Nook Vs Kindle eBook Prices

There seem to be all these posts popping up about people finding Nook eBook prices too high.

  1. Is it some sort of bias i.e. people found a book they liked and it was too expensive so they think Nook eBook prices are too high?
  2. Is it that those ebooks are higher at all stores?

This post will simply list eBook Prices in the Kindle Store and at Barnes & Noble Nook Store for a wide variety of books and you can draw your own conclusions about whether the Kindle or the Nook is better for you. Check my Kindle Vs Nook review for a more detailed comparison.

Nook Vs Kindle eBook Prices – NY Times Bestsellers are a Wash

These are all $9.99 in both stores for the most part.

This is the Hardcover Fiction List (with list prices noted – 10 of these are just $9 at Amazon, WalMart and Target) –

  1. The Lost Symbol ($29.95) – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  2. Pursuit of Honor ($27.99) – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  3. Nine Dragons ($27.99) – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  4. The Help ($24.95) – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  5. The Last Song ($24.99) – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  6. A Touch of Dead ($23.95) – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  7. Half Broke Horses – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99.  
  8. Rough Country – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99.  
  9. An Echo in the Bone – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  10. The Professional – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  11. Heat Wave – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  12. Evidence – Kindle $9.99, Not Available on Nook.
  13. Death Troopers – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  14. Her Fearful Symmetry – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  15. Wolf Hall – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  16. Deep Kiss of Winter – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  17. The Ghost King – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  18. South of Broad – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  19. Dead and Gone – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  20. And Another Thing – Kindle $8.88. Not Available on Nook.
  21. The Wild Things – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  22. The Unseen Academicals – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99.  
  23. Dracula The Un-Dead – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  24. The Girl Who Played With Fire – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  25. The Perfect Christmas – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 

This is the Hardcover Non-Fiction List –

  1. Have A Little Faith – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  2. Arguing With Idiots – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  3. Highest Duty – Kindle $14.29, Nook $9.99. 
  4. True Compass – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  5. Moonwalk – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  6. Outliers – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  7. The Greatest Show on Earth – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  8. Where Men Win Glory – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  9. The Murder of King Tut – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  10. The Time of My Life – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  11. America For Sale – Kindle $9.99. Not Available on Nook.
  12. High On Arrival – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99.  
  13. Official Book Club Selection – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  14. The National Parks – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  15. Half The Sky – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  16. Justice – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  17. Born To Run – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  18. The Good Soldiers – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  19. The Case For God – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  20. A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity – Kindle $9.99. Nook $20.80.
  21. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  22. The Big Turn – Not Available on Kindle. Not Available on Nook.
  23. American On Purpose – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 
  24. Culture of Corruption – Kindle $9.99. Not Available on Nook.
  25. End The Fed – Kindle $9.99, Nook $9.99. 

Pretty much all the New York Bestsellers are available and at $9.99 for both the Kindle and the Nook. Not much of a difference.  

 Nook Vs Kindle eBook Prices – Non Best Sellers.

This is a combination of books that people have mentioned in various forums and books picked at random –

  1. Atlas Shrugged – $12.80 on Nook. Not Available on Kindle.
  2. SuperFreakonomics by Levitt and Dubner – $12.95 on Kindle, $14.99 on Nook.
  3. The Untamed Bride – $6.39 on Kindle, $7.99 on Nook.
  4. East to the Dawn – $9.99 at both.
  5. LakeShore Christmas – $9.99 at both.  
  6. Prodigal God – $9.99 on Kindle. $15.96 on Nook. 
  7. Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie. $9.99 on Kindle. $11.96 on Nook. 
  8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – $6.39 on Kindle. $7.99 on Nook.  
  9. Ender’s Game – Not Available on Either.  
  10. It by Stephen King – $7.19 on Both.  
  11. Bite Marks by Jennifer Rardin – $9.99 at Both.
  12. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer – $7.79 on Kindle. $10.39 on Nook.  
  13. Enchanted by Nancy Madore – $7.96 on both.
  14. Bound to Shadows – $6.39 on Kindle, $7.99 on Nook.
  15. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer – $9.99 on Kindle. $18.39 on Nook. 
  16. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – $6.39 on Kindle, $7.99 on Nook.
  17. Vision in White – $9.36 on Kindle, $12.80 on Nook. 
  18. Wolf Tales by Kate Douglas – $9.32 on Kindle, $8.32 on Nook.
  19. The Keeper – $6.99 on Kindle, $11.99 on Nook.
  20. Clan Daughter – $6.99 on Nook, $5.59 on Kindle.
  21. Alex Cross’ Trial – $9.99 on both.
  22. Too Big To Fail – $9.99 on Kindle, $14.99 on Nook.
  23. Freakonomics – $9.35 on Kindle, $9.99 on Nook. 

Here are Kindle Store Books the B&N store didn’t have –

  1. Your Next Move.  
  2. The Power of Collective Wisdom. 
  3. The Missing by Beverly Lewis.
  4. Blood Revenge.
  5. Why Does E=MC2.
  6. Ender in Exile.

