Wednesday, December 29, 2010

E-book Pricing

I received a Kindle for my birthday in October, 2010, so I can't claim any real knowledge of how e-books are priced, except from what I have observed in about ten weeks.

I have watched the prices of top sellers coming from the "traditional" publishers, i.e. the big houses that reside in New York, and the new releases appear to be $14.99, $12.99 for an e-book. Often that is not much less than the Amazon discounted price for the paperback version.

I subscribe to a couple of blogs that publish daily lists of e-books that can be purchased for less than $5, and often for less or even for free. (My favorite is Sometimes the low price is temporary, sometimes a pre-order. I got Jackie Collins' "A Santangelo Story" as a pre-order for free. Often the bargains come from independent publishers, or direct from published authors with a back-catalog of unpublished work. In recent weeks I have seen some price wars among the big publishers. You might find some $5 bargains in e-books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

According to Amazon's Russ Pham, Amazon has tried to set a standard of $9.99 or lower, but this "infuriated a number of established publishers, who feared that digital sales would undercut the lucrative hardcover market."

This reminds me a lot of the pricing for digital photo prints ten years ago when we first started using digital cameras. If you wanted prints from Kodak or Wolf Camera they charged enough to recoup the cost of the film you didn't buy. But then after online photo processors like Shutterfly and Snapfish got into the mix, prices dropped significantly. Now Kodakgallery charges 10 cents per print if you wait for a holiday special.

Just as with digital photos, where we snap hundreds more photos...I used to take one roll of 35MM photos on a week's vacation, now I'm likely to take 300 photos. I don't print them all, but I probably print 100. It seems to me that publishers can make a whole lot more from e-books than from printed. No paper cost, no printing cost, no warehousing, no shipping cost. Since October, I have spent $100 on 35 e-books; 23 of them were $5 or less.

I never make predictions, but I do believe that by June, 2011, we will see a big change in the pricing of e-books. And publishers will see a bigger profit than any previous year.


Susan said...

I just got the ipod touch for christmas, mainly wanted it to read ebooks because I stumbled on a free romance ebook site. Used to be that I'd read ebooks on the pc, a bit frustrating and uncomfortable (can't relax in a comfy chair and all), but I'm reluctant to purchase much because the prices are well over what I paid at the used bookstore! If and when I see prices drop, then I'll buy them but for now I'm sticking to whats free (and not because I'm cheap, but because they're too expensive!) Seriously!! Our Canadian dollar is practically at par with the USD and we're still paying about five bucks MORE for a book that has the audacity to print the USA price beside the CDN price, can you believe that!

As for the camera, I hated the 35mm, never got the film in properly lost many photos, I had those old 110 cameras (I'm sure you recall those). Now, like you said, the digital all the way. I subscribed to the walmart photocenter newsletter to be advised of when they have the 0.10cent per photo sale then I get them printed.

saraphen said... you have the free Kindle for iPod, or some other reader for iPod. And where is the free romance ebook site?

Susan said...

For some books I've use Stanza as the reader (epub format). the iBooks app also reads epub and pdf (but not protected pdf).

I got some free ebooks from, but also just doing an online google seach for "free ebooks" and you'll get directed to many different genres.

The problem with reading on the ipod is the battery dies so friggen fast (the backlight drains it) so I'm looking in to getting either the sony reader, or kindle. Its been suggested I get one of those tiny notbook laptops for about $300, but I'm too cheap for that!

Susan said...

Hello, it's me again! I discovered something purely by accident... first, there's a kindle app for the iphone that works on the ipod touch *insert happy face here*

Second, if you go on and search their site for "kindle store" then from there search for "kindle books" once there sort by price low to high, and you'll see all the FREE kindle books! I took every romance one LOL.