If I don't really own an ebook, why does one cost so much?
Are you as sick of the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad and the Sony Reader as I am? I am disgusted by the fact that the hardware manufacturers are so fixated on the idea that only books purchased from their own "bookstores" should be read on their readers - and on making sure their ebooks cannot be read on other readers. Sony, at least, uses the common epub format, meaning that I as a Reader owner can check out ebooks from my local library. But Amazon.com books will only play on the Kindle, and Apple store books will only play on the iPad and Barnes & Noble books will only play on the Nook. That's outrageous, especially considering the prices being charged for ebooks now that the Apple egomaniac has his own reader on the market.
Why should readers/customers pay such high prices for ebooks that will forever tie them to one particular reader? Ebooks are convenient under the right circumstances but, because I have nothing physical to hold in my hands, I can't help feeling that I'm being ripped off. I can't tell you how much emusic I've lost over the last few years when hard drives or mp3 players crashed. The same is certain to happen with ebooks (yes, I know that I can back them up to other drives, etc. - but who remembers to do that all the time or can find the backups when they need them?)
I'm a fan of the Sony Reader mostly because of the access it gives me to free ebooks at my library and because so many out-of-print books can be found on the web and transferred to my Reader. But I haven't purchased an ebook from Sony in well over a year and that's because I feel like I'm left with an empty bag after I finish reading an ebook. Barnes & Noble, despite using the same epub format as Sony, has apparently made sure that I cannot read one of the B&N-sold ebooks on my Sony Reader - according to the B&N staff I questioned at two local bookstores.
Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble want to tell me how I am allowed to read my books and they want to limit my right to sell or loan them to others. Fine, guys. If the books don't really belong to me, why do you insist that I pay full price for them? Pick a damn format and let your three ebook readers speak to each other. That's not too much to ask, and your customers will buy more ebooks when you stop limiting their usage rights to what you sell them.
See this Epicenter link for a look at this issue from the publishers' point-of-view.