While it has been increasingly clear over the past year that Amazon is dominating the market share and price wars among dedicated ebook reader devices, it is now clear that Amazon is also winning its tug of war with traditional book publishers over ebook pricing.
Amazon is succeeding dramatically in its efforts to bring an ever increasing number and percentage of all Kindle Store ebooks into its preferred price range between $2.99 and $9.99, inclusive, according to our most recent analysis of the overall pricing composition of the Kindle Store catalog and the “Top 100 Paid” spots on the Kindle Store bestseller lists:
* The total of all ebooks priced at $9.99 and below in the Kindle Store has grown dramatically in the past few months, both as a total number and as a percentage of the whole. There are currently over 616,300 Kindle Store listings at $9.99 and below, which makes up over 84 percent of the total Kindle catalog. These figures are up from 480,281 and 81 per cent on May 29, and even more dramatically from 385,684 and 77 percent on February 25.
* For all of the bluster from traditional publishers about the agency model and their alleged need to set ebook prices over $10, the actual percentage of Kindle Store ebooks priced at $10 and up has fallen from 23 percent to 16 percent since the agency model officially came into existence on April Fool’s Day.
* The percentage of Kindle ebooks priced in the range that Amazon deems the ebook sweet spot has grown from 50.06 percent to 63.47 percent between February 25 and September 5, for a relative increase of over 26 percent.
* Within that range, the fastest growing Kindle Store price points are those between $5 and $9.98. The percentage of ebooks in this price range has more than doubled since February 25, from 18.1 percent to 37.2 percent.
* Currently only about 65,700 of all Kindle ebooks — or less than 9 percent of the total catalog — are priced at exactly $9.99. This figure was over 12 percent in February.
* The pricing composition of the Kindle Store’s list of Top 100 Paid bestsellers has remained static over recent months, with 28 to 30 titles each at price points of $9.99 and $10 to $12.99, 3 or 4 titles in the $13 and up range, and the remainder of roughly 40 percent priced below $9.99. Readers appear willing to pay as much as $11.99 and $12.99 for a small number of ebook new releases each season, but those titles are competing with growing numbers of popular books at lower prices and, according to recent statements by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the publishers who are setting the higher prices are losing overall market share.