Hachette Titles Slip on Best-Seller List as Ebook Prices Rise Again

city of heavenly fireAs the Amazon-Hachette contract negotiations drag on — negotiations that both sides believe will be drawn out — Hachette ebooks continue to make an appearance on the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller list, but for how long?

First off, Hachette titles on the list today may be slipping oh-so-slightly. All three on the list this week lost ground, with James Patterson’s Unlucky 13 and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch each dropping a spot to Nos. 3 and 5, respectively, and David Baldacci’s The Target falling four spots to No. 11.

A much bigger threat to Hachette’s visibility on the best-seller list is Amazon’s removal of the ability for Amazon customers to pre-order upcoming Hachette titles. Many books debut high on the best-seller list due to pre-orders. On the first day the book is available for sale, all the pre-orders are counted among that week’s sales, even though they may have accrued over months. Usually, that boost is enough to propel books up the list.

To be sure, readers can still pre-order these titles from other retailers, but Amazon represents such a large chunk of the book market in the U.S., particularly the ebook market, that this will undoubtedly affect best-seller rankings markedly.

The exact affect should become measurable later in June when J.K. Rowling’s latest title comes out, The Silkworm. Those who want to pre-order it today need to do their shopping somewhere aside from Amazon.


Ebook Prices

The average price of a top-25 best-selling ebook is now $7.29, up from $6.22 last week. Over the past several months, ebook prices have fluctuated widely. We’ll be taking a close look at this in the coming week.

Top 25 Ebook Best-Sellers
Week Ending 5/31/14

Rank* Title Author Publisher Price** Change
1 (1) The Fault in Our Stars John Green Penguin Random House $ 4.99
2 (n/a) City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments) Cassandra Clare Simon & Schuster $ 10.67 New
3 (2) Unlucky 13 (Women’s Murder Club) James Patterson; Maxine Paetro Hachette $ 8.99 -1
4 (5) Moving Day: A Thriller Jonathan Stone Amazon $ 4.99 +1
5 (4) The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Donna Tartt Hachette $ 7.50 -1
6 (3) Field of Prey John Sandford Penguin Random House $ 8.99 -3
7 (n/a) Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files Jim Butcher Penguin Random House $ 11.99 New
8 (9) Allegiant (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins $ 6.99 +1
9 (10) Insurgent (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins $ 6.99 +1
10 (n/a) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou Penguin Random House $ 4.01 New
11 (7) The Target (Will Robie) David Baldacci Hachette $ 8.99 -4
12 (12) The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty Penguin Random House $ 5.99
13 (8) The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic (P.S.) Hazel Gaynor HarperCollins $ 1.99 -5
14 (11) Divergent (Divergent Series) Veronica Roth HarperCollins $ 4.99 -3
15 (6) The One and Only Emily Giffin Penguin Random House $ 11.84 -9
16 (13) Gone Girl: A Novel Gillian Flynn Penguin Random House $ 8.54 -3
17 (14) Orphan Train: A Novel Christina Baker Kline HarperCollins $ 6.99 -3
18 (20) Abducted (The Lizzy Gardner Series #1) T.R. Ragan Amazon $ 0.99 +2
19 (17) Dragon’s Triangle Christine Kling Amazon $ 4.99 -2
20 (16) The Collector Nora Roberts Penguin Random House $ 8.99 -4
21 (22) Looking for Alaska John Green Penguin Random House $ 4.99 +1
22 (18) Natchez Burning (Penn Cage) Greg Iles HarperCollins $ 12.99 -3
23 (n/a) All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel Anthony Doerr Simon & Schuster $ 10.99 New
24 (19) 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 -5
25 (24) From the Moment We Met (A St. Helena Vineyard Novel) Marina Adair Amazon $ 4.99 -1

* 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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3 thoughts on “Hachette Titles Slip on Best-Seller List as Ebook Prices Rise Again

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Quote: “The average price of a top-25 best-selling ebook is now $7.29, up from $6.22 last week. Over the past several months, ebook prices have fluctuated widely. We’ll be taking a close look at this in the coming week.”

    Bestsellers are hardly representative and their price data can easily be distorted by one or two hot but pricey titles. That’s probably one reason for that $6.22 to $7.29 fluctuation in a single week. And saying “ebook prices have fluctuated widely” isn’t accurate when all you’re talking about is the top-25.

    Any chance we might get average prices for a wider and more diverse selection of ebooks?

    1. Jeremy Greenfield Post author

      We’ve been clear about what this price index does and doesn’t mean. Of course we’re very limited by it being only the top-25. Also, we’re looking at the lowest price where the title is available during the week. So, it could be that many people are paying more for that title.

      But it’s an index we’ve measured for nearly two years now and has some value as we look at what has happened to ebook prices over that time.

  2. Kim Bussey

    I really miss the top lists per price ranges that used to be part of this weekly report. They made it much easier to zero in on how self-published books were doing, since they mainly sell for under 5.99. Any chance those lists will make a come-back?



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