Amazon Raising Lightning Source Book Prices?

Many of us have wondered if the day would arrive that Amazon would raise the prices of short discount titles printed and distributed through Lightning Source and Ingram. Today, an unexpectedly large number of direct mail-order purchases made me suspicious something was up, and when I checked Amazon, the prices of my books had all been hiked by odd amounts. Below is the price info that is showing at the moment for my publishing title:

That's a $2.34 boost over my cover price, the $14.95 Amazon sold the book for up to today. Another of my $14.95 cover price titles is now selling for $17.11, or a $3.16 premium, and a third (which happens to be the most expensive to print and ship) is selling for $16.54, or $1.59 above the cover price. The publishing title is set at a short discount of 30%, the other two at 25%.

Hopefully it's a temporary glitch of the kind I see come and go on Amazon.UK, though they only fiddle with the discounts, not the prices. Still, I have seen it with titles from other publishers using Lightning Source, including some of the large subsidy publishers. At the same time, I see more discounted titles from the subsidy publishers than I recall seeing in the past, so perhaps it's a major re-shuffling of prices in respect to the discounts assigned. Well, I suspect I'll have an answer pretty soon, I just hope it's one I want to hear:-)


Chad Arment said...

I noted the price increase on two of my titles today, which have the same discount as others that remain at list price; doesn't appear to be a correlation to sales figures, as far as I can see. Very annoying.

Morris Rosenthal said...


It's sort of ironic, I'm the only publisher I've come across so far who had all the prices changed:-)

One publisher with quite a few titles under different blocks of ISBN's suggests that it may be a glitch hitting random ISBN blocks, but I don't see any evidence for this yet.


Josh said...

I just checked the few hundred titles my company has published, and I don't see any issues. I did perform a search for foner books and do see the odds prices for all three of your titles.


Morris Rosenthal said...


Do you publish any books at a short discount? I haven't noted any problems with titles discounted 35% or more yet, but most publishers are leery of sharing that information. But there's certainly a random or unfinished element to the new pricing, whether the algo is working its way through the database or there's an unexpected consequence of some sort to a programming change.

My prices changed again yesterday, and again this morning. The price swings in the last two days are minor, pennies, the sort of thing you would expect from a currency exchange difference if the whole business wasn't in dollars:-)

The only other "patterns" I've seen are that the books affected are often mid-list for Amazon, books selling in the 3 to 30 copies a week range, and that they are more likely to be older titles than newer titles, but that's only looking at data from a handful of publishers.

Please feel free to write me direct if you don't want to share discount info with the world at large.


business said...


We follow Aaron Shepard's Aiming At Amazon advice of a 25% Lightning Source short discount. We have only one title listed right now ($16) and we've only sold a few copies so far, but the price has remained $16 since release a few weeks ago.


Morris Rosenthal said...


The affected publishers seem to be totally random, and the discounts drawing the changes appear random as well. It's starting to look like one serious programming bug at Amazon, but on the bright side, one that should get fixed:-)