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Kindle Store Bestseller Prices Continue to Fall: 
Titles Under $5 Grows from 37 to 55 While $10-Plus Listings Fall from 34 to 18;
Big Publishers’ Market Share on Bestseller List Evaporating Fast

By Steve Windwalker

In the wake of our comments the other day on Amazon’s growing domination of the U.S. book business, it’s time for a fresh look at the breakdown of prices on the Kindle store’s bestseller list. From time to time we do this kind of analysis somewhat more comprehensively, but instead of looking at all 1.8 million Kindle titles today we’ll keep it simple and look at the Top 100 Bestsellers in the Kindle Store based on comparative snapshots of Kindle bestseller prices today with a couple of important points in the past:

  • April 1, 2010 – the day before the big publishers and Apple began their agency-model price-fixing scheme; and
  • April 15, 2012, two years later, at the height of agency model pricing

First, there’s a bit of an apples-and-oranges thing that we have to deal with here, since in April 2010 Amazon was still maintaining a single bestseller list in which free “sales,” i.e., downloads of free titles, were being counted right alongside paid titles on a single bestseller list. But if we take that properly into account we can still make some use of that comparison.

Here are the headlines:

  • The percentage of paid Top 100 bestsellers priced at under $5 has grown from 37% to 55% in the past nine months.
  • The percentage of paid Top 100 bestsellers priced at $10 and up has decreased from 34% to 18% in the same period, and the number of paid Top 100 bestsellers priced at $15 and up has gone from 4 to zero during this stretch.

So, it may be stating the obvious to say that ebook prices are falling, as we all knew they would fall once the agency-model price-fixing scheme gave way to more natural market competition.

But while it is fair to say that some of that price decline is due to more competitive pricing of bestsellers by the big publishers — including some very aggressive pricing like Simon and Schuster’s current $3.99 price point for Stephen King’s 11/22/63, that’s only part of the story, and it may be the less important part of the story.

What could be bigger than a $3.99 ebook price point for a full-length Stephen King bestseller?

Just this: big publishers’ market share of the Kindle Store bestseller list continues to evaporate. Books published non-traditionally, either by authors themselves or by Amazon Publishing imprints, held #s 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 among Kindle Store Bestsellers as of this morning, and 21 of the top 50 spots.

It was just Wednesday that we posted on the possibility that Amazon may be moving toward 50% market share for the U.S. retail book business, all formats, and we were not just being cute when we listed the U.S. Department of Justice among those who would be affected in significant ways. If Amazon were also to reach the point where it was effectively the publisher for something approaching half of the U.S. ebook business, DOJ might have to create a permanent Amazon desk! I’m just saying.

Bargain Alert:

How to Set Up Our Kindle Nation Daily

eBookTracker Tool

to Give You a Heads Up When There’s a Price Reduction on a Book That You Want

We’ve been getting great feedback from our readers for a while now about how you use our website to find category-sorted listings of free, quality 99-cent, and Kindle Owners Lending Library-eligible books in the Kindle Store:

Today we’d like to take things one step further with a very cool, totally revolutionary new way for Kindle Nation readers to get a heads up whenever a price is reduced on a book that you’d like to add to your Kindle library!

You may or may not have noticed a link, in the white-on-black menu ribbon near the top of our website pages, to a feature that we call eBookTracker. Our amazing web development team built eBookTracker to help us — and our sponsoring authors and publishers — keep track of how their Kindle books are doing in the Kindle Store sales rankings. And it works great for that — here’s a link if you’d like to bookmark it for that reason alone: http://bit.ly/eBookTracker

But then we asked ourselves an important question:

How can we use eBookTracker to create additional value for our readers?

And we’re happy to say that we came up with a great idea.

As you know, prices change every day in the Kindle Store, and authors and publishers — from the largest to the smallest — do a lot of experimenting with different price points. That’s all well and good, but it’s important to us that the best readers in the world — Kindle Nation readers — get the best reading possible at the best prices possible.

Now, whenever you decide not to purchase a particular Kindle book because the price is too high, our eBookTracker service allows you to flag that book so that you’ll receive an email alert if the price drops below a certain point! There are hundreds of thousands of reasonably priced books in the Kindle Store, but there are great books whose sales — and authors — are being suppressed because they are being priced, by publishers, to fail. Our new eBookTracker book price alert tool gives you one more arrow in your quiver, as a reader or a book shopper, to stand up to silly prices from silly publishers.

