Content Pricing Consultant: Ebooks Should Be (Much) More Expensive

Imagine a cold winter day in New England. Now, imagine wanting a particular book. You have three options, according to Frank Luby, a pricing consultant and former journalist, speaking at the Copy Right Clearance Center’s OnCopyright 2014 conference in New York.

You could brave the cold and, presumably, snow, get in your car, drive to the nearest Barnes & Noble to hope that the store has a copy. If it doesn’t have one, perhaps a nearby location does. You can buy the book from the store and drive home.

Alternatively, you could log on to Amazon.com and purchase the book and have it delivered to your door in a matter of days.

Or, you can pick up your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other e-reading device and have the book in your hands in a matter of moments.

“Ebooks are terribly misnamed,” said Luby. “They’re not a product. They’re a reader service.”

Luby argued that the convenience that ebooks offer over their print counterparts are a great benefit that publishers and retailers should charge readers more for.

“Ebooks should be more expensive than they are, more than print books — a lot more,” said Luby, adding that ebooks are relatively cheap because publishers and retailers don’t properly explain their benefits, namely, convenience.

While book publishers have generally shown discomfort at low prices for ebooks, citing the high cost of acquiring and developing content and unfavorable comparisons to print book, ebook retailers, most notably Amazon, have been largely in favor of lower prices for ebooks. In the early days of Kindle, the low cost of ebooks was cited as a reason for spending several hundreds dollars on a device to purchase them. Retailers have also of late been in a battle for market share and price is a weapon of choice for some.

In 2012, when the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with some of the largest U.S. publishers over the issue of ebook price fixing, an Amazon spokesperson made the following statement: “This is a big win for Kindle owners, and we look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books.”

When Amazon made that statement, the average price of a best-selling ebook was hovering around $9.00. This week, the average price of a best-selling ebook was $6.42.

45 thoughts on “Content Pricing Consultant: Ebooks Should Be (Much) More Expensive

  1. Rudy

    Yeah, right. Actually, since publishers are licensing the books through amazon, NOT selling them, they should be a LOT cheaper than the printed edition. Especially since the product is often defective: In more than half the cases, the ratio of typos (usually OCR/proofreading errors) and formatting glitches is extremely high compared to printed books. And for scholarly books with indexes, you’re lucky if the publisher has bothered to hyperlink rather than rely on search engines (which find words and phrases but not concepts and suchlike found in a proper index). Phooey.

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    1. Michael Covington

      Where are you getting your information? OCR may have been a cause of many problems early on (years ago) as publishers had to ramp up digital production of old catalogs that had no source files. However, any publisher worth their salt today has a digital workflow and QA process that demands as much excellence from their digital versions as it does print. Sounds like you are a frequent flier on the anti-publisher express.

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    2. Robin

      So right! I can’t agree with this more.

      An edition of Ender’s Game that I had bought off Kobo was nearly unreadable because of typos with apostrophes. All I’ms were I-m.

      Who doesn’t check that? And to pay full price for that garbage product… Epub books should cost MUCH LESS than their paper brethren.

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  2. Ray

    Who is kidding who. There is a protected little world where multinational publishers run roughshod over the reading public. Their only aim is profit. They are not charities. They will even stoop so low as to promote celebrity authors over real talent. They have successes like J K Rowling, but that was more chance than their taking commissioning seriously. We have a comfortable elite with English Literature degrees deciding what readers want. The question is why so few people read books – is it because the market is badly served?

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  3. Bill Gleason

    I w0nder who the consultant works for… This is thinly disguised, biased propaganda (hell0 – barnes and noble — we’ve heard this line before).

    A rational discussion and comparison of pre-press, printing, transportation, inventory, and return issues between pbooks and ebooks is welcome. Even more welcome is the somewhat questionable value addition of traditional publishers to the overall process. To be sure, it is meaningful for some books, but (as epublishing has taught us) not nearly as indispensable as the publishers thought…

    Sorry — they are a product — not a service — and should be substantially priced below print books. The latest attempts at 14.99 ebook releases WILL fail over time. Just not worth it.

