Atlas Shrugged: $27.99 e-book from Penguin

Atlas Shrugged: $27.99 e-book from Penguin

This has been getting a lot of comments in the Kindle community.

Let me start with this: I am not linking to this book nor recommending that you buy it, since Penguin blocks text-to-speech access in their Kindle books.  I am reporting this for information’s sake only.  If you choose to buy books from Penguin, that is up to you, of course, but I do not knowingly provide links for books from companies who have chosen to block text-to-speech access.

Books from Penguin have just gone under the Agency Model at Amazon, and that’s been creating some confusion and consternation among buyers.

The Agency Model only affects e-books: on those books now, the publisher is setting the customer price, not Amazon.

On paperbooks (p-books), Amazon can (and usually does) discount the list price, which is set by the publisher.

In some cases, that results in the e-book costing more than the p-book.  The publisher has likely priced the e-book below the list price for the p-book, but then Amazon discounts the p-book, making it cheaper.

This particular case has another common source of misperception: there may be two different versions of the same book (often with different supplemental material).  You can’t really compare the prices of two different versions.

In the case of Ayn Rand’s books, there have been special Centennial Editions issued.  I’ve seen comments questioning that terminology, since the books are not one hundred years old.  That’s correct: the centennial being observed is that of Ayn Rand’s birth (she was born in 1905, and the Centennial Edition in hardcover was published in 2005).

That hardcover edition is currently priced at $39.95. 

Four different e-book formats of that edition are priced at $27.99 directly from Penguin: that is about a 30% discount.

Interestingly, Penguin has the paperback of that edition for $26.00…lower than the e-book version.

There is a mass market version available for $9.99: that is both the list price and the price at which Amazon is currently selling it.

There is also a trade paper edition of the Centennial which Penguin has listed at $26.00, and Amazon has discounted to $15.82 (39%).

Ideally, Penguin would release an e-book version of the mass market paperback, non-centennial edition at lower than $9.99.

It isn’t clear to me what the difference is between the Centennial Edition and the standard edition, by the way…I do know there is an introduction, but there may be more than that.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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4 Responses to “Atlas Shrugged: $27.99 e-book from Penguin”

  1. Frank Skornia Says:

    I feel very lucky that I bought this book back in January when Mysteria informed me that it was available. I paid $9.99 for the e-book version of the Centennial Hardcover (according to my Kindle Records). That was of course before Apple made their ill-fated announcement and this agency sales model crap started.

    This is just more evidence that the publishers really do not comprehend the book buying habits of their customers and probably should stay out of the the realm of selling.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing that, Frank, and I’m glad you got it at that price!

      Did you notice any supplemental material outside of the introduction?

      That’s been one of my points all along: publishers don’t know about pricing for consumers…it will take them a while to figure it out.

      • Frank Skornia Says:

        I haven’t actually compared it with my paperback copy. I’ll take a look at let you know.

        I have to admit, it was nice reading it on the Kindle though. The text in my paperback is very tiny (around the 1 setting on the Kindle, maybe a little smaller) and very tightly packed. Although I usually have no problems reading text that small, it is more convenient to read on the kindle with the larger text sizes.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks, Frank, I’d appreciate the comparison if you get a chance.

        The text size does matter to me on books…I do think I read faster on the Kindle, and that’s one of the reasons, I believe.

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