Jason C's picture
Jason C from Quad Cities, Iowa is reading Growing Up Dead In Texas by Stephen Graham Jones August 26, 2012 - 11:07pm

At least by the major publishing companies like Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster...

I just don't understand why an e-book should be more than $10 when it's already out in paperback, and I'm seeing many that are in the $12.99 range now.

Are they trying to capitalize on the increase in e-book sales? Do you see this eventually backfiring on them?

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life August 27, 2012 - 12:00am

If I asnwered your question, what would you do with that information?

I recently payed 12.99 for the new Gillian Flynn novel, for Kindle. You may not understand why, but I know why. I couldt try to explain it to you, but why? The form is not the function, but you appear unable to differentiate betwen the two. How would it backfire on 'them'?

 

Jason C's picture
Jason C from Quad Cities, Iowa is reading Growing Up Dead In Texas by Stephen Graham Jones August 27, 2012 - 12:08am

Yeah but the new Gillian Flynn novel is in hardcover so I'm ok with a $12.99 price for that. I've been seeing a 50% price difference between the hardcover and e-book. And for a while, $9.99 was the max on e-books when they were in paperback...but lately, they've been creeping up two-three dollars. Why? Now the smaller presses aren't doing that, it's just many from the Big-6.

I guess it could backfire by leading to even more people looking to download it for free from some other website.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 27, 2012 - 12:24am

Everything is going up, not just ebook prices. Inflation. Also the small presses do seem to be raising theirs as well. Not as much, but between Amazon removing the ability to set the price of indy ebooks at zero for long periods of time, and a others deciding to go to $1.99 instead of $0.99 it isn't a limited to one part of the market. Everyone is still looking for their optimal price point so I'm guessing we will start to see a wider variety of prices in the next several months/few years.

Jason C's picture
Jason C from Quad Cities, Iowa is reading Growing Up Dead In Texas by Stephen Graham Jones August 27, 2012 - 12:27am

I'm wondering what will happen when that trial happens next year with Apple and the publishers (who didn't settle) vs. the DOJ for price fixing. Still a long ways away.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 27, 2012 - 1:08am

Probably a ruling that will be shortly irrelevant after a very short amount of time. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 27, 2012 - 8:39am

I have a very hard time paying cover price for ebooks. Why? Because when you buy a hardcover book some of what you are paying for is production. It's not like every penny goes to the author and the publishing company does this out of the goodness of their hearts. When ebooks are so close to hardcover price on new books, I just scratch my head. 

Further, it keeps reading expensive. Which is a shame. When production of books (in ebook format) because infinitely cheaper, it would make sense that the ebooks would be cheaper. Now maybe reading isn't just for people who have the money to buy new books all the time, or who have a library that's open long enough for them to get in and borrow books (and what of new books? sigh).

And Dwayne--inflation? I don't think so. If they can sell the hardcover version of a book for $16.99 on Amazon, a book that required raw materials, energy resources, and human employees to create, inflation is most definitely not the reason the ebook, which required formatting ONCE, is the same price.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 27, 2012 - 9:06am

We'll see more and more of this as things go forward. It's obviously in the interest of every company to sell an ebook copy of something because it keeps their costs down. Nothing to manufacture, ship, or store. But whatever savings there are don't translate directly to the asking price, I'm sure. Why should they? Companies have no reason to be honest about it. Nobody gives a fuck about goodwill anymore.

I do wonder why people go that route, though. I get that storing books takes up space and such, that's a valid argument to some degree, but when the savings is often so little, or the ebook costs more than a paperback... what's the advantage other than the minor convenience? I don't get it. I mean I don't like ereaders from the ground up. I find them unpleasant. So that's obviously personal preference, but aside from that, the digital age confuses me. I used to consider myself a tech guy, now I feel like it's throwing money in the toilet. People invest in full libraries of this stuff, or build huge libraries of PC games from distributors like Steam which have end-user agreements that can change at any time, buy tons of shit online for consoles when those services are totally going to die eventually and you'll lose access to those games if something ever happens to your hard drive, etc. I had a friend recently decide that he no longer agreed with Steam's user agreement as they changed it to include a bunch of stuff he thought was shady, but he has to agree to continue using the service. If he doesn't agree, he basically forfeits hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in games, some of which he likely hasn't even had the chance to play yet.

