AmazonAuthoritative and often stimulating German epublishing website Die Self-Publisher-Bibel (The Self-Publisher Bible) has just released a breakdown, based on 2013 data of sales via Amazon’s top 1000 titles, of the most profitable price points for ebook sales in Germany. And it found that, unlike the U.S., where sales tend to peak both in the $1-2 range, but also at the $10 price point, or the UK, which seems to be truly a bottom-feeding market, with most sales at 0.99p ($1.60), Germany has its best sales at EUR2.99 ($4.05) and EUR3.99 ($5.40), but with strong sales still at EUR8.99 ($12.16).

Moving the analysis on to Amazon’s Top 100 titles, the website showed that EUR3.99 produced a peak, but so did EUR8.99. So despite all the predictions of ebook sales destroying value and all prices gravitating downwards, customers in Germany as well as the U.S. seem prepared to pay solid prices for what they consider worthwhile ebooks.

As site owner Matthias Matting, author of How to Publish in Germany – the Comprehensive Guide for International Indie Authors, notes, this is a $6.2 billion book market, some 40 percent the size of the U.S. market, so it certainly has significant value for local and outside publishers and self-publishers alike. And he attributes its pricing behavior partly to the so-called “Preisbindung” price maintenance agreement that prevents ebook editions from undercutting the price of the printed version (and vice versa). Unlike the UK, he notes, where free competition drives prices down, in the German market at least, this system brings a few benefits to authors – and publishers. “It is actually possible to earn real money with books that are not cheap even though these titles may never show up in the top 100,” he concludes.


  1. Your description of the german Preisbindung is misleading/wrong. The effect of the Preisbindung is that the price of a book edition is set by the publisher, not the vendor, and every vendor selling that book edition in germany must sell it for the same price.

    But the publisher is free to set different prices for different editions (hard cover, paperback, ebook) of the book and in most cases the ebook is cheaper than the printed book, though the difference is often rather small.

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