Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two Kindle E-Books Cost More Than Amazon Hardcovers

For the first time, Amazon is selling electronic versions of books for its Kindle at prices higher than the hardcover versions. The two are "Fall of Giants" by Ken Follet, published by Dutton,and "Don't Blink," by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, published by Little Brown.

"The skirmish over prices is possible because of deals that publishers negotiated with Amazon this year that allowed the publishers to set their own prices on e-books, while Amazon continues to choose the discount from the list price on hardcovers. That upended a previous understanding by Kindle customers, who were used to paying only $9.99 for an e-book." Also, the hardcovers were discounted by Amazon.

Responding to angry readers, Amazon was placing the blame on the publishers. Yet the publishers contended people were buying the titles at a healthy clip.

Is this a trend? One view is that if you want to read an e-version, what choice do you have? If publishers feel that there are enough people to make the ebook a success at a higher price--that is, that this part of the market is price elastic--they’ll go for it.

See Julie Bosman, "2 E-Books Cost More Than Amazon Hardcovers," New York Times, October 4, 2010.

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