Originally Posted by Darqref
This is really reaching into the dark ages, but....
I have in my library some very old Baen paperbacks. In the back of those, where most mass pbs have some advertising, Baen offered to sell books by mail. The prices they listed undercut the cover price. As a result (for a period anyway), most retailers stopped ordering Baen books in retaliation. This experiment only lasted a couple of months, as I understand, Baen stopped the sell-by-mail, and things went back to normal. With that corporate history, Baen doesn't want to get frozen out again.
The only way to do this now (that I can immediately think of, anyway) is to have a coupon code, which is never posted on the same page as the actual book listing. You'd probably have change it regularly, and probably have at least some periods where it's not available. That way, a big retailer can only web-scrape the list price, and not the coupon price.
The only real effect this will have on me, is to force me to buy ahead. You can browse the publishing schedule at Baen for months ahead, so it's never supposed to be a surprise. And you can buy monthly bundles for almost a year in advance. Once purchased, you should still be able to download any time, when they finally become available. In the past, I was just lazy, and never bought the bundle until it was already available to download.
Baen isn't the only one who has tried such. And now it's in contracts that you won't sell cheaper (list) anywhere else. The retailers control almost all sale prices. It's kind of an ongoing...oh, I won't say problem, but it's an issue for those who have their own sites. We want to be able to give a discount. I do it similar to Baen: I discount for a week or two on my own store before release. But then after release, sometimes Amazon discounts. And I get emails saying, 'You said it would be priced at x and Amazon put the price at Y."
I don't know about with Baen, but I suspect Amazon doesn't tell them if/when a book will go on sale. And the general reader has no idea who sets sale prices so it's confusing for a lot of people. So then I get emails asking why it's not on sale at B&N. Right after I tell them I don't control the sale price, B&N will match...which is great, but makes me look like a dork.