Are eBook prices unfair?
Let me just state for the record that I LOVE my Kindle, and not in a flowers and candy kind of way. I love my Kindle like John H. Hinkley Jr. loved Jodie Foster. I feel lost and bereft without it. There's only one small problem, and it's not that the Kindle is too big a star to pay attention to the likes of me.
The problem is that in far too many cases, the eBooks are too expensive. Here is an example of what eBook prices should look like.
Do you want 37% off and instant wireless delivery? Yes, please!
However, in far too many cases this is what we see instead:
Note that the Kindle eBook is EXACTLY THE SAME PRICE as the paperback and mass market paperback. Also note that "This price was set by the publisher." What's going on?
It seems to me that eBooks are overpriced, although I do appreciate the argument that physical book production and shipping costs are only a small portion of the overall cost of producing a book for sale. That said, publishers need to realize that consumers can go to basically any torrent site and download literally thousands of eBooks in a few hours.
Publishers have a chance to learn the lesson of the music industry and embrace eBooks and the cost efficiencies made possible by devices such as the Kindle. Would they rather sell 20 books at $15, 100 books at $5, or 1000 books at $2.50? Whether eBook prices are actually high relative to the cost of production or not, the fact that they are perceived to be high is the issue they must address. A professor once told our class that "a situation that is perceived to be real is real in its consequences".
I believe the consequence of the perceived high cost of eBooks vis-a-vis their physical counterparts will be increased piracy and decreased revenue for publishers and authors. Publishers have the opportunity to embrace the future and not repeat the mistakes of their brethren in the music industry. I hope they avail themselves of it.
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