Ebooks don't currently have as many of the same restrictions, but I expect it will get worse rather than better. It isn't, as Jeff says, merely the difference between form and function (though in essence I don't disagree with him... the fact of having read a book is every bit as valuable however that experience happens), but also the difference between real ownership and restricted ownership. Again, ebooks are a little different from other mediums, but consider that you can read a real book then give it away as a gift or loan it to a friend, whereas with ebooks, you're restricted to loaning in whatever measure they allow you to, if they allow you to at all. There's real ownership versus restricted. And you've got platform to consider as well, like if you buy exclusively Nook stuff then eventually decide you hate the later iterations of the Nook and your original breaks, or you come to dislike Barnes and Noble, or newer stuff released for the platform becomes incompatible with older models to drive sales of newer, more expensive units... whatever it is, you've essentially invalidated your library if you move to another platform. Or at least as I understand it. I do have the lowest model Nook which I carry around mostly for free stuff I download or to have some nonfiction stuff for reference I wouldn't want to carry otherwise (or that isn't available in hard copy), but I've never purchased an actual book for it.

Sorry, I realize I'm rambling at this point and going off-topic. But to bring it back around, I guess my point is that none of these things have much to do with the user, or at least not in my mind. Obviously they provide some sort of limited convenience as regards purchasing the product, carrying it/storing it, but I feel like the only people who really benefit from any of this digital mindset are the companies producing the material. Their costs go down and they gain more control over the consumer. I see that as a bad thing all around, and I imagine costs will go up as high as they feel they can go without there being any kind of major backlash. It's all relatively new, and they've been testing the waters. As it goes and they realize most younger people have no qualms about dropping cash on non-physical product, even at a price nearly equal to retail, the prices will continue to get higher.

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that August 27, 2012 - 9:19am

Keep in mind that when Amazon sells something for that cheap, it doesn't mean they're making money on it. Amazon takes loses on individual products all the time for the purpose of keeping/expanding customers (or trying to destroy competition). They make up for loses on individual items by the volume on their other products.

And there's still all of the normal overhead to ebooks. You have the cost of formatting, etc., you have author royalties, publishing-house overhead (paying staff, marketing, rent/mortgage, taxes, etc.), and then you have the computer infrastructure costs -- servers, I/T personnel, etc. So, as with any product, publishers are trying to figure out how much they can charge to get the most profit. 

In the long run, ebooks are cheaper to produce because you won't have additional print runs, but paper printing in quantity isn't expensive. Dover, a publisher who does a lot of public domain publication (i.e., classics), sells their public domain PAPER books for as low as $3 retail. That's how cheap it is to do paper.

The high cost of paperback and hardcover books has virtually nothing to do with production costs.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 27, 2012 - 10:10am

@Sparrow - That's what the word means in this context, rising prices. It is not always due/attributed to increase in currency supply relative to goods and services.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 27, 2012 - 11:11am

Well, I understand that, but when you blow off artificial inflation with "that's inflation", it makes seem as though it should be expected and accepted. Artificial inflation of price isn't a good thing--especially when it has reprocussions. And if you don't believe that what was once an expensive hobby (reading) that could be done for free in public libraries has become more expensive as libraries have closed, shortened hours, lost funding, and have less access to new literature...that's a big reprocussion.

Ebooks, being inexpensive to produce and not requiring transport or the overhead of a brick and mortar store to sell give us the opportunity to make reading accessible at a less expensive price, and to help libraries lend books they may not otherwise be able to afford to keep "in stock". When something costs infinitely less to produce, but we charge the same amount for that--it's an issue. Especially when the reality is NOT that authors are receiving better pay for their work, but that publishers are making an even bigger profit, without passing that on to the consumer OR the author.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 27, 2012 - 11:17am

Gary--you did not account for the costs of transportation, the overhead associated with the brick and mortar store and/or storage facility that needs to be paid for in order to exist. The employees that need to work at these facilities. And yes, it takes more employees to run a store or keep a warehouse in order and ready to ship inventory than it does to have someone write the program that makes an ebook download when you click the button.