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    1. Paul H

      I agree, it certainly sounds like the kind of word games politicians and lobbyists use, trying to convince you against your common sense.

      Of course, ebooks should be cheaper than printed books for all the obvious reasons, including production costs. However, they shouldn’t be dirt cheap, and the indies that are underpricing are devaluing their own product and destroying their profit potential.

      Besides, the horse is out the barn. The readers aren’t brainless robots. There’s no way they would buy into that “service” argument as an excuse to rip them off, and that’s exactly what it is. The mainstream publishing industry wanting to regain its dominance (over indies) by making printed books cheaper, thereby putting them firmly back in control and back in the black.

      Sorry, but that ain’t happening.

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  4. Jim Lichtenberg

    OMG! This is the first intelligent thing I’ve read about the dreaded “pricing” issue. The DoJ ruled on the letter not the spirit of anti-trust.

    Books delivered in a digital format are a SERVICE, not a product as Luby quite rightly observes. Figure in the cost of gas to drive to a book store, or even the cost of your clothes… you can’t go to the bookstore in your bunny slippers and pj’s. All these things we so take for granted And what about, in the moment, being able. with a finger touch, to get the definition of ‘stentorious’ or find out where the first symbolic writing occurred… it wasn’t Egypt.

    Publishers never seem to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity and so-called “ebooks” is the latest in a long line of business flubs. Creative work deserves compensation. Services deserve compensation. (Does your dry-cleaner clean your suit for less than what it costs him to do it?) Having begged the publishers for a to take a chance on the mid-1990s, Amazon should now change its name to Python, using its profits from other activities to sell below cost. If publishers actually understood what their business model is… what a business model is… and instead of doing yet another “reading is important” campaign focused on effective consumer relationships with their actual customer, people who buy books, the situation might have a chance to correct itself.

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    1. Nickster

      “Books delivered in a digital format are a SERVICE, not a product as Luby quite rightly observes.”

      This is so completely wrong, I can’t even comprehend this kind of muddled thinking. Remember the days when you had to go to Software Etc. and buy a box of software with physical disks in it? That combination of box, truck, store is called a “distribution channel.” When you deliver a digital PRODUCT over the Internet, that is just another type of distribution channel.

      Distribution is not a service – it’s a means to a sale. A service is when you do something for me so that I don’t have to do it myself. For example, if I paid you to photocopy a physical book for me, you are not selling me the book. In this case, digital distribution is the service and the copy of the eBook is the product. They’re not mutually exclusive. Amazon could just as easily insist that you walk into a store to buy the digital copy but that still wouldn’t make the eBook a “service.”

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  5. Juli Monroe

    Sorry, that ship has sailed. Convenience, as stated in the article, is never an issue for me. I wouldn’t need to go out in the cold and snow to buy a book because I keep a queue of books ready to read at all times. Plus, as Rudy said, eBooks lack many of the \privileges\ I’d be paying for with a paper book: ability to sell or lend at will, ability to read regardless of what device I own at a time, etc. A licensed product has less value. And publishers are already making more per ebook than paper book. Plenty of pricing breakdowns show that. Why should I make them even more profit per book?

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  6. Fred Stielow

    One can only assume this is an April Fool’s joke. Lower costs from electronic publishing and distribution over print-based routines simply dictate lower prices–and the Market has already spoken to affirm same.

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  7. Max Myers

    EBooks are priced below pBooks because of production cost. However, selling them at 99¢ or free, as many indie authors and small indie publishers, similar to us, have done, is undermining the value of the authors work, and all other costs associated with bringing that book to market.

    For us, a tiny, indie startup, the devaluing of the digital format is financial suicide. We’re fully aware that we have to compete with those that are willing to sell at extremely low price points, so we’re offering something a little different. In the long term will our strategy work? That’s for the Great Invisible Sky Money to know and us to rush headlong to find out.

