At the moment, there are 5 books priced over $9.99 in the Top 100 bestsellers in the Kindle Store. Just 3 of which are in the Top 75.
Amazon made a very bold move by coming in with $9.99 prices and deserves a lot of credit.
However, were it not for all of you $9.99 boycotters, we would have had 50, and not 5, out of the top 100 books above $9.99.
Publishers were trying desperately to kill $9.99
It benefits Amazon and customers to have $9.99 prices. However, Publishers were worried about -
- Having to rethink and reorganize their companies for this scary new model.
- Cannibalizing hard cover sales.
- Losing their status as the gate keepers of the book industry.
Publishers were trying a simple sabotage tactic (since they get 50% or so of the list price from Amazon) -
When Amazon started discounting books from $24 or so down to $9.99, Publishers raised the list price for ebooks to $27 or more to raise the discounted prices to $14.
Amazon is stuck because they’re already paying publishers more than they’re getting from customers. If Publishers keep increasing the list price it forces Amazon to raise the price.
Suddenly, the $9.99 prices began to disappear.
The $9.99 Boycott as the Savior
The $9.99 boycott, and more importantly, spreading the word, tagging books, blogging about it, and raising the issue meant -
- Lots of people became aware of the issue.
- People began to understand that $9.99 is a fair price and authors are not going to starve because of it.
- The boycott spread.
- Sales for books above $9.99 were much lower.
Initially, everyone was a skeptic and there were even people who were happy to blast the $9.99 boycotters - it’s never going to work. do you really think customers can decide prices? i’m still going to buy books at $14. No way you can pull it off.
Well, the $9.99 boycott has worked.
For the last 6+ weeks, the number of books over $9.99 in the bestseller charts have consistently been in the 4-10 range.
That’s one big sign. There are two additional BIG signs the $9.99 boycott has worked.
Sony, B&N both matching $9.99
- Barnes & Noble is beginning to match $9.99 on bestsellers in both its B&N eBookstore and at eReader.com.
- Sony announced just today that they’ll match $9.99 on new releases and bestsellers.
So, not only have the $9.99 boycotters ensured Kindle Store prices stay at $9.99, they (along with kindle owners buying in to the $9.99 boycott) have also ensured that a whole industry has no choice but to go with $9.99.
Such a huge contrast from where we were headed a few months ago -
Amazon was stuck as Publishers were raising list prices.
Every other ebook store had high prices.
Google was promising it would let Publishers set prices.
Basically, $9.99 seemed ready to face its demise.
Were it not for you, $9.99 boycotters, we would now be living in a $14 world.
Edge Cases and Outliers
There’ll be a lot of people who’ll be quick to point out -
- When the moon was half full in the month of the jaguar there were 14 books in the Top 100 list. That means $9.99 is not working.
- The book I want is not at $9.99 – that means $9.99 is not working.
- A few people won’t wait and that means $9.99 can never work.
- Publisher X has said they’ll never release ebooks at $9.99, or release it 6 months later.
These are all edge cases. There’s little point worrying about the above $9.99 publishers.
Any publisher who doesn’t embrace $9.99 or delays reducing prices to $9.99 will be competing with -
- Publishers who do match $9.99 and don’t delay the ebook release.
- Independent Authors and Smaller Publishers selling books for $1 to $5.
- Decline in interest as time passes.
And lots of other factors that will reduce ebook sales greatly.
In the next 6 months we have -
- New Sonys in end August.
- The rumored Apple reading device in September.
- Plastic Logic eReader in Jan 2010.
- Kindle 3, probably before Christmas 2009.
- Kindle DX 2 sometime in the next 6 months.
That’s going to keep growing the ebook market. Costs to the publishers who fight $9.99 will increase more and more.
We’re beyond the point of no return.
Congratulations! $9.99 boycott people, you’ve won.
You now face the twin pleasures of -
- Basking in the glow of the $9.99 victory.
- Getting ready for the ‘Delayed eBook Release’ madness that publishers are getting ready to unleash.