Thursday, June 16, 2011

Amazon's Invisible Hand - Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Amazon's Sunshine Deals program and the impact it was having on Amazon's bestseller lists. The immediate impact of Amazon's deep discounting of 600 select books was a huge spike in sales for those titles. No surprise.

Now comes evidence that the effect was short-lived and that, by the second week of the promotion, the impact of the discount had worn off. Read about it in Mike Shatzkin's excellent report. Relying on analysis by ace number cruncher Dan Lubart, he points out that brand name authors (i.e., bestselling authors published by the Big 6) may have a competitive advantage in the long run over lesser-known authors who rely on low price. More important, this data suggests that ebooks priced below $3 may not be competing for the same buyers as those priced above $5.

Self-published authors, including mid-list authors moving to self-publishing, who sell their books at the $2.99 price point and below can still prosper. But we'll have to understand our market. Self-publishing has leveled the playing field in some respects but it doesn't mean all ebook sellers are playing the same game.

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