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Old 10-19-2012, 05:14 AM   #1
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Why are Amazon books now more expensive?

Hi all,

When the Paperwhite came out it seemed that the gap between Amazon and the others was growing. I (Kobo user) wanted to try their ecosystem with a couple of books on their iOS app thinking that maybe I could switch when I was ready to replace my Kobo. What I found out was that every book I could find that had publisher controlled pricing was more expensive than on competing stores like the iBooks store and Kobo itself. I'm shopping from Australia and I don't know what the situation is like elsewhere but can anybody explain this? I was under the impression that publisher set pricing would keep all of them level.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:04 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geenp View Post
Hi all,

When the Paperwhite came out it seemed that the gap between Amazon and the others was growing. I (Kobo user) wanted to try their ecosystem with a couple of books on their iOS app thinking that maybe I could switch when I was ready to replace my Kobo. What I found out was that every book I could find that had publisher controlled pricing was more expensive than on competing stores like the iBooks store and Kobo itself. I'm shopping from Australia and I don't know what the situation is like elsewhere but can anybody explain this? I was under the impression that publisher set pricing would keep all of them level.
Publisher set pricing keeps prices whatever the publisher wants. A particular book is only published by ONE publisher, so there is no competition from others selling that book, so they can charge whatever they want, and if someone wants that book, they don't have a choice, because it'll be the same across all stores.

Wholesale pricing is where it's at, sell the product to a reseller, and the reseller can charge whatever they please to complete with other resellers selling the same product. This forces the companies to sell books cheaper to the resellers so as they can all compete with each other.

That's a pretty basic explanation/reasoning behind it, but wholesale overall is much better.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geenp View Post
Hi all,

When the Paperwhite came out it seemed that the gap between Amazon and the others was growing. I (Kobo user) wanted to try their ecosystem with a couple of books on their iOS app thinking that maybe I could switch when I was ready to replace my Kobo. What I found out was that every book I could find that had publisher controlled pricing was more expensive than on competing stores like the iBooks store and Kobo itself. I'm shopping from Australia and I don't know what the situation is like elsewhere but can anybody explain this? I was under the impression that publisher set pricing would keep all of them level.
In countries where Amazon don't have an agreement with a local telecoms operator they used to charge a US$2 surcharge per book to pay for the cost of 3G downloads. Is that perhaps still the case for Australia? Might account for it. I've certainly not noticed Amazon being more expensive than other stores; quite the opposite - they're very often cheaper.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In countries where Amazon don't have an agreement with a local telecoms operator they used to charge a US$2 surcharge per book to pay for the cost of 3G downloads. Is that perhaps still the case for Australia? Might account for it. I've certainly not noticed Amazon being more expensive than other stores; quite the opposite - they're very often cheaper.
The US$ 2.- surcharge per book is still added in the Asia Pacific region - no matter wether you side load the book or get it over wifi. One of my pet peeves
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:24 PM   #5
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Note that Kobo store have one price listed on site and another(higher) when you log in and try to buy book. They explain it as software issue but to me it looks more like fishing for more customers.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astmario View Post
Note that Kobo store have one price listed on site and another(higher) when you log in and try to buy book. They explain it as software issue but to me it looks more like fishing for more customers.
Its worth keeping in mind that Kobo often has the same book from different publishers often with very different prices (sometimes up to $4.00 difference) so when I buy from Kobo I never do it from the desktop application but always from the store website.

I also don't find Amazon all that cheap. Usually for what I want Amazon is a couple of Canadian dollars more than Kobo although with tax it ends up being about the same. Maybe there is a bigger difference with certain genres of books.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:51 PM   #7
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The US$ 2.- surcharge per book is still added in the Asia Pacific region - no matter wether you side load the book or get it over wifi. One of my pet peeves
This is outrageous !!!

In Europe, or at least in Spain/Germany/France, the coutries I can check easily, Amazon is at the same price or cheaper than Kobo, Weltbild, or Numilog.
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Old 10-19-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by aceflor View Post
This is outrageous !!!

In Europe, or at least in Spain/Germany/France, the coutries I can check easily, Amazon is at the same price or cheaper than Kobo, Weltbild, or Numilog.
In Norway we have to pay the $2 surcharge, so for me Kobo is cheaper than Amazon most of the time.

