Tuesday, August 31, 2010

eBook Pricing

When an old brick and mortar industry is suddenly faced with it's customers wanting goods digitally, why does every industry throw up it's hands and run in circles yelling "The sky is falling!" at the top of it's lungs? We saw it happen with the music industry. We are watching it now with the movie and television industry. Even the video game industry is dealing with online distribution woes.

Customers are going to get the content they want on the device they want to view it on. They did it with mp3s, they are doing it now with movies and tv shows, and they are going to do it with ebooks very soon. You cannot stop the signal.

I recently got my hands on an iPad. I had been eyeing ereaders for some time now, and Apple's newest device was at the top of my list of potential ereaders. I'll spare you my review of the device, just know that it is a very good ereader. (The primary reason I would get one.)

Imagine my surprise when I browsed Apple's ebook store to find most books between 9.99 and 14.99. Really publishing industry? Really?? I looked up one of my favorite Neil Gaiman novels 'Stardust'. This is not a new novel and can be found in any well-stocked bookstore as a mass market paperback. It's price as an eBook? 9.99. It's price as a paperback on Amazon? 7.99 with free shipping. The price I paid at my local Borders. 7.99.


Selling an eBook for the same price you sell the paperback for is crazy. Selling an eBook for MORE than the paperback is white-jacket-with-no-sleeves insanity. Why would a business even consider doing that? Do they think customers are half-wits?

Do I even need to go into the mydrid of reasons why eBooks are cheaper? The lack of paper, the lack of ink, lack of printing presses, lack of storage needed, lack of distribution. You can, literally, sit at home in a bathrobe and publish an eBook.

Yes, I know that big publishing companies have to hire editors, designers, and various office staff. I understand they all need to get paid. I even expect the publishing house to make a profit. They work and they deserve to grow their business.

However, I do not expect business to deliberately screw customers over to try and scare them back into an old business model. I will not tolerate it. And neither will other customers. Why was music piracy so high? Customers demanded their music in a new format and it wasn't being given to them in the way they wanted. When the industry relented, lo and behold, people started PAYING for music again.

Is that what you want publishers? Do you want customers go pirate your content because of your stupidly high prices? It's going to happen if you keep this trend up.

-Shaun, written solely on an iPad. (So forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes.)

1 comment:

Houston said...

Yeah. The original books already have editors and everything, and in this day and age everything is digital before it is printed anyway. I don't see why it would go up in price by eliminating all of the physical aspects. New server costs perhaps? That still doesn't justify them being more expensive though.

So you got an iPad...that Apple fanboyness is growing in you and it scares me a little man. I kid, I kind of like the idea of it also other lower battery life(compared to e-ink readers), but being color and having more usibility(read: computer) is cool.