IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/spr/infsem/v16y2018i4d10.1007_s10257-017-0346-y.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Pricing strategies in online book industry: a comparative study

Author

Listed:
  • Jifeng Luo

    (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

  • Han Zhang

    (Georgia Institute of Technology)

  • Haizheng Li

    (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Abstract

In this paper, we examine pricing strategies in the U.S. online book industry over two time periods, with an aim to understand whether and how the driving factors of price dispersion change over time. Our empirical results show that dispersion in prices has remained substantial over the period of 2001–2006, but the driving factors of these variations in price have evolved. In 2001 online book retailers generally engaged in obfuscation, frustrating consumer search by manipulating shipping options. As documented by prior literature and revealed in our 2001 data, higher prices charged by retailers were positively related with longer shipping time. This strategy has been abandoned, as shown by our results of a 2006 sample. Online retailers are now competing to ship items quicker than rivals and to pass fewer or no shipping costs on to consumers. The impact of trust assurance seals (e.g., seals of online security and privacy) on price has materialized over the period of 2001–2006. This is because as more consumers become security conscious, the effects of assurance seals on the price becomes better recognized. Moreover, although retailers are roughly clustered into three cohorts, they strategize prices across different product items within each cohort.

Suggested Citation

  • Jifeng Luo & Han Zhang & Haizheng Li, 2018. "Pricing strategies in online book industry: a comparative study," Information Systems and e-Business Management, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 791-816, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:infsem:v:16:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10257-017-0346-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s10257-017-0346-y
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10257-017-0346-y
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s10257-017-0346-y?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anindya Ghose & Yuliang Yao, 2011. "Using Transaction Prices to Re-Examine Price Dispersion in Electronic Markets," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 269-288, June.
    2. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff & Danny Fernandes, 2002. "Retail Strategies on the Web: Price and Non–price Competition in the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 351-367, September.
    3. Steven Salop & Joseph Stiglitz, 1977. "Bargains and Ripoffs: A Model of Monopolistically Competitive Price Dispersion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 493-510.
    4. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 521-539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Stahl, Dale O., 1996. "Oligopolistic pricing with heterogeneous consumer search," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 243-268.
    6. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    7. Varian, Hal R, 1980. "A Model of Sales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 651-659, September.
    8. Kathy Baylis & Jeffrey Perloff, 2002. "Price Dispersion on the Internet: Good Firms and Bad Firms," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 21(3), pages 305-324, November.
    9. Sara Ellison & Christopher M. Snyder, 2014. "An Empirical Study of Pricing Strategies in an Online Market with High-Frequency Price Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 4655, CESifo.
    10. Salop, S & Stiglitz, J E, 1982. "The Theory of Sales: A Simple Model of Equilibrium Price Dispersion with Identical Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1121-1130, December.
    11. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2011. "Robust Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 238-249, April.
    12. Austan Goolsbee & Judith Chevalier, 2002. "Measuring Prices and Price Competition Online: Amazon and Barnes and Noble," NBER Working Papers 9085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2004. "Price Dispersion in the Lab and on the Internet: Theory and Evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 448-466, Autumn.
    14. Avner Shaked & John Sutton, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition Through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13.
    15. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2009. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 427-452, March.
    16. Erik Brynjolfsson & Michael D. Smith, 2000. "Frictionless Commerce? A Comparison of Internet and Conventional Retailers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(4), pages 563-585, April.
    17. Sharad Borle & Peter Boatwright & Joseph B. Kadane & Joseph C. Nunes & Shmueli Galit, 2005. "The Effect of Product Assortment Changes on Customer Retention," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(4), pages 616-622, July.
    18. Xiaolin Xing, 2010. "Can price dispersion be persistent in the Internet markets?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(15), pages 1927-1940.
    19. Thierry Warin & Daniel B. Leiter, 2007. "An Empirical Study of Price Dispersion in Homogenous Goods Markets," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0710, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    20. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-969, July.
    21. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 521-539, December.
    22. Fiona Scott Morton & Florian Zettelmeyer & Jorge Silva‐Risso, 2001. "Internet Car Retailing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 501-519, December.
    23. Erik Brynjolfsson & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Michael D. Smith, 2003. "Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(11), pages 1580-1596, November.
    24. Clay, Karen, et al, 2002. "Retail Strategies on the Web: Price and Non-price Competition in the Online Book Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 351-367, September.
    25. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2004. "Temporal Price Dispersion: Evidence from an Online Consumer Electronics Market," Working Papers 2004-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    26. Emin Dinlersoz & Han Li, 2006. "The shipping strategies of internet retailers: Evidence from internet book retailing," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 407-438, December.
