13 Bucks: E-book Pricing Wars


5 February 2010

Thank goodness for Max Magee who’s always so good at making sense of book business developments for us lay folk.  Here’s his take on the Amazon vs Macmillan e-book pricing wars.

I don’t know, folks — I’m a little disappointed in e-readers who are bristling about the possibility of e-book prices going up to $12.99-ish.  If you love to read and you care about literature, is 13 bucks instead of 10 bucks really going to make a significant dent in your life?  Is a book not worth 13 bucks, when many of us pay 3 bucks for a cup of coffee, 12 bucks for a movie?  And if buying new books is a true financial hardship, I’m a big fan of the public library; if you keep up on what’s coming out in the near future you can usually get in line on the hold list and not have to wait too long.  E-books are now downloadable (for a specified period of time) through libraries, and sometimes they are “always available” with no wait (although I suspect there will be resistance to this from publishers, understandably, with new books).  I myself often read library books and then buy the book later, once I’ve decided it’s definitely a book I want to own.

Of course, as an author, I find it disturbing to see the prices for new books being driven down.  In case it’s not already obvious to readers, it’s very difficult to make a living as a writer; and even more difficult to devote your time and energy to writing if you are having to worry more and more about how to make a living alternatively.  I am also now an up-close witness to all the work that goes into writing, editing, designing, producing, and promoting a book.  Truly, a labor of love.

Sometimes, the Tyranny of Convenience needs to be checked, I think.


One Response to “13 Bucks: E-book Pricing Wars”

  1. eric Says:

    Digital music may have set the path for e-books. The greatest reward has been the ease in which new artists can have their music heard, then purchased. Also, playlists are generated based on your selections, all of which are very easy to purchase with just a press of a button. A good example of this model is Lala.com.

    It is amazingly easy to buy an e-book. I have bought my last two while warm in bed. Would the effort to get up, dressed, get in a car, go to the library or the bookstore decrease the possibility of purchasing that book?

    So, maybe more authors will be discovered?

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