Big-Six Publishers Take Top of Best-Seller List as Ebook Prices Inch Down

infernoA high-priced, new-release is again atop the ebook best-seller list. Dan Brown’s Inferno (Random House), a new release from the best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code, is selling more ebooks than any other title at $14.99, competing with $0.99 self-published ebooks and $4.99 classics.

While the No. 1 ebook on the best-seller list fits a familiar narrative when it comes to how book sales have been until very recently, the rest of the list follows a new paradigm. Five titles out of the top-25 are self-published. An American classic is at No. 2 at $4.99, coinciding with a movie release. And, perhaps most astounding of all, the average price of a best-selling ebook this week is $7.04, down slightly from last week’s average of $7.23, and up slightly from the all-time low of $6.58 from a few weeks ago.

The $7.00 price tag for a best-selling ebook doesn’t seem all that out of place these days but it’s just over half of what the average price for a best-selling ebook was a year ago. The price decrease has been driven by a combination of factors: inexpensive self-published ebooks hitting the best-seller list; publishers experimenting with lower prices; retailers discounting big books from big publishers, something that wasn’t happening a year ago.

More important than the why for publishers is what does it mean for their businesses. One problem that low ebook prices present for publishers is that they create an unfavorable comparison with hardcover prices. $14.99 versus $29.99 for a new release (e- versus hardcover) might be palatable for someone who really wants to own the artifact. But $7.99 versus $29.99 might not be as easy to swallow.

See the rest of the the best-seller lists for the week ending May 19:

– 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 5/19/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price** Change
1 (7) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Random House  $   14.99 +6
2 (1) The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 -1
3 (2) The Hit (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette  $    8.99 -1
4 (4) 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette  $   11.99
5 (5) Silken Prey John Sandford Penguin  $   12.99
6 (3) Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (SSTB) Charlaine Harris Penguin  $   12.99 -3
7 (6) Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts Penguin  $    9.99 -1
8 (9) Don’t Say A Word Barbara Freethy Self-published  $    0.99  +1
9 (n/a) Crazy Little Thing Tracy Brogan Amazon  $    1.99 New
10 (13) The Bet Rachel Van Dyken Self-published  $    0.99 +3
11 (12) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99 +1
12 (10) The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel Matthew Quick Macmillan  $    4.99 -2
13 (n/a) Not Quite Mine (Not Quite series) Catherine Bybee Amazon  $    3.99 New
14 (14) Damaged H.M.  Ward Self-published  $    3.99
15 (n/a) The Arrangement 7 H.M. Ward Self-published  $    2.99 New
16 (8) The Sisterhood Helen Bryan Amazon  $    3.99 -8
17 (n/a) Ender’s Game: Ender’s Game Quartet (Book 1) Orson Scott Card Macmillan  $    4.62 New
18 (n/a) Left To Die (A Selena Alvarez/Regan Pescoli Novel) Lisa Jackson Kensington Books  $    0.99 New
19 (n/a) Lost and Found Nicole Williams Self-published  $    3.99 New
20 (19) Alex Cross, Run James Patterson Hachette  $    7.99 -1
21 (23) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 +2
22 (n/a) Entwined with You (Crossfire Trilogy Series #3) Sylvia Day Penguin  $    9.99 New
23 (24) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    5.69 +1
24 (n/a) Down London Road Samantha Young Penguin  $    7.99 New
25 (n/a) Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls David Sedaris Hachette  $   10.99 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 e-book pricing.
Methodology available here.

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