I’ve been pretty tough in the past on the high prices at Amazon Kindle competitors eReader.com and Fictionwise.com, the twin pillars of Steve and Scott Pendergrast’s ebook empire. The Pendergrasts sold the company to Barnes & Noble back in March and now things seem to be changing in a hurry. The other day they announced new, cheaper prices across the board at their eReader.com site:
# All new titles are $9.95 or less for the first week after release at eReader.com.
# After one week, all new titles are set to the publisher list price but will not exceed $12.95.
# No title is priced over $12.95.
# All titles on the New York Times best seller list at eReader are $9.95. The New York Times best seller list at eReader is updated every week.
# All titles receive 15% eReader Rewards.
This actually could be better than Amazon’s previously unmatched Kindle ebook pricing. I had hoped eReader’s move would generate some pressure on Amazon to reverse the trend of prices creeping higher for Kindle books. But on a closer examination, it looks like the competition might not be generating any pressure on Amazon at all. Well, at least no more pressure than a 4 cent discount creates.
That’s because I had trouble finding any of the best-seller type books Amazon is currently selling for more than $9.99 in the EReader store. Brad Thor’s Apostle: A Thriller costs $14.57 as a Kindle book but it’s not among the seven Brad Thor ebooks offered by eReader.com. Breaking Dawn, the most recent volume of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, is $11.38 as a Kindle book and $12.95 at eReader.com. Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich, which came out on June 23, is $15.37 in the Kindle store but not available from eReader.com.
And amongst the back catalog books, my admitedly cursory survey found Kindle still offering much better prices. Twilight, the first book in Meyers’ vampire series and available as a paperback for $6.59 from Amazon, is $6.59 at the Kindle store but a whopping $10.99 from eReader.com. And, p.s., can I just say again how it is really annoying and customer unfriendly that Amazon has stopped showing the prices of other editions and formats on Kindle book pages.
Of course, there’s no way to compare comprehensively the selection and pricing policies across the two sites. Please feel free to post counter-examples in the comments. I also dropped a line to the Pendergrasts to see if they wanted to respond.
As feared, Kindle prices appear to be rising (6/22/2009)