What’s the best way for us, as Kindle owners, to fight back against the ridiculous $19.99 price that agency model publisher Penguin’s Dutton Adult imprint has set for Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants?
What if a million of us downloaded it for free? And it was all perfectly legal? Priceless!
I’ll tell you how we can do it in this special edition of the Kindle Nation Daily Free Book Alert.
At most, for the few among us who no longer qualify for the free offer I am going to explain below, the price would fall between $9.56 and $14.95, for a 25 to 50 percent savings compared to the price that Penguin is forcing Amazon to charge in the U.S. Kindle Store.
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Although the novelist Ken Follett has managed to sell over 100 million copies of his books without much help from me, I’ve been aware of his marvelous storytelling gifts since I saw Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan in the film adaptation of his Eye of the Needle over 25 years ago. And for the past year or so I have been encouraged repeatedly by friends possessing a wide variety of reading tastes, most recently my sweetheart Betty, that I should make time to read his sweeping medieval saga The Pillars of the Earth. I recently bought that one in the Kindle Store for $6.99 and downloaded it for my Kindle and Betty’s, and am only waiting until she finishes so that I can read it without fear of losing her place if our respective Kindles, both on the same account, approach the kind of synchronicity that their owners appear to have achieved.
But I digress. All the buzz now is about Follett’s latest novel, Fall of Giants, a sweeping saga set in the 20th century, for which agency model publisher Penguin’s Dutton Adult imprint has set a Kindle Store price of $19.99.
And I am here — even if I am putting my literary credibility as a Harvard-educated English Lit major at risk — to tell you that it is one hell of a terrific read.
But that $19.99 price is literary larceny, of course, and I’ll have none of it. The same publisher is allowing the Kindle book to be sold for about half that price to Kindle customers in some other countries, and in the UK where there is no agency model, the price is £8.55, which translates into $13.64 US. The three-dead-trees 985-page hardcover is available on Amazon and elsewhere for less than the $19.99 US Kindle price.
So it is not surprising that 205 of the book’s 300 Amazon reviews to date have awarded it 1 star, but it is also true that plenty of people are buying the Kindle book even at the ridiculous price. It’s #12 just now on the Kindle Store bestseller list. I suspect it would be in the top five in the Kindle Store if it were priced at $9.99, but none of us really knows.
I absolutely will not pay $19.99 to download the Kindle book to my Kindle at that price, but I’m reading it and enjoying it thoroughly … on my Kindle. I paid $9.56 for Fall of Giants , because I got the complete unabridged audiobook version from Audible.com in a terrific 441-MB set of four files that took me less than 10 minutes to download and transfer to my Kindle before I started listening to John Lee’s beautiful narration.
I got the $9.56 price because that’s the monetary price of the “1-credit” cost that Audible.com charges for Fall of Giants, based on my Audible.com subscription plan, a prepaid 2-audiobooks-a-month plan that gets me 24 books for about $229. Under other available plans for less frequent flyers, the price of a single credit runs from $11.48 to $14.95.
But if I were a Kindle owner who was just starting out with a 30-day trial for a brand new Audible.com account, the cost would be ZERO. Free. Zilch. $0.00.
And what better way to use the free 1-book credit that comes with a free 30-day trial than to pick up a book that you want to read (if you do) for which the publisher is trying to gouge you out of 20 bucks? And if enough of us do it so that it makes an impression on the publishers, all the better.
Maybe you already know all about this, but if it’s new to you, here are the basics.
- All Kindle models do a great job of playing audio files from Audible.com as well as MP3 music files from the Amazon music store. Just download any file to your computer and use your USB connection to transfer them to the audible folder on your Kindle. In fact, very soon, Kindle 3 owners will be able to download such content wirelessly to their Kindles using a Wi-Fi connection. For now, as the marketing copy says, “At Audible.com, you can choose to download any of 75,000 audiobooks and more, and listen on your Kindle™, iPhone®, iPod®, or 500+ MP3 players.”
- If you have yet to set up a 30-day Audible.com free trial to listen to audiobooks on your Kindle and/or other devices, it’s a snap. You can start at this page for the Audible.com version of Fall of Giants and use the “Start your free trial” button seen in the screenshot at right to take it from there. If you plan to continue, be sure to set up a membership plan so that you can use credits rather than paying the retail price shown for each audiobook title.
Meanwhile, if you want to read other books by Ken Follett, there are over a dozen that are well worth picking up from the Kindle Store, since all the rest are priced where Fall of Giants will eventually be priced — between $6.29 and $9.99.