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Summary:

Just a few days after the approval of the DOJ’s ebook settlement, HarperCollins has entered into new contracts with ebook retailers, and they’re already discounting its titles. What kinds of deals will you get?

The Department of Justice’s ebook pricing settlement was approved last Thursday, and HarperCollins, one of the three settling publishers, has already entered into new contracts with ebook retailers – including Apple. The retailers can now set their own prices on HarperCollins titles. So what kinds of changes are we seeing? A roundup of select titles (the prices are correct as of Tuesday morning afternoon, but are subject to change. I updated them at 3:36 ET but won’t do so again.)

(Note: The chart is cutting off part of the last column, Sony. You can see my full pricing spreadsheet here.)

HarperCollins ebook prices, 9/11/12
Title Author Pub Date Ebook List Price Amazon Apple B&N Kobo Google Sony
The Cutting
Season
Attica Locke 9/18/2012 $14.99 $10.94 n/a $14.99 $14.99 $10.94 n/a
Telegraph Avenue Michael Chabon 9/11/2012 $17.99 $9.99 $18.99 $12.59 $17.99 $12.99 $13.50
The Rise of Nine Pittacus Lore 8/21/2012 $11.99 $7.99 $7.99 $8.39 $9.59 $9.59 $10.20
Judgment Call J.A. Jance 7/24/2012 $14.99 $9.99 $9.99 $10.94 n/a $10.94 $12.00
The Fallen Angel Daniel Silva 7/17/2012 $17.99 $9.99 $9.99 $12.59 $17.99 $13.13 $13.50
Bloodline James Rollins 6/26/2012 $14.99 $9.99 $9.99 $10.94 $14.99 $10.94 $12.00
The Shoemaker’s
Wife
Adriana Trigiani 4/3/2012 $10.99 $7.99 $7.99 $8.02 $10.99 $8.02 $9.35
State of Wonder Ann Patchett 6/7/2011 $10.99 $9.35 $9.99 $9.78 $10.99 $9.78 $9.35
Family Affair Debbie Macomber 1/4/2011 $5.99 $5.69 $5.99 $5.69 n/a $5.69 $5.99
The Happiness
Project
Gretchen Rubin 12/29/2009 $11.99 $3.99 $10.99 $3.99 $3.99 $9.78 $9.35
Act Like a Lady,
Think Like a Man
Steve Harvey 1/27/2009 $9.99 $7.29 $7.99 $7.29 $9.99 $7.29 $9.99
The Art of
Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein 5/13/2008 $10.99 $7.99 $7.99 $9.68 $10.99 $9.78 $9.35

A couple notes:

  • Amazon doesn’t show the ebooks’ list prices. I had to go to Barnes & Noble for those. I obviously haven’t looked at HarperCollins’ entire list, but you can see that in some cases it’s raised ebooks’ list prices. For example, Michael Chabon’s upcoming Telegraph Avenue, which would have been priced at $12.99 or $14.99 under agency, has a list price of $17.99 in the new world.
  • Apple is now discounting titles too (that wasn’t true yesterday). In some cases, as you’ll see above, Apple is offering lower prices on new bestsellers than Amazon. Amazon dropped prices to match Apple’s this afternoon. More on that here.
  • Amazon is offering the lowest prices. Based just on the titles above, the average price on Amazon Kindle was $8.43; on Apple, $9.81; on Barnes & Noble Nook, $9.57; on Google Play, $9.91; on Sony (SNE), $10.42; on Kobo, $12.25.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock / Thomas Bethge

  1. Still not taking into account all the savings from not having to print, ship, & remainder actual physical copies.

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    1. Ms. Collins: what evidence of costs do you have to support that claim?

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      1. What do you mean? An ebook costs nothing to publish and ship. It’s a digital item. (books have always been overpriced even in the physical realm – with a hardcover with a cost of four dollars in production and shipping selling for four to five times that)

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      2. @Shawn

        Publishing costs are the same or greater for ebooks. Do you mean it cost nothing to PRINT?

        I’d agree printing and shipping an ebook costs nothing. But that’s an asinine point as ebooks aren’t shipped or printed. It’s like saying that it is cheaper to raise an elephant than a cat because you save on kitty litter. There are still plenty of costs involved.

        At the end of the day, all of these ebooks cost at least a couple bucks less than the paper equivalent.

