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

Thursday Midday News and Deals: Prices Up Says DWJ; Prices Down...

Draw a Stickman (or a dragon as the tot did). Don’t forget to come back.


Curiously the Wall Street Journal warns readers of ebooks that ebook prices are going up and in some cases are actually higher than the print versions.

As the ebook data from e-Book Market View shows:

Isolated cases and macro-trends aside, for most of the books that people buy, the price has actually dropped significantly since last Christmas.

The average price of an Amazon Kindle best-seller on Christmas day 2010 was $8.21 and 17 of the 100 books on the list were priced $2.99 or lower, according to data provided by e-Book Market View.

Read more at Has the Price of E-Books Really Increased? | Digital Book World

Not to mention Avon’s reduction in their digital book prices for the frontlist books for January, February and March.


In the UK, over half of the paintings in the public domain are now online and available for study.

Paintings is the first national online museum of all publicly owned oil paintings in the UK. It was launched in June of this year (2011) by the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) and the BBC. Today it has been announced that a further 40,000 paintings have been uploaded to the site since the launch, taking the total to 104,000 paintings, over half the national collection.

Completely remarkable.


Deals today:

Harlequin’s Holiday deal today is a free download of Jaci Burton’s A Rare Gift.

Diesel Ebooks deal of the day is Elyse Mady’s Something So Right for $.80.

Reader Emily emailed me and shared that Medallion Press has really good deals on its books. Most of the books are priced at $3.99. Judith James’ Broken Wing was a favorite of Kristie J, a long time romance reader and according to Reader Emily, Anna Louise Lucia is a well reviewed romantic suspense author.

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. sandy l
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:19:17

    When J D Robb’s latest Dallas book was released this past fall, I could buy the deadwood version cheaper than the electronic version. Which I did, because I could then loan it to my coworkers. I think the electronic version was around $15.99 even during the release day. Personally, I refuse to pay more than $12.99 for any electronic version of the book.

  2. Elaine
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:32:46

    I am number 3 on our library holds list for Celebrity in Death. Sorry, Nora. I’ll be spending my book money on other authors because your publisher has overpriced your ebooks.

  3. Joy
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:40:36

    “As of December 14, 2011, the average price of a book on the same list was $7.08, a 14% decrease, and 35 of the 100 books on the list were priced $2.99 or lower.”

    I’ve noticed that bestselling ebook lists tend to be dominated by lower-priced items, and I’m sure there’s more causality there than correlation. What I think the data show is that readers are certainly *buying* more low-priced ebooks (not a surprise), which could happen even as other prices increase.

  4. Brian
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:46:52

    @Elaine: I’m not big on $15 ebooks either for the most part, but sometimes I cave in. What would you consider a fair price for it considering the hardcover edition that comes out at the same time has a $28 list price (discounted to $17.34 on Amazon)?

    I’ll probably wait until it goes down to $7.99 in August unless my library get it before that or it gets stellar reviews or something. While I still like the In Death books they feel somewhat stale to me and so I don’t have a need to get them on release day anymore.

  5. carmen webster buxton
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:59:19

    The question is, will the price go down as the book gets older? Some publishers don’t seem to drop the price even when the paperback comes out. One I have noticed in particular is Vintage Books, part of (no surprise) Random House.

    Use the advanced search option on Amazon to search by publisher and check their prices:

    Take a look at THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING from 2007. Sill $11.99! Ditto THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME from 2004.

    The only conclusion I can reach is they really would prefer you buy the paperback.

  6. Kate Pearce
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:00:00

    I was a bit sad that the latest C. S. Harris Sebastian St. Cyr ebook was around $12 on amazon kindle when I could purchase the hardback for less than half that price at the same price. I bought the hardback and will wait a few days for it to arrive. :) I did however, pony up about $11 for the last Karen Marie Moning Fever book earlier this year because I just could not wait-but that was a rare exception.

  7. Jane
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:03:58

    @Joy You make a good point there. You can read the whole WSJ article if you google the title of the article.

  8. Brian
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:11:20

    @carmen webster buxton:

    Take a look at THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING from 2007. Sill $11.99! Ditto THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME from 2004.