Have left out some of the obvious ones (an eBook that was $40 in the Nook Store) because they seem to be outliers or mistakes.

Conclusions on Kindle Vs Nook eBook Prices

Its two different sides of the Nook Store –

  1. Nook does do a good job of selling all the bestsellers for $9.99. 
  2. Kindle Store seems to have more books available. Nook’s 1 million plus books doesn’t seem to include the newest ebooks.
  3. Kindle Store seems to be cheaper for 25% to 40% of ebooks outside of the bestseller lists.
  4. When the Kindle Books are cheaper it’s a 10 to 20% price difference.

The Kindle is still ahead of Nook in book prices (and book availability).

Why $9.99 works, ShortCovers gets it

Now that almost every ebook store is going with $9.99 it’s worth understanding why it works.

My 2 cents on $9.99

The reasons that $9.99 works as compared to $15-$25 prices –

  1. Obviously the actual price savings i.e. instead of a $24.96 hardcover or a discounted $14.95 hardcover you get the book for $9.99. 
  2. Customers feel ebooks should be cheaper and a sub-$10 price ‘seems right’.

Why the $9.99 price works much better than $11.99 or even $10 –

  1. We tend to use shortcuts all the time (to avoid getting overloaded and overwhelmed with information). So $9.99 is read as $9.

    This means that a 1 cent difference gets translated as a $1 difference. Studies claim that changing the price from $10 to $9.99 can increases sales by as much as 200%.

  2. We have purchase buckets i.e. sub $10 = impulse buy, sub $100 = think before buying, over $100 = read reviews before buying, etc.

    Pricing below $9.99 pushes purchases into the ‘impulse buy’ bucket for a lot of people.

There’s a very good post on Elia Insider about Psychology of iPhone pricing that speaks about pricing and finding the sweet spot. 

An additional thing to keep in mind is – Even when you know about this, it still works.

$9.99 and a lot of Consumer Psychology is Guaranteed to Work

The thing about

  1. Knocking 1 cent off of prices.
  2. Having a celebrity endorse a drink.
  3. Showing a cool guy as the Apple Mac and a not-cool guy as the PC.

Is that its really, really hard to avoid the impact.

That’s why Apple’s lawyers called up Microsoft to complain about the Laptop Hunter Ads and forced a change –

In the original version of the ad, Lauren, who wants to spend a maximum of $1,700 on her computing dreams, offered this competing statement: “This Mac is $2,000, and that’s before adding anything.”

Her mom, Sue, asks her why she would pay twice the price. To which Lauren gives her the steely look of a future prosecutor and says: “I wouldn’t.”

This loving familial exchange has now been edited out. The old version has been removed from YouTube and replaced with a new version, in which Lauren merely says: “It seems like you’re paying a lot for the brand.”

Apple knows that even people who believe Apple is a quality product will have the mother-daughter pair’s conclusion that Apple is not worth the price lodged in their heads.

ShortCovers hops on $9.99 bandwagon

Shortcovers is the latest ebook retailer to reduce prices of bestsellers to $9.99.

They blogged that  –

  1. They are in the process of adding 200 additional publishers.
  2. All bestsellers will be sold at $9.99 –

    How does $9.99 sound? It has a good ring to it, doesn’t it? We thought so too, and that’s one of many reasons that all New York Timesbestsellers (www.shortcovers.com/NYTBestsellers) are now available on Shortcovers for less than ten bucks ($11.99 in Canada)!

Well, $9.99 has more than just a good ring to it – it’s psychologically guaranteed to work better.

Obviously every single eReader company is waking up to this as they’re pricing their ebooks at $9.99 and their ereaders at $199 and $299.

To the $9.99 boycott kindle people

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.

Here’s why.

Publishers were trying desperately to kill $9.99

It benefits Amazon and customers to have $9.99 prices. However, Publishers were worried about –

  1. Having to rethink and reorganize their companies for this scary new model. 
  2. Cannibalizing hard cover sales.
  3. 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 –

  1. Lots of people became aware of the issue.  
  2. People began to understand that $9.99 is a fair price and authors are not going to starve because of it.  
  3. The boycott spread.
  4. 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

  1. Barnes & Noble is beginning to match $9.99 on bestsellers in both its B&N eBookstore and at eReader.com.
  2. 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 –

  1. 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.
  2. The book I want is not at $9.99 – that means $9.99 is not working.  
  3. A few people won’t wait and that means $9.99 can never work.
  4. 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 –

  1. Publishers who do match $9.99 and don’t delay the ebook release.  
  2. Independent Authors and Smaller Publishers selling books for $1 to $5.
  3. Decline in interest as time passes.

And lots of other factors that will reduce ebook sales greatly.

In the next 6 months we have –

  1. New Sonys in end August. 
  2. The rumored Apple reading device in September.
  3. Plastic Logic eReader in Jan 2010.
  4. Kindle 3, probably before Christmas 2009.  
  5. 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 –

  1. Basking in the glow of the $9.99 victory.  
  2. Getting ready for the ‘Delayed eBook Release’ madness that publishers are getting ready to unleash.