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Old 11-01-2010, 05:04 AM   #1
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UK Agency Pricing?

I'm sure there are others, but spotted this on Amazon.co.uk this morning. It came up in my recommendations and I went to have a look as I'm pretty sure it was £6 - £7 last week.

It now says 'this price was set by the publisher'.

I haven't seen any more large price hikes so far - and this book is supposed to be an 'enhanced' version - but looking at some others, even if the price has not changed significantly, the 'price set by publisher' line is appearing on several.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suecsi View Post
I'm sure there are others, but spotted this on Amazon.co.uk this morning. It came up in my recommendations and I went to have a look as I'm pretty sure it was £6 - £7 last week.
It was £6.30
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:33 AM   #3
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Amazon has caved in to the publishers:
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/13...ublishers.html

According to the information in the Amazon UK forum a lot of books have become 50% to 100% more expensive, and a lot of books are now more expensive than the paperback (or sometimes even the hardback) version.
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:59 AM   #4
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A lot of the back catalogue stuff still seems to be reasonably priced. I notice, for example, that the Ian Rankin "Inspector Rebus" books are now showing "This price is set by the publisher", but are mostly still priced at £4.49, which is the same price as previously. Amazon's paperback price for the same books is £4.99.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:12 AM   #5
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Yes, it's not so bad when the price is 'reasonably' set by the publisher (the Mark Billingham 'Thorne' series books are much the same) - it become a little more obvious with the price rise to an enhanced version.

The Fry Chronicles has the enhanced version as the only Kindle version whereas From the Dead by Mark Billingham has the standard Kindle version and then the enhanced version for Ipod/Ipad/IPhone, which comes with audio and video for £1 more than the standard Kindle version. It's fine to charge more for the enhanced version but to leave it as the only version is a bit naughty. Plus £12.99 is a lot more than £6.30, rather than a £1 extra as per my other example.
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:28 AM   #6
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The Colin Dexter "Inspector Morse" books seem to have gone up from £4.49 to £5.22 (a strange price!). Amazon's paperback price is £5.49. I really don't have any problem with it when the eBook is cheaper than the PB.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geertm View Post
Amazon has caved in to the publishers:
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/13...ublishers.html

According to the information in the Amazon UK forum a lot of books have become 50% to 100% more expensive, and a lot of books are now more expensive than the paperback (or sometimes even the hardback) version.
Publishers can set really silly prices. Look at this Stephen King novel.

Hardback (2008): RRP £18.99, Amazon: £8.99
Paperback (2009): RRP £7.99, Amazon: £4.99
Audio Download (2008): RRP £29.14, Amazon: £15.29
Ebook (2008): £17.99 "This price was set by the publisher"

They obviously set the price in 2008 and didn't reduce it when the paperback came out.

Sigh.... well, with a 400+ TBR pile, I can wait out the silliness.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Publishers can set really silly prices. Look at this Stephen King novel.

Hardback (2008): RRP £18.99, Amazon: £8.99
Paperback (2009): RRP £7.99, Amazon: £4.99
Audio Download (2008): RRP £29.14, Amazon: £15.29
Ebook (2008): £17.99 "This price was set by the publisher"

They obviously set the price in 2008 and didn't reduce it when the paperback came out.

Sigh.... well, with a 400+ TBR pile, I can wait out the silliness.
In the case of obvious errors such as this, I've achieved success in the past by contacting the publisher and asking them to review the price.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In the case of obvious errors such as this, I've achieved success in the past by contacting the publisher and asking them to review the price.
An interesting experiment. I've just sent an email to the Hodder general editorial contact address.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In the case of obvious errors such as this, I've achieved success in the past by contacting the publisher and asking them to review the price.
I've just taken a closer look at Hodder's Kindle ebook pricing. It does seem that this might be an isolated incident.

But even the general case is bad. The RRP for their Kindle books is lower (usually) that the RRP for the paperback edition, Amazon almost invariably discount the paperback price by 30% or more. Which means that in all but one of the books I've looked at so far (20+), the Kindle edition is now more expensive (by £1.00 or more) than the paperback from Amazon.

Way to kill Kindle sales, Hodder. Perhaps that's the idea.
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:47 AM   #11
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The price is set by the publisher line is pretty polite, really.

They could say 'the price is set by the publisher, we would have made the price X, so they are overcharging you Y'
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:01 AM   #12
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There's an article about it at Teleread:

Quote:
Amazon UK switches to Agency Model with 3 publishers

http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/amazo...-3-publishers/

According to the Bookseller.com article they link:

Quote:
Amazon.co.uk has moved on to the agency model in the UK with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins and Penguin now setting their own e-book prices. Customers buying an e-book from the Kindle store from any of the three publishers are told: "This price was set by the publisher." A Penguin spokesperson said: "I can confirm we are now on the agency model with Amazon as of today."

Penguin and HarperCollins have followed Hachette, which switched to agency pricing in September. Amazon is the first online e-bookseller to make the switch, with no Penguin or Hachette e-books yet available for sale on either Waterstones.com or W H Smith's website.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
The Colin Dexter "Inspector Morse" books seem to have gone up from £4.49 to £5.22 (a strange price!). Amazon's paperback price is £5.49.
To an accountant, £5.22 looks suspiciously like a 5% discount on the paperback price.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:46 AM   #14
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OFT

I raised the issued with the OFT some time ago and they've confirmed that they are considering the issue.

This doesn't mean however that they will investigate - whether they launch an investigation depends on a huge variety of issues including their workloads, public interest, the extent of the issue etc. They only have capacity to investigate so many issues and, unsurprisingly, focus on the big issues.

So, if you haven't already emailed or called the OFT and have an issue with agency pricing, I would contact them to complain. Contact details can (obviously!) be found on their website.

Last edited by Grumpyreader; 11-02-2010 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
In the case of obvious errors such as this, I've achieved success in the past by contacting the publisher and asking them to review the price.
Looks like contacting them - or Amazon - has worked as the Kindle edition is back to £4.49, 50p under the paperback price, a fairly usual pricing for Amazon UK.
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