And Dover is a bad example because they DO publish mostly public domain titles, which means that there is no author to pay, no editor to pay, etc. 

And ebooks don't require the same amount of staff. They don't get printed. That means no one is working at the printing press. It also means that a book needs to be formatted ONCE. No hardcover to paperback, no chance that one of the print runs will accidentally leave out pages 200-220, etc.

Running things electronically is definitely lower overhead. The cost of fuel for transportation and the cost of property to store the paper books alone is very high.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 27, 2012 - 11:25am

I use an ereader because it saves me so much back pain it's surreal. I didn't realize it until the past week, but the difference between carrying five books to class and carrying an ereader just made my back a thousand times better and I have to use less medication to keep the pain away.

Prices are fucking ridiculous. Anyone else noticed that Night by Elie Wiesel is actually more as an ebook than it is as a paperback?

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. August 27, 2012 - 11:52am

I think the digital age will bring about the blossoming of the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence.  

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that August 27, 2012 - 1:18pm

Sorry, I muddled the point of my earlier post.

My point with Dover, which is good example, is that it does not cost much to get a book printed on paper and distributed. If the retail cost is $3, then production, storage, and transportation is cheap -- assuming that Dover is not insolvent because their books are too cheap. The example was to point out that production costs of a paper book is cheap. Mass market paperbacks are, of course, the cheapest. So cheap that if a bookseller wants to return mass market paperbacks, the publisher only wants them to return the covers, not the entire book, because it costs more to ship the book back and restock their shelves than to just print more books if they need them (and if books are being returned, that's a sign that they don't need another print run). Then trade books and hardbacks have a higher production cost, of course.

The point of my earlier post should have been that NEITHER ebooks or paper books should be as expensive as they are. And, actually, one can blame the big six publishers for that, but probably not for the reasons one might think, but because when the large chains in the 90s demanded better deals, publishers agreed to the deals and started to lose money. So publishers started jacking their retail prices to cover the additional cost of supplying cheaper books (along with co-op money in marketing/advertising and other "bonuses" to the chain stores--which resulted in a lawsuit from independent booksellers (who won the lawsuit), but that's another story). Once upon a time (pre-90s), the retail cost of paper books was 5 times the production costs. After their deal with the devil (chain stores), retail prices spiked to 10 times production costs to cover their operating expenses. But actual production expenses were and are still cheap.

But none of this answers why charge so much for ebooks. The answer is probably that they hope they can get away with charging so much and that people will continue to buy them and they'll see better profits for their stockholders. I suspect that publishers will find, once again, that they fucked up. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 27, 2012 - 1:43pm

Mass market paperbacks are, of course, the cheapest. So cheap that if a bookseller wants to return mass market paperbacks, the publisher only wants them to return the covers, not the entire book, because it costs more to ship the book back and restock their shelves than to just print more books if they need them (and if books are being returned, that's a sign that they don't need another print run). Then trade books and hardbacks have a higher production cost, of course.

Right. That's my point. Shipping books costs money. Trades and hardcovers not only cost more to produce, but cost more to ship (they weigh more). So why would an ebook cost more than a paperback? I just got a book in the mail, I ordered it from an indie bookstore that sells through Amazon--you know why I ordered it over the ebook? The ebook was $20 something bucks. This isn't a new book, it isn't a popular book. Why on EARTH would I pay the price of a brand new hardcover for the e-version when I could get an actual hardcover for a few bucks plus shipping?

I do agree that books are more expensive than they really should be, however with a paperbook, you can purchase it from the remainder shelf, loan it to other people, donate it to a library where it can be read for free...etc. There is more cost associated with producing a paper book, and one could theoretically get more use out of it, if they so chose. An ebook gets downloaded, you read it. And...if you really like it I suppose you could read it again. You may be able to loan it out, but you'd better hope whoever you want to loan it to has the right ereader and they are a fast reader, or you could hand over YOUR ereader for a few weeks.

