit the discounting we’re now seeing, a win for the U.S. in the next few weeks won’t change things much more for consumers — if at all. The next big event in ebook pricing is when Penguin signs a new contract and then when it merges with Random House. Stay tuned.


Self-Publishing Success

In April, Rachel van Dyken became one of the first self-published authors to top this list with her hit The Bet. We caught up with van Dyken this week and found out that she just inked a four-book deal with Hachette. The literary agency Trident negotiated the deal, a “major deal,” in the parlance of Publishers Lunch, van Dyken told us.

The deal was signed late last week for four current titles, The Bet, The Wager, Elite, and Elect. The books will shift over to being published by Hachette on Wednesday.


Editor’s Note: We are proud to announce that we have added Apple to the list of ebook retailers that we track with this list, giving us a nearly complete list of all the ebook sales in the U.S. More details to follow, including an updated methodology.

See the rest of the the best-seller lists for the week ending June 2:

– Digital Book World Best-Selling Ebooks Priced $10.00 and Above
– Digital Book World Best-Selling Ebooks Priced $8.00 – $9.99
– Digital Book World Best-Selling Ebooks Priced $3.00 – $7.99
– Digital Book World Best-Selling Ebooks Priced $0.00 – $2.99


Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 6/2/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price** Change
1 (1) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Random House  $   12.99
2 (2) And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel Khaled Hosseini Penguin  $   12.99
3 (3) The Hit (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette  $    8.99
4 (5) The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 +1
5 (n/a) The Forever of Ella and Micha Jessica Sorensen Hachette  $    2.99 New
6 (6) 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette  $   11.99
7 (8) Silken Prey John Sandford Penguin  $   12.99 +1
8 (7) Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts Penguin  $    9.99 -1
9 (4) Don’t Say A Word Barbara Freethy Self-published  $    3.99 -5
10 (10) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99
11 (n/a) Pros and Cons: A Short Story (Kindle Single) Janet Evanovich; Lee Goldberg Random House  $    0.99 New
12 (n/a) Beauty from Surrender (Beauty Series #2) Georgia Cates Self-published  $    3.99 New
13 (19) Entwined with You (Crossfire Trilogy Series #3) Sylvia Day Penguin  $    9.99 +6
14 (9) Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (SSTB) Charlaine Harris Penguin  $   12.99 -5
15 (15) Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet) Orson Scott Card Macmillan  $    4.39
16 (12) The Sisterhood Helen Bryan Amazon  $    3.99 -4
17 (n/a) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks Random House  $    9.99 New
18 (n/a) Jet: A Marked Men Novel Jay Crownover HarperCollins  $    2.99 New
19 (n/a) Silent Run Barbara Freethy Self-published  $    0.99 New
20 (n/a) Wednesday Sisters Meg Waite Clayton Random House  $    0.99 New
21 (n/a) The Light Between Oceans: A Novel ML Stedman Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 New
22 (n/a) Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell; Pat Conroy Simon & Schuster  $    1.99 New
23 (20) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 -3
24 (24) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    5.63
25 (16) The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel Matthew Quick Macmillan  $    4.99 -9

* 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 e-book pricing.
Methodology available here.

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