eBook Pricing

kindle250The last I wrote about eReaders was quite awhile ago. At one point, my family has owned 2 Kindle eInks, 2 Nook eInks, one Nook color, and 2 iPads. Needless, to say we've fallen in love with reading books with eReaders.

I've found that Amazon has a much larger eBook selection than Barnes and Noble. Many times I've found a book on Amazon that is not listed at all on B&N. As a result, whenever I'm looking for a book to read, I naturally go to Amazon to find books, especially on non-fiction specialty topics.

After I find a book, I like to look at the Kindle price, and then go to the B&N site to see how much it costs there. I have been reading most recently on a Nook color eReader that I use mostly at home, and then I take my black and white Nook on vacation for reading in the direct sunlight. My preference, therefore, is naturally for Nook eBooks.

The reason for the article is I went to Amazon and found a book I'd like to read, and when I went to the B&N site, I found the book was considerably higher in price and only $1 below the paperback price. The original eBook prices started out about half of the paperback price. I was shocked, so much so that it made me go look for a new Kindle eReader so I could switch my main reading to a Kindle, instead of a Nook.

I decided to compare eReader pricing for eBooks between Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I thought I'd show you a cross section of eBooks between Amazon and B&N and let you be the judge.

Action Thriller: Brad Thor, Blowback
Amazon: eReader: $8.54 paperback: $8.99
B&N: ereader: $9.99 paperback: $9.99

Action Thriller: Jo Nesbo, The Redbreast
Amazon: eReader: $6.83 paperback: $12.17
B&N: eReader: $7.99 paperback: $12.17

Action Thriller: David Baldacci, The Hit
Amazon: eReader: $4.99 paperback: $9.00
B&N: eReader: $9.99 paperback: $9.14

Mystery: Clayton Lindemuth, Cold Quiet Country
Amazon: eReader: $2.99 paperback: $11.94
B&N: eReader: $7.49 paperback: $12.14

Mystery: John Grisham, Sycamore Row
Amazon: eReader: $6.49 hardcover: $15.33
B&N: eReader: $10.49 hardcover: $16.26

Romance: J.R. Ward, Lover at Last
Amazon: eReader: $4.88 paperback: $5.40
B&N: eReader: $4.88 paperback: $7.99

NonFiction: Miriam Goodman, Reinventing Retirement
Amazon: eReader: $9.99 hardcover: $24.95
B&N: eReader: $11.49 hardcover: not available

NonFiction: Rusty Bradley, Lions of Kandahar
Amazon: eReader: $11.99 hardcover: $16.55
B&N: eReader: $14.99 hardcover: $16.71

NonFiction: Steven Tadelis, Game Theory
Amazon: eReader: $31.01 hardcover: $32.64
B&N: eReader: $34.34 hardcover: $32.92

NonFiction: John Billingham, The Education of a Modern Poker Player
Amazon: eReader: $12.39 hardcover: $21.43
B&N: eReader: $19.95 hardcover: $26.86

What can we glean from this price review?

First, a disclaimer, these books admittedly were picked at random, whether they are representative sample of the entire book collection of the vendors, I could not say.

One of the things I noticed is that eBook prices on both sites are creeping more toward the actual paperback price.  It's not true that it costs these vendors nothing to deliver the eBooks, as IT infrastructure needs to be maintained, but the vendors do pay more for storing, packaging and maybe shipping the actual book, so the eReader price should be lower.

Next, the more technical the book, the higher the price and the higher the eBook price.  And even more interesting the B&N eReader price for the Game Theory book is higher than the hardcover price, I'm not sure I understand that one.

Finally, let's just say it. Barnes and Nobles prices are higher than Amazon's across the board. In this sample, the Barnes and Noble price ran anywhere from $1.19 to $7.56 higher than Amazon's, with the exception of one very popular romance, Lover at Last, which was the same eReader price, but still higher in paperback.

If you read twenty books a year, and the price differential runs about $5.00 a book, you end up paying $100 more with Barnes and Noble, almost enough for a new eReader.

Speaking of new eReaders, the new Kindle Paperwhite reader has excellent reviews and is priced at $119. The Nook Glowlight is priced at $119. The reviews favor the Kindle over the Glowlight, mostly because of better software.

Given this admittedly limited review of pricing, I have to favor buying a new Kindle, and keeping my Nook for those rare occasions, once in a blue moon, when the Nook price is better than Amazon's.

As far as I'm concerned, Barnes and Noble has priced itself out of my eReader business, and caused me to buy a new Kindle to take advantage of the better Amazon pricing, or maybe, it's just my excuse to buy a new eReader as a treat to myself.  At least, with both a Nook and a Kindle, I'll have the best of both worlds.


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