See what I am getting at? 
 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 27, 2012 - 2:44pm

Things cost what people will pay for them. Companies change prices to up profits, which is fine. No one is starving without a book. If they approach that in a reasonable fashion, they tend to do well. If they go over the edge, as the Big 6 seem to have done, they'll destroy their own market. I'm amazed at they way the seem determined to do the next wrong thing. I've seen little or no effort to up sales by putting older books they own rights to online, little effort to sell on their own sites (some are just now the last yeah month catching on to that), price fixing that put their ebooks at 10 times the cost of the indies, and now raising prices on what should be a cash cow for them. It's like a list of why would you do/not do that?

That being said, it does seem like everyone is raising the cost of ebooks so there might be more going on then just the intent to up profits.

.'s picture
. August 28, 2012 - 8:02am

Beats paying shipping costs but why not shell out the extra money for a print when theres only a 3 dollar retail difference?

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 28, 2012 - 9:40am

Dwayne-do you think you are saying anything people here don't know? The discussion is about WHY ebook prices are so high in comparison to paperbooks. So yes, things cost what people will pay for them. I bet if someone had a really good, concrete reason ebooks cost so much, people would shrug their shoulders and go on--but when the reason is the publishing houses want to make more money, then people may decide NOT to pay that much for ebooks, get it?

Just because there is some cynical answer doesn't mean the conversation is pointless. It means that some people like to be informed about something before they make decisions.

Personally, I won't pay more than $10 for an ebook, because I can get a paperback for that. If that means waiting for a book to come out in paperback, then I wait, my reading list is long enough that it isn't an issue.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 28, 2012 - 11:24am

I think the answer is because those setting the prices think people will pay it, which for some reason seems to bother you.

I understand that people have fairly complicated decision making process, yes. My point, that you seem to both admit and refute all at once, is that prices set by companies probably do as well.

Courtney's picture
Courtney from the Midwest is reading Monkey: A Journey to the West and a thousand college textbooks August 28, 2012 - 5:36pm

I just wanted to note that there's a disparity between ebooks and emagazines/enewspapers that I just noticed -- magazines and newspapers are way cheaper for my Nook than for hard copies. It may be because of different publishing standards, but it's the way I'd have wanted books to go.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 28, 2012 - 6:49pm

I understand that people have fairly complicated decision making process, yes. My point, that you seem to both admit and refute all at once, is that prices set by companies probably do as well.

I'm not refuting anything. I am pointing out that people should consider whether they ARE willing to pay those prices when they get less in return and set the stage for making reading an elitist game.

Presenting the information as to why I feel those prices are wrong is refuting anything. I don't see anything wrong with discussing why I believe something is wrong, especially if that discussion might help people think about their participation in the "wrong" thing and perhaps, you know...use their dollar to voice their opinion.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 29, 2012 - 4:22am

My point is that you seem to care about why the price is high, not just how high it is. I don't understand why that makes a difference to you.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters August 29, 2012 - 4:57am

Dwayne - don't you care where your money goes? 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 29, 2012 - 6:29am

Mostly no. I mean if it's something wonderful like cancer research or something horrible like baby kicking, yeah. But the vast majority of the time I just care that it is leaving.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters August 29, 2012 - 6:43am

Okay - well that is the difference.

Renee (and some other people in the world, I assume) care about where their money goes.

Dwayne (and some other people in the world, I assume) do not.

Now we can not worry with this any more.  Misunderstanding resolved! 

 

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that August 29, 2012 - 7:03am

This reminds me of the Monty Python argument skit.

No, it's nothing like the argument skit.

Yes it is. It's exactly like that.

I beg to differ. In the argument skit, Palin has paid money to have an argument.

Yes, but you see, many of us have paid money to be in this community, so it's quite similar.

Oh, please, it's not similar at all. Palin pays explicitly to have an argument, while you've paid to have interactions with fellow writers.

But whether I've paid to have arguments or paid to interact with other writers, the point is that I paid and am now having an argument.

I'm sorry, your time is up. I can't argue with you anymore.

But that wasn't five minutes. You shorted me on this argument.

Sorry.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics August 29, 2012 - 8:01am

I'm so glad I'm not the only one feeling anally raped by ebook prices.

I GREATLY prefer hard, tangible books I can hold, smell, write poignant messages in before giving away, and look at while they sit prettily on my shelves. The problem for me, and the sole reason I just bought a Kindle DX, is that I'm legally blind nowadays and the ability to enlarge text from any book available instead of hoping some lame-ass large-print printer/publisher has decided deserves being readable by the visually impaired is absolutely priceless.

