Prices for some of the best-selling ebooks are falling – and fast. In the past several months, the average price for a top-25 best-selling ebook has dropped by about $3 – to $8.23 from $11.37.
The culprit? Retailer discounting of titles that they were previously unable to discount due to contracts with so-called “agency” publishers like Hachette and HarperCollins. As soon as they got the chance, retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble started discounting titles from those publishers.
While it may be good for readers and it doesn’t really hurt publishers materially in the short term (they get the same amount every time an ebook is sold, regardless at what price), what about the retailers themselves.
It’s been suggested (by us), that sometimes discounting doesn’t result in a lift in sales numbers that would equal the same revenue if the ebook had not been discounted. Plus, the discounting comes at the expense of the retailer (essentially, they pay). So, what we’re seeing in the case of many discounted books is a migration of money from retailers to readers, who save money on each ebook bought.
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The rest of the day’s top news:
Atria Publisher Judith Curr: The Unconventional Path to Publishing Success (DBW)
In a wide-ranging interview, Judith Curr, publisher of Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster, discussed acquiring the work of self-published authors, the new role of the editor, and why it’s important to take risks and try new things in digital book publishing — for both publishers and their employees. Related: Q&A With Atria Editor Amy Tannenbaum.
Why Barnes & Noble Is Failing (Teleread)
Disappointing holiday sales have sparked speculation about why Barnes & Noble can’t get it together. Here are four more possible reasons why the leading bricks-and-mortar bookstore in the U.S. might be headed the way of the dodo – some more plausible than others.
Lulu Goes DRM-Free, But Is It What Authors Want? (DBW)
Self-publishing site Lulu has decided that the books it publishers and sells (though not those sold by Amazon and others) will be free of digital rights management software. But authors, actually, are pretty big supporters of DRM. According to an unreleased survey DBW conducted with Writer’s Digest, authors are more in favor of strengthening DRM than anything else.
Hear Writer’s Digest chief Phil Sexton talk about the results of our survey of nearly 5,000 authors next week at Digital Book World Conference + Expo 2013, including the answer to questions about how much authors blog and use social media, what their goals are in writing, what they think of agents, ebooks in libraries, publishers and more! There’s less than a week before the conference – register today!
Amazon Winning Ebook Battle in Japan (DBW)
Despite it being the home turf of Sony and Kobo (owned by Rakuten), Amazon reportedly has about 40% of the ebook market-share in Japan – and just three months after starting its business in the country.
Kindle: Abandoned Then Updated (paidContent)
The Kindle Touch was discontinued in Oct. yet it received a software updated yesterday – one which makes it much easier to use.
Trade Publishing is Dead (Futurebook)
Why? Ebook royalty rates. Makes perfect sense: Why would an author want to give up a high percentage of her royalties for the imprimatur of a publisher? Well – with all due respect to the anonymous author of this post – there’s a lot more to consider. It’s an imperfect analogy, but this argument is like saying, “why would anyone want a computer when you can do everything on your smartphone. On paper it has a certain ring to it but it withers under real scrutiny.
Keeping It Simple (NYT)
In a world where authors seem to be looking for all the angles, best-selling mystery author Mary Higgins Clark is keeping it simple: One publisher, one huge advance, one game plan – keep on writing good books.
Free Web-Comics to Build an Empire (PW)
A Japanese video game company is using free Web-comics to build a new destination site that may eventually have premium sections.
Scientific American’s Latest Ebook (DBW)
It’s a compendium of the best stories from the magazine from 2012. SciAm has nearly a dozen ebooks now. It sells them for $3.99 on Amazon and Apple.
Recycling Content (Economist)
In addition to publishing ebooks based on current stories, non-book-publishing media companies are finding ways to monetize content that has long lied fallow: old and archival content ebooks.
Survey: Publishers and Start-ups (Pub Perspectives)
Take this Pub Perspectives survey on how publishers and start-ups can collaborate better. We weren’t aware there was a problem.
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