Help: Penguin Giving Preferential Price Treatment to iBooks on Bestsellers?

Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller The Help, which for months did very well in the Kindle Store at price points below $9.99, is now priced (by Penguin imprint Putnam) at $12.99 in the Kindle Store, but it is still listed at $9.99 at iBooks.

Another temporary glitch, or is Penguin playing favorites?

We’ve never been told exactly what the controversy was that kept Penguin and Amazon at loggerheads for the past couple of months? Was it that Penguin wanted to give “most favored nation” status to the iBooks Store and deny it to the Kindle Store?

Similar pricing discrepancies exist for Eat Pray Love, although the best price for that book is $8.25 for the paperback in Amazon’s main store.

For Harlan Coben’s Caught, the discrepancy is even greater: it’s $14.95 in the Kindle Store, $8.98 in the iBooks Store, and $11.95 for the hardcover in Amazon’s main store.

So, let’s be clear. This is not a case of Penguin declaring war on ebooks. What Penguin has done is declared war on Kindle owners.

10 Responses to Help: Penguin Giving Preferential Price Treatment to iBooks on Bestsellers?

  1. Mary McManus on May 29, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Maybe this is off topic since these are not bestsellers, but Penguin's Ayn Rand books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged carry the same ridiculous price of $27.99 in both the iBook store and the Kindle Store. Am happy not to like Ayn Rand at this point, but what is THAT all about?

  2. Steve on May 29, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for the comment, Mary. Yep, it all seems a little reckless on Penguin's part at this point, and there are so many really strange examples!

  3. Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Aside from pulling the books from the stores, what else would Amazon be able to do? And when will (not a question of "if") the other publishers start this tactic?

  4. Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Don't publishers realize if they are going to war with Amazon/Kindle readers that they will lose the war. I refuse to purchase e-book that is more expensive than the hardcopy. iBook carried one book I wanted weeks earlier than it appeared in for purchase. On a good note, this is forcing me to look at other publishers and authors which is a good thing! Vote with your $$$ and the publishers will eventually take note.

  5. Dave on May 29, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Coben's Caught had been $8.99 in the Kindle store for quite some time…this price hike to $14.99 is very recent. And not a good sign…

  6. Western Reader on May 29, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I get the distinct impression that the head honchos at Penguin are Luddites and would prefer that ebooks just disappear. Hmmmm…they need a wake-up call, obviously. I love my Kindle, and so do the thousands and thousands who have their Kindle. Penguin will be losing ebook sales from this individual. How many more trees will be sacrificed because Penguin wishes to price ebooks out of the realm of reason?

  7. Plano Soprano on May 29, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I bought The Fountainhead for my Kindle a few months ago at 8.99. On what planet is anyone going to pay THREE times that amount for a book that's been out for how long? 50 years?

    Penguin's pricing can only result in lowered sales for their books (particularly since you can buy used copies of ANY book for much less on Amazon Marketplace). At what point will their authors AND shareholders wake up and wonder why sales are down?

    Wait until the contracts expire next April for all those publishers who happily crawled into bed with Apple. Wait until they realize they've been had by a man who has no interest in saving them from the evil discounter Amazon; he's interested only in the profitability of Apple. In the meantime, Random House has reported that ebook sales are one of its few bright spots in a dismal economy where people aren't doing a great deal of discretionary spending. By this time next year, I predict that heads will roll at the Agency 5.

  8. Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I think the Kindle store needs to include the publisher's name with each description; and, an icon designating to show if the price was inflated by the publisher on any book over $9.99.

  9. Kim on May 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Maybe (hopefully) it's a case of the Penguin not knowing what they are doing. "Storm Prey" by John Sandford is $14.99 in both Kindle and ibook form.

    I tend to boycott ANY Kindle edition priced higher than it's paperback version.

  10. Colargol on May 31, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    The kindle versions of the Don De Lillo and Vollman books published by Penguin are now 20-30% more expensive than the paperback versions sold on amazon. That just doesn't make any sense

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