Since Amazon started pushing Kindle hard, we have been on the company’s case for selling e-books for too high of a price. Those $9.99 e-books do save people money, considering that hard-cover books sell for much more than that. At the same time, people can’t lend Amazon e-books, nor can they sell them. When a few publishers announced e-book price hikes, that further aggravated e-book fans. After all, how do publishers expect to charge $14.99 for e-books when they cost much less to publish in comparison to regular books. Could Wired.com be right about consumers overestimating cost savings for e-book publishers?
Publishers do price ebooks a little higher than necessary, because they’re concerned about devaluing people’s perception of books. They’re worried that if they sell the digital editions for too little, they’ll have to lower prices for the paper editions as well, which would undercut their main source of revenue,
said Larry Doyle, writer, to Wired. Wired.com may be right about the overestimation part but lets not underestimate publishers’ greed either. E-books can’t be free and those who believe they should be sold for just a couple of dollars are not being realistic. The costs of developing, protecting, and publishing e-books are still high. But over the long run, e-books are much cheaper to produce than regular books. The issue of piracy is there but can’t justify price hikes by publishers.
The e-book industry has been around for quite some time and is maturing all the time. But publishers still have ways to go before they get it right in this industry. A better pricing scheme is certainly required and consumers need to have more flexibility with what they can do with their e-books. It may be time for Amazon to work with publishers to start an e-book subscription business model. Such model could not only boost Amazon’s e-book sales, it could keep prices lower for consumers. We have seen the movie and music industries face similar challenges. E-books are here to stay regardless of how differently publishers and consumers see things.
In your opinion, are e-books too expensive?