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    1. Jack Kunkel

      I totally agree that writers giving their ebooks away or selling them for $.99 is financial suicide. Unfortunately, cutting prices is the only form of marketing that most writers know. And usually, if they’re will to give their books away for $.99, that’s about all their book is worth anyway.

      These “writers” are responsible for training readers into the habit of getting their ebooks for free or for $.99.

      Cutting ebook prices to the bone is mostly a disease of fiction writers. Most non-fiction writers have put too much time into their books to give them away for free.

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      1. Chris Meadows

        You know, there’s an old, old concept in economics called “equilibrium price.” That’s the price at which profit is maximized through the most people buying at the best possible profit. A lot of self-publishing writers are finding that pricing their books around the $4 to $6 range gets them enough sales to make the best profit. Many of them are even earning a decent living that way.

        If it works for them, who is this “consultant” to say they’re wrong?

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        1. Colin Higbie

          Chris, this is true, but economics is only part of the pricing story. Prices are also part of the marketing mix and used to communicate value, branding, etc. And consumers learn from pricing what something “ought to be worth.” If consumers come to believe that books are only worth $.99, they will be less willing to pay more than that for anything. And then the next round of authors, struggling to find readers, prices their books below that or free… and down goes the value perception among readers further. It’s a vicious cycle.

          We discuss this in our CrowdPricing system (full disclosure, I’m involved with an epublishing company that uses price as marketing tool), where lower prices definitely help with discovery, but as a group, we also need to keep prices up on the most popular titles, or the PERCEIVED VALUE of all books will continue to plummet.

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      2. Colin Higbie

        Well said, Jack. The problem is that in the short term, for any individual author who is not already well known, it seems smart to come in with a price below market to generate greater interest and sales. Unfortunately, in the long run, this drives down book prices for all authors as customers come to believe books are worth less. This could be good for consumers, in that book prices (both print and ebook) come down, but it’s disastrous for any author who hopes to earn a living writing books.

        That’s not to say ebooks should cost as much or more than print books. Frankly, that’s absurd – the cost of production and distribution of ebooks is near zero, which is not the case for print books. Passing along a portion of that saving to readers to increase total sales volume is perfectly reasonable.

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        1. Ben Looi

          The business model is broken, and it has to change. How about rewarding readers who buy and share? I’m selling the world’s most expensive eBook ever at $10,000. Anyone who buys it has the right to resell it and earn $2250 for every sale. And continue receiving indirect commissions over 10 tiers. Just to prove a point. :)

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  8. Bennett

    I wonder if Mr. Luby has created any such pricing models that have had success or if he’s considered whether substantially higher prices than print would actually be good for the industry. His reasoning as stated here is entirely misguided. From a mainstream consumer point of view, trade ebooks are the same as print books, less the cost of manufacturing for the publisher. So long as there are both print and digital editions, that will be the primary point of comparison for consumers. Some may cite convenience as a driver for paying a premium, but that premium is more than offset by the lower perceived value of a digital edition. We have a long way to go before consumers view trade ebook content as a ‘service’ and not a ‘product’. The value proposition has to change to move the price point of single titles higher. If Mr. Luby has done customer validation to prove out his theory, I’d love see that shared.

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  9. Michael Covington

    Ultimately, a book (p or e) is worth what someone is willing to pay for it (hold’s true for any content). We live in a new age where both the medium and the content can be a means rather than an end. Content can be both product and promotion, but if it doesn’t deliver a true value to the consumer then price is least of your worries.

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      1. Ben Looi

        How’s this for a pricing model? Authors determine their desired royalty amount. This makes up 50% of the selling price. 30% is set aside as a reward for consumers who buy and share the books, divided over 10 tiers. 20% is for the platform fee of the service provider to track and manage payments.
        When a reader A buys a book for say $10, author gets $5. A likes the book and recommends it to friends, and he gets $1 for every referral sale that comes through his link. Suppose Readers B1, B2, B3 , B4 and B5 buys through A’s link. A gets $5. Each B shares their links and get 25 Cs to buy the book too. Each B get $5, and A gets maybe $0.50 x 25 or $12.50. Which means, A has not only recovered his $10 (so his book is free) he has earned $7.50! All this time, there would have been 31 books sold, and author gets 31 x $5. At the 10th tier, it is 5x5x5…. or 9.7 million sales.
        Do the math…wouldn’t it be more compelling to pay a higher price for eBooks, because you can do this, but not with pBooks?
        Theoretically, it sounds interesting. Wanna see it? Google Tell My Friends.