    The only conclusion I can reach is they really would prefer you buy the paperback.

    Really what they’d probably prefer is that Amazon sell you your choice of format (paper or digital) with no discounts, meaning the paper versions would be $14.95

  9. carmen webster buxton
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:13:04

    @Jane: I don’t think Googling works anymore. I tried it with the title and with words in the first paragraph and I still get only a snippet.

  10. joanne
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:29:28

    For God’s sake.
    If I knew my poor stick figure was going to go through all that I wouldn’t have put her in high heels! (fun though, thanks tot!)

  11. becca
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:30:05

    I’ve just discovered Mary Jo Putney’s 3-books are a reasonable $4.30 or so at Amazon, while the paper books are $6.99. Guess what author I’m going to be reading a lot of for awhile.

  12. library addict
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:34:35

    That stickman site is fun (even if you have no artistic talent, like me).

    Thanks for the link to the UK paintings.

    Penguin is pretty good about reducing the prices of their ebooks once the pb is released. But I still resent agecy pricing. I admit I do cave in and pay it for some of my favorite authors though.

  13. LG
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:39:13

    Lol, thank you for the link to the stickman site – my second time through, I drew a cat and had it fight the dragon with its tail. So much fun. :)

  14. Elaine
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:52:08

    I would buy the ebooks by authors that I really like for $9.99 while they are still in hardcover.

    And talk about ebooks not going down in price over time: Meljean Brook’s Iron Duke (published last fall) is still at $12.99 and its sequel Heart of Steel (published this fall) is $9.99, both for Kindle. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. The trade for Iron Duke is now $6.00 at Amazon.

    Please explain the rational for this pricing beside publisher incompetence.

  15. Melodie
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:58:56

    It sounds like the two stories are comparing apples to oranges. Most likely e-Book Market View compared the publisher’s list price of a new hardback to it’s ebook counterpart and WSJ used the price that hardback books actually sell at after the publisher gives distributors those big discounts that they won’t allow to e-books. Both stories are correct but aren’t showing the whole picture. e-Book Market View is giving the publisher’s side “Look, we knocked two dollars off the price, why aren’t you grateful, you horrible people.” WSJ is giving the customer’s view “Why are you charging us two dollars more for a virtual book? You’re rip-off artists!”

  16. Brian
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 14:03:21


    Please explain the rational for this pricing beside publisher incompetence.

    I agree the pricing on that one is a puzzle especially since Iron Duke used to be $9.99

    The $6.00 is a “bargain price” on the trade paperback meaning it’s probably remaindered books returned by stores that they’re trying to clear out before the mass market paperback comes out on January 3rd (when the ebook should drop in price too). For publishers it’s all about the “list price”, which is $15 for the trade and most of the time they don’t seem to get that for consumers it’s all about the “street price” so there is often a disconnect. It wasn’t so bad before Agency pricing when both paper and ebooks used similar pricing models.

  17. Danielle D
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 14:04:18

    Thanks for links for the free ebooks!! I love free.

  18. Carin
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 14:19:13

    @Elaine – the same thing is going on with Lauren Dane’s Brown Siblings books. The first three (pubbed by Penguin in 2009 & 2010) are STILL $12.99 ebook. The new one this year? $9.99 ebook. They’re trade paperback and I got them from the library. I love them. I was thinking about buying them in ebook but this pricing stuff makes me pause. I still rarely buy a new book for $8, and when I do I really wonder if a book is worth it. I paid $10 for Heart of Steel because I REALLY wanted it in ebook to read NOW.

    But I have a hard time spending $10 for a book I’ve already read (even though I loved it) when I could go buy 2 books at Carina Press or Harlequin that I haven’t read yet. Or save that $10 for a 50% off sale where it will be worth $20 (or course not on a Big6 book). So then when I see a price at $13? No way. (And really, WHY are some of them $13 and others $10???)

    But Courtney Milan’s new book, Unraveled, self pubbed, full length is $3.99. $3.99 for a book I’m sure is going to rock, based on the first two, from an author/self-pubber who I know does a good job? That’s a no brainer for me. It’s already on my ereader.

