Kindle Book Prices Starting to Climb

With the recent launch of the iPad and battle with book publishers, Amazon’s Kindle book prices are starting to rise.  Books on the bestseller list that used to cap at $9.99 now start at $9.99 and up.  Bestselling author Jodi Picoult’s latest novel, “House Rules”, is available for Kindle at $12.99.  Others such as “The Bridge,” by David Remnick is $14.82 and “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang,” by Chelsea Handler is $12.99.  More info is available in this article from The Baltimore Sun about the Apple iPad’s influence on e-book prices.  There are still a good many bestsellers holding at $9.99, but it remains to be seen what the future holds in terms of e-book price inflation.

It will be interesting to see what the reader response is to the price hike in the long run.  Based on observations of the comments on the Kindle forums, they are not happy campers.  There are many mass market paperbacks available for nearly half the price of the Kindle versions of the same books.  According to the article about the new e-book prices, publishers claim that paperback versions are often printed by different publishers than the Kindle version, thus leading to inconsistent prices.  Time will tell whether the price hike will be a short term or long term issue.  If they stay high for long term, it will be interesting to observe the impact on e-book and e-reader sales.

13 thoughts on “Kindle Book Prices Starting to Climb

  1. Apple did a dumb business move this time.

    Sure now Kindle books cost a lot, but so do ipad books. They have gained no advantage.

    If Apple wanted to beat the kindle the best and most logical approach should have been to sell books for a lower price than Amazon.

  2. I can tell you about THIS reader’s response – I refuse to buy anything over $9.99. If there is a book I am interested in that is priced higher, it goes into a special Kindle wish list until the price drops. There is enough out there that is free or priced reasonably without needing to pay the higher prices that the publishers have tried (and failed) to justify. I will not give in to their greed.

  3. Never mind her latest release, Jodi Picoult’s, Keeping Faith is 9.99 on kindle, while it was $5 something a month ago. The paperback of the same book is 7.99. The same phenomenon has happened with most of Sparks books as well as The Lovely Bones, and more.

    I haven’t yet seen the 1/2 price issue, but different publishers or not, the publisher selling the kindle version should use some common sense about buyers. Which am I more willing to spend more money on, a physical copy I OWN, or one, that in all reality I’m really just renting.

  4. I do enjoy the Kindle, but I am still a new user. It is just as easy for me to buy the paperback for a lower cost than purchase books at the newly inflated rate for the Kindle. I will continue to look for good buys in the Kindle store, but my reading pleasure may have to take other forms.

    I have no interest in an iPad and regret the moves they have taken that has increased prices for everyone.

  5. The overhead for producing e-books is so low, that it is utterly inexcusable for the prices to be so high. Thank goodness for public-domain e-books. I have plenty of those to last me while I weather this pricing storm. Apple will lose out (e-ink technology is so much easier to read than backlit screens like the iPad) in the end, anyway.

  6. @Alessandro:

    It is not just the e-Ink. Kindle has many advantages as a book reader compared to the iPad, including free book downloads (The 3G iPad has a montly fee of $30), 2 weeks of battery life vs 10hrs for the iPad.

    Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a great portable multimedia device, but it is not a good book reader. It is like comparing the experience of watching movies on BR on a TV to watching them on the iPad/Laptop. A dedicated device always offers more advantages for an specific task.

  7. I absolutely will NOT pay these higher prices when there are so many alternatives. Of course, the library is always available, The 1/2 Price Book Store, Sam’s Club, e.g. Why would I pay as much for an ebook as I could pay for a hard copy when I can share the hard copy with several friends and can’t share at all with Kindle. I will continue to buy some books merely for travel convenience. With the price of extra luggage on the rise, it will be to my financial advantage to pack my loaded Kindle. But at home, I have too many other choices. I am not easily “forced” into spending more money when I know it’s a ripoff!

  8. We must not be the sheep. We must not be conditioned by the commercial enterprises. We must condition them. Not buying any books will not affect the system. But buy reasonably priced books and refusing to buy books over 9.99 will demonstrate to the publishers that the money is in volume not high prices. Of course, in the long run we need to cut out the middle men (and yes I meant the plural form of man).
    Maybe someone needs to create a site of group buyers, where everyone bids on the price they are willing to pay. When 5000 are willing to pay 5 dollars for a book and the author is willing to accept the 25000 (minus the commission), then we have a sale. Its called a win-win.

  9. There are very, very few books that I’m going to pay more than $9.99 for on the Kindle. And the paperbacks that are 1/2 the cost…well, I’d rather just get the paperback. And buy it used for even more of a discount. The sellers and the publishers need to get their act together and find a better way of pricing.

  10. I’ve already gone right past several higher priced books, and saved a couple to my wish list to buy later when the inevitable price drop occurs. It’ll take a pretty compelling book for me to buy at a higher price. I have way too many other choices of things to do with my time these days. Same goes for the NY Times, I’ll probably drop it when their price increase hits me in 6 mos.

  11. There is an interesting article in the New Yorker about this. The most shocking thing is that the publishers are making LESS money from this deal as Amazon was loosing money on each book they sold anyways (as a lost leader to sell kindles). Publishers were only concerned that Amazon was setting up the industry at prices that they felt were too low. So, in order to help increase the price they took a price cut and went to the agency model – forcing Amazon to make money on each book that was sold.

  12. I refuse to buy any Kindle book that’s priced the same as the hardback or paperback version. Period. I’ll go to ebay and buy the book there if I need the book that badly.

  13. Any book over $10 is a hard copy purchase (and even then it a sale/discount is sought and usually found). Kindle book price greater than the paperback copy is passed over.

    Publishing is finding itself in a difficult and volatile financial situation. However, they may not realize that lower prices increases not only volume but breadth. I have read many posts of people reading a greater variety of authors and genres. In some respects book publishers find themselves at the same crossroads the film industry faced in early VHS and DVD sales/distribution. It took a while but they eventually realized that they could make up in volume by lowering prices and digging into the vaults of older (often treasured, limited market) films and TV shows.

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