Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Thursday Midday Links: Apple’s iBookstore Pricing Is $9.99 too

DA Industry NewsApple’s iBookstore pricing has been revealed and guess what? The prices are $9.99 for all but two of the top 35 bestsellers. This is what publishers are fighting over? Under the agency model, the publisher sets the price and gets 70%. At 9.99, this means the publisher gets a little more than $6. Under the old retail model, the publisher would get approximately 50% of the retail price which was around $12.00 per book. Unless the publishers make the most money off the lower priced backlist such as non discounted mass markets, I am not seeing how the move to agency actually helps publishers. Random House has refused to sign onto the agency model, stating publicly that it worries about the erosion of profits.

Apple’s push to price the bestsellers at $9.99 seems to indicate that Amazon has effectively set the high point of popular digital books at 9.99. It does not seem likely that publishers can effectively move the price point upward for the flat digital book.

It also shows why Amazon is fighting so hard for price parity in its contracts with publishers.


Engadget had pictures of a new Android tablet that starts at $155. You can get a fully decked out 5″ screen Android tablet with 3G and wifi for $210.


Publishers Weekly has a rundown of the top selling books in 2009. The big surprise for me is Alyson Noel’s novel, Shadowland which ranked 14th (609,355).   The straight Nora contemp sold bigger than her JD Robb books: Black Hills. Nora Roberts. Putnam (502,000) v Kindred in Death. J.D. Robb. Putnam (315,000).

In the mass market section, the top sellers are Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber:

  • Tribute. Nora Roberts. Rep. Jove. (1,250,361).
  • Sooner or Later. Debbie Macomber. Avon (1,000,000).
  • Mrs. Miracle. Debbie Macomber. Avon (1,000,000).

Also shocking? How much coin Harlequin is making off republication of Nora Roberts contemporaries. It’s like printing money for them.


Speaking of money and authors,   Mary Higgins Clark (who ranked 29th and sold between 356,000 and 387,000 books), claims she was paid $64 million in 2000 to write four novels for Simon & Schuster.   In order for her to sell through an advance like that, MHC would need to sell upwards near 5 million books.


The Rita Finalists are being called today and RWA is updating its website. Congratulations to all the finalists. My eyebrows were raised over several of the finalists and I agreed with others. The paranormal list is always were I deviate the most from the RITA judgets.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. DS
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 14:35:05

    I have to admit it. I’m not a good barometer of what is popular.

    The only Rita finalist I have read is Deanna Raybourn’s Silent on the Moor although I think I have a copy of the Eileen Wilks book on my Kindle account because my friend bought it.

    As for the biggest selling– I bought none in the top 30 and about 7 in the extended fiction list, of which I actually read one– Foolby Christopher Moore. Really liked it. I was also given Johansen’s Blood Games to review- very bad book.

    Nonfiction, I bought none but was give a copy of The Lost City of Z also to review. Loved it.

  2. jmc
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 18:55:18

    I’m kind of shocked by the mmp sales numbers for the two Debbie Macomber books. Yes, she’s a popular author, but both of those books are reprints, one dating back to 1996 and the other to 2005. And, wow, Nora Roberts sold more than a million paperbacks after its 2008 hard cover release, in which it presumably sold another ~300,000.

    Eh, the Ritas, as usual, I have little grasp on what’s conventionally “good”.

  3. Ridley
    Mar 25, 2010 @ 18:55:49

    I think the Rita finalists are a lot less out of left field than last year’s, but we’ll see who they actually give the awards too. I rarely agree with the awards.

    I was a little sad Carla Kelly’s Christmas novella wasn’t nominated. It was the best of the Christmas stories last year, though Courtney Milan’s was a close second.

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  5. Mina Kelly
    Mar 26, 2010 @ 03:28:08

    It’s not just publishers Amazon are pushing for Price partiy from; they’re demanding Price Parity from Amazon Marketplace too. So far only in the EU, which makes me wonder if they’ve spotted a ruling that allows them to do this where in other territories they might not be able to. That they’re demanding sellers can’t offer the same goods for less anywhere else (even somewhere like eBay, where you’d traditionally start with a lower price and hope it rises) is, well, HUGE. I mean, how are they even going to police this?

  6. Estara
    Mar 27, 2010 @ 05:29:30

    Jane, have you seen this info on Books on Board? I’m not sure about the Apple store, but the other ebook sellers seem to have to raise their prices on quite a few books – until this tiered system or whatever works with books that haven’t been newly released (is my interpretation):

  7. Jane
    Mar 28, 2010 @ 08:41:34

    @Estara I did see that. I don’t understand everything that Livosi is saying there like why authors wouldn’t reap the benefits if they are getting some percentage off the net. I.e., if the net is increasing wouldn’t that result in a boon for authors? Worrisome for us readers is that prices are doubling? Egads.

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