Retailers Discount Big-Five Best-Sellers, Keeping Prices at All-Time Low

pavilion of womenDespite it being the No. 1 best-seller last week, retailers decided to push the envelope with Penguin Random House’s The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, discounting it to $6.50 from $9.99.

The move is part of a pattern emerging this week at retailers of discounting front-list, top-selling ebooks from the largest publishers. Hachette’s The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling is now $6.50, too, down from $9.99; and HarperCollins’s The English Girl by Daniel Silva is now $9.00, down from $11.99, just to name a few.

The increased discounting follows a week when the average price of a best-selling ebook hit an all-time low: $6.33. This week, the price stayed at $6.33 (for those of you out there keeping close track, it actually rose by $0.002).

The low prices may be part of a war being waged between retailers to court ebook customers in the U.S. as a new fleet of devices from Amazon, Kobo and others are set to hit store shelves in time for this year’s holiday shopping. The discounts have created an interesting dichotomy on the best-seller list: expensive ebooks and cheap ebooks.

There are a handful of ebooks on the best-seller list price above $10, and a glut priced below $8, but very few in the middle. Essentially, $9.99, which was for a moment the de facto price for top-selling ebooks, has all but disappeared.

In addition to there being a hole in the middle of the best-seller list when it comes to ebook pricing, lower-priced titles from big publishers are squeezing self-published works off the list — both the top-25 list as well as the $3.00 to $7.99 list and the $0.00 to $2.99 list.

Ebook best-sellers from the week ending 9/1:

– 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 9/1/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price** Change
1 (1) The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Penguin Random House  $    6.50
2 (2) City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments Book 01 Cassandra Clare Simon & Schuster  $    4.99
3 (5) The Cuckoo’s Calling Robert Galbraith; J. K. Rowling Hachette  $    6.50 +2
4 (3) High Heat: A Jack Reacher Short Story Lee Child Penguin Random House  $    1.99 -1
5 (n/a) Pavilion of Women: A Novel of Life in the Women’s Quarters Pearl S. Buck Open Road Media  $    1.99 New
6 (6) Mistress James Patterson; David Ellis Hachette  $   11.99
7 (12) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    3.99 +5
8 (22) Ruin Rachel Van Dyken Self-published  $    0.99 +14
9 (15) City of Ashes: The Mortal Instruments Book 02 Cassandra Clare Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 +6
10 (8) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Penguin Random House  $   12.99 -2
11 (9) The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin Random House  $    3.99 -2
12 (n/a) War Brides Helen Bryan Amazon  $    4.99 New
13 (7) The Boy in the Suitcase Lene Kaaberbol; Agnete Friis Soho Press  $    1.99 -6
14 (n/a) King and Maxwell (King & Maxwell) David Baldacci Hachette  $   11.99 New
15 (21) Wicked Firsts Elisabeth Naughton; Alexandra Ivy; Cynthia Eden; Laura Wright; Katie Reus; Joan Swan Self-published/The Indie Six  $    0.99 +6
16 (11) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Penguin Random House  $   12.99 -5
17 (n/a) The Hero (Thunder Point) Robyn Carr Harlequin  $    4.55 New
18 (16) Insurgent (Divergent) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99 -2
19 (13) The Silent Wife: A Novel A. S. A. Harrison Penguin Random House  $    7.99 -6
20 (n/a) Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel Lee Child Penguin Random House  $   13.99 New
21 (14) And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel Khaled Hosseini Penguin Random House  $   10.99 -7
22 (24) City of Glass: The Mortal Instruments Book 03 Cassandra Clare Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 +2
23 (18) Ender’s Game: 1 (The Ender Quintet) Orson Scott Card Macmillan  $    3.98 -5
24 (19) Afterburn (Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin) Sylvia Day Harlequin  $    1.99 -5
25 (23) The English Girl: A Novel (Gabriel Allon) Daniel Silva HarperCollins  $    9.00 -2

 

* 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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