I HATE that I see so many books on Kindle costing as much or more than tangible print versions. There is absolutely no legitimate reason for this price policy, other than flat-out greed. Now, if a printer/publisher wants to fuck the reading public with a dick big enough an elephant can feel it, that's no different than half the other companies in the market of any product, but in this case there are people who have a shitty choice to make - do I take the financial rape for the ability to read again after having been woefully unable to keep up with my voracious reading appetites, or do I just throw my hands up and say fuck it let's go back to not being able to read since there's so much quality television programs out there? (please note the dripping sarcasm)

I REALLY get annoyed when some people, who personally loathe ereaders for their own valid yet still entirely personal reasons, rail against digital reading and the devices that make it possible. The things are impersonal and lack that specialness that a real book has - even a bad book - but for those like me, both my grandparents, and all other people who wander the one or two aisles of 'large print' books wondering why the only things printed in large print seem to be nothing but what old Christian fundamentalists would like to read, ereaders have reopened the library of knowledge that we so dearly missed.

I AGREE that ereaders and ebooks feel evil, but they are a necessary evil for me and many others. Instead of railing against the companies who bilk us all, I would like to see equal vitriol aimed at the companies who don't make an effort to provide large-print versions of all books printed and at the same time. I shouldn't have to be forced to get an ereader. I shouldn't be forced to miss out on a great book if I don't buy an ereader because the publisher won't print it in large font. I shouldn't be forced to pay more for an ebook than the cost of formatting it once, plus a small but fair profit to allow for growth of the company and encouragement for authors to keep at their craft. I shouldn't, yet here we are, because people are greedy. Other people are selfish. Still others don't consider that some of us are with them in hating digital print media, but are forced to by realities of physical limitation.

I STOP rambling now, sorry.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 29, 2012 - 8:24am

I can't help but think it is a scheme by the publishers to make sure they still sell physical books along with the e-books. Which seems odd to me. If I buy an e-book, it is mine. I can't sell it to a used book store. I can't lend it to a dozen friends, normally. You would think they would encourage people to buy e-books because it ensures that anyone who wants to read the book buys their own, new, from the publisher.

They are money grabbing for profit right now, but as long as people keep paying it, they will keep charging it. The same could be said for bottled water. Ridiculous profit margin, but people keep buying it so they will keep selling it at that price.

The only way to bring the price down is not to pay it.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics August 29, 2012 - 8:53am

Excellent point about the scheme.

And as for not paying, other than textbooks I've bought recently for school, I've taken to only reading ebooks via library. The sad part of that, though, is that for some odd reason the libraries in my area have only one digital copy of any book if they have it available for ereaders at all. So, even going the free route has its annoying aspects.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 29, 2012 - 10:48am

My point is that you seem to care about why the price is high, not just how high it is. I don't understand why that makes a difference to you.

Obviously I care about how high it is, which is why I was making comparisons to hardcover books and pointing out that the prices will keep readers from accessing books if they do not have a lot of disposable income.

And yeah, of course I care where my money goes. I don't understand not caring. You say you care that it is leaving--okay--why would you then not care where it went when it left? You don't care if you are getting your money's worth? Seems kind of silly. I mean, maybe you have a lot more money than I do.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated August 29, 2012 - 11:19am

I don't see what A has to do with B. If a ebook is worth 15 USD, which I'd say very few are, it is worth it. The profit margins of the company don't change that. If it is not worth it, it is not. Again the profit margins don't change that. I'm not any worse or better off.

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters August 29, 2012 - 11:22am

Hey!  I settled this already!

You have two different perceptions based on your experiences and values that cannot be reconciled!  Stop it!

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 29, 2012 - 11:26am

The profit margins matter in this case because they are offering you less and charging you the same. We've gone through that in this discussion, so I won't repeat all of it, I'll let you go back and read it if it matters to you.

