Lately, book pricing is a better drama than daytime soap operas. While the publishers have thrown their undying love and affection towards Apple, Amazon has been quietly maintaining their dominant position. Time and again, the publishers complain bitterly about ebook and book pricing, but the reality is they need Amazon far, far, more than they need Apple. And Amazon knows it.
Reason one why you shouldn’t cross Amazon: Penguin has been a holdout on the agency pricing for ebooks, so they’ve been MIA in the Kindle store. Amazon has clearly learned from the disastrous showdown with Macmillan, and they found a new way to really get under Penguin’s skin. All sorts of new Penguin hardcovers are being slashed to $9.99 at Amazon! Penguin is angry since they feel the value of a book is higher, and how dare Amazon try to be a loss leader! I am quite sure the $9.99 price is on purpose, as a big fat middle finger to Penguin. It’s quite amusing, because short of pulling their books from Amazon and attempting to renegotiate paper and ebooks, there’s nothing Penguin can do! Amazon was also quite clever to choose that price, since even Kindle owners who are miffed it’s not available in e form may grab a new hardcover at the magic $9.99! (via the Wall Street Journal [subscription required])
But what about Apple, the publisher’s knight in shining armor? Well, Penguin has clearly placed their bets on the iBookstore, since they make up 23.5% of all the books stocked there! To be fair, there are apparently only 46,000 books in the iBookstore, so it’s not hard to make up a quarter of it. And that’s where Penguin’s little gamble starts to fall apart. 46,000 books versus 450,000+ in the Kindle Store. And that’s just the ebook component. Amazon has a huge reach in paper books, while Apple seems to be regarding iBooks as a minor hobby at the moment.
Maybe this is best summed up by the email Dan sent me earlier today:
ibooks… no notes can be taken
kindle for ipad- note can be taken
Book I needed for a temple book club-
$12.99 in iBooks
$9.99 in Kindle
Kindle book opened up and the highlights and notes others had made were automatically available (can be turned off) how cool
Don’t mess with Amazon, or they’ll mess with you right back!