Just follow these easy steps to make it work for you whenever you please – they may seem complicated the first time, but once you have done it two or three times it should only take you about 10 seconds to add a book:

1. Go to our eBookTracker site.


2. Click on the appropriate link, in the white-on-black menu ribbon near the top of the page, to Register (if you have not done so before) or Log In.

3. Click on Tracked Books, in the white-on-black menu ribbon near the top of the page.

4. Select the blue Add/Search button, to add a title to your personal
list of tracked books. (You can also select Manage Groups to organize
your list into groups.)

5. The easiest way to identify and add a specific book to your list of Tracked Books is to copy and paste in the 10-digit ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which you can find on any book’s Kindle Store page, either in the URL/web address or in any Kindle book’s Product Details section. For instance, if you are trying to add a listing for our recently published book The Complete 2013 User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle, you’ll find the ASIN either in the URL field at the top of your screen like this

5a. or in the Product Details section of the book’s Kindle page here:

5b. The ASIN will always be a 10-digit “number” that begins with “B00,” and be careful not to confuse 0s with capital Os — they’re not the same, so we find it’s always easier to copy and paste rather than to rely on our typing skills.

6. Once you have copied, highlighted, or captured that 10-digit ASIN, just paste it into the pop-up search field like this

6b. and click the blue Search button to display a new screen like this on which you will want to click on the brown and white Add button, which is denoted with a “+” sign:

6c. Once you have added a book, you may need to refresh the screen to see it on your list of Tracked Books:

7. Finally, from the six colorful icons to the right of any title, choose the purple “View/Change Notifications” icon to create a notification alert for that title using the dialogue box that appears on your screen:

In this example, I’ve instructed eBookTracker to send me an email alert whenever the price of  The Complete 2013 User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle drops below $1. If I were setting up a notification for some new release best-seller that was currently priced at too rich a level for my blood, I might set up a notification so that would alert me whenever the price was reduced below $10.

That’s it in a nutshell — we hope you’ll give it a try and give us your feedback!

Publetariat Dispatch: DoJ Refuses to Modify Apple Antitrust Proposed Settlement

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, we share a brief excerpt from, and link to, some breaking news on the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Apple. 

This post, by Jeff John Roberts, originally appeared on paidContent.org on 7/23/12.

The Justice Department released a document today that characterized  criticism by Apple and publishers of a controversial price-fixing  settlement as “self-serving” and ill-founded. The Department also  pointed to recent ventures by Google and Microsoft as evidence that the  e-book market is thriving and that Amazon’s dominant position has been  overstated.

The arguments came as a reply to the 868 public comments that were  filed in response to a settlement announced in April under which three  publishers agreed they would change their pricing policy in accordance  with Justice Department demands.

The settlement was imposed after the Justice Department sued Apple  and five publishers for allegedly conspiring to wrest pricing power from  Amazon. Apple and two of the publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, refused  to settle and are fighting the case in court.

The Justice Department document is posted below with key passages  underlined. The primary upshot is that the Department is refusing to  modify any parts of the settlement agreement despite about 800 comments  in opposition to the deal and new political opposition from people like Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).

In its filing, Justice says it addresses Apple’s objections at  length because of “[Apple’s] central role in the events leading to the  underlying enforcement action.”  It also quotes an incident in  which Steve Jobs reportedly told publishers, “the customer pays a little  more, but that’s what you want anyway.”

The government goes on to refute Apple’s contention that it is imposing a business model on the industry:


Read the rest of the post on paidContent.org, which includes an embedded copy of the DoJ’s full response. Also see Consumers face long wait for $52 million tied to Apple e-book ‘conspiracy’, by the same author, on the same site. 

The Beginning of the End for eBook Price-Fixing? Justice Department Nears Antitrust Suit Against Apple and Five of Big Six Publishers over “Agency Model” Collusion

By Steve Windwalker

For over two years now, the citizens of Kindle Nation have had to put up with a joke that isn’t funny: the so-called “agency model” ebook pricing structure through which Apple and five of the Big Six book publishers have colluded to mandate artificially high prices for ebook titles under their control. We knew it was wrong, we knew it was anti-consumer, and we knew it was illegal.

And now, finally, it was widely reported this week that the Justice Department has advised Apple and the five publishers that it intends to sue them for colluding to raise ebook prices.

