Amazon Speaks Out on Agency Model, E-Book Prices and Market Share

CNET recently interviewed Ian Freed, Amazon vice president in charge of the Kindle. Among the interesting things he said was that Amazon sells 70-80 percent of all e-books sold. When asked about claims by Apple and Barnes & Noble that they have something like 20 percent of the market each, Freed said Amazon’s pretty sure about their own numbers and “something doesn’t add up” with the claims from others. I think he’s right. Let’s say Amazon has 75 percent of the market, Apple, maybe 8-10 percent, and everyone else the rest. I think that’s a pretty fair assessment of where things stand right now.

There was also this interesting question and answer on the topic of agency pricing and the price points for e-books in general:

CNET: Now that most publishers have shifted to the “agency model” and are setting their own [e-book] prices, how have the higher prices on many e-books impacted sales?

Freed: Happy to answer that. We have definitely seen a shift. We have data for the last 15 years on books. And since some of the publishers have decided to price their e-book above $9.99, we’ve definitely seen a shift of customers going to e-books that are $9.99 or less. The good news for them is that the selection of those books is very dramatic. We have about 630,000 books that are not public domain titles and of those 510,000 are sold for $9.99 or less. Of The New York Times best-sellers, 80 of them are $9.99 or less. So customers are voting with their pocketbook.*

*CNET Reviews (Aug 2) – Amazon: We have 70-80 percent of e-book market