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Old 08-01-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
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Cost of eBooks - Waterstones V Paper

Sorry if this is old news.

I was thinking about buying a At Home by Bill Bryson. I noticed that Waterstones ar selling the ePub version (the one I want) for £7.50. They are selling the paperback of At Home for £5.39 with free delivery.

The Kindle version is £3.14.

Is it normal for Waterstones to charge more than the cost of the paperback for an eBook?

Are Kindle normally cheaper than Waterstones for ebooks?

Thanks

Last edited by vans; 08-01-2011 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:32 AM   #2
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Vans, I have found that almost always Waterstones are quite a bit more expensive than Amazon for ebooks, unless the price is fixed by the publisher.

If you need an epub version of a book and are not in to "format freeing", then WH Smith and Kobo (UK) are generally a bit closer to Amazon on pricing.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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You can find cost variations across the board with all sorts of books, e and otherwise... that's the beauty of the net, you can search for the best buys on lots of things including books... no book supplier is the best deal for every book plus if the books are through the Agency 6 publishers then the ebook prices are fixed by the pubs not the retailer whereas pbooks are priced by the retailer so, yes it is quite common for pbooks to be cheaper than ebooks wherever you buy...
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vans View Post
Is it normal for Waterstones to charge more than the cost of the paperback for an eBook?

Are Kindle normally cheaper than Waterstones for ebooks?
It's not uncommon for the ebook to be more expensive at the moment because neither retailers nor publishers really have understood what's happening with ebook and publishing.

The paperback has an RRP of £8.99. Waterstones probably get a 50% discount on that price, so they pay £4.49 the distributor, and then sell it on at £5.39, making £0.90, or 20% on their cost price.

The ebook has an RRP of £9.38. Waterstones are selling at £7.50. 1/6th of both is VAT, so the actual price is £7.82/£6.25. Waterstones probably get a 30% discount on the RRP, so they pay the distributor £5.47, sell it on at £6.25, and make £0.78, or 12.5% on their cost price.

I see WHSmith are selling the ebook at £6.10, or £5.08 excluding the VAT. Either they're getting a better than 30% discount, or they're selling at a loss.

Amazon are selling the paperback at £3.49 and the ebook at £3.14. While it's possible that it's a loss-leader, I suspect they have much better deals with the distributors, or perhaps are buying direct from the publishers. It's just possible that Amazon are getting a 65% discount on the paperback, paying £3.15 per book and selling for £3.49. They probably also have contracts in place requiring the ebook to be cheaper than the cheapest new paper edition.

In general I've found that the prices at Amazon for ebooks are better than at WH Smiths or Waterstones, unless there's a very special offer going.


There is a general problem in the UK in that paper books are zero rated, but ebooks attract standard rate (20%) VAT. Well, except that Amazon ebooks only attract 15% VAT, since they're based outside the UK.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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vans, why not convert to EPUB using Calibre? If you install the Kindle for PC app, it's a very simple process starting with using Alf's tools to strip the DRM (once installed as a plugin in Calibre it's automatic) from the file, and from there converting from Mobi to EPUB. I recently bought Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov from Amazon, because it wasn't for sale in the UK as an eBook elsewhere (silly geographical restrictions!).

As the conversion was so simple and effective, I now have the confidence to buy more books Amazon if they are cheaper/actually available.

Tesco also have a UK eBookstore. Might be worth checking them out, though I suspect most of what they sell will be similarly priced to Waterstone's and WH Smith. I wish they too, like Amazon, would state when a book is having its price set by the publisher. It would make it easier to discern whether or not they are just being scalps with their pricing.

Last edited by Arrghus; 08-02-2011 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:52 PM   #6
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clearly the paperback is on sale because they want to move the inventory. they dont need to "move the inventory" of the ebook so its not on sale.
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