I hadn’t been aware of this until just today, probably because it happened on the other side of the Atlantic, but in recent weeks there’s been a bit of a furor over Amazon UK listing several e-books for only 20 pence each. It turns out, though, that this isn’t Amazon’s “fault”—Amazon is only pricematching Sony.
Sony recently launched its own UK e-book store with 20 pence promotions on ten e-books, which will apparently change over time—including, oddly enough, titles from Macmillan, whose American branch was so concerned about Amazon’s $9.99 e-book prices eroding the value of e-books that it implemented agency pricing and is fighting the Justice Department over its right to impose it. And since Amazon reserves the right to pricematch any sale prices on books it lists, Amazon has gone to 20 pence on those titles, too.
Perhaps the most amusing thing to me is how quickly everyone noticed Amazon was doing this discounting and jumped to the conclusion, “Oh no, Amazon’s being evil again!” It took the Bookseller investigating before the truth that it was actually instigated by Sony came out. So the moral is, Amazon’s pricematching policy and significantly greater popularity lets it take credit and get blame for its competitors’ promotions as well as its own. “Sony who?”