Saturday, September 05, 2015

E-Book Prices Are High and They Are on the Increase

I've had a feeling for a while now that e-books are getting more and more expensive.  Every time that I price one of the more recently published e-books, the price is so close to that of a hardcover edition of the same book that I opt for the hardcover - or nothing.  

CBS Money Watch has pinned the sharp increases to one decision:
The higher prices have rolled out over the past several months as Amazon (AMZN) struck new e-book distribution deals with the country's biggest publishers, which gave the latter the right to set their own prices, said Peter Hildick-Smith, chief executive of industry researcher Codex Group.

With the new deals, the publishers set the prices for e-books and pay Amazon a percentage for serving as a transfer agent. The publisher "doesn't have the depth of pocket" to offer the same discounts as Amazon, Hildick-Smith said.
I don't have anything against e-books, and in fact, I prefer e-books over physical books when I don't expect the book to be something that would ever earn a portion of my limited bookshelf space.  This is especially the case with most of the Advance Review Copies of books that I receive  - something that most publishers see as a way to keep their promotional budgets under control.

But would anyone actually prefer to pay the same price as a hardcover, or more, for an electronic copy of a book?  Honestly, I have a hard time imagining that.  And that's exactly what Terry Pratchett's publisher did when pricing Mr. Pratchett's last novel (according to that CBS article it is $11.99 for the e-book and $10.65 for the hardcover).  That just seems weird to me.

As CBS amusingly phrases it, "Readers...can't be blamed for thinking that publishers have lost the story line."  I agree.  Do you?


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