UK publishers will surely be turning green when they look at the Amazon.de Kindle bestseller chart, which has just launched today. The top selling Kindle Edition is British writer Simon Beckett's Verwesung, and the selling price is €19.99. What's that you say, €19.99? By contrast, the bestselling Kindle Edition on the UK chart is Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White priced at £1.47.
Ok, it's not really a fair comparison. The Crimson Petal and the White is a backlist book and is number one because of the fine television adaptation running on BBC2 on Wednesday evenings. It is also part of Amazon's Easter promotion, whereby some 200 titles are being price-promoted. The Kindle price represents an 85% discount on the paperback price.
Nevertheless there are only 18 titles in Amazon's top 100 UK Kindle bestsellers that are priced above £3. By contrast, there is only one title in the German list priced below €3, and that is a self-published English-language romance book. Most are priced at €8.99 and above.
Amazon is obsessed with telling anyone who will listen that e-books must be priced low in order to achieve maximum sales. But if its German Kindle store makes an impression in that country then its argument could begin to unravel. As one German trade journalist just told me: "I was never a 100% believer in our price system but each time I come back from the UK I am a little more convinced that it works."
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