Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pricing Of eBooks

I started buying eBooks from Amazon a long time for the Kindle. Long before the iPad, I was paying $9.99 for the eBooks. Always wondered how that amount was divided among the publisher, the author, connectivity through Sprint and Amazon profit. Since there was no book manufacturing costs, it still seemed like a lot of money and more than a sufficient amount to go around.

Then one day I noted that eBook titles were $12.99 -- at both Amazon -- and -- Barnes and Noble. Turns out that was early 2010. I understand pricing going up a little at a time, but the three dollar jump turned me off and I bought few books after that unless they were available at the old $9.99 model.

Turns out it was greed to make easy money for Apple. "When Apple came out with the iPad, it allowed publishers to set book prices as long as Apple got a 30 percent cut and publishers offered their lowest prices through Apple." Quoted from a Bloomberg article: U.S. Said to Prepare Apple Lawsuit Over E-Book Price-Fixing

The Wall Street Journal article U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers paraphrases material from the Isaacson's bio of Jobs. (Near the end of the piece.) The whole thing was a Jobs idea. It appears the real goal was to eliminate Amazon competition.

Will the prices change. Wondering. Before the Justice Department files suit, all parties will settle the thing for a fine and none will admit any collusion. They will just pay the fine and go on with business. Just another example of big business greed.

Enter the world of self publishing eBooks. No doubt the future of book publishing will look very different. With that, book stores will probably go the way of record stores.

At the Authors Guild, a Letter from Scott Turow: Grim News is in response to the planned Justice Department filing. Scott Turow is an author and president of the Authors Guild

Additional comments by John Scalzi in The Collusion Case Against Publishers


  1. Let's hope something good comes out of this. There's still time.

    But strictly speaking, it isn't "greed" that's the problem; it's the lack of competition. The world is so accustomed to a New York publishing cartel that even the internet hasn't destroyed the cartel...yet.

    The real problem is that we readers passively accept the publisher as the chooser/validater of what is worth reading. We need some new filtration device.

    Maybe blogs like yours should be mini-kiosks of eBooks and advice to other readers.

  2. Boonie, Hope all the publishers crash and burn. Hope the self publishing of authors becomes the death knell for the publishers.

    Checked Amazon and found a fiction book released just three days ago. The Kindle price was 13.99. The hard cover was 15.41. Looks like the manufacturing cost of the book is 1.50. Yeah. Right.

    Jobs book set the price point of 14.99 for Kindle books when his bio came out last December. Seems the publishers found that the buying public will pay the price.

    With a hard cover book, you can donate it or give it to a friend -- or sell it to a used book store. When you have an eBook, you have it forever. Can't loan it. Can't sell it. Sure you can loan a B&N eBook -- once.

    Back to the used book store.

  3. I never buy books, hardback or electronic. I check ebooks out from my hometown library using the Overdrive application. I can read them on my laptop or on my smartphone.

    Once I read a book, I seldom re-read it. An e-book would just take up room on my hard drive and a hardback would collect dust and add to the overall weight of my motorhome.

  4. P.S.

    Overdrive is good for downloading audio books too. Great for listening in the car while traveling to your next destination. You just need a library card and their web address.

  5. Ben, The Overdrive app is on my iPad. With two library's eBook collections, I have plenty of reading choices. With my name on the list for several books, there always seems to be another book that comes available.

    Haven't cracked any of those used books recently purchased from Bookmans.

    Each time I've tried an audio book, I've been disappointed. Too impatient, I want them to speed it up.

  6. I found a site that tracks ebook prices on Amazon. You can search genres and prices including free! Check it out:


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