Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Fools?

If only this were an April Fools Day joke.

Sony announced today that some publishers will start naming their own e-book prices tomorrow, April 1. The short version of this announcement is that prices will be going up for e-book consumers, no matter which device they use to read the books.
Sony Corp., the maker of three digital book readers, said several publishers will determine prices on e-books starting tomorrow, a shift from retailers deciding the pricing.

Most e-books sold by Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette, Pearson Plc’s Penguin and News Corp.’s HarperCollins will cost $12.99 to $14.99, the Tokyo-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. Sony plans to notify its customers of the change in a letter this afternoon, said Dan Walsh, an outside spokesman for the company.
Publishers argue, of course, that they cannot survive by selling their e-books at today's common price of $9.99 and the emergence of Apple's iPad gives them an opportunity to set their own prices rather than have Apple, Sony and Amazon decide what to charge. They contend that selling new e-books at too low a price will cheapen the value of all books in the minds of consumers. Ultimately, this change could work in favor of e-book users if it ensures a steady supply of new e-books and means that publishers will no longer delay certain e-book releases until after the hardcover versions have already been available for several weeks.

I'm still waiting for my letter from Sony...

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