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews:
Amazon: $11,03
Kobo: $6,59 (List price $7,99)

I used a coupon and bought it for $3.62. Amazon has a bigger selection though.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manou View Post
The US$ 2.- surcharge per book is still added in the Asia Pacific region - no matter wether you side load the book or get it over wifi. One of my pet peeves
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceflor View Post
This is outrageous !!!

In Europe, or at least in Spain/Germany/France, the coutries I can check easily, Amazon is at the same price or cheaper than Kobo, Weltbild, or Numilog.
Yeah, it really doesn't seem fair.
Their problem is that, even if you sideload or download over WiFi at the time you purchase an ebook, once it's in your Kindle library, you're still free to download again later using their 3G, and it would be messy to have to charge the 3g premium at that later time.

Now that more devices are WiFi, seems they could look into just disabling future 3g transfers for those who opt out, but I expect that could get messy too, if the person ever buys a 3g kindle...
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:20 AM   #10
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Publisher set pricing keeps prices whatever the publisher wants. A particular book is only published by ONE publisher, so there is no competition from others selling that book, so they can charge whatever they want, and if someone wants that book, they don't have a choice, because it'll be the same across all stores.
I understand that which is why I'm wondering how Amazon is charging more for books that they explicitly stated to have prices set by the publisher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In countries where Amazon don't have an agreement with a local telecoms operator they used to charge a US$2 surcharge per book to pay for the cost of 3G downloads. Is that perhaps still the case for Australia? Might account for it. I've certainly not noticed Amazon being more expensive than other stores; quite the opposite - they're very often cheaper.
Not sure what agreements Amazon has in place here but why are they charging a surcharge for 3G services that I don't use? I don't use a 3G Kindle, why should I be charged for that service. Anyway, the additional cost is usually not more than $1, as I said it's about 5-10% so I don't think it is this surcharge? I did notice a while back that Amazon is very often cheaper which is what prompted me to have another look in the first place only to find that this is no longer true in my case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astmario View Post
Note that Kobo store have one price listed on site and another(higher) when you log in and try to buy book. They explain it as software issue but to me it looks more like fishing for more customers.
Yea I read about that on The Digital Reader. That is unacceptable but I haven't actually experienced this problem with any book, and I have checked. Their prices are in line with the Sony store and Apple's iBooks which leads me to believe that they are following the publisher set pricing and Amazon is the odd one out.
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:04 AM   #11
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In countries where Amazon don't have an agreement with a local telecoms operator they used to charge a US$2 surcharge per book to pay for the cost of 3G downloads. Is that perhaps still the case for Australia?
Australia isn't a surcharge-country anymore. In any case, Amazon won't explicitly say that the surcharge is for the 3G, so it's no use complaining if you don't even use it. This is still a major problem in many countries, but not Australia, NZ, Canada or the countries that have their own Kindle store.

geenp, could you give us some examples so that we could see what might be going on?
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Old 10-20-2012, 03:06 AM   #12
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Specifically, you say that prices have increased since the release of the PW. Can you give us some "before and after" prices as illustrations?
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Old 10-20-2012, 08:08 AM   #13
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andreabc,

Thanks for the explanation of the 3G surcharge. I've taken screen shots of two reasonably popular books.

HarryT,

That's not really what I meant, it just so happens that I was having a look at Amazon's prices again recently because of the new Paperwhite. I only know that prices are higher now than I remember them to be in general, can't say how long they've been like this. I don't remember any exact prices but it used to be that Amazon was quite consistently better on pricing.

I should say that not all books on Amazon are more expensive, but it seems that most of the more popular ones are. Of the few I've seen that are cheaper, I've noticed that none have the 'This price was set by the publisher' message.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
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OK, in the 2 books that you mention part of the difference is because Amazon is quoting prices in USD and Kobo prices are in AUD...
I think with conversion Amazon is still a bit more expensive though...

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Old 10-20-2012, 03:13 PM   #15
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Based on the pics, it appears that the Kindle books are about 50¢ more, but I noted the line that said "applicable taxes are included." Curious as to whether Kobo includes the taxes (if there are indeed taxes on the purchase) in the purchase price, or if they are added later in the purchase process.

I've never seen the "applicable taxes" line on the US Kindle store.
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