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  10. Kevin

    Amazon offers thousands of books for free or below cost. This in my opinion does undermine the value of a book and depresses the efforts of the market as a whole. While this may be good for consumers in the short term there may be real anti-competitive violations occurring here. When is the Justice Department going to look into this?

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  11. Jack Kunkel

    Clearly, readers are all in favor cheap ebook prices (surprise!). But not all writers are in favor, especially non-fiction writers. This is not the stereotypical innocent consumer against the big, bad publishers. Consumers whine about paying $5 for an ebook that possibly took the writer a year to complete. And then the same consumer plunks down $8 for a Big Mac meal without a thought.

    Cheap ebook prices affect writers as well as publishers.

    To fully take advantage of all the opportunities offered by modern ebooks – video, animation, audio, photography – many non-fiction ebooks MUST be priced higher. There’s a big difference between writing a text-only novel vs writing a non-fiction ebook that includes photos, illustrations, and maybe video, not to mention a book index.

    So the prices of ebooks in some cases will be going up, not down. Get over it!

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    1. Colin Higbie

      Where costs are higher for an ebook with video, etc., that’s probably fair, but in that case, there isn’t really any print equivalent to compare, so it’s not really more than the print version of the same book. Also, we should keep in mind that those one time development costs can be amortized over all the sales (so they actually drop per sale with a lower price, because a lower price translates to higher volume). Print books pricing is largely a function of the per-unit printing, distribution, and inventory/shelf space costs.

      On the other hand, distribution over the Internet is nearly free. Yeah, there’s a small cost for bandwidth, and a per-title (but not per sale) cost for storage, but those are tiny.

      Unless download volume is expected to be very small (where there is real risk of not recouping the expense of producing the book in the first place), price of an ebook should not be a function of its development cost, but rather what is market-appropriate, and that’s as much a question for the customers as the author/producer.

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    2. MarylandBill

      The $8.00 Big Mac meal is a known quantity, and usually bought to fill an immediate need. When someone buys an ebook, they are taking a chance. At McDonalds, I have a reasonable certainty (around 99.99% I would wager) that the Big Mac I buy will taste exactly like every other Big Mac I have ever had. When I buy an ebook, I would guess that about 30% of them will never be finished because I just don’t like the book (this does not necessarily mean its a bad book, its just that I may not get on with it), and another 30% will be disappointing. The hit rate is higher with authors I have read before, but even then I run into about a 20% failure rate. So yeah, I put more thought into a $6.00 ebook than an $8.00 Big Mac. Though, here is a hint, I am far more likely to buy books on impulse at $4.00 or less.

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  12. William

    I think ebooks are priced lower than pbooks because the costs of production and distribution very low or nil. I think the pricing is just adjusted for that savings in cost to the publisher.

    I will admit, that ebooks are also priced lower because the Perception is that they should be. If the publishing industry wants to price them higher they need to work on that perception.

    Personally I wouldn’t pay more than $6.00 for an ebook unless it is a real popular book. I find that my sweet spot on pricing is $3.99. That is my impulse-buy price.

    eBooks have limitations that pbooks don’t have. The author neglects to mention this fact. The physical print book has a cash value, it is an asset. You can sell or trade it. eBooks have no cash value once you buy them. Even if they don’t realize it, people are willing to pay more for something that retains value.

    You also have a higher up front cost with an ebook – the cost of the reading medium, be it computer, ereader, tablet or phone. Readers expect to save money on their reading because they had to spend extra to allow them to read it.

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  13. Michael

    Raising the price of ebooks will just increase the number of ebooks readers download for free from torrent sites.

