UK set for eBook pricing showdown
With Amazon taking pre-orders for the latest Kindle and opening a dedicated UK store, an investigation by Reg Hardware has revealed big differences in the pricing strategies of some of the major suppliers of ebooks in the UK.
Waterstone's, probably the highest profile UK seller of ebooks, has announced that the price of the Sony Reader Pocket edition will be cut to £99 from 10 August, a move the company claims will make it the cheapest brand name reader on the High Street.
However, as the bookseller recommended by Sony to buyers of their Readers the company also appears to be one of the most expensive places to purchase the books.
Reg Hardware looked at a collection of 36 books bought over the past fifteen months, originally costing £208.65. To buy the same collection from Amazon’s new UK Kindle store would cost £158.97, or £205.61 from WH Smith’s eBook shop.
To buy the same books from Waterstones now would cost £239.59, an increase (allowing for the VAT change at the start of this year) of around 16.5 per cent; with a WiFi-only Kindle on offer at £109, those who read a lot could find it worth switching to Amazon, even if they already have an ebook reader.
A spokesman for Waterstone's told Reg Hardware that the retail prices of ebooks, like ordinary books, are set by the publishers, and that the company discounts the majority of books sold in its e-book store. They also pointed out that the prices paid for some of the books we bought might have been affected by past promotions.
Even so, there’s still a big difference between the established UK sellers and Amazon. If, as Waterstone's say, prices are largely determined by publishers, perhaps it’s time for publishers to support the UK’s booksellers as generously as they appear to be supporting Amazon.
Nigel writes more about this on his blog.
No difference at all. Which would suggest that eBooks should be discounted by the resale value of a perfect mint condition second hand copy, not a worn grubby one.
I'd noticed that
"editors, and decreasingly, proof-readers"
Yes, I'd noticed the decreasing use of proof-readers in several books recently.
Depends... sometimes you want a book to read but you don't have anything specific in mind. Then you definitely care about price. Cheapest place first.
But then George RR Martin decides to wake up and actually write something... and it's out there in digital format. Then you want that book and you don't care about the price and you don't care about DRM.
If you bought a kindle, you don't care too much about DRM, it's part of the package anyway, right? It's part of the package.
Re: local bookstores... are ebooks that popular? I still see more people on the trains holding real books rather than readers.
Ebooks = RipOff
I just love how publishers are charging the same for ebooks as the paperbacks. They cost nothing to produce, do not need transportation, publishing or any other distribution costs (as it is all done by the retailer) yet they price them the same, claiming they don't want to diminish the value of their product. The author still gets his £1 per book, the publishers make triple on an ebook what they do on a paper back!
Ebooks are a rip off to consumers and to authors, not to mention being locked in (Kindle breaks and Sony Reader is on offer? Tough luck, you need to buy another Kindle to view your books) to one format. Ebooks offer nothing good and those prices are wrong, £99 might sound great, but it doesn't include books and for £99, I can buy 20 books.
Also get ready to have to keep buying your library again in a new format every few years.
£4 to £6 for an ebook, then (not including the reader)?
Unless ebooks are going to be cheaper than their paper counterparts, what's the point?
I like the ebook idea, but if I were going to shell out £100+ on a reader, I'd expect the books to be cheaper than the printed versions (publishers are saving on print, storagee and transport costs, and retailers' overheads would be down, too).
Perhaps the hardware cost will reduce once manufacturers realise that there's little point in "added value" features, such as annotation, music playback and web-browsing?
Nevermind, I'm mostly reading graphic novels at the moment, and I've yet to see an e-reader that could show something like Watchmen in a readable form.