Finding the best price
On Amazon, agency pricing has overall pushed up the basket of 36 e-books used in our August comparison, from last month’s low of £154.19 to £184.62, a rise of almost 20 per cent in a month.
Fans of Banks will have seen price increases of over £3 on several titles – a move that’s prompted many of them to leave angry one-star reviews on Amazon.
Always check out the bargain bins
Changes are less marked at Waterstones or WH Smith. The former has dropped prices by five per cent since August, and the latter by around 1.5 per cent, but adjusted for books not available at those stores (1), our basket still comes to £205.95 at WH Smith or £227.95 at Waterstones.
Clearly, the hoped-for price war has failed to ignite, but if your device can display both Kindle and ePub formats, it’s definitely worth using that ability to shop around.
While there are always those who want electronic media for next to nothing, a look through online book communities suggests most readers do understand that authors need to be rewarded. Rather than price per se, the chief objection seems to be that with many e-books, they’re paying more for a product that, thanks to DRM, they can do less with than the ‘old fashioned’ paper alternative.
Does that make them overpriced? A final word goes to Richard Mollet, CEO of the Publishers’ Association, who told us: “We’ve got to make sure that when people are getting their hands on something, they appreciate there’s a value to what they’ve got.”
The real question, perhaps, is not whether or not readers value what they’ve got – but whether they agree with the publishers on exactly what it’s worth. ®
You totally seem to gloss over the cost issue in 2 paragraphs on the first page.
The fact that ebooks involve no printing, shipping, wherehousing, they cannot be resold and there is no "lending" them to friends. Should affect the cost in real and meaningful ways. I understand the costs to create the content remains static but it is simply rediculous to argue there are no real costs savings over dead tree books!
When I buy a book I get to keep it forever. I can lend it, sell it or simply reread it 20 years later. I would bet a million dollars that 20 years from now my kindle will be long dead, and whatever device they are selling then, will use some new format and I will be asked to buy my books over again. The book companies are tricking us into a situation like we face with music and movies. We will have to keep paying to replace things we already bought (once, twice or more).
Unless we as consumers stand up and say NO and demand a more fair system we all will lose more than we planned!
Yep - that's my objection too.
"Rather than price per se, the chief objection seems to be that with many e-books, they’re paying more for a product that, thanks to DRM, they can do less with than the ‘old fashioned’ paper alternative."
As you say, AC, with a normal book, you can do what you like with it. You simply can not do that with a "book" contained in some strange non-standard file format that's all DRM'd. You wouldn't buy a paper book that had a padlock on the front (with one key that might rust and be useless at some time in the future) and that could only be read under the light of a special bulb that you could only buy from one shop, would you? But that's exactly what all these e-books are like.
I would love a Kindle-type device - I think they're a really nice idea. Convenient, very lights, etc etc. But I'm simply not prepared to lock myself into content arrangement that is in place. It's a similar thing to the whole iPod walled-garden thing, and I don't like it. And as the article points out, the prices are often way above what they should be. A shame.
For as long as I can buy a new physical copy for less than the digital copy then there is something inherently wrong with the pricing model. Publishers need to understand this.
Secondly in order for me to accept eBooks I need them to either fully work across readers or for each book store to have the same range of books that Amazon can supply me in physical format.
I think when any of these publishers start bleating that illegal distribution is a really big problem for their industry and they don't understand why. Whoever they are bleating to should be allowed to slap them and tell them to stop being so stupid....
So in the move to digital distribution all media industries have seen it solely as a way of increasing profits rather than sharing the savings with the consumer and trying to make a dent in illegal distribution. You can never stop all illegal distribution, but lower pricing will reduce it by making it less attractive.
I don't support illegal distribution and support reasonable efforts to curb it, but these idiots deserve what they get. Only a shame our governments don't feel the same and are quite happy to protect their price gouging archaic business model at the expense of proper rule of law.
In the efforts to clamp down on illegal distribution all we get is the stick, where's the carrot?
Have a Kindle ...
.. haven't bought a single eBook. While prices of physical products are cheaper why would I? Plus I resent paying VAT on them.
Buy the physical book, Google for a DRM free digital copy and use that. You could of course skip the first part, but that would be naughty.