Jul 25 2010
Where is the best price for ebooks these days?
I don’t do a lot of price comparison these days because at least five of the biggest publishers around set their own prices which means that the price for these books will be the same everywhere. This is called “Agency Pricing”.
According to this article, Amazon’s prices on books that can be discounted are generally less expensive. A sampling of pricing between Kindle and iBooks for NYT Bestsellers reveal:
- Of that, 80% of the books are the same price on each platform.
- The 20% that are cheaper on Kindle are cheaper by an average of 11%.
If you want to shop around, though, a tool like inkmesh can save you a lot of time. But inkmesh isn’t infallible (and doesn’t include links or comparison to iBooks).
For example, searching for Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (an agency priced book) pulls up prices from Diesel EBooks listed from $4.71 to $6.13. The real price at Diesel, however, is $5.99 plus tax. The inkmesh listing also brings forth a listing from HarperCollins ebookstore but while the 20% off price is attractive, the HarperCollins eBookstore is closed down. Powell’s is no longer carrying the digital version of the book. Having said that, Diesel eBooks and eBooks.com is the lowest price of Lord of Scoundrels. Every other site has it for $6.99
Another example of inkmesh’s problems can be seen with Jess Granger’s Beyond the Rain (agency pricing). Inkmesh lists ebooks.com as pricing the book at $15.00 but a visit to the site reveals the price at $12.99, same as everyone else.
The great thing about inkmesh is that even if the prices listed may be different from time to time, it compiles all the links in one place, making it easy for a reader to check out the prices before buying.
The good thing is that prices are pretty similar from retailer to retailer but not all retailers have the content. For example, Diesel eBooks doesn’t carry Macmillan (Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Crusie); Grand Central (Larissa Ione, Elizabeth Hoyt); and Simon & Schuster (Kresley Cole, Sabrina Jeffries). BooksonBoard doesn’t carry Grand Central books.
Generally speaking (and to the dismay of indie booksellers who are purportedly supposed to be helped by Agency pricing), BN and Kindle have the biggest offering of digital books with Kindle maintaining the most robust catalog.