Non-agency authors are Amazon UK’s bestselling e-books

Non-agency authors are Amazon UK’s bestselling e-books

Amazon.co.uk has reiterated its opposition to agency pricing as it revealed its top-selling e-book authors are not governed by the model.

Last week Amazon.com announced e-books had begun to outsell paperbacks in the US for the first time, with 115 e-books bought for every 100 paperbacks sold. It declined to say how long it would take the UK e-book market to follow suit.

When asked what its best performing e-books were last year, a spokesman said they included titles by Stieg Larsson, Stephen Leather and Lee Child. Leather self-published his e-books, while Larsson and Child are published by Quercus and Random House respectively, and are not on the agency model. Earlier this week the Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation into agency pricing.

Last week, Amazon’s Russ Grandinetti told Digital Book World that agency pricing had an effect on the 12-week sales of James Patterson’s Jack and Jill pre-and-post agency pricing. He said: “There was a 48% drop in units with the $2 (£1.24) increase in price.”

When asked about the impact of agency pricing on e-book sales in the UK, the Amazon spokesman referred to previous comments made on the model in October. It had warned that sales would rise for those books which did not use the agency model, after a group of UK publishers required booksellers to use the format.

Amazon also said it found when the agency model was enforced by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster in the US, set prices were also put on backlist books, which served to deter customers. “Based on our experience as a bookseller setting consumer prices for many years, we know that these increases have not only frustrated readers, but have caused booksellers, publishers and authors alike to lose sales,” a spokesperson had said.

On Friday, Amazon.com reported net income increased 8% to $416m and saw quarterly sales to 31st December increase by 36% to $12.95bn; the first time the company has had more than $10bn in sales in a quarter.