Average Price of Ebook Best-Sellers Jumps; Divergent Dominance Continues

hiddenAfter weeks of slowly ticking up, getting more than halfway to the $7.00 mark, the average price of a best-selling ebook jumped this week to $7.49.

At the end of January, the average price of a best-selling ebook was $5.36, just $0.09 off an all-time low, recorded in December 2013. Since then, it’s been steadily ticking up, with a slight hiccup a few weeks ago when the index dropped to $6.02 from $6.09. In just two months, the average price has increased more than $2.00, or a 40% rise.

Why has the average price of a best-selling ebook increased so much in such a short period of time? Two culprits: Higher-priced big-five titles and lower-priced self-published titles. The former are on the list in greater numbers than in many months and the latter are conspicuously absent.

There are seven ebooks priced above $10 on this week’s Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list, all from Penguin Random House, Macmillan and Hachette. In the past few months, no more than three or four such titles could be expected in any given week.

And there are no self-published titles on the list this week. Even though the rate of self-published titles hitting the best-seller list has slowed considerably since last year when big-publisher titles started being priced lower, most weeks at least one or two self-published titles make the list, usually priced at $3.99 or below. There is one $0.99 ebook on the list this week, Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup from HarperCollins; the next-lowest priced ebook is selling at $4.99 (there are several).


Divergent Takes Three of Top Four Spots 

Don’t look now, but Veronica Roth’s Divergent series (HarperCollins) is starting to show the kind of dominance and resilience on the best-seller list as The Hunger Games showed nearly two years ago.

For many months in 2012 and 2013, the Fifty Shades of Grey series and the Hunger Games series took to six top spots on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list. Due to the length of its dominance (and its audience and subject matter), comparisons to the Hunger Games are more apt, for now.



Amazon has four titles on the ebook best-seller list again this week, led by Hidden by Catherine McKenzie. Each of them is new to the list this week and if the developed pattern is followed, few or none of them will be on the list next week.

In early February, Amazon Publishing made a statement in the publishing world by landing more titles than ever before on the ebook best-seller list. Since then, it has had several titles on the list every week, but usually new ones. Throughout its best-seller run, Amazon publishing has had few sustained ebook best-sellers.


Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 3/8/14
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price**  Change
1 (1) Divergent (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    4.99
2 (n/a) Hidden Catherine McKenzie Amazon  $    4.99 New
3 (2) Insurgent (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99 -1
4 (5) Allegiant (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99 +1
5 (4) The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin Random House  $    5.50 -1
6 (13) The Invention of Wings: A Novel (Original Publisher’s Edition-No Annotations) Sue Monk Kidd Penguin Random House  $   10.99 +7
7 (7) The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Penguin Random House  $    5.99
8 (6) The Goldfinch Donna Tartt Hachette  $    7.50 -2
9 (n/a) Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive, The) Brandon Sanderson Macmillan  $   12.74 New
10 (n/a) The Seventh Child Erik Valeur Amazon  $    4.99 New
11 (8) Sycamore Row John Grisham Penguin Random House  $    6.49 -3
12 (n/a) Twelve Years a Slave Solomon Northup HarperCollins  $    0.99 New
13 (18) The Book Thief Markus Zusak Penguin Random House  $    6.54 +5
14 (15) Orphan Train: A Novel Christina Baker Kline HarperCollins  $    6.99 +1
15 (10) Private L.A. James Patterson; Mark Sullivan Hachette  $   11.99 -5
16 (17) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Penguin Random House  $    8.99 +1
17 (n/a) Mickey Outside (A White Collar Crime Thriller) David Lender Amazon  $    4.99 New
18 (16) Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel Anna Quindlen Penguin Random House  $   10.65 -2
19 (11) Concealed in Death J. D. Robb Penguin Random House  $   10.99 -8
20 (20) Killer: An Alex Delaware Novel Jonathan Kellerman Penguin Random House  $   10.99
21 (n/a) The Chase: A Novel (Fox and O’Hare) Janet Evanovich; Lee Goldberg Penguin Random House  $   11.47 New
22 (n/a) The Chance (Thunder Point) Robyn Carr Harlequin  $    5.49 New
23 (n/a) Mockingjay Suzanne Collins Scholastic  $    6.99 New
24 (n/a) The Bird Eater Ania Ahlborn Amazon  $    4.99 New
25 (14) Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Laura Hillenbrand Penguin Random House  $    6.99 -11

* 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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