It’s about time.

The agency model price-fixing scheme has cost millions of Kindle owners millions of dollars over the past two years — money that we would not have spent on ebooks if Apple and the publishers had not entered into a clear conspiracy that the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs described in detail to biographer Walter Isaacson.

Until early 2010, most publishers sold print and electronic books to retailers at a wholesale price that ranged from 40 to 60 percent of the cover or “suggested list price.” Retailers were then free to set any price they wanted based on their own business strategies, and frequently set “loss leader” prices in order to lure customers. When Amazon launched the Kindle in late 2007 it sought to promote ebooks and ereaders in general, and the Kindle Store in particular, by adopting a very popular policy of setting $9.99 as a maximum price for almost all new releases and bestsellers in the Kindle Store.

Apple had not previously been involved in bookselling (other than audiobooks), and was slow initially to see Amazon’s Kindle business as competition. Early in 2008 Jobs said that the “whole concept” of the Kindle was “flawed from the top because nobody reads any more.” But by early 2010 when Apple was preparing to launch the first iPad, Jobs had done a dramatic about-face. As he introduced Apple’s iBooks store at the iPad launch announcement he said, “Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a little further.”

Plagued by high prices, poor selection, and clunky search-and-browse infrastructure, the iBooks store has been a flop over the past two years and is widely seen as having something less than 15 percent of the retail ebook market despite the huge success of its hardware platform with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. But for a market-share failure, iBooks nonetheless stands alongside Kindle as the most significant, game-changing developments that have been seen in the book business in the past decade.

The significance of the Kindle, of course, is both that it has brought millions of readers into the ebook revolution with lower prices, wide selection and nearly instantaneous delivery and that it has brought radical disintermediation to the publishing business by removing barriers to publication, offering greater royalties to many authors, and raising questions about the role of traditional publishers, agents, distributors, and chain bookstores in an ebook future.

The significance of iBooks and Apple’s role, on the other hand, is that Apple played a conspiratorial “white knight” role that enabled a handful of big publishers — who were demonstrably panicked about the changes that ebooks would bring to their business — to insist on an entirely new pricing structure that would slow the growth of ebooks and counter Amazon’s market power. Lest there be any confusion about how this all happened, Jobs himself made the price-fixing scheme abundantly clear in this passage from Walter Isaacson’s bestselling 2011 biography Steve Jobs:

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway,” Jobs told his biographer. “They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.'”

Beginning on April Fool’s Day 2010, two days before the iPad became available, thousands of agency-model publishers’ ebooks that had previously been priced at $9.99 and below on Kindle were increased in price to levels ranging mostly from $11.99 to $14.99.

Amazon’s position has always been that it would do everything it could to offer the lowest possible prices on Kindle books, but its only alternative to allowing agency-model conspirators to set their own retail prices was to keep books by the world’s largest publishers out of the Kindle Store altogether. That would not do.

Instead, Amazon has moved aggressively to reward non-conspirator authors and publishers with higher royalties, other forms of compensation, and prominent placement on the Kindle website, and the result has been that those authors’ and publishers’ books have gradually increased in their overall presence in the Kindle Store as well as their placement on the various Kindle bestseller lists.

So the agency-model publishers are losing out in four ways:
  • their per-unit revenue is lower in many cases than the wholesale proceeds that they were previously being paid by Amazon;
  • they are seen negatively by a growing share of readers as a direct result of their ebook pricing;
  • their market share is declining steadily; and
  • they are now facing the considerable expense associated with being corporate defendants in a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department.

Some kind of lawyers those publishers, and Apple, must have.

Federal lawsuits usually move very, very slowly, but stay tuned. This week’s reports included widespread speculation that some of the publishers are actively pursuing out-of-court settlement.

Publetariat Dispatch – Ebook Pricing: A Rumination

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!

In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author and small publisher Alan Baxter discusses the many factors and considerations that go into ebook pricing.


There have been numerous articles, online and off, discussing ebook pricing and I won’t bother to list or link them here – I’m sure you ingenious readers can find them. So why am I chiming in again? Well, it’s a fluid subject, always on the move. More and more people all the time are taking up ebooks and it will become the norm. It’s impossible to put timeframes on something so variable, but it will happen.

