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Amazon's price-beating reputation 'not true', claims study

Amazon only offers the lowest price on its top 20 print bestsellers, with lower-ranked titles offered at 14% higher than the lowest price available online elsewhere, according to a new study by Simon-Kucher & Partners, the strategy and marketing consultants.

The study looked at Amazon.co.uk's top 100 bestseller list over the 10-day period between 31st October and 9th November, when Sylvia Day's Reflected in You and Jamie's 15-Minute-Meals headed the Amazon charts.

According to the Simon-Kucher study, Amazon offered the lowest available price on the top 20 titles in its print bestseller chart across fiction and non-fiction. However books ranked 21-100 were priced 14% above the lowest price alternative compared with seven other online booksellers including the Blackwell's and W H Smith offers, as well as Amazon-owned sites Abebooks and The Book Depository.

The study also noted that Amazon made price adjustments to one-third of the 62 titles that remained in the top 100 bestseller list over the 10-day period.

Mark Billige, managing partner of the London office of Simon-Kucher, said: "Ask someone where to find the lowest price on a book and they'll tell you to go to Amazon. But you would be surprised by how often this advice is incorrect."

The company's pricing expert Kyle Poyar said: "Amazon has adopted a classic supermarket strategy. They understand that consumers don't pay as much attention to the prices on slow moving products and use that insight to cleverly pad the bottom line."

An Amazon spokesperson responded: "That is not the case and we aim to offer competitive prices on every book that we list."