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  14. Anthony

    The point us moot. The train has left the station on the perceived value of ebooks, which are intangible, have no space requirement (other than optimal positioning online, an advertising challenge), no inventory cost, provide unique format benefits but also unique format disadvantages, making them only subjectively “better” or a “service” to some. They are rightly priced lower in a world where multiple formats co-exist, though I concede it may be argued that they are too devalued as if commoditized, so therein is the debate. In a future state, where the electronic version is the only version, and this becomes normal, then the pricing question shoul rightly be revisited.

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    1. Colin Higbie

      Anthony, great points on the cost differences. On perceived value, I think there is still an opportunity for authors to influence this though. By offering books for free or $.99, it is causing the perceived value to drop… of ALL books. Of course, for the author struggling to find readers, it’s still a win and better than pricing his or her book at $6.99 and having no one buy it. But for those of us who care about the long term ability of authors to earn a living writing, we should do what we can to preserve at least that the most popular books (the ones that most drive public perception of value) hold to the higher prices. Not necessarily the same as print book prices, for the reasons you point out, but probably closer to $10 than to $2.

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  15. Eamon Ambrose

    Good grief. This is the most ridiculous notion I’ve ever heard. First of all, eBooks are not a convenience – they’re convenient. There’s a big difference. They are as valuable a tool to the author as they are to the consumer. It’s not about price – it’s about value for money. I buy 99c eBooks all the time and avail of free eBooks when they’re available. Of all the books I bought in the last year, at least 80 percent were repeat purchases from authors who’s books or short stories I had acquired during these promotions. Many of those purchases were further enhanced by buying print versions, signed and first editions, artwork, audio books and more. If I hadn’t read that initial 99c book I would not have made those later purchases or even have heard of the author.

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  16. JamieT

    So a former journalist is now a pricing consultant? Consultant to whom? This is rubbish. The optimum price of an ebook is that which generates the highest possible revenue over the life of the book. The same can be said for an author’s portfolio as a whole which is why concern over an author dangling a single free book out there as a gateway drug to a multiple book series is silly and shows a lack of big picture thinking.

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    1. Colin Higbie

      Anthony, great points on the cost differences. On perceived value, I think there is still an opportunity for authors to influence this though. By offering books for free or $.99, it is causing the perceived value to drop… of ALL books. Of course, for the author struggling to find readers, it’s still a win and better than pricing his or her book at $6.99 and having no one buy it. But for those of us who care about the long term ability of authors to earn a living writing, we should do what we can to preserve at least that the most popular books (the ones that most drive public perception of value) hold to the higher prices. Not necessarily the same as print book prices, for the reasons you point out, but probably closer to $10 than to $2.

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  17. Linton Robinson

    This is silly. There is actually no such thing as “what something should cost” It’s worth what people will pay for, not what some yo-yo figures out it should cost. Should an mp3 cost more than an LP? Should a Bic pen cost more than a goose quill?
    And before anybody talks about how writers doing freebies and selling for a dollar, try to factor in that more than a few writers have used that to sell in the 6 and 7 figures and can now charge more.
    If you can get five bucks for your ebook, more power to you. If you sell thousands at 99 cents, good for you. Either way, you have results. Not like some market guru who isn’t selling anything.

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  18. Remez Sasson

    There is a strange logic concerning the prices of ebooks, especially non fiction ebooks.

    How much do you pay, when you go to a lecture?
    How much do you pay to participate in a workshop?

    If all the information you get from a lecture or a workshop is contained in an ebook, is it reasonable to price it $0.99?

    What about the time and the expenses the author spent to study and train to get his or her experience?

    A price of an ebook cannot to be determined by the number of pages and whether it is printed or a digital book. The price should depend on the information in contains. There are many nonfiction authors who price their ebooks $20, $30 or more.

