Amazon’s Urges Publishers to Greatly Lower ebook Prices

By September 7, 2017News, Reading Formats

When ebooks first appeared on the scene a few years ago, it was feared that this may spell the doom of physical paper books and bookshops. However, it seems even the convenience of ebooks compete with the feel of a real book in one’s hands and paper books have continued to thrive as ebooks struggle to keep up.

Amazon’s publishing chief, David Naggar, has urged publishers of ebooks to lower the price of their books to 99p, as he believes this attractive price point will attract more readers. However, some publishers argue that such a move could be “economically unwise” and would damage the all book sales in the long run.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Maggar suggested that traditional publishers should follow the example of self published authors who set a low price point for their books in order to encourage readers.

“I look at price as a tool for visibility. You can either spend a lot of money on marketing or you can invest it in a super-low price until they get the flywheel going of the recommendation engines – and this is just for Amazon”, Naggar said. “What self-published authors will do is they will publish a book and sell it for 99p right out of the gate… Publishers [with new authors] could much more afford to do that than self-published authors. If I have two books in front of me and I don’t know either author, and one book costs £9.99 and the other is £2.99, which one am I going to take?”

Some professionals in the industry disagree with Naggar as there are differences between self publishing and traditional publishing. Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors, called Naggar “naive”, saying:

“He makes a direct comparison between publishing companies and self-published authors, but conveniently avoids the fact that the economics are completely different”, she said. “Self-published authors on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform earn between 35%-70% of the e-book retail price (where traditionally-published authors earn 25% royalty on e-books)– that’s why they can discount to that level and still enjoy a decent income if their book is successful. But I doubt Naggar has considered the likely impact on the incomes of traditionally published authors if their e-books were discounted to 99p as standard. The routine discounting and implied devaluing of printed books – often at the authors’ expense – is already a big problem. The last thing we need is to encourage even more discounting on digital platforms.”

Chief executive of the Publisher’s Association, Stephen Lotinga, also agreed that he two business models are different and believes Amazon has publishers “over a barrel” due to its high e-book market share, about 90% in the UK.

“Amazon have a vested interest in lowering prices as much as they possibly can because it helps them maintain their market share,” Lotinga said. “Effectively, they’re saying, ‘In order to promote your book, we’re going to dictate the price’. Our members are running a different business model than self-published authors are. They invest a lot of money in authors and feel that they price their books appropriately. We are not seeking to sell very low [priced] commodities.”
However, CEO of ebook publisher Endeavour Press, Matthew Lynn, agreed that ebook prices need to be lower, saying:

“In general, e-books are still over priced,” he said. “The industry is stuck where music industry was five years ago, but the market has moved on. Just as people weren’t prepared to pay £15 for a digital music file, they’re not going to pay a great deal for digital books. I think 99p is low price point, £1.99 is much better. But it depends on genre.” He went on to say digital and print books are not “competing products” because they serve different audiences. “Cheaper e-books are not cannibalising sales, they’re enhancing them”, he said.

A spokesperson for Amazon has since said that Naggar’s comments were taken “very much out of context” and were meant to show how new authors who self publish can use low price points to help get exposure.

Amazon’s Urges Publishers to Greatly Lower ebook Prices

By | News, Reading Formats | No Comments
When ebooks first appeared on the scene a few years ago, it was feared that this may spell the doom of physical paper books and bookshops. However, it seems even the convenience of ebooks compete with the feel of a real book in one’s hands and paper books have continued to thrive as ebooks struggle to keep up.

Amazon’s publishing chief, David Naggar, has urged publishers of ebooks to lower the price of their books to 99p, as he believes this attractive price point will attract more readers. However, some publishers argue that such a move could be “economically unwise” and would damage the all book sales in the long run. Read More

Looking through the Reading Glass

By | Reading Formats | No Comments
They make us look suave; they make us look nerdy; sometimes mature and often funny. The wearer knows where they pinch and also the stress of forgetting them somewhere. But heavy frames or rimless, reading glasses commonly known as spectacles are a saviour for many reading addicts.

Today the terms are used interchangeably, but at the turn of the last century, there was a clear demarcation: “eyeglasses” was the word used to describe eyewear with no sidebar, while “spectacles” referred to frames with sidebars. Read More

Gutenberg: The Press that Printed

By | Reading Formats | No Comments
Most of us take books, newspapers, magazines or any printed material for granted. But imagine life if the printing press had never been invented. The printing press counts as one of the most important invention of our time that brought about a literary renaissance.

Before the printing press was invented, all writing had to be painstakingly done by hand. People who did this work were known as Scribes. They worked in a special room in the monasteries they lived in, called a Scriptorium. The scribes would work silently, measuring the page layout and then copying text from another book to make multiple copies of the same. The book would then be sent to the illuminator who would look after the design and embellishments on the book that had to be done by hand. Read More

Copyright Reform in Australia Could Bring Millions of Books to the Blind

By | News, Reading Formats | No Comments
A new bill proposed earlier this week in Australia’s parliament could make it much easier for people with disabilities to get access to copyrighted literature. The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and other Measures) Bill was proposed on Wednesday and, if passed, will make it much easier for people to get copyrighted material in formats such as braille, large print, and DAISY audio. Read More

My Love Affair with Audio Books

By | Reading Formats | No Comments
I’ve always been a bookworm, right from when I could first read I have never been without a book, but audio books were never really my thing until my children were little and I used Roald Dahl stories on long car journeys to keep them entertained.

This was as much for my sanity as theirs. I’ve always loved his books so using him to drown out the sibling bickering was no hardship for me.  Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny Champion of the World were their favourites and I was glad to see that they are still available to buy today (USUK). Read More



Leave a Reply