Monday Midday Links: UK Retailers and Publishers Begin Pricing Battle
When Amazon opened its Kindle store earlier this year, a huge price war broke out amongst the major chains forcing ebook prices down to 50% or lower than the retail price. Hachette is the first publisher to push back and institute “agency” pricing. The UK retailers, however, have reacted by removing Hachette from the online catalogs altogether. Waterstones, WH Smith, and Book Depository have delisted the books. Amazon UK still has them for sale, but it is unknown for how long. The managing director of Book Depository said that BD has no plans to sign an agreement allowing a publisher to dictate price:
Smith said: “One of the many reasons is we want to apply consistency of offer to the customer. One of the stipulations is we can’t offer coupons or discount vouchers. If we did an e-book offer we would have to have a massive list of exceptions for Hachette titles. We are not being straight with the customer. Unless I can control a customer’s experience, selling e-books with the price set by the publisher is not something I want to do.”
If the retailers hold firm, then it doesn’t seem likely that the publisher will win this pricing war in the UK.
Speaking of Agency Pricing, details about Google Editions, the ebook store of Google, are leaking out. Debbie Stier interviewed Mark Nelson, Strategic Partner Manager for Google. Some tidbits she pulled out were:
* Publishers will set the list price, then retailers will determine the sale price too -‘ so prices could vary depending on which vender you purchase from. Google will receive a percentage of the revenue on purchases.
* Google will place ads on the Book Preview Pages, but NOT within the Google Books Editions.
According to the FAQ of Google Editions, price is set by the publisher but if GE decides to discount it, the publishers’ recourse is to remove the book for sale
Default List Pricing: This setting determines the default list price for consumers purchasing the Google Editions of your books. Unless you specify otherwise, the default price is set at 80% of the lowest list price of the print book (regardless of format) upon which the Google Edition is based. Google will gather and update these print list prices, and before Google Editions becomes available to consumers, you will have the chance to review these prices. In addition to providing a percentage default, you have the option to set a specific price at which you would like all of your titles to be available for purchase. Since Google Editions sales do not incur the same production and shipping costs as do sales of your print books, you may decide to offer all of your Google Editions at one standard price. In addition to a default list price, you also have the option of setting prices for your Google Editions by individual title.
Google Editions List Price: Here you can set the Google Editions list price for your book just as you do for a hard copy book. The default list price for each book will be 80% of the lowest list price of the print book (regardless of format) unless you specify otherwise for your account using Default Settings. Google will gather these print list prices. Before Google Editions become available to consumers, you will have the chance to review these prices. You can also set a specific list price for each title. Please note that Google reserves the right to sell a book at a price discounted from its Google Editions list price, or to not sell a book. If Google decides to offer the book at a discounted price to consumers, your share of the revenue will be based on the Google Editions list price.
This isn’t Agency pricing and if publishers allow Google the right to price and discount, then they really have to allow all retailers to do so.
Harlequin Mills & Boon is running their New Voices contest in which authors, both aspiring and those not contracted with Harlequin, compete for the attention of an editor and possibly a book contract. Lynn Raye Harris, for example, won the the New Voices contest a couple of years ago and now she is publishing her fifth? book for Harlequin Presents. Regularly, the editorial staff of Mills & Boon post videos and blog posts on how to win the competition. The videos are fun to watch and the blog posts fun to read even if you don’t plan on writing or entering the competition. In today’s posting was a list of 10 most cliched openings. 10 was “Fancy meeting you, ex, in the middle of my desert trek-" Coincidental reunions (Yes, SATC2 – we're talking to you-).”
Kassia Kroszer posts her ideas on what a new style publishing house will look like. The focus is heavy on team oriented work, digital advancement, and getting in touch with the consumer.
Our thoroughly modern editor will sometimes go by the the name project developer. Rightly so. Even today, books are projects. Acquisition, editing, artwork, production, marketing-all of these are part of the final product that is known as a book. This project must be shepherded through the entire process, guided by a strong vision. Fragmentation of vision is a guarantee of failure.
Kassia attracts a host of interesting readers and thus the comment section is not to be missed.
CBC News has an interview with the CEO of Kobo Books, Michael Serbinis, who says that the market for ebooks is growing faster than anyone imagined.
E-book sales are ramping up, but where do you see them going?
When we started this as a pilot project at Indigo, we talked about numbers like two to three per cent [market share of all books] in five years. I think everyone is astonished at where we’re at today, let alone five years from now. At the end of the first quarter this year, some of the top-tier publishers talked about being around nine per cent, so what does that mean at the end of the fourth quarter? Fifteen, 13, 12, who knows? It’s happening faster than anyone expected.
Speaking of Kobobooks, it has a new desktop application out and to celebrate there is a $2.00 off coupon. Simply type “twodollars” in the checkout section. It’s great to use for the Harlequin books because those are under $3.00 in the first place. H/t Brian.
According to one study, falling in love comes at a price and that price is one’s relationship with two close friends. (Maybe this is why the heroine is always alone but it doesn’t explain the hero’s ongoing buddy relationship with the sixteen members of his secret club).
Falling in love comes at the cost of losing close friends, because romantic partners absorb time that would otherwise be invested in platonic relationships, researchers say.
A new partner pushes out two close friends on average, leaving lovers with a smaller inner circle of people they can turn to in times of crisis, a study found.