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Thread: Amazon removes Hachette buy links from its stores.

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  1. #11
    No, the math doesn't bear out—or, rather, it's only the part of the story that fits Amazon's narrative. That narrative, as I've argued before, is to lower the perceived value of books.

    Amazon argues that selling books for $9.99 sells more copies than books priced at $14.99.

    Let's make that some kind of given where everything in the world is equal. Let’s pretend that printed books are somehow divorced from all of this. Let’s pretend that Amazon reports book sales to anyone’s Best Seller’s List other than its own (a point in the blog propaganda). Let’s ignore the renewed effort to pit authors against publishers in this fight that is the last paragraph. Let’s pretend there aren’t tons of other factors that play into this whole fight.

    Let’s just look at the math.

    According to Amazon, $9.99 sells 74% more books than $14.99 for a 16% net increase in total revenues. I believe that figure, FWIW, all things being equal.

    Which they aren't.

    Great, so what does the $12.99 price point do? Does it sell 50% more books than $14.99? I don’t know, but if it did, that would be $1.95 million for those 100,000 books that Amazon so blithely tosses out to make the people reading it think that all authors are millionaires.

    For those keeping score at home, that’s 30% more revenue. 30% > 16%.

    If it’s only 40% more books, that $1.82 million, or 21% more revenue. 21% > 16%.

    At 34% more books sold at $12.99, we have revenue parity between the two price points.

    How about at $13.99? That will move more books, though fewer than a lower price point. You have to sell 24% more books at that price point to earn the same revenue as what Amazon claims it would sell at $9.99.

    I don’t know what Amazon’s data says about those other price points, but 40-50% more books at $12.99 feels about right to me.

    You know who does know those numbers? Amazon.

    But Amazon didn’t mention these other price points and their potential effect on books sales because—as I have argued in this thread and elsewhere—the company’s goal is not to make publishers and authors more money, which is what this sham of a blog post is trying to perpetrate. Amazon’s goal is to lower the perceived value of books in order to limit competition.

    Digging further, it should be obvious that Amazon's comparisons are based on a market where there are both ebooks at $9.99 and ebooks at $14.99. In that market, books priced just below $9.99 sell far better than books at $14.99.

    What happens in a market where all of the best sellers are $9.99? Are all of those books selling 74% more units than they would have at $14.99?

    No. Not on your life. The overall book market will not grow by 74%. The overall book market won't grow 20% (my guess). The ebook market could conceivably grow 40-50%, but much of that growth will come at the expense of the print market. Making less net revenue for the publishing industry, but a LOT more share for Amazon.

    And the print side of the industry will see lower prices, too, so there's even less money for publishing.

    So, no. The math doesn’t bear out. In any way. Whatsoever.

    [Edit: Hey Shaun, rereading my post, it sounds a lot more aggressive than intended. That aggression is aimed at Amazon's bullshit, not you. ]
    Last edited by GeekTells; 07-30-2014 at 12:32 PM.
    Tech journalist & aspiring fiction author...GeekTells.

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