Monday, December 15, 2008

How Much for E-Books?

Galleycat just posted an article on the pricing of e-books, which is really just a report on this original article.

It raises some good points. How much should e-books cost the consumer? There's certainly little to no production or holding costs. But it's important for the book price to be a fair assessment of the value.

The article makes a good comparison of used books to e-books, and draws this (accurate) conclusion:
...the sensible reader will know which books get put on a library list and which books they buy—and that won’t be to hardback-priced best-sellers infested with DRM.
Here's my take:
  • E-books cost very little on the publisher's end
  • E-books provide me as a consumer with very little--there's no book on my shelf, in the end
  • E-books are not that convenient; the average person has a laptop, not a e-reader
  • Pirating is much more likely with higher prices
  • DRMs will drive pirating up, not down
  • The easier (in convenience and cost) it is to buy an e-book, the more that will be sold
  • The more e-books sold, the more paper books sold
  • ...therefore, E-book should be sold for no more than $5, and should be as easy to download as technologically possible!
What do you think? How much should e-books cost? Why?


Michelle D. Argyle said...

I like your take on this, and agree. I believe e-books are a great idea, but in the end, if there's a book I truly love, I will buy it in its physical form.

Also, it's hard to wrap digital words as a gift . . .

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope to see you around. I'll check back here, too. :)

lotusgirl said...

I bet publishers won't go for five bucks but when their cost is next to nil, it sure seems reasonable to pass the savings on to the consumer instead of gauging. It would seem fair to me that the author and publisher clear the same amount of money on the digital form as on the paper form not more on ebook. I would love to see those numbers somewhere.

Keri Mikulski said...

E books are great for the environment. But, I agree.. Less then $5.

Bowman said...

Since most people aren't going to spend $20 on a "hardcover" e-book, the publishers will probably drop the price as little as possible until they find the "best" price.

I have my doubts about $5, but I'm not sure how much they should cost. Maybe $1 if I'm buying, $300 if I'm selling. ;)

PJ Hoover said... idea. $5 seems a bit low considering even a paperback costs $10 these days (trade paperback). If even $2 of that is printing, then that leaves $8 that is just the words.

Tabitha said...

I've been pondering this same thing lately. There are books that I'd love to have e-copies of so I can carry them around in a nice, little reader. But I surely don't want to pay full cover price.

That said, I'm not sure it's possible to set a specific amount for all ebooks. I think a percentage of the cover price might be possible, though. I think half the cover price is perfectly reasonable. If it's more than that, you may as well buy the paper copy. Seems silly. :)