Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prices for eBooks too high in comparison with print Books

As an author, I have become much more aware of the extraordinarily high prices that some retailers are charging for eBooks. Both as an author and as a reader myself, I am not happy about the high prices!

In order to pursue marketing ideas for my own books, I frequently review various retailers’ sites. I have noticed, with the increasingly popularity of eBooks, that more online retailers are establishing good online shopping opportunities for eBooks. Certainly Smashwords, my primary online retailer, is pursuing business relationships with an ever increasing number of very good retailers, currently including Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple and others. That is all good.

eBooks priced higher than print Books

What is bothering me is the prices being set for eBooks. It is frequently almost as much as the price for a print Book. In fact, I recently saw some new release eBooks priced at higher than the hardcover print Books! I was shocked and stunned. I simply cannot understand how a retailer can charge more for an eBook, that requires only the cost of miniscule space on a server, versus the cost of printing, shipping and storing a hardcover print Book. How can that possibly make sense? How can a retailer possibly justify charging more for an eBook than the same title in a print Book?

High prices negatively affect reviews and ratings

One of the things that has bothered me most was seeing reviews and ratings for some books actually being affected by the very high prices for eBooks. A rating and review should be based on the content of the book, including perhaps how well it is written, and how imaginative the plot line is, and other considerations related to the writing. In one case I saw online recently, a very good book was being badly down-rated because of pricing issues. Imagine the poor author having his very good work hit with bad ratings because of the retailer’s and/or publisher’s greed.

In my humble opinion, the price of eBooks should reflect the minimal cost of production compared to the higher costs involved in print Books. Of course, an author should gets compensation for his or her hard work, but eBooks need to be cheaper than print Books.

What do you think? Do you agree?

I don’t know what we can do about these terrible pricing practices at this point, but we can certainly start talking about it.

Join me, and comment.


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