Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE has the unique distinction in that the eBook rights are owned by two publishers. Because of a deal struck before Kindle created the current eBook market, RosettaBooks secured the rights to do an eBook version. But Random House (the parent of Dell) also has an eBook version in the marketplace.
I checked the prices of this eBook on the major eBook platforms:
RosettaBooks edition: Amazon Kindle – $2.99: B&N nook-$4.79; Google-$5.24; Apple-$5.99; Kobo-$6.29. The price is different on each competitor.
Random House edition: $7.99 on all platforms.
What’s the reason? RosettaBooks is on a ‘wholesale’ plan where the retailer sets the price. Random House is on the ‘agency’ plan and the publisher sets the price. Retailers must follow and are not allowed to lower (or raise) the price. What is interesting is even the HIGHEST price based on the RosettaBooks eBook is still $1.5o less expensive than the Random House price.
This is just one example and I am not making the leap that Agency pricing has raised the price of all eBooks. But the price fixing that takes out competition in retail pricing does create artificially higher prices.
It is early in the eBook world and pricing is a hotly debated issue. This is just one stop on the long journey.