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  19. Colin Higbie

    As our focus is on marketing ebooks based in part on our CrowdPricing system, this is something we have studied deeply. Ebooks should not cost MORE than print books. Their costs are much lower (effectively free) and if nothing else, Amazon and others have shown that lower prices on books do drive volume, so higher prices would not be profit maximizing to anyone, especially not authors. The beneficiary of higher priced ebooks would be print book vendors.

    On the other hand, there is a downward spiral in book prices that should scare authors. In order to get traction with readers, authors slash prices or offer their books for free. For the author, this definitely helps with downloads. But over time, for all authors, this destroys value as customers come to perceive books as being worth less and less. It’s a vicious cycle.

    The key is for unknown authors or new titles to be free or inexpensive, but keep the most popular titles, which set reader value perception, somewhere between $6 and $10. (Full disclosure, this is what we do professionally at http://www.scribl.com, so I have an admitted bias, but I believe a bias borne of extensive study).

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  20. MarylandBill

    The argument that ebooks are a service is flawed. Yes, the delivery of an ebook over the internet (and usually wireless if you have a mainstream reader) is a great service. But the service ends with the delivery. And it is a service delivered by the ebook store one has bought from, not from the publisher of the book. If Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Kobo want to deliver the books for free, that is their choice.

    Beyond that, the argument that ebooks should be more expensive is flawed based on the fact that readers have other options. They can look to their libraries which might have the ebook available to loan (i.e., a free read) and more importantly, if the price is too high they might decide to simply go to the dark web to download it for free (Or in the case of something in the public domain, they might just download it from Project Gutenberg). Finally of course, this whole discussion is predicated on the fact that ebooks are only competing against regular books. In fact, books and ebooks have more serious competition from games, television, music, youtube, etc.

    In any case, the point is, drive the cost of ebooks up, and you might very well make far less money than you do with the prices low.

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  21. Carmie V

    Seriously? Wow what world does the consultant live in? This is the funniest thing I have heard ever. It is seriously less work for everybody to release an ebook than a print book.

    It is AMAZING that Amazon allows people to return ebooks and receive a credit; jacking the price of ebooks will only make this problem much worse when it is laughable already.

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  22. Matt G

    By this same logic, Google should charge more for the convenience of sending an email than the post office charges for sending a piece of mail.

    No! Of course not. Ebooks are disrupting the industry. Authors who choose publishers with fair ebook pricing will sell more books, and rake in more profit. Similarly, publishers who try to live in the glory days of manufacturing paper books should splash some water on their face and realize that this is much a convenience on their side as well – they no longer have to worry about manufacturing, shipping, and logistics to the same extent that they have had to before. The book publishers who *do* lower ebook pricing will sell more books, become more successful, and eventually take over the industry. Imagine making ebooks so convenient and affordable that people actually start to read more! That’s the direction that the world will go in.

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  23. Glen

    I feel if ebooks were 99p or $0.99 you would kill off the illegal download of books , thus putting more money back into the author , I’m not sure if there is but a website where an author can upload his book to be available without being held hostage by a publisher and actually make the majority of the revenue for their own work would be a great idea.
    Also with a printed book there is aloways costs involved with manufacture with digital one download would have the same inherent costs as one thousand but with lots more profit , advertising and self publicity is relatively easy through Twitter.

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  24. OpheliaMourns

    Huh? Former journalist turned \pricing consultant?\ I know \consultant\ is something of a loose term/job title increasingly used in various industries by people who want to hang out their own shingle. They sell what they deem \expertise\ in a given industry, but I think sometimes the term IS too freely used. I remember talking to a computer consultant years ago–we both happened to be taking a coffee break at the same time–who was consulting for a company in the building where I worked. He joked about how his income doubled in under a year when he resigned from his job and set up shop as a consultant. At that time, he said so many company execs really didn’t quite understand what a \consultant\ did but nevertheless hired them on the assumption doing so would somehow increase revenues. Crazy, lol. That isn’t to cast aspersions on ALL consultants. But all consultants are also not created equal. Some are more like snake oilsmen, which sadly hurts those consultants who ARE genuine experts in their field.

