Rhyme or Reason?: Patterns in Book Pricing by Format

This study illuminates the differentials in book pricing by format, which can appear arbitrary and unpredictable. Using the paperback list price as the base, the research uses a sample of 500 titles selected for purchase by a small, private liberal arts college library during a defined time period. I have recorded the prices of paperback, hardcover, single and multiple-user e-books from Ebrary, EBSCO, and Amazon Kindle. The mean pricing differential is calculated for each version across all titles in the sample, as well as for the top five publishers represented in the sample, in order to identify patterns in pricing decisions.