Hachette Titles Hold Strong on Ebook Best-Seller List Amid Trade Dispute With Amazon

unlucky 13As the trade dispute between Amazon and Hachette grinds on, there are at least three authors who have less cause than others for grievance: James Patterson, Donna Tartt and David Baldacci. Titles by these three are still hanging tough in the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Sellers list despite their publishers’ dispute with the ebook retailer.

Over the past few months, Amazon has been in negotiations with Hachette and has reportedly used certain tactics to persuade the publisher to sign a deal with more favorable terms. Shipments of Hachette books have been delayed to customers; “buy” buttons have been removed from pre-orders of Hachette books; and customers looking to buy certain Hachette titles have been steered toward competitive books.

Yet, aside from a short period in which some ebooks seem to have been sold at higher prices, Amazon has continued to deeply discount some of Hachette’s most popular ebook titles.

Why?

The conventional wisdom is that there is only so far the retailer will go in disrupting Hachette’s business if it means disrupting its own. Amazon could be giving up a lot of sales if customers decide to go elsewhere to pick up The Goldfinch. Another thought is that it’s relatively easy for Amazon to steer the casual book browser away from a back-list title that they may not necessarily need to buy right now but that readers who want the latest James Patterson ebook will just go elsewhere for it.

Meanwhile, the average price of a top-25 best-selling ebook dropped this week to $6.22 from $7.45 last week, due mostly to a $20 Game of Thrones collection dropping off the list and the appearance of several $0.99 titles. Also, Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits (Harlequin) is priced at $0.31 this week, a new low for a single title on the list.

Related: Amazon’s “Everything” Strategy

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 5/24/14
Rank* Title Author Publisher  Price**  Change
1 (1) The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin Random House  $    4.99
2 (3) Unlucky 13 (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette  $    8.74 +1
3 (5) Field of Prey John Sandford Penguin Random House  $    8.99 +2
4 (6) The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Donna Tartt Hachette  $    7.50 +2
5 (2) Moving Day: A Thriller Jonathan Stone Amazon  $    4.99 -3
6 (n/a) The One and Only Emily Giffin Penguin Random House  $   11.84 New
7 (10) The Target (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette  $    8.99 +3
8 (n/a) The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic (P.S.) Hazel Gaynor HarperCollins  $    1.99 New
9 (7) Allegiant (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99 -2
10 (8) Insurgent (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    6.99 -2
11 (11) Divergent (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins  $    4.99
12 (14) The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Penguin Random House  $    5.99 +2
13 (13) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Penguin Random House  $    8.54
14 (15) Orphan Train: A Novel Christina Baker Kline HarperCollins  $    6.99 +1
15 (n/a) Reasonable Doubt 2 Whitney Gracia Williams Self-published  $    0.99 New
16 (n/a) The Collector Nora Roberts Penguin Random House  $    8.99 New
17 (4) Dragon’s Triangle Christine Kling Amazon  $    4.99 -13
18 (19) Natchez Burning (Penn Cage) Greg Iles HarperCollins  $   12.74 +1
19 (17) Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back Todd Burpo; Sonja Burpo; Lynn Vincent; Colton Burpo HarperCollins  $    7.99 -2
20 (n/a) Abducted (The Lizzy Gardner Series #1) T.R. Ragan Amazon  $    0.99 New
21 (n/a) Grayson Brothers Series Boxed Set (4 books in 1) Wendy Lindstrom Self-published  $    0.99 New
22 (n/a) Looking for Alaska John Green Penguin Random House  $    4.99 New
23 (16) The One (The Selection) Kiera Cass HarperCollins  $    8.99 -7
24 (9) From the Moment We Met (A St. Helena Vineyard Novel) Marina Adair Amazon  $    4.99 -5
25 (23) Pushing the Limits Katie McGarry Harlequin  $    0.31 -2

* 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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