Wednesday, July 01, 2009

E-books: fair price or overinflated?

J.A. Konrath had an interesting post last month on the cost of e-books, delving into issues with DRM and publishers seeming inability to move (in a timely fashion) with new and emerging technologies.
The rules of supply and demand don't work in a digital world, because the supply is unlimited. You don't fight piracy with weapons. You fight piracy with cost and convenience.
Personally, I don't - and won't - buy e-books that cost the same (or near enough) to the hardback price. An author whose work I love had a new book out in hardback last year. I had all the others in paperback and couldn't really justfy the hardback expense, especially as hbks are less portable so I thought I'd get the e-book version to read there and then, and get the paperback when it came out a year later. Well. The e-book cost exactly the same as the hardback so needless to say, I waited the year until the paperback came out. I could have got the hardback secondhand for less, but I wanted it new - nice shiny book for me/ money for the author = win. But, if only the cost of the e-book version had been the same as (or less than) the cost of the mass market paperback, I would have willingly paid for both versions. EpicFail.
E-publishers get the model right, but (it appears to me) that print publishers are missing an opportunity.

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