        Do you really think a couple hundred sheets of paper and a postage stamp costs more than a couple of bucks?

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      3. It’s true that an e-book doesn’t have the paper costs – but that was always the cheapest part of publishing a book. Most of the price is based on writing, editing, formatting, publicity, and anything else that comes before the actual e-book or printed book.

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      4. One of the problems with physical books is that you are actually paying for the return of unsold books. The price of the cost of overprinting/returning to publisher is passed on to the customer.

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  2. You need to add Apple iBooks to your chart. They have the lowest prices on some (?) of the HC books right now.

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    1. Yes, they sure do – added – thanks for the tip Sheri, Peter and Oncfari.

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    2. Books on Board is also cheaper than Amazon on a lot of HC titles.

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      1. Yes – Books on Board is running a 24%-off deal on HarperCollins books this week. http://paidcontent.org/2012/09/10/that-was-fast-amazon-is-already-discounting-harpercollins-ebooks/

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  3. You should add Apple to this list- they are discounting as well

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  4. Not a word about iTunes?

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  5. You have an error. Telegraph Avenue’s release date is today.

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    1. fixed — thanks

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    2. Timothy Wilhoit Tuesday, September 11, 2012

      …and it’s $9.87 at BooksOnBoard. :)

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  6. Just commenting on the cost discussion. Publishers, aside from paying their staff, rent, utilities, etc., have to pay royalties to the authors, pay for copy editing, proofreading, typesetting, printing, warehousing and shipping for traditional books. For e-books, the printing and shipping may disappear, but now publisher’s now need to invest in new technology. They can’t simply send a Word doc to a typesetter (or page compositor), they have to create XML files and have to either pay new employees to do this or job it out to another company, they need to invest in technology or pay new vendors to create mobi, epub, and all sorts of different files used by different e-book sellers. They need to pay distribution fees to the wholesalers and aggregators who distribute the ebooks on their behalf. Needless to say, it’s not necessarily cheaper, it’s just different. Sue

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  7. Does anyone realize that publishing and printing are not the same thing? Publishers don’t just get a manuscript printed, we pay grants, advances, employee salaries, insurance, rent, taxes, design costs, reviewer costs, typesetting costs, marketing and sales costs… the list goes on. These costs are the same, and they have to be recouped or written off if the book doesn’t sell, no matter what the format. Sure, there are some savings with an e-book, but those costs aren’t the big ones.

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    1. I have to ask, do you need a brick and mortar publishing house if you do ebooks? Similar to not needing brick and mortar retail outlets like Borders? Many of the costs would go away.

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  8. The Price listed for Telegraph Avenue at Apple is for the enhanced version. The other prices are for the plain vanilla e-book.

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  9. And all of the above didn’t bother to mention the time it takes to write a book, at least the time that the best authors take to write a book, which can be several years or longer. Factor that in if you would…Also, I’m a little confused as to how Amazon is doing overseas ebook publishing with the larger publishers. With ebook publishing for the smaller publishers (which I am looking at) they are making a land grab for overseas rights…I’m not sure how to view this but it feels highly illegal. After all, suppose you want to sell print rights to, say, France. They will also want the ebooks rights but Amazon is saying up front in their contracts when you sign up to have the carry your ebook that they HAVE those rights as part of you signing on for the English/American rights. Could PaidContent please look at this and cover it…This is very worrisome as it, in essence, is Amazon demanding your foreign ebook pubilcation rights just to be on Amazon…

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  10. Many reader may not realized, most ebooks are done by conversion houses. They want cheap and discounted ebooks? Be careful what you ask for. QA is lacking right now across the board. Don’t complaint about funky breaks, drop text, broken links etc. I can assure you no one will care if we move toward this direction. Let’s not forget, publishers also have the option of NOT creating ebooks at all…if they can’t control their pricing then why bother making a few cents that barely covers your cost? (it’s unlikely for any publishers to take this path but it is not impossible if the situation gets worst). I think we are going to see and experiences rapid changes in publishing in a hurry.

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    1. Well then Ben, Publishers need to find a new line of work if they cant stand not reaping giant profits. Better yet why dont we just publish direct and cut them out all together. ITS not like they offer any value to the ebook process. Perhaps authors would like to sell direct to readers! I know I would.

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