There are several theories on how ebooks will fit into the mainstream. Firstly, it’s important to remember that it’s not either/or. You don’t have to choose. I love all books. I love print books and ebooks. The vast majority of new books I buy these days are ebooks, but if I really like something I’ll get a hard copy to go on the shelf. Or if a book is a particular piece of art, I’ll get it. I love getting contributor’s copies of books I have stories in, because I’m a vain fucker and like to point to the brag shelf and say to people, “Yes, I have work in all those anthologies. And those are my novels. Ahaha.” Shut up, I need validation.

I see the general breakdown of production settling into something along these lines: All new titles will be ebooks, some, especially from smaller publishers, being only ebooks. Alongside that I see a lot of publishers using Print On Demand technology to make paperbacks available to those who like them. And then a short run of actual printed stock, possibly limited edition hardbacks for collectors. That makes three primary delivery systems of stories – electronic, mass-market (though probably POD) and artefact. This is my prediction, but it’s not particularly relevant to this post. I’m looking here at ebook pricing based on the fact that ebooks will become mainstream and will eventually be everyone’s primary method of consuming stories. Don’t get upset, there’s nothing you can do about it. Have you seen Star Trek? How many real books do you ever see? Yeah, it’s gonna be like that. You can’t hold back the future any more than you can hold back the tide with a broom.

So, how should we price ebooks? I ran this question by the straw poll that is my Twitter and Facebook tribe and got some really interesting answers. Firstly, I’ll give my personal opinion.

An ebook should always be cheaper than the print book, by a fair factor. If most paperbacks are $9.99 or less, then ebooks of those titles should be $7 at most. If a book is really popular and in demand, like the new George R R Martin book, it can be more. The Kindle of that one is $17, which is fine, because the only other option is a $40 hardcover. At least, that’s true for Australia. On Amazon, the book is listed at $35 but on special at $18.81. Add postage to Australia and it’s close to $40 again. However, once the paperback edition comes out, that ebook puppy better drop to less than the paperback price or the publisher is taking the piss.

So, for the purposes of simplicity, let’s look at standard paperback vs ebook pricing. If the print edition is $10 or less, the ebook needs to be at most two thirds of that price. There’s no production cost once the e-edition is set up and ready. There’s no distribution cost. And there’s no physical artefact for the reader. Sure, we’re buying the story and that deserves to be paid for, but the item itself is also a factor.

“What about the poor starving author?” you cry. I am one, so don’t come crying to me. Of course the author needs to be paid and we need to value his or her product. But let’s not get all high and mighty without the facts, ma’am. Ebooks generate a massive royalty compared to print. If the author has signed a good contract – and they should be getting a new agent if they haven’t – they should be getting a royalty model on ebooks different to print.

My novels are $9.99 in paperback and $3.99 in ebook. (So reasonable I’ll wait here a moment while you go and buy them… got ‘em? Good. You’ll love them.) I make a bigger royalty on ebooks than I do on print, even though the retail is less than half. That’s because the margin on print production to retail is very slim and I get a slim cut of that. The margin on ebook to retail is far bigger, often up to 70%, and I get a far bigger slice of that pie. Mmm, virtual pie.

So authors can actually do better selling ebooks for far less than print books. Right now, if I sold 10,000 copies of RealmShift this year, I’d much prefer to shift 10,000 ebooks than print ones, as that would pay me far more handsomely. And I do like a handsome paycheque. I would also love to sell 10,000 copies of anything this year, please tell your friends.

Personally, I’m against the popular 99c price point for ebook novels. As an introduction, or a special offer, it’s a good idea. But for novels I think it generally undermines the value of the product. In my experience, most avid readers will view a 99c novel with suspicion and expect it to be shit. They’ll often be right in that assumption. It’s important for authors and publishers to not devalue their content. As one author said, “If people think my novels are only worth 99c, I don’t want them as fans.” That’s a bit extreme, but he has a very valid point. If people aren’t prepared to pay the equivalent of a cup of coffee for your months of hard work, well, fu** ‘em.

I have a novella available for 99c, which is deliberately priced low for several reasons: It’s only around 30,000 words, it’s available for free right here on this website and it’s a teaser, to help people notice me. I also self-published it, so I keep all the royalties, such as they are. Sure, I think it’s worth more than 99c, but I also think it’s fair to charge that and hope to get more readers that way.

