Ebook Best-Seller Prices Dip as Retailers Discount and Self-Published Titles Make Push

damaged-twoAfter three straight weeks of the average ebook best-seller price rising to a 2013 high of $9.48, it’s finally dipped back down. This week, the average price of an ebook best-seller is  $7.29.

What caused ebook prices to shift so wildly? The difference between last week and this week is $2.19, or 23%.

It was a combination of two factors:

— There are a handful of best-selling books that were not discounted last week that are being discounted this week. Some examples:

  • The Hit by David Baldacci is $7.49 (was $8.99)
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth is $4.99 (was $5.69)
  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini is $11.99 (was $12.99)
  • 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro is $7.49 (was $11.99)

— There are more self-published titles and inexpensive titles from smaller publishers on the list this week:

  • Damaged 2, the follow-up to H.M. Ward’s Damaged rocketed to No. 2 at $3.99
  • Damaged is back on the list at $0.99
  • Dixie Divas by Virginia Brown hit the list at No. 14 at $1.99

We may never know why some of the above-mentioned books got the discount treatment last week and not the week before*. And the reason that some of these self-published titles rocketed up the list is a mystery as old as trade publishing.

Now that Penguin and Random House have closed their merger deal, it’s only a matter of time before the new publishing house signs new contracts with retailers and Penguin Random House books start getting discounted.


Penguin Random House

With the merger closed yesterday, we should point out a few things:

— Starting next week, books that had formerly been classified as Penguin or Random House will now all be classified as Penguin Random House.

— This week, had we counted both publishers as one, the new entity would control 40% of the top-25 best-sellers. The next most successful publisher, Hachette, has four.


* One of the four books, And the Mountains Echoed, is a book published by Penguin. At the time of this writing it was selling on Amazon for $11.06, a very un-agency-like price. Yet, Amazon still holds its standard agency disclaimer, “This price was set by the publisher.” We will follow up. 


Ebook best-sellers from the week ending 6/30:

— Top Selling Ebooks: $10 and above
— Top Selling Ebooks: $8.00 – $9.99
— Top Selling Ebooks: $3.00 – $7.99
— Top Selling Ebooks: $0.00 – $2.99

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 6/30/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price**  Change
1 (1) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Random House  $   12.99
2 (n/a) Damaged 2 H.M. Ward Self-published  $    3.99 New
3 (n/a) Second Honeymoon James Patterson; Howard Roughan Hachette  $    7.49 New
4 (3) And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel Khaled Hosseini Penguin  $   11.99 -1
5 (2) Entwined with You (Crossfire Trilogy Series #3) Sylvia Day Penguin  $    9.99 -3
6 (6) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War Max Brooks Random House  $    9.99
7 (14) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    4.99 +7
8 (5) Bad Monkey Carl Hiaasen Random House  $   12.99 -3
9 (9) The Heist: A Novel Janet Evanovich; Lee Goldberg Random House  $   12.99
10 (7) The Hit (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette  $    7.49 -3
11 (8) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99 -3
12 (12) Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts Penguin  $    9.99
13 (4) Forever Too Far Abbi Glines Self-published  $    3.99 -9
14 (n/a) Dixie Divas Virginia Brown Belle Bridge Books  $    1.99 New
15 (n/a) Insurgent (Divergent) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.49 New
16 (13) 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette  $    7.49 -3
17 (23) The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel Neil Gaiman HarperCollins  $    7.99 +6
18 (n/a) Damaged H.M. Ward Self-published  $    0.99 New
19 (n/a) The Billionaire’s Obsession: The Complete Collection Boxed Set (Mine For Tonight, Mine For Now, Mine Forever, Mine Completely) J.S. Scott Self-published  $    0.99 New
20 (20) The Light Between Oceans: A Novel ML Stedman Simon & Schuster  $    4.99
21 (n/a) Crazy Little Thing Tracy Brogan Amazon  $    3.99 New
22 (11) The Kill Room (Lincoln Rhyme) Jeffery Deaver Hachette  $    7.49 -11
23 (n/a) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 New
24 (n/a) Pros and Cons: A Short Story (Kindle Single) Janet Evanovich; Lee Goldberg Random House  $    0.99 New
25 (n/a) The Silver Star: A Novel Jeannette Walls Simon & Schuster  $    6.99 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 ebook pricing.
Methodology available here.

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