Ebook Best-Seller Prices on the Upswing, But Overall Trend Is Down

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

In the nearly two years Digital Book World has been measuring the average price of a best-selling ebook, the trend has been unmistakable: down.

Best-selling ebooks cost more two years ago than they do now. Two years ago, many of the best-selling ebooks were agency priced, meaning that publishers determined the price of the books and the price was usually $10 and up.

Today, no publishers price their own books and retailers have generally lowered prices to compete with each other and sell more units.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

average price of a best-selling ebook 01

The top average price we ever measured was nearly $12 in the fall of 2012. The lowest prices we observed were at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, just over $5.00.

This is how a statistician might see this chart:

average price of a best-selling ebook 02

Right now, the average price of a best-selling ebook is just above $8.00. I suspect we’ll see it go back down to $6.00 or so in the next month or two. The prices spiked this week because of front-list best-sellers and, mostly, because of a $22 best-selling ebook from Harvard University Press.


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