Amazon’s ‘Big Deals’ Puts 900 Kindle Books On Sale–Including Big 6 Titles

Following the success of its “Sunshine Deals” promotion, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is running an even bigger sale on Kindle books: The Big Deal, with over 900 titles on sale for $0.99, $1.99, $2.99 and $3.99 through July 27. And here’s the kicker: For the first time ever, Big 6 publishers like Random House are participating in the sale.

The “big six” publishers–Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS), Penguin and Macmillan–use the agency model for e-book pricing: They set prices for their e-books, and retailers like Amazon sell them at that price and receive a 30 percent commission. Under the wholesale model, which most other publishers are using, publishers set the list price for their e-books and retailers can then sell them at whatever price they want.

Amazon worked in collaboration with publishers on its Sunshine Deals promotion, but since all of the titles included were sold under the wholesale model it could have just put those books on sale anyway. This time–for the first time–some big 6 publishers are participating in the sale and bringing down the prices of their e-books.

Which big 6 pubs are included? I haven’t gone through every title on the list (though that’s the type of task that could actually be pretty enlightening in an instance like this) but so far I see titles from Random House, HarperCollins and Macmillan. Literary fiction wasn’t a big part of Sunshine Deals, but this time Random House has included a few literary fiction titles in the promotion, like Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. Both those books are set at $3.99–a price category that wasn’t included last time in Sunshine Deals, which discounted books at $0.99, $1.99 and $2.99.

Interestingly, the titles from agency model publishers that are on sale at Amazon are not on sale for the same prices at other e-tailers, like the Nook Store. Commencement is $7.99 at the Nook Store, for instance. I’d thought that the agency model required publishers to set the same e-book prices at retailers across the board, but I guess not. Update: When the promotion started yesterday prices were still different at various stores (i.e., higher at the Nook store) but now it looks as though the prices have standardized across retailers, so an e-book that’s $3.99 on Kindle is $3.99 on Nook.

Anyway, this is the first time that any big 6 pubs have participated in a widescale e-book sale and I can’t wait to see what comes out of this. If you have thoughts, please put them in the comments.