NOOK books much more expensive than Kindle books

NOOK books much more expensive than Kindle books

Um…Amazon? You know that thing about price matching Barnes & Noble? Never mind. 😉


On the top ten most popular books, the NOOK books (from Barnes & Noble) are priced higher than the Kindle book (except for one one short story, where they are the same)…often much more.

On average, more than $2.50 more!

As much as $8 more…for one book.

Title Kindle Kindle Price NOOK NOOK Price Difference
One Lavender Ribbon 1 $4.99 N/A N/A N/A
Supreme Justice 2 $4.99 N/A N/A N/A
The Fault in Our Stars 3 $4.99 4 $8.99 $4.00
Neverwhere 4 $2.99 9,904 $7.99 $5.00
The Silkworm 5 $8.99 4 $14.99 $6.00
Top Secret Twenty-One 6 $10.99 2 $11.84 $0.85
The Goldfinch 7 $6.99 38 $14.99 $8.00
Artful 8 $4.99 N/A N/A N/A
The Neighbor 9 $0.99 13 $0.99 $0.00
Invisible 10 $8.99 1 $11.99 $3.00

I haven’t checked this in a while, but the amount of the discrepancy shocked me.

B&N was often in the past higher than Amazon, but this would be pretty discouraging for somebody doing smart comparison shopping and considering a NOOK.

On just the ten most popular books at Amazon, you’d save $26.85…and you couldn’t even get three of them from B&N.


Those three are not only published by Amazon’s traditional publishing wing, they are part of Kindle First. That means that eligible Prime members have been able to get one of them for free. The books are available for pre-order…I wonder if these sales rankings include the free Kindle First “sales”? Amazon ranks freebies and paid books separately, but they could also track this as Amazon “buying it” for you.

On the other hand, would those Kindle First purchases still be having this much of an effect…on the last day of the month? Wouldn’t you figure that most people get the Kindle First book in the first week of the month?

Could it just be that it’s that great a promotional tool?

Not sure…

One thing we can say confidently: if the DoJ (Department of Justice) hadn’t gone after the publishers and Apple, we wouldn’t be seeing these differences.

The Agency Model was a tool for price raising (the way it was used here) which homogenized the prices across the “retailers” (who became “agents” in the system).

The books were priced largely the same at all the retailers.

Now, Amazon is back to being able to discount e-books…and they seem to be doing that.

Barnes & Noble’s prices are also often discounted off the digital list price…just not as much.

If you were thinking about buying NOOK Media (now that it has been split off from the trade retail stores), you’d have to take that into account.

Are they just not going to try to compete with Amazon on price on the most popular e-books?

I wondered if less popular books might tell a different story…

I decided to check the most popular books in the Reference category at B&N:

  1. The War of Art: $9.99 at B&N, $7.39 at Amazon
  2. The True Story of the Jersey Boys: $2.99|$2.99
  3. Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck: $9.99|$8.89
  4. The Story of Ain’t: $1.99|$1.99
  5. 100 Quotations to Make You Think: Free|Not Available
  6. Free Erotica Books: Free|Free
  7. The John Green eSampler: Free|Free
  8. How to Find Paid & Free Erotica, Erotic eBooks, and Sex Stories: Free|Free
  9. Don’t Know Much About History: $10.99|$9.78
  10. This Time Forever: Free|Free

Amazon is still cheaper if we look at the ten…for the ones which aren’t free, three of them are cheaper, and two of them are the same.

In this very small sample, it appears to me that the lower priced books have less variance, which makes sense. If both stores have $0.99 as the floor price (besides free), you can only so far.

That reminds me of a story. 🙂

Tallulah Bankhead was doing a touring show. As they got to each town, local actors would take some of the roles.

For those of you who don’t know, Tallulah had this very dry delivery…almost bored sounding.

Anyway, this actor was literally upstaging  Tallulah.

Yes, I’m using “literally” literally. 😉

When you upstage someone, you stand farther away from the audience than the other person…more towards the back of the stage.

That’s “upstage” because in the old days, the audiences were flat and the stage was raked towards the back to make it easier to see.

It’s the opposite of what you find in theatres today, where the audience rows rise towards the back, and the stage is flat.

Why is it bad to upstage someone?

They have to turn a bit towards you to talk to you realistically…which puts their back somewhat to the audience, while you can face full front.

That’s why the metaphorical “upstaging” means to “take attention away from the other person”.

The story goes that  Tallulah took a step back to even the line between them…and the local stepped upstage again.

This was repeated.

Tallulah clued in the audience (with, I imagine, an exaggerated look).

Eventually, the whole audience is laughing at the situation as the local actor, oblivious to what Tallulah is doing, keeps backing up.

Eventually, they reach the back of the stage.

Tallulah looks at the back wall, and drawls out, “Do you climb, dahling?”


One other upstaging story:

I heard about one actor telling another actor (I was a professional actor at one point, hence these stories) that they could upstage the other one without even being onstage.

What happened to prove it is that they had a scene where they had drinks in their hands.

When the first actor left the scene, they carefully put the glass so it was halfway off the edge of the table…just balanced there.

That worked! The audience was spending so much time watching the glass to see if it would fall that they didn’t hear the second actor’s lines at all…

So, where was I? Oh, yeah…Amazon is much cheaper than Barnes & Noble. 😉

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.



9 Responses to “NOOK books much more expensive than Kindle books”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    One Lavender Ribbon was a Kindle “first” for the month of June, meaning it was only available for “free purchase” to Amazon Prime members who might have realized they were running out of time to decide which Kindle first to pick out of a rather motley June collection. It’s the one I picked at the last minute based on reviews even though I don’t particularly care for the genre.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I hadn’t really thought about waiting until the last minute on Kindle First, but that’s a good point. I usually make the decision quickly…I’ll be looking at the July ones today, for example.

  2. Tom Semple Says:

    If you are looking for price-matching, Google (or even Apple) is a much better bet. In fact (for books in both stores) the prices are the same except for ‘The Fault..’ which is $3 more from Google (at least at the moment). At Apple, you’d only pay $10 more for the same set, $5 of which is for Neverwhere (today’s Daily Deal at amazon).

    It’s not clear who is price-matching who. I have seen it go both ways.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      Oh, Amazon definitely price matches the others. I see it happen when, for example, something is on sale at Google Play, and Amazon matches it. That doesn’t mean that the others don’t price match, but I don’t think they have a link on the product pages like Amazon does. 🙂

  3. jjhitt Says:

    Most of my Nook library was built using coupons from their monthly trivia contests. Usually I have to win a 30% or greater discount to beat Amazon’s price.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, jjhitt!

      Interesting! I’ve never done those contests, although I’m pretty good at trivia. 🙂

      • jjhitt Says:

        The questions are simple. Answers are easily found on Google even if you’re totally unfamiliar with the author/genre. Coupons can be as good as 75% off of one title, though 20 and 30 percent are far more common.

    • jjhitt Says:

      Just realized I said “Nook”… I meant “Kobo”.

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