Deeply Discounted Big-Six Ebooks Pop on Best-Seller List, Driving Down Average Ebook Price

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heartsongThe average price of a best-selling ebook inched down to $7.86 this week, driven not by less expensive self-published works but by deeply discounted big-six titles.

Following the success of Hachette’s Beautiful Creatures series selling at $2.99, Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins and Hachette have ebook best-sellers this week selling for $2.99 or less.

Debbie Macomber’s 1984 novel Heartsong is being sold by Random House as an ebook for $2.99 and hit the best-seller list at No. 10. Sandra Brown’s 1990 novel Mirror Image is being sold by Hachette as an ebook for $1.99 and hit the best-seller list at No. 12.

While those titles are older and represent a move among big-six publishers to market and sell back-list ebooks at a discount, two other titles on the list are newer and may represent a shift in strategy to sell recent releases.

Into the Darkest Corner, a HarperCollins novel by Elizabeth Haynes, was released in June 2012. It is currently being sold for $1.99. And The Painted Girls, a Jan. 2013 novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan from Penguin, was a Kindle Daily Deal on Feb. 25 for $2.99 (which is why it is on our list at that price, despite being sold for $14.99 currently).

Are these price drops an attempt at a new strategy for big publishers?

“Part of the way we bring our authors’ books to market is to offer well-placed and well-timed price promotions,” said a HarperCollins spokesperson when asked about a new pricing strategy.

We’ll have to wait and see if it continues to learn more. Hachette did not respond to request for comment before press time. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Penguin declined to comment.

See the rest of the the best-seller lists for the week ending March 3:

– 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

Read and comment on our methodology.

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 3/3/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price**  Change
1 (2) Safe Haven Nicholas Sparks Hachette  $    5.62 +1
2 (3) Alex Cross, Run James Patterson Hachette  $   11.99 +1
3 (5) Wait For Me Elisabeth Naughton Self-published  $    2.99 +2
4 (n/a) Calculated in Death J. D. Robb Penguin  $   14.99 New
5 (11) The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel Matthew Quick Macmillan  $    9.99 +6
6 (6) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99
7 (1) Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures Series #1) Kami Garcia; Margaret Stohl Hachette  $    5.22 -6
8 (12) A Week in Winter Maeve Binchy Random House  $   12.99 +4
9 (8) Rush (The Breathless Trilogy) Maya Banks Penguin  $    7.99 -1
10 (20) Heartsong: A Novel Debbie Macomber Random House  $    2.99 +10
11 (9) Touch and Go Lisa Gardner Penguin  $   12.99 -2
12 (n/a) Mirror Image Sandra Brown Hachette  $    1.99 New
13 (n/a) The Painted Girls: A Novel Cathy Marie Buchanan Penguin  $    2.99 New
14 (n/a) Into the Darkest Corner Elizabeth Haynes HarperCollins  $    1.99 New
15 (4) Beautiful Darkness (Beautiful Creatures) Kami Garcia; Margaret Stohl Hachette  $    6.99 -11
16 (13) Guilt: An Alex Delaware Novel Jonathan Kellerman Random House  $   12.99 -3
17 (16) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 -1
18 (n/a) Dead Asleep Jamie Freveletti HarperCollins  $    0.99 New
19 (7) Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Creatures) Kami Garcia; Margaret Stohl Hachette  $    7.59 -12
20 (15) Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 -5
21 (18) The Forgotten David Baldacci Hachette  $    9.99 -3
22 (n/a) War Brides Helen Bryan Amazon  $    2.99 New
23 (n/a) Life of Pi Yann Martel Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  $    8.33 New
24 (17) Fifty Shades Of Grey: Book One Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 -7
25 (10) Beautiful Redemption (Beautiful Creatures) Kami Garcia; Margaret Stohl Hachette  $    8.89 -15

* 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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