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.
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.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.
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?