We have heard a lot about how publishers are not satisfied with how much money they are making from their e-books on Amazon, and how they want to have more control over their e-books’ prices on Amazon and other e-book stores. Amazon did make $9.99 e-books a big part of its campaign to sell more Kindles, so it’s not a surprise that some are not happy with how things have turned out with some publishers. According to NY Times, some readers have even gone out of their way to leave negative feedback for authors whose books are getting a price hike or are selling for more than $9.99. While that’s not exactly productive, it goes on to show that consumers want to get a fair deal with e-books.
So what’s the fair price for e-books? I have tabled this question to many of my colleagues and our readers in the past. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to that question. What is clear is the fact that book buyers are not ready to pay the same price for e-books and paper books.
I want to pay what it’s worth. If it costs them nothing to print the paper book, which I can’t believe, then they should be the same price. But I just don’t see how it can be the same price.
I have to admit that not all of understand what it takes to write a book. The notion that all authors make a decent living from their books couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are a bestseller author, you have obviously made it. But many authors don’t get that status, which means low e-book prices won’t go down too well with them. But even top authors are not happy with e-book prices. Douglas Peterson, the author of Impact, seems to be baffled by all the talk:
The sense of entitlement of the American consumer is absolutely astonishing… It’s the Wal-Mart mentality, which in my view is very unhealthy for our country. It’s this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.
So what is the “real” price of an e-book? Who would determine that? What’s not healthy for this country is consumers accepting that they have no choice other than paying any price asked by product makers. If consumers determine that an e-book is worth $100, I am sure they will have no issue paying for it if they can afford it. Consumers are also not too happy with companies making too much profit these days. So they consider paying the same price for paper books and e-books as a rip off. Unfortunately, this debate won’t go away as authors don’t mind getting paid more for their work, and consumers are not ready to accept price hikes. That’s what makes the e-book reader market so interesting to watch.
Your take: how would you solve this dilemma?