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Kindle Nation Sounds Off on eBook Prices: Over 60% of Survey Respondents Say That Big Publishers’ eBook Prices Are Driving Them to Discover Indie Authors, and They Like What They’re Finding

By Steve Windwalker

(This is one of a series of posts reporting the results of the Winter 2012 Kindle Nation Citizen Survey, which gathered responses from a record 2,360 individuals during the period from January 29 to February 15. Click here to see complete results.)

Readers are letting all of us know, more adamantly than ever, that Kindle store pricing is driving readers to change their reading habits, and indie authors whose ebooks are priced at reasonable levels are the beneficiaries of that movement. We asked survey respondents where they stood on this key statement, and the results were not even close:

Higher prices for new releases from the big publishers have driven me to try more and more indie authors, and I like what I have found

61% agreed with that statement, and only 14% disagreed. Just to make sure, we also flipped the statement:

Higher prices for new releases from the big publishers have driven me to try some indie authors, but I haven’t found much quality there so I have gone back to paying higher prices

Only 7% agreed with that statement, and a whopping 65% disagreed.

While these two formulations certainly leave some significant number of our readers who are continuing to pay agency-model prices of $12-$15 for traditionally published bestselling authors, it’s clear that price-fixing publishers are giving up more and more of the real estate on the bestseller lists to indie authors: in recent weeks anywhere from 30% to 50% of the titles among the Kindle Store’s Top 100 bestsellers have been by indie authors. That’s a lot of money that has been removed from the table for publishers, but if this reader comment is any indication, they have only themselves to blame:

“I feel angry when publishers set prices for ebooks at the same or even a higher level. I often go to the library instead of buying the ebook. It’s not that I can’t afford it, I just think it is disgusting.”