Books & Review | Sam Goodwin
Updated: Dec 12, 2012 11:55 PM EST

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Amazon - logo (Photo : chicagoist.com)

According to a recent survey, Amazon books come cheap only if they are the Top 20 Best sellers.

All Amazon lovers, who think that Amazon is the cheapest place to buy books, may have to rethink their theory. A new survey has found that Amazon is the cheapest place to buy books only when it comes to the Top 20 bestsellers. Other than that they are 14 percent more expensive that competitors when it comes to books further down the chart.

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The survey was conducted by global marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher and Partners. They analyzed the top 100 books printed between 30 October and 9 November and sold by Amazon and other websites like WH Smith, Blackwell's, Alibris, Kennys, BookFellas, the Amazon-owned AbeBooks and the Book Depositor. It was found that while books ranked from 1 to 20 on the Best Selling Charts were 6% cheaper on Amazon, the online retail giants charged 13% more than competitors for books ranked from 21 to  50 and 15% more for books ranked from 51 to 100.

"Ask someone where to find the lowest price on a book and they'll tell you to go to Amazon," said managing partner Mark Billige. "But you would be surprised how often this advice in incorrect."

Pricing expert Kyle Poyar said they expected Amazon to be more like a high-street retailer that sells new books at a premium rate and older books at a discounted rate but instead "We found that Amazon was much more like a Tesco: supermarkets offer the staples, like eggs, milk and nappies, at a very competitive price, and make more of their money on the slower-moving products," said Poyar, who is also a consultant at Simon-Kucher.

"Many booksellers think of Amazon as this mythical competitor, just incredibly low on price - an insurmountable adversary, impossible for them to overcome," Poyar continued. "But our research has revealed that much of that is just outdated myth. The reality is that Amazon needs to make money like everyone else, but they understand consumer buying behavior, and use those insights to be able to give off a low-price image, while still not necessarily being the lowest price."

A spokesperson for Amazon said: "That is not the case and we aim to offer competitive prices on every book that we list."

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