    27. Koray Özpolat & Guodong (Gordon) Gao & Wolfgang Jank & Siva Viswanathan, 2013. "Research Note ---The Value of Third-Party Assurance Seals in Online Retailing: An Empirical Investigation," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 24(4), pages 1100-1111, December.
    28. Fiona Scott Morton & Florian Zettelmeyer & Jorge Silva-Risso, 2001. "Internet Car Retailing," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 501-519, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    29. Jessica Cohen & Pascaline Dupas, 2010. "Free Distribution or Cost-Sharing? Evidence from a Randomized Malaria Prevention Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-45.
    30. Van den Poel, Dirk & Leunis, Joseph, 1999. "Consumer Acceptance of the Internet as a Channel of Distribution," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 249-256, July.
    31. Morton, Fiona Scott & Zettelmeyer, Florian & Silva-Risso, Jorge, 2001. "Internet Car Retailing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 501-519, December.
    32. Karen Clay & Ramayya Krishnan & Eric Wolff, 2001. "Prices and Price Dispersion on the Web: Evidence from the Online Book Industry," NBER Chapters, in: E-commerce, pages 521-539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
    34. García-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzís, Nikolaos & Jaramillo-Gutiérrez, Ainhoa & Pereira, Pedro & Pernías-Cerrillo, J. Carlos, 2014. "On the evolution of monopoly pricing in Internet-assisted search markets," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(5), pages 795-801.
    35. Katherine J. Stewart, 2003. "Trust Transfer on the World Wide Web," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(1), pages 5-17, February.
    36. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
    37. Sulin Ba & Jan Stallaert & Zhongju Zhang, 2012. "Research Note ---Online Price Dispersion: A Game-Theoretic Perspective and Empirical Evidence," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 575-592, June.
    38. Stahl, Dale O, II, 1989. "Oligopolistic Pricing with Sequential Consumer Search," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 700-712, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Anindya Ghose & Yuliang Yao, 2011. "Using Transaction Prices to Re-Examine Price Dispersion in Electronic Markets," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 22(2), pages 269-288, June.
    2. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2005. "Lessons About Markets from the Internet," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 139-158, Spring.
    3. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2009. "Brand and Price Advertising in Online Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(7), pages 1139-1151, July.
    4. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2005. "Probabilistic Patents," Microeconomics 0504004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Byrne, David P. & Martin, Leslie A., 2021. "Consumer search and income inequality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    6. Lindgren, Charlie & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Rudholm, Niklas, 2021. "Pricing In Retail Markets With Low Search Costs: Evidence From A Price Comparison Website," HFI Working Papers 18, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
    7. Glenn Ellison & Sara Fisher Ellison, 2009. "Search, Obfuscation, and Price Elasticities on the Internet," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 427-452, March.
    8. Giovanni Anania & Rosanna Nisticò, 2011. "Price Dispersion, Search Costs And Consumers And Sellers Heterogeneity In Retail Food Markets," Working Papers 201105, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    9. Häring, Julia, 2003. "Different Prices for Identical Products? Market Efficiency and the Virtual Location in B2C E-Commerce," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-68, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    10. De los Santos, Babur, 2018. "Consumer search on the Internet," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 66-105.
    11. Anirban Sengupta & Steven Wiggins, 2006. "Airline Pricing, Price Dispersion and Ticket Characteristics On and Off the Internet," Working Papers 06-07, NET Institute, revised Oct 2006.
    12. Anania, Giovanni & Nisticò, Rosanna, 2014. "Price dispersion and seller heterogeneity in retail food markets," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 190-201.
    13. Anania, Giovanni & Nistico, Rosanna, 2012. "Price dispersion, search costs and consumers and sellers heterogeneity in retail food markets," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 125594, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    14. Ramnath K. Chellappa & Raymond G. Sin & S. Siddarth, 2011. "Price Formats as a Source of Price Dispersion: A Study of Online and Offline Prices in the Domestic U.S. Airline Markets," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 83-98, March.
    15. Tang, Zhulei & Smith, Michael D. & Montgomery, Alan, 2010. "The impact of shopbot use on prices and price dispersion: Evidence from online book retailing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 579-590, November.
    16. Gatti, J.R.J. & Kattuman, P., 2003. "Online Price Dispersion Within and Between Seven European Countries," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0343, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    17. Xulia González & Daniel Miles-Touya, 2018. "Price dispersion, chain heterogeneity, and search in online grocery markets," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 115-139, March.
    18. Moraga-González, José L. & Sándor, Zsolt & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2014. "Prices, Product Differentiation, And Heterogeneous Search Costs," IESE Research Papers D/1097, IESE Business School.
    19. Randy A. Nelson & Richard Cohen & Frederik Roy Rasmussen, 2007. "An Analysis of Pricing Strategy and Price Dispersion on the Internet," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 95-110, Winter.
    20. Backus, Matthew R. & Podwol, Joseph Uri & Schneider, Henry S., 2014. "Search costs and equilibrium price dispersion in auction markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 173-192.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:infsem:v:16:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10257-017-0346-y. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.