The Kindle app on my Android phone just pinged me that Amazon is running a Gold Box special on 14 popular Kindle e-books today. The available titles include The Martian by Andy Weir (which we’ve mentioned a few times), Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, E.L. James’s newest Fifty Shades book Grey, movie-inspiring novel The Maze Runner, the first Golden Compass novel His Dark Materials, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, among others. Prices range from $1.99 to $4.99.

Not to be outdone, as I was finishing up this article as an Amazon-only piece, the Nook app on my phone pinged me that Barnes & Noble has 500 Nook e-book titles on sale for under $5 today only—which I think mainly makes up a bunch of titles they were already selling at under $5, but it also includes exactly the same 14 titles as Amazon has on offer. On impulse, I checked Kobo—and yep, there they are, too. Google Play Books? Check. And while there’s no easy web interface to find sales listings in iBooks, I did peek in on The Martian and found it $4.99 there, too. So, let’s hear it for agency pricing, which allows every e-book vendor to run exactly the same sale on exactly the same day. I suppose at least it gives you plenty of choice which e-book vendor you want to support.

And if you’re looking for an inexpensive device to read these e-books on, check out this post on where to find one.


  1. I doubt this coordinated sale has much to do with agency pricing. The publishers wanted to encourage sales of these titles with a price cut and found the major retailers eager to cooperate. Agency pricing does allow publishers to force down prices, But it’s the retailers who contacted you about those price cuts. They were playing along. They would have done that even without agency.

    In high school, I worked at a supermarket that was an independent member of a francise. Normally, price changes would be marked on the case and we’d simply follow them. When an orange juice’s price went down, however,, the store manager told me to keep the price high because the competition wasn’t cutting theirs. A friend who worked at that competitor said his boss had him raising prices a day ahead of his chain store’s increases. That day-early price raise adding a tiny bit to the store’s profits and made his boss look a bit better.

    That’s one reason why as an author I like agency pricing. It lets me dictate pricing and not be held back by retailers who want to dictate the price themselves. I like being control and regard anyone who fell for the fuss over agency pricing as silly.

    Showing little indepedent thought, they read it was evil personified in the news when the Obama administration filed a lawsuit and when some judge ruled against it. Why the silly authoritarian bent? If agency is OK for music, movies and apps, why isn’t it OK for ebooks? And if it’s so bad, why is it still in place?

    I know why their was that lawsuit. It started with Amazon, through a law firm lo mere blocks from their corporate headquaters. The firm with the DOJ and the DOJ concluding that fining Apple and the big publishers would make them look good politically. It had nothing to do with rightness or wrongness and everything to do with sneaky coporate behavior allied to the crony capitalism of the current administration.


    I must have turned off these alerts. I don’t get bothered with these irritating pings.

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