They also matter because while you, personally, may not be any better or worse off--something that could have made reading for pleasure affordable and accessible is being priced with such a high profit margin that it is not doing that.Which, arguably, affects all of us, or at least those of us who hope to become published. We should probably care if people are reading. Libraries have been getting less and less funding for well over a decade, they have odd, short hours that many people can't work into their schedules, and they don't always have access to newer books. This means that if it is too expensive to buy books--people don't read them. If they are lucky they live near a used book store and can buy there, but again, that plays into why paperbooks are worth more than ebooks--because they can be shared/lent/resold and ebooks cannot.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 29, 2012 - 11:27am

You have two different perceptions based on your experiences and values that cannot be reconciled!  Stop it!

Don't worry, Jess. It is incredibly rare that I invest much into a debate on the internet. I enjoy debating. 

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne August 29, 2012 - 1:14pm

@Photon - I feel you, man. My father, before he died, was legally blind and had to read with a giant magnifying machine. Ebooks wouldn't even have been good enough unless he put the thing under the machine as well. So I know how that goes, and I have nothing at all against the concept of ebooks even though I don't personally enjoy them, just as I've got nothing against the convenience of being able to buy and download things digitally from the comfort of my home. My worries come when we essentially put our libraries in a vulnerable position or we give up the keys to those libraries to companies who stand to profit by it. It's always dangerous when control leaves our hands. But I defnitely sympathize with your plight, and it is indeed a bummer how few good books end up with large-print editions. It also sucks how incredibly expensive audiobooks can be.

.'s picture
. August 29, 2012 - 3:40pm

I enjoy debating.

I enjoy masterdebating. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books August 29, 2012 - 8:12pm

I definitely don't rail against e-readers and ebooks. Not at all. I read both hard copies and e-copies, and ebooks have been invaluable to me since we've started doing Books and Booze and I have to read at a ridiculous pace to keep up.

What bothers me, is that when ebooks came out, a lot of people talked about how it would lower book prices, and a lot of people discussed how this would affect underpriveleged populations when it came to required reading for school, etc. One the one hand, you can get a large number of public domain titles for absolutely free from Sony (or you could when I first got my ereader, I haven't looked at it recently) on the other hand, I've gone to download several books just to find that they were $15 and up. That's simply ridiculous. A trade paperback costs about the same, lasts longer than a paperback, and has been mentioned several times, can change hands and/or eventually end up for sale used. The trade paperback at $15 gives a lot more road wear than the e-version.

In my opinion--it is NOT worth it to pay a price equal to or above the cost of a mass-market paperback. It simply isn't. I share my opinion because I think it's probably a good thing if other people sit back and consider whether it is worth it to them. If it's worth it to you (general you), that's fine, but you should probably be aware that you're paying much more than it is worth on a measurable level.

All that said, most of what I have been reading lately has been 5.99 and under, which is great. But those aren't from big time publishers.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break August 30, 2012 - 1:47pm

There's a scandal in our midst: E-book price fixing

Jason C's picture
Jason C from Quad Cities, Iowa is reading Growing Up Dead In Texas by Stephen Graham Jones August 30, 2012 - 7:25pm

So, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides just came out in paperback. We should see a significant drop in e-book price, right? Nope.

The hardcover was $28 and the e-book was $14. We've been seeing a 50% discount for the e-book on a regular basis when it's out in hardcover.

Now the paperback is $16 and the e-book drops...to $12.99.

That's bullshit.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics September 7, 2012 - 9:06am

I completely agree with you Sparrow.

I was shocked and appalled to see so many ebook versions being at least as pricey as hard copies. Though, i have to admit that last week, when I was spending my days at the hospital with my grandfather and during his few lucid moments he asked if I had anything from Churchill on my Kindle and I had to say no but I'd check the Aamazon store for something to read to him, I did find a six volume set of his writing (each volume is well over 700 pages) for just six bucks per volume, I was more overjoyed than I've been in a long time.

If there is a way for us, the reading public, to make sure the prices are proportionally smaller for ebooks than their tangible counterparts, count me in. But if the movement is against ereaders as a whole, I'm not interested.

In terms of helping the economically underprivileged have a greater level of access to literature, I am with you in your anger. I was like you when the ebook phenomenon started and seemed to be a partial solution to that issue, and I'm like you now in my indignation that the problem has only been made worse.

The whole thing is a really frustrating mess.

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that September 8, 2012 - 6:15am