Ebook Best-Seller Price Average Plummets to Lowest Level Yet

the hostWhen it comes to ebook pricing in the post-Department of Justice era, the commentators mostly got it wrong. It’s not a race to the bottom; it’s a race to the middle.

Now that retailers can set prices at will for all but two publishers (Random House and Penguin — though they will join their competitors soon), they’ve lowered prices slowly and strategically, just as Digital Book World predicted a year ago.

Ebooks priced above $10 are starting to disappear from the best-seller list for all but the newest, biggest books. Even the $9.99 price band, which was the most popular among consumers just six months ago, has fallen out of favor. Now, most ebooks that people are buying fall into the $3.00 to $7.99 range. Some 13 such titles appear on the best-seller list this week; that’s 52% of the list.

As a result, the average price of a best-selling ebook has fallen to its lowest level ever, $7.21, down from over $8.00 last week.

Just looking at the top-five titles this week, the first two fall into that category — and it’s not just back-list titles. The first is a back-list ebook, The Host, a 2008 release from Hachette by Stephenie Meyer; it’s having a moment now because the theatrical release based on the book was the end of March. The second is a new release from Simon & Schuster, Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire.


Goodbye, $9.99

At least for now, the $9.99 ebook has fallen way out of favor. On the $8.00 to $9.99 ebook best-seller list this week only includes the top-five titles. Why? No. 6 was ranked in the 140s overall, meaning that its sales were far, far below No. 5 and not really relevant or deserving of being highlighted.

See the rest of the the best-seller lists for the week ending April 7:

– 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 4/7/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price**  Change
1 (2) The Host: A Novel Stephenie Meyer Hachette  $    3.99 +1
2 (n/a) Walking Disaster: A Novel Jamie McGuire Simon & Schuster  $    7.35 New
3 (n/a) Fever (The Breathless Trilogy) Maya Banks Penguin  $    9.99 New
4 (3) Six Years Harlan Coben Penguin  $   12.99 -1
5 (7) Alex Cross, Run James Patterson Hachette  $    7.49 +2
6 (5) Three Sisters (Blackberry Island) Susan Mallery Harlequin  $    5.49 -1
7 (8) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99 +1
8 (1) Lover At Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood J.R. Ward Penguin  $   12.99 -7
9 (n/a) Tobacco Road Erskine Caldwell Samuel French, Inc.  $    1.99 New
10 (14) The Storyteller Jodi Picoult Simon & Schuster  $    7.49 +4
11 (19) The Burgess Boys: A Novel Elizabeth Strout Random House  $   12.99 +8
12 (13) The Wanderer (Thunder Point) Robyn Carr Harlequin  $    3.99 +1
13 (11) Safe Haven Nicholas Sparks Hachette  $    3.49 -2
14 (18) The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel Matthew Quick Macmillan  $    4.99 +4
15 (n/a) To Die For Jana DeLeon; Jasinda Wilder; Debra Holland; Theresa Ragan; Denise Grover Swank; Liliana Hart; Tina Folsom; Colleen Gleason The Indie Voice  $    0.99 New
16 (n/a) The Forgotten David Baldacci Hachette  $    4.99 New
17 (n/a) The Bet Rachel Van Dyken Self-published  $    0.99 New
18 (n/a) Rush (The Breathless Trilogy) Maya Banks Penguin  $    7.99 New
19 (22) Just One Night, Part 1: The Stranger Kyra Davis Simon & Schuster  $    0.99 +3
20 (n/a) Life After Life: A Novel Kate Atkinson Hachette  $    7.49 New
21 (16) Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Sheryl Sandberg Random House  $   12.99 -5
22 (21) Breath of Scandal Sandra Brown Hachette  $    4.74 -1
23 (17) Defending Jacob: A Novel William Landay Random House  $    7.99 -4
24 (20) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 -4
25 (10) A Week in Winter Maeve Binchy Random House  $   12.99 -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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2 thoughts on “Ebook Best-Seller Price Average Plummets to Lowest Level Yet

  1. Yoav Lorch

    Why are the prices plummeting ? Is it because we value our reading less ? because we are poorer ? Why are we attracted by lower priced books ?
    Much of it is about handling risk. Unknown books, from unknown writers, are a risk. Actually, also well known books from well known writers are a risk. We may read only a few pages and discard them. So lets minimize this risk by going after very cheap books. This way if the disappointment arrives, it will not be that painful. Everyone understands this. Readers, authors, writers.

    But on the other hand, would people be ready to pay $10, $15, for a book they liked and completed. For a book that engaged them for many hours, and possibly etched something in their memories ? In many cases the answer is yes.

    The only way to solve this throbbing conundrum, is to create a system where people pay for what they read, once they read it. The need to pay upfront, to purchase a book before reading it, dwindles away the value of reading. It is possible to create a world where people pay for the value they get, and authors and publishers are rewarded for the value they deliver.

    In fact, that’s exactly what we do at Total Boox (www.totalboox.com).

  2. Pingback: DWD on the pricing of ebooks.


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