Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Pet Peeve

I've been a little irritated over the last couple of years by the prices of Ebooks. I got a Nook for Christmas, and looked forward to reading a lot of new books by my favorite authors, and have been able to do so, to some extent.

However, at the big online retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, who seem to hold a monopoly on the most popular ebook formats, the price of a newly released book seems to be the same as buying a hardcopy, for the most part. I had expected that as ebooks became popular, publishers would pass on what seems to me to be reduced production costs to the consumers.

The most obvious cost is, of course, printing however many copies of the book they expect to sell in the first "rush" of excitement. The cost of converting an electronic version of a book - which is the most likely way for authors today to write - to the ePub or Kindle format, is a one-time charge, with minimal labor involved. Someone uploads it to the retail site, so it's available for download, and you have no further costs.

Now, I understand you need to pay your author's royalties and make a reasonable profit, but shouldn't the version of the book that's cheaper to produce sell more reasonably?

The sole exception I've found to this is Baen books. Their newly released titles are generally available the same day the hardcopy is published, and they are discounted to $6. If only Baen published all of the authors whose work I liked, it would be marvelous. Compare this to the cost of Jacqueline Carey's new work, released in hardback and Kindle format, selling for $15.48 and $12.99, respectively. At some point, given strong enough demand, it will be released in paperback for $8.99, but the ebook will also sell for $8.99.

Maybe someone who works for one of the publishing companies out there can explain to me why ebook prices haven't dropped in lockstep with production costs. In the meantime, I'm still stuck waiting for the paperback issue, rather than reading books hot off the "press".

1 comment:

ProudHillbilly said...

Yow, since I don't do e-books, I didn't realize they are providing an excuse for me to not do e-books.:-)