Harper’s Droppers: post Agency Model savings
Thanks to my reader Bailey, I was able to report yesterday that the “This price was set by the publisher” line was gone from HarperCollins’ books in the USA Kindle store.
Harper recently settled with the Department of Justice in the government’s legal action against the Agency Model.
That meant that Amazon could go back to discounting the price of HarperCollins’ e-books.
While that seemed very likely to mean lower prices, it was a bit more complicated than that.
The publisher could raise the list price, which would raise the cost to Amazon, which would make it more expensive for them to discount the book.
Let’s say HarperCollins was selling the book for $12.99. Amazon would get thirty percent of that for being the sales agent…about $3.90.
Now, let’s say that Amazon wants to sell the book for $9.99, and still make that $3.90 on it. $9.99 – $3.90 = $6.09.
Not counting costs of sale, if the publisher sets the digital list price at…higher than $12.18, Amazon doesn’t make its $3.90.
I know, that was math geeky.
Of course, Amazon doesn’t have to continue to make that $3.90…they could choose to make $2.90 or $1 or even lose money…
But would they?
I’ve recommended them many times before…eReaderIQ is the most valuable site for Kindle owners on the internet.
In addition to helping you find free e-books, giving you search capabilities superior to Amazon, and letting you know when a book you list has been Kindleized, they’ll send you a free e-mail when a book you choose drops a specified amount in price.
As part of that, the information-rich site tracks (even graphing) the prices of Kindle store books which have recently seen price reductions.
Of the last twenty most recent drops they see, nineteen are from HarperCollins or its imprints.
The price graph for all of those HarperCollins titles looks pretty much the same…and it looks like it fell off a cliff.
Stable price, stable price, stable price, boom!
I thought I’d list the ten most recent HarperCollins price drops for you, and note the percentage of drop:
- Hail, Hail, Euphoria!: Presenting the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, the Greatest War Movie Ever Made by Roy Blount, Jr. $8.99 on September 9, $6.64 today…down about 26%
- Yes, You’re Pregnant, But What About Me? by Kevin Nealon $9.99/$7.59/24%
- What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig $10.99/$9.99/9%
- Spin Doctor by Leslie Carroll $9.99/$7.99/20%
- The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy by Priscilla Gilman $9.99/$7.99/20%
- God’s Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth’s Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot by Alice Hogge $10.99/$9.78/11%
- Where Did the Jobs Go–and How Do We Get Them Back?: Your Guided Tour to America’s Employment Crisis by Jean Johnson $9.99/$7.99/20%
- Hidden: A Firelight Novel by Sophie Jordan $9.99/$8.79/12%
- Highland Lairds Trilogy: The Maclean Groom by Kathleen Harrington $7.99/$6.99/12.5%
- Descent into Dust (Emma Andrews) by Jacqueline Lepore $9.99/$7.59/24%
As you can see, those are substantial drops.
I also did some spot checking…some HarperCollins books (especially teen ones) have dropped fifty percent and more. For example:
The Sharing Knife, Volume Three by Lois McMaster Bujold $7.99/$3.99/50%
It’s also worth noting that eReaderIQ has been tracking that since December 21, 2010 (which would have been when somebody requested the tracking)…and this is the first time the price has dropped during that period.
Two other interesting things: while I was writing the post, another wave of HarperCollins price drops happened…it may be taking them some time to adjust.
Also, many of the books have already dropped twice since September 9th…that could be due to automatic adjustment to prices at other retailers. There was no price competition between retailers under the Agency Model.
How would you know about these drops if I didn’t tell you? Sign up at eReaderIQ…if you don’t, you could be wasting a lot of money (if you can wait for prices to come down).
Thanks to the Department of Justice for bringing this case!
Thanks to Amazon for reducing the prices!
Thanks to HarperCollins for settling! Yes, they went in on the Agency Model, but we can be thankful they settled, rather than continuing to fight. One could argue that the publishers and Apple which haven’t settled are standing up for what they believe to be their innocence, rather than caving to legal pressure…
Thanks (once again) to
I use them for a lot of purposes, and I do buy through their links when I’ve signed up for something there and they notify me about it…that helps them, and I do want to reward them for their efforts.
Update: my Flipboard app had this story this morning:
and I was also alerted to it by regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy.
Amazon’s price war right now might, ironically, be with Apple. As the hardware company continues to fight the Department of Justice in court to retain the Agency Model, which keeps the consumer prices the same everywhere, they are lowering the prices on iBooks, to counter Amazon. They are competing on prices, in a race to the bottom…which would seem to be what they were complaining about Amazon doing before the Agency Model.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.