Who sells the cheapest ebooks? [Updated]
[Updated 23 November 2012]
To find out how the main ebook retailers compare we looked at how much it would cost to buy the 20 bestselling print titles, based on data from Nielsen BookScan’s Total Consumer Market for the year up to 17 November 2012.
We carried out a similar exercise in 2011 and wanted to see if there has been any major change and the results are interesting. We found that book prices across both print and ebooks have dropped in the last year and while the cheapest ebook retailer was still Amazon’s Kindle store, most ebooks are – with a few striking exceptions – quite similarly priced.
If you can’t use the Kindle store (for example you may have one of the many reader’s that supports ePub like the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350), it’s perhaps worth shopping around if only to avoid some rather major pitfalls. We found the Guinness World Records 2013 ebook for £6.23 at three ebook stores, while it was more than twice the price at Foyles – costing £15.
WHSmith has made big reductions in its prices, dropping its average price from £6.27 to £4.53 making it only 2p more than Amazon’s store. This also makes it the cheapest ePub ebook store available, although it’s still worth shopping around as some books are still more expensive than in other stores.
You can also get free ebooks, read our guide to how and where you can download free ebooks.
Ebooks vs. paper books
We also looked at the average print price, including high street and online sales, for the same top bestselling 20 books. The gap has narrowed since we last carried out our price check. The average print price was £7.18 in November 2011, £2.18 more than the average price on the Amazon Kindle store. The average print price now, in November 2012, is £6.34 – £1.83 more than the average Kindle price.
All of the ebook stores we looked at this time round had missing ebooks. Two of the top 20 bestsellers (Jamie’s 15-minute meals and The Ugly Truth: Diary of a Wimpy Kid) aren’t available in ebook format and Google’s ebook store was missing 7 of the top 20.
Amazon’s Kindle store was the overall winner in our price research, but competitors are close behind, and with book prices in general dropping there seems to be less variation between stores. WHSmith also deserves an honourable mention for bringing its prices down and offering an ePub store that can match Amazon’s prices.
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