  19. Joy
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 14:48:00

    Uraveled does indeed rock (why yes, I’ve already read it), and Milan has graciously enabled lending of the ebook as well.

    @Melodie– it seems the WSJ dug up some cases in which the ebook is more expensive than the Amazon price (with discounts; this happens often enough IME to be annoying), while eBook Market View is comparing average ebook price trends over time, which have apparently trended down 11% (14% for the bestseller list average price).

  20. Lisa J
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 18:04:41

    I’m waiting to buy Heart of Steel. I bought the Iron Duke when it came out and now I heard there will be additional content in the mass market when it comes out. If they make the additional content available separately will I have to pay for it? I’ll wait for the mass market on Heart of Steel.

    Again, the publisher screws the buyer.

  21. Elaine
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 18:14:17

    Lisa J:

    On her website it states the additional content will be available as an ebook, presumably for sale. I agree, it does tend to punish those who ponied up the money for the trade edition.

  22. Statch
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 18:36:46

    This has probably been mentioned before, but Milan’s Unraveled also explicitly gives permission for DRM stripping. I really, really appreciate that. It was a great book, too.

    In the “all rights reserved” section, it says “Where such permission is sufficient, the author grants the end user the right to strip any DRM which may be applied to this work.”

  23. Evangeline Holland
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 19:58:46

    With big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart cutting back on their book sections, and authors who are both e- and NY-published hitting the best-seller lists with their moderately priced e-books and not their print releases, lowering prices for frontlist e-book titles (at least for the first month of release) is a wise decision.

  24. Angela
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 20:13:47

    Okay, the draw a stickman thing was a lot of fun! LOL.

  25. Kristie (J)
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 21:19:11

    omg that Stickman site is a hoot. It was so funny to see my man move :-)
    Here in Canada many of the ebooks are more but I just look for the deals. I’ve discovered it has a lot to do with the publishers.

    And *g* I did get Broken Wing electronically awhile ago. Now I can have one of my top all time books with me all the time. I love the weird yet comforting feeling it gives me

  26. cecilia
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 22:45:29

    @Joy: Regarding Milan enabling the lending – I noticed that when I finished reading it (and enjoying it very much) and I was quite struck. And then I thought – “I’m not even going to lend it. I’m just going to tell people they should buy it.” And at that price, they will.

  27. rebyj
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 06:56:47

    Ebook prices have caused me to change what I read. I used to read romance exclusively and supported several authors as auto buys. Now I seek out any free fiction to 4.99 . I’m reading a lot of indy authors in a lot of different genres and surprisingly finding books that are quite enjoyable. Usually more than 1 book is purchased daily. I check for freebies daily and that usually leads to a freebie download and often a .99 – 1.99 purchase that one of us stumble upon.

    I have taken advantage of the Avon price drop. We need more publishers to drop some prices!

    My purchasing from major publishers has whittled down to maybe 3 to 5 new books this year that I’ve bought. The rest I’ve bought at the used book store. It’s just impossible for me to pay 25 for a new book or 14.99 for the e book.

    Just fyi info: Our family owns a Kindle, Kindle Fire, and an Ipod touch that are used for ebook reading. Ages 14- 51. Lots of readers in our family! We’d buy a LOT more ebooks if the prices were lower. We limit ourselves to a 4.99 or less per book budget.

  28. Stumbling Over Chaos :: The linkity post in which I realize I missed my sixth blogiversary
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 07:35:56

    […] Draw a Stickman! (via Dear Author) […]

  29. MarieC
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 18:29:39

    I’m still amazed at the prices of some books. I balk at paying $10+ prices for ebooks, especially if it is a popular series, like Patricia Briggs’ forthcoming Alpha/Omega book. I guess I’ll just borrow it from a friend, then buy it when the price drops…

  30. carmen webster buxton
    Dec 16, 2011 @ 18:34:28

    Do folks know about the eReaderIQ site? You can enter the title of a book and give it the price drop you want, and it will email you when the price for that book falls. It’s a great idea! I think they only have it set up for Kindle sales so far.

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