    I am more puzzled over the notion of eBooks being a \service.\ Going to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned, that is a service. Going to an accountant to have my taxes done, that is a service. eBooks and eReaders are PRODUCTS. Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot see by any leap of imagination how buying and reading an eBook is a \service.\ The Kindle and eBook I bought, I am pretty confident that they were, are, \products\ that I purchased…

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  25. June

    There are a couple of major problems with this perspective. First of all, when you purchase a book on a Kindle or through the Apple store, that book is locked to that specific account and technology. There is something inherently less valuable about an item that, should Kindle ever become obsolete, would no longer exist. A book will always exist (unless you destroy it), because it is a physical entity which requires no technology to operate it. The other problem is that arguments like this stubbornly ignore the reality that many books can (and will continue to be able to) be downloaded for free online. Even if you wish this weren’t the case, it’s true. In order to compete with this, e-books should be priced at a level that entices the buyer to purchase without making him or her feel ripped off. Basically, if you can get something for free, it’s hard to bring yourself to pay significantly more for it than nothing, even if you understand the value of it. Finally, many people consider the experience of reading on a Kindle to be less convenient than a book in many ways. A Kindle or other tablet device requires power, at some point, even if it has a long battery life. You can’t take a Kindle or iPad to the beach and not worry about it being stolen. You can’t stuff it into a backpack and not worry about it being broken. To some people, these issues with e-readers aren’t troublesome, but to others, they are. So there is no one answer to what is more “convenient.”

    It’s simple. If the cost was reasonable, you wouldn’t see so many articles discussing the high cost of e-books. No matter what argument you make, the system is far from perfect right now, and the main reason is the cost. Even if you believe that the convenience of e-books outweighs everything else, you must recognize the blatant fact that this is not the way many other people feel. Therefore, it would be very wise for publishers to seriously look into lowering e-book prices.

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  26. Free Spirit

    Remez is right in that non-fiction E-Books should be expensive if they save the reader the expense of lectures, etc.. I sell my E-Books for US $350 (for a set of three) and my next book on the topic of Spiritual Mastery will be around US $5,000 as an E-Book – perhaps even more. I do not sell on Amazon but direct. The model works well. Income is ten times higher than when I was selling E-Books for $10 or $20. If one just looks at the production and delivery cost (excluding the value of the expertise of the author) then yes – $9.99 is about as high as you could sell an E-Book for. However, once you factor in the cost of expertise – you can charge what your expertise is worth. Those that want it and value it will pay for it.

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  27. Leesa

    I call bullshit here. When I buy a 1.99, .99, or free ebook and I get what I paid for as far as quality, I knew I was taking a risk, though a small one. But when I read one of these books and it is AMAZING!!! and is (most of the time) the first in a series, I am willing to pay more for the second, third, etc books because I have just been sold on the product. Hook line and consumer sinker. Any indie company using that strategy should be making a profit.

    I am outraged when I look at the price of an ebook, an ebook where the paperback has been out for more than 3 years, where I could buy the print book used for $.01 and new for about $5 and the ebook is still $9-10. That is NOT right. The ebook should drop in price as the average price of the print copy does. I think $4-5 is fair at that point. After 10-15 years since the edition was published, $3-$4. If the price bottoms out between $2-4, that I think is also fair. And if there are occasional sales or promotional drops, that is fair too. But what is happening right now is price gouging and discourages the purpose and use of ebooks which are more efficient, more environmentally friendly, and have the potential to reach wider audiences.

    Reply
  28. AlmacD

    The best defense is to go on offence. ebooks don’t have to be printed on paper, there’s no ink, they don’t have to be shipped or stored. There’s no stocking on shelfs or in the warehouse. No returns from sellers to publisher…………but ebooks should cost more. Why? Because it a benefit to the customer so therefore the publisher should make more money. Period.
    I’m glad you publishers never actually invented anything. Did the price of Bibles go up after Gutenberg?Imagine what we’d be paying for store bought cloths or food in supermarkets: “let’s see…..you don’t have to kill the chicken yourself…..should be worth$200 just cause of that…”

    Reply

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