Stephen King Tops Ebook Best-Seller List at Discount as Prices Decrease

doctor sleepStephen King’s new novel Doctor Sleep is a DBW No. 1 ebook best-seller this week after debuting on the list at No. 18 last week.

Part of the reason that King’s latest skyrocketed up the list is likely due to a steep discount being offered on the title. Last week, the lowest price at which it was available at either Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, Kobo or Sony (the six stores we measure to compile this list) was $10.99. This week, the ebook was available for $7.49.

With so many factors at play, it’s impossible to know if the discounting helped the book outsell every other this week. What’s for certain is that the line is moving on what retailers will be discounting and when. Even new titles from bankable best-selling authors who could likely command high prices from their loyal fans can have prices chopped.

Meanwhile, the average price of a best-selling ebook ticked down to $7.16 this week from $7.77 a week ago. This follows several weeks of the average price of a best-selling ebook hovering between $5.00 and $6.00.

The lower-price trend is being driven by the new popularity of the $3.00 to $7.99 price point for ebooks, a dearth of $10 and above books and the complete disappearance of $8.00 to $9.99 ebooks — once so popular in the era of Fifty Shades dominance — from the top-25 list.


Ebook best-sellers from the week ending 9/29:

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 9/29/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price** Change
1 (18) Doctor Sleep: A Novel Stephen King Simon & Schuster  $          7.49 +17
2 (1) The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Penguin Random House  $          5.99 -1
3 (2) The Longest Ride Nicholas Sparks Hachette  $       10.99 -1
4 (n/a) Orphan Train: A Novel Christina Baker Kline HarperCollins  $          1.99 New
5 (3) Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel Lee Child Penguin Random House  $       10.99 -2
6 (n/a) Killing Jesus: A History Bill O’Reilly; Martin Dugard Macmillan  $          7.49 New
7 (6) W Is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Series #23) Sue Grafton Penguin Random House  $       10.99 -1
8 (5) Out Of Line Jen McLaughlin Self-published  $          0.99 -3
9 (8) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $          3.99 -1
10 (10) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Penguin Random House  $       10.99
11 (4) Thankless in Death J. D. Robb Penguin Random House  $       10.99 -7
12 (12) The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin Random House  $          3.99
13 (7) The Cuckoo’s Calling Robert Galbraith; J. K. Rowling Hachette  $          5.99 -6
14 (15) Insurgent (Divergent) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $          6.99 +1
15 (n/a) Safe With Me Kristen Proby Self-published  $          3.99 New
16 (13) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three Of The Fifty Shades Trilogy E L James Penguin Random House  $          7.78 -3
17 (19) The Final Cut (A Brit in the FBI) Catherine Coulter; J. T. Ellison Penguin Random House  $          6.49 +2
18 (14) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Penguin Random House  $       10.99 -4
19 (9) Envy Sandra Brown Hachette  $          1.99 -10
20 (n/a) Simple Perfection: A Novel Abbi Glines Simon & Schuster  $          3.99 New
21 (11) The Quest: A Novel Nelson DeMille Hachette  $       10.99 -10
22 (n/a) The Shining Stephen King Penguin Random House  $          3.99 New
23 (23) Allegiant (Divergent #3) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $          6.99
24 (21) Mistress James Patterson; David Ellis Hachette  $       11.04 -3
25 (24) And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel Khaled Hosseini Penguin Random House  $       10.99 -1


* 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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3 thoughts on “Stephen King Tops Ebook Best-Seller List at Discount as Prices Decrease

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Who was Stephen King’s ebook publisher? Unless it made a special deal with Amazon, selling King’s latest for $10.99 meant a 35% Amazon royalty or $3.85. Pricing it a dollar less at $9.99 would have meant a 70% royalty or $7. Even at $7.49, it should yield about $5.24. The publisher’s initial pricing made no business sense. It’s not surprising that they cut the price.

    And yes, Amazon pricing scheme does look suspiciously like price fixing. Amazon may say that their royalty scheme pressures publishers to lower their prices to under $10. But for limited circulation, speciality books that have to sell for over $9.99 (including college textbooks), Amazon is making a huge, fat, enormous profit.

    Take, for instance, a book for a specialized area of nursing. There’s no way the book could recoup its cost by selling for $9.99. There are only so many people who will buy it at any price. The publisher must price it higher and be forced to accept a 35% royalty rather than 70%. But then something horrible happens. If the book the sells for $100, the authors, editors and publishers are getting just $35, which may barely cover their costs. On the other hand, Amazon is raking in $65 for just providing a financial transaction and file download.

    That’s price-fixing and greed on a scale vastly greater than anything Apple and the Big Six were accused of doing. I can’t understand why the DOJ’s lawyers didn’t go after Amazon instead.

    Well, maybe I do understand, but none of the possibilities that come to mind are very pretty.

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  3. Pingback: Stephen King Tops Ebook Best-Seller List at Discount as Prices Decrease – Digital Book World » red book


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