So my thinking is that the sweet spot for ebooks is the $3 to $7 price range, with exceptions made for very special items. Authors will make at least as much, if not more, than they would from paperback sales and consumers get to read more and still value the work of the people they like to read. Given that paperbacks here in Australia are usually around $20, I’m actually happy to pay anything up to $15 for an ebook, but I really stop and think twice if it’s over $10.

I won’t name names, because I didn’t ask permission to use the comments, but here’s what some of the people on my social networks had to say on the subject:

I’ve paid up to $9.99 for a book a really wanted, but insofar as most genre fiction the price range generally is settled between $4.99-$7.99. A lot of indies sell their books at 99 cent, but I personally think that is a mistake because all it does is get the value shoppers and it rarely builds a loyal following. At least at the $4.99 range you have wiggle room to offer periodic sales and such.

I’ll pay up to $15, but only for something I really want to read. Generally $7-10. I tend to steer clear of anything at 99 cents simply because it’s so ingrained in my mind that anything priced so cheap can’t be good.

I’d pay up to $15 though the most I’ve yet paid was half of that. I love that you can get classics and foreign books, many that are not available in print here in Australia, for free or very cheap.

I think 10 bucks is reasonable.

I usually pay around the $10 mark – give or take $2-$3. Like others, I get twitchy if it’s only 99c or so, unless I know the author.

$2.99. Can’t borrow ‘em out. Can’t resell them. No physical formatting. No shipping. No distribution.

I get uncomfortable with anything over the $10 mark, but have no real basis for that limit. Will pay more for favourite authors just as I was and am willing to pay for hardcover rather than wait for paperbacks for same.

$5 its a new technology.

I generally won’t pay more than $5 depending on restrictions. If it’s only a license to read (a la Kindle) I pay less

up to $10 is ‘buy without thinking twice’ & up to $15 is ‘buy at once if I *really* want it. Anything higher, I hesitate.

$6-7? Like to compensate author/editor for the work, but don’t want to pay non-existent print/delivery etc costs.

So from that selection of comments it seems there are certainly a number of things people still take into consideration and DRM is a big factor. But the general consensus is ten bucks or less overall, with a couple stretching out to a maximum of $15. Interesting times, indeed.

You’ve read my thoughts and heard a few others. What do you think? How much will you pay? And how much or how little do you think is unreasonable?


This is a cross-posting from Alan Baxter‘s The Word.

BookGorilla.com eBook Headlines, June 9, 2011: YA Books & Censorship, Sunshine Pricing, Connelly, Kobo, Calculator, Nook, Kindle, Apple, Piracy, Textbooks, Tablets, and More

Wondering what’s going on in the world of eBooks today? You’ve come to the right place….

Our headliners:

Other stories of interest:

Publetariat Dispatch: The Ebook Quandary

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!
In this week’s Publetariat Dispatch, indie bookseller Bob Spear offers a survey of different ereader devices and comments on ebook pricing trends from the bookseller’s perspective.

