Top-25 Best-Selling Ebooks: Average Price for Ebook Best-Seller Dips Below $7.00 Again

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and the mountains echoedTake a look at the top-ten best-selling ebooks this week. Notice something? Many of them are priced above $10; only one is self-published; and the others are published by big-six (soon to be big-five) publishers.

It may seem like things are returning back to “normal” — if anything about the past several years of the book business can be considered normal. But go outside the top-ten and there are no other books at those higher price points until outside the top-25. Further, there are many books priced below $2.99 and even more priced in what we’re now observing as the most popular price range for best-selling ebooks: $3.00 to $7.99.

As a result, the average price of a best-selling ebook is now $6.94, down $0.10 from last week when it was a hair above $7.00. Why this is significant is that consumers are now getting used to paying a relatively low price for best-selling ebooks. Savvy book buyers probably understand that new releases may cost over $10 but that most ebooks can now be purchased for less.

This is worrisome for publishers and authors on several levels:

1. It compares poorly to hardcover and even paperback prices, which could help continue to erode those businesses.

2. It cuts into the overall viability of the business: Splitting $6 between author, agent and publisher is much less attractive than splitting $12.

3. It devalues books in general. At just a few dollars, books can be considered more disposable, and that can’t be good for the long-term viability of the industry.

Another potentially troubling fact: See Alex Cross, Run (Hachette). It came out in February after being pre-sold for $14.99. The price was lowered as soon as it hit the ebook shelves to $12.74. It dipped down to $7.49 in April and is now selling for $7.99. Savvy consumers are being taught that if they just wait a few months, they can get the next big best-seller for half price.

See the rest of the the best-seller lists for the week ending May 26:

– 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

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 5/26/13
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price** Change
1 (1) Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon) Dan Brown Random House  $   12.99
2 (n/a) And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel Khaled Hosseini Penguin  $   12.99 New
3 (3) The Hit (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette  $    8.99
4 (8) Don’t Say a Word Barbara Freethy Self-published  $    0.99 +4
5 (2) The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Simon & Schuster  $    4.99 -3
6 (4) 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette  $   11.99 -2
7 (7) Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts Penguin  $    9.99
8 (5) Silken Prey John Sandford Penguin  $   12.99 -3
9 (6) Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (SSTB) Charlaine Harris Penguin  $   12.99 -3
10 (11) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Random House  $   12.99 +1
11 (10) The Bet Rachel Van Dyken Self-published  $    0.99 -1
12 (16) The Sisterhood Helen Bryan Amazon  $    3.99 +4
13 (n/a) Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) Hugh Howey Self-published  $    5.99 New
14 (n/a) French Silk Sandra Brown Hachette  $    1.99 New
15 (17) Ender’s Game : Ender’s Game Quartet (Book 1) Orson Scott Card Macmillan  $    4.39 +2
16 (12) The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel Matthew Quick Macmillan  $    4.99 -4
17 (n/a) Truly Madly Deeply Carly Phillips Self-published  $    0.99 New
18 (n/a) Just One Night, Part 3: Binding Agreement Kyra Davis Simon & Schuster  $    1.99 New
19 (22) Entwined with You (Crossfire Trilogy Series #3) Sylvia Day Penguin  $    9.99 +3
20 (21) Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy E. L. James Random House  $    9.99 +2
21 (n/a) Breath of Scandal Sandra Brown Hachette  $    4.74 New
22 (n/a) Summer in Napa (A St. Helena Vineyard Novel) Marina Adair Amazon  $    3.99 New
23 (n/a) Real Katy Evans Self-published  $    3.99 New
24 (23) Divergent Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    5.63 -1
25 (20) Alex Cross, Run James Patterson Hachette  $    7.99 -5


* 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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