Take 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 – $2.99
|1 (1)||Inferno: A Novel (Robert Langdon)||Dan Brown||Random House||$ 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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