July 15, 2010

Penguin, Penguin, Penguin

I tweeted a couple of days ago that a book I'd reshelved - Shayla Black's Wicked Ties - sold in trade paperback at Amazon for $10.20 while the Kindle price, set by Penguin, was and remains as of this afternoon, even after I submitted a complaint to Penguin, $12.99. So I decided to do a bit of sleuthing and am reporting here about pricing for hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and mass market paperbacks. I looked at a myriad of books in each category, but settled upon two apiece that are representative and created the table you see below, which includes not only Penguin books, but for some contrast, books published by Random House. Remember, Penguin sets its own Kindle prices via the agency model. Random House does not.

Penguin Publishing Random House Publishing

MJD: Undead and Unfinished

$14.97 - hardcover

$11.99 - kindle

Kindle price ~20% less

David Mitchell - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

$15.21 - hardcover

$9.99 - kindle

Kindle price 35% less

LKH: Bullet

$15.75 - hardcover

$12.99 - kindle

Kindle price 20% less

Justin Cronin: The Passage

$14.46 - hardcover

$9.99 - kindle

Kindle price 30% less

Karen Harper: Mistress Shakespeare

$10.50 - trade paperback

$12.99 - kindle

Kindle price 20% more

Lisa See: Shanghai Girls

$10.20 - trade paperback

$9.50 - kindle

Kindle price ~10% less

Nora Roberts: Savor the Moment

$7.99 - trade paperback

$9.99 - kindle

Kindle price 20% more

Sarah Dunant: Sacred Hearts

$10.20 - trade paperback

$9.89 - kindle

Prices nearly match

Nalini Singh: Bonds of Justice

$7.99 - mass market

$5.49 - kindle

Kindle price 30% less

Tessa Dare: One Dance with a Duke

$7.99 - mass market

$6.39 - kindle

Kindle price 20% less

Charlaine Harris: Dead and Gone

$7.99 - mass market

$6.99 - kindle

Kindle price ~15% less

John Grisham: The Partner

$7.99 - mass market

$6.39 - kindle

Kindle price 20% less

On digital versions of new hardcovers, real discounts are available for both publishing houses, although the discount for Random House is closer to 30% while the Penguin discount is closer to 20%. Trade paperbacks show the largest differences, and in this area Penguin fails miserably as its kindle prices are 20% higher than its print prices. Random House doesn't have its trade paperbacks priced very understandably, at least to me. Many of its digital trade releases are almost the same price as the print versions, although I did see a substantial amount for a discount of roughly 10%. Kindle versions of mass market paperbacks are discounted for both publishers, from ~15 to 30% for Penguin to a more stable 20% from Random House.

This has been an interesting exercise. Had I more time, I would have added more columns, so we could compare pricing from St. Martin's Press and Harper/Collins on the agency model side, and Harlequin, on the Random House side. In lieu of that, I've done a more thumbnailed sketch.

Pricing for the new Lisa Kleypas, in mass market from St. Martin's: $7.19 for mass market, $7.99 for Kindle. You can buy the popular trade paperback, Sarah's Key, from Tatiana Rosnay (another St. Martin's book), for $8.37. The Kindle version will cost you $9.99.

Moving on to HarperCollins...Julia Quinn's latest sells in mass market paperback for $7.99. The Kindle price is exactly the same. The price tag for the trade paperback version of Garth Stein's The Art of Dancing in the Rain is $8.99. You can buy the same book in mass market format for $7.99. Unfortunately, the Kindle version goes for $9.99.

I'll leave you with an upswing, and some pricing for Harlequin. The mass market paperback for Robyn Carr's Moonlight Road sells at Amazon for $7.99. The same book in digital format costs $5.76. Julia Justiss' upcoming Harlequin Historicals is $5.99 for the mass market release and $3.99 digitally.


Share/Bookmark

2 comments:

vi said...

Wow, what an eye-opener. I hope you will do a more extensive chart to list all of the major publishers.

Laurie Gold said...

It's doubtful. In my former online incarnation I would have, but as a casual blogger, this is likely "it" for me. If I had a large forum for making a change I would take advantage of it, but I don't, so what you see is what you get. Which, btw, took a long, long time to put together.