Last week marked the occasion for the 6th annual Winter Institute presented by the American Booksellers Association for their independent bookseller members. There was a lot of important information shared. I’d like to address how the technology and concepts of e-books are affecting the book industry. First, lets compare the different e-readers from the perspective of independent booksellers.
iOS-based (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch:
Price= from $499 (iPad) from $99 w/contract (iPhone) from $199 (iPod)
Availability: Apple Store, AT&T, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.
Google Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Google Books App available through App Store
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Palm/iPhone format compatible with eReader app (available thru App Store)
Should I recommend it? PROS: Best experience for indie ebook buyers. Both Google and Ingram offer easy access paths to eBooks on iOS devices. Huge existing install base. CONS: Expensive.
Android-based (Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc.)
Price= from $49 with contract (DROID) $169 (Galaxy)
Availability: Various retailers, online
Google Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Google Books App available through Android Marketplace
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Palm/iPhone format compatible with eReader app
Should I recommend it? PROS: Inexpensive, availability of Google. Books app means easy access for your customers. Early reviews are good. CONS: Not as many of these in the wild yet, and few being used as e-readers. Expect a lot of growth in the # of these devices in 2011.
Nook, Nook Color
Price= $149 (Nook) $249 (Nook Color)
Availability: B&N, also Best Buy, Target
Google Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Use Adobe Digital Editions Download option
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Adobe Digital Editions format
Should I recommend it? PROS: Both Nook versions have received good reviews. Customers who prefer a dedicated e-reader will find much to like. CONS: Adobe Digital Editions is not nearly as easy to use to sync indie ebook purchases as iOS apps. Wireless download is B&N only.
Sony Reader
Price= from $149 (Pocket Edition)
Availability: Sony Store, Best Buy
Google Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Use Adobe Digital Editions Download option
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Adobe Digital Editions format
Should I Recommend It? PROS: Some unique features (smaller size, touch screen). CONS: Some say these are difficult to use. Adobe Digital Editions sync. Wireless store (on Daily Edition) links only to Sony.
Price= $139
Availability: Borders, other retailers
Google Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Use Adobe Digital Editions Download option
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: Yes – Adobe Digital Editions format
Should I Recommend It? PROS: Inexpensive. CONS: Limited market penetration, Adobe Digital Editions sync.
Other ereader devices (e.g., Pandigital Novel, COOL-ER, etc.)
Price= Varies
Availability: Varies
Google Ebooks Compatible: Most do support Adobe Digital Editions. For a complete list, see: http://adobe.ly/cgNsDr
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: Same
Should I Recommend It? PROS: Some could be extremely inexpensive. CONS: Wildly varying user experience. Some devices may be buggy. ADE sync.
Amazon Kindle
Price= from $139
Availability: Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart
Google Ebooks Compatible: NO
Ingram Ebooks Compatible: NO
Should I Recommend It? Customers will not be able to buy books from you for their Kindle.
One important factor of the above comparisons is that the very popular Kindle has been purposely limited to Amazon ebook formats only. Obviously this works just fine for Amazon. Last year Amazon sold more ebooks than print books. Another important factor for publishers is that you need to produce your ebooks in all the above formats. That can be expensive if you have to purchase all the format translators. A better way to go is with SmashWords.com. They have a translation software that takes a Word file and automatically translates it to 7+ ereader formats and then distributes them to Amazon, BarnesAndNoble.com, Apple, etc.
The major publishers have jumped on the ebook bandwagon in a big way. Let’s see who the major players are:
Random House 22%
HarperCollins 15%
Hachette 13%
MacMillan 13%
Simon and Schuster 13%
Other 24%
The top categories are:
General Fiction 12%
Literary Fiction 11.5%
Mystery/Suspense 8%
Sci Fi/Fantasy 7%
The Average Price Point was $10.83

Pricing of ebooks by publishers has become a major issue arising in two approaches. The Wholesale Model is the traditional approach where the publisher sells to distributors and booksellers at a discounted wholesale price, who in turn resell it. Instead, some publishers are using the Agency Model, where the publisher sells directly to the public and gives an agent commission to the booksellers enabling the sale. Here is how these two models split out last year:

Agency= 55%

Non Agency Discounted= 15%

Non Agency Full Price= 30%

The top ten bestselling ebook titles last year were:

  1. Freedom (MacMillan)
  2. Autobiography of Mark Twain (University of California Press)
  3. Cleopatra (Hatchette)
  4. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk (Hachette)
  5. Unbroken (Random)
  6. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Random)
  7. Moonlight Mile (HarperCollins)
  8. Object of Beauty (Hachette)
  9. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (HarperCollins)
  10. Room (Hachette)

Competition is driving some interesting steps forward for ebook selling. Now giant Amazon is being directly challenged by giant Google with their 3,00,000 ebook titles. These will be sold by independent booksellers who use the American Booksellers Association IndieBound.com web hosting system. Ingram is being challenged by their major rival, Baker and Taylor Distributors, who will be selling ebooks within the next two months.

Up till now, small presses and self-publishers have had a fairly clear playing field because their non-traditional capabilities to react to developing technologies quickly. Now the big boys have waded in and are trying to recapture market control. Still, the big guys are still flailing. As a proponent of long-tail marketing, I think the little guys still have the advantage in supporting niche markets. The secrets of future small press successes will be to: keep on top of developing technologies and continue to take advantage of your quick reaction time to industry changes. Indie booksellers have a much more difficult challenge to keep providing beloved print books while figuring out how to sell ebook downloads against Amazon et al.

This is a reprint from Bob”>http://www.sharpspear.com/BobSpear.html”>Bob Spear‘s Book”>http://bobspear.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/the-e-book-quandry-by-bob-spear/”>Book Trends blog.