Kindle Store Pricing Trends: Is Amazon Backing Away From Big Deals?

Kindle Store prices, discounts, and promotions are moving in so many different directions that we should resist concluding that there are many real identifiable trends, but here are a few things I have noticed lately:

 

  • Amazon’s own Big Deals on Kindle page, which tended to go unchanged and stagnant for months at a time after being launched last year, still exists but its link has been removed from the "Special Features" section of the Kindle Store’s left-sidebar Browse link list. This could mean nothing in particular, or it could mean either than Amazon is backing away from the free promotional book offers from mainstream publishers that have tended to populate the page or — and this is the more interesting of these possibilities — that the page is being overhauled and might be rolled out anew with information not only on free promotional books but also on over a million other free books available to Kindle owners, including Amazon’s own listing of nearly 20,000 free public domain titles and other free-content channels via Project Gutenberg, the Project Gutenberg Magic Catalog, the Internet Archive, ManyBooks, Feedbooks, and others.
     
  • The number of free promotional titles in the Kindle Store has been trending down lately, and may have become more of an annoyance for Amazon (in terms of customer service and its impact on the Kindle Store bestseller list) than it is a benefit for customers, although total abandonment of the listings might be a risky move in the context of Amazon’s "customer experience" business principle. Although the Kindle Store listings seem to suggest 56 free promotional titles at present, there are actually fewer than 40 after one subtracts free sample chapters and one title that is actually not available for order or pre-order.
     
  • An alarming number of the forthcoming likely bestsellers in the Kindle Store — especially among those slated for Kindle release between March and May 2010 — show Kindle prices in the $14-to-$15 range. Generally (but not always!) such prices are the result of listing issues and tend to sort themselves out (and be lowered to the range of the $9.99 bestseller price point) within a few days of a title’s release in the Kindle Store.

This is a cross-posting from Stephen Windwalker’s Kindle Nation Daily blog.

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