It seems that Amazon’s ability to offer ebooks at a lower price than Apple’s announced iBook shop is being eroded more quickly than even dire predictions had supposed it might.
Word comes from Gizmodo that more of Amazon’s “big six” publishers have been pushing prices up to the higher price point for “hardcover bestsellers,” which is an interesting term to use in an entirely data environment. After MacMillan’s move on Monday to see prices bumped to the $15 mark on certain titles, it seems that other publishers have come pouring in with similar requests to make of Amazon’s Kindle Store.
Indeed, it seems that those pushing for prices above Amazon’s once apparently set-in-stone $10 mark are now in the majority, which means that anyone buying new ebooks from Amazon could well find themselves paying more than they expected when they picked up their Kindle for just about any new book.
Of course, Amazon’s statement that it’s all about what the market will bear is a worthwhile one. If people simply refuse to buy ebooks in the same numbers as they had before then it seems likely that publishers could find themselves forced to lower prices on new releases or “hardcover bestsellers” in an attempt to sell in in higher volumes.
It’s certainly a strange arrangement though, to see digital content simply being bumped up to match the cost of physical content, especially given the fact that other non-book related services seem to be trending in the opposite direction. Indeed, Steam’s move to offer games at prices around the €2 mark for a limited time has seen absolutely massive sales, turning vast profit even on games that would normally cost closer to €20 and represent some fairly vast downloads. While we’re aware that they’re entirely different models, it does seem as though a low-cost high-volume sales model could work very well with books…
Still, if Apple is offering books at $15 a pop then it seems likely that publishers will push for Amazon to do the same. It’ll be interesting to see how well the Kindle stacks up to the iPad now that its cheaper books seem to be evaporating though. Could Apple have just killed the low-cost ebook?