Percentage of books priced $14.99 in USA Kindle store leaps up
I was looking at the
By default, Amazon now sorts them by “featured” books…presumably, one they have chosen to promote on the site. That doesn’t mean the list itself is manually stacked…it could be that the list is based on something which is manually stacked.
It was interesting to me how many of the books were priced at $14.99. They were popular books from tradpubs (traditional publishers).
If I look at the
the story is very different: only two of the top twenty sellers are priced at $14.99.
The number in the featured titles felt intuitively like a big jump to me…but I don’t like to just go with my intuition. ;)
Fortunately, on the first of the month, I do my
and that let me go back and compare the percentages of $14.99 book in the USA Kindle store.
I started with looking at the percentages for the months of this year…and it was dramatic!
That’s right…even though they aren’t yet 1% of the books in the store, the percentage doubled from October to November.
My next thought was that maybe it is seasonal. Maybe the prices go up every November.
So, I ran Novembers for the past five years:
I also checked the trend for $9.99 over the past five years, to see if there might be a direct correlation:
It’s a very interesting chart, although it doesn’t show a direct correlation.
The Agency Model, where the publishers set the consumer prices, came into effect for e-books in 2010. That situation ended in 2013.
Now, I think most people who follow this would have expected the percentages of books priced at $9.99 to go up with the Agency Model ending…and the opposite happened (at least based on these November 1st numbers).
It’s worth noting that a modified version of the Agency Model is back…but it certainly doesn’t appear that Amazon lowered a bunch of prices to $9.99 when the Agency Model was over.
It’s intriguing…and not out of line with one of the possible scenarios I’ve suggested.
Tradpub frontlist titles may become more expensive…with hardback brand name author new novels getting, at least in some cases, to a $50 list price. Many are close to $30 now.
That doesn’t mean that everybody will pay that much for books to read. There are many inexpensive Kindle store books…even free ones.
While they aren’t the tradpub frontlist, there are former New York Times bestsellers available as part of
We may be moving back towards a much more tiered system of readers. Top tier people paying a premium for the latest books by the best known authors.
Something like that is how it was for a very long time…essentially, until paperbacks in the 1930s.
Then, we would have a tier that pays for books, including through subsers (subscription services) like KU.
Third, we would have people who read books for free. They would be much better off than lower tier readers were even ten years ago. There are so many legal free e-books! If a lower tier reader wants to read the latest Stephen King, for example, one possibility is that they’ll be on a waiting list at the public library…a list which might be months long.
How do tradpubs survive with brand name authors in a situation like that?
They charge more for books…and they lower their costs and risks. They stop taking chances on unproven authors…they let someone prove themselves by self-publishing first and showing an audience.
I wonder if that might actually flatten the prices for prestige books. Right now, a publisher will put out a small market book that gets them awards…and charge a lot more for it than for a popular novel. If everything is an expensive micromarket (even popular novels when first released), though, they might not need the price disparity. In other words, a 500 page book on an obscure historical topic might be much closer in price than a 200 page novel is currently.
I’ll keep my eyes on the pricing…
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