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Should eBooks Cost the Same as Traditional Books? 2010-02-13 09:30:39

Should eBooks Cost the Same as Traditional Books?

Though many were skeptical at first, eReaders like the Kindle, Nook, and soon the iPad are hotter than ever. And while the main argument against them will always remain the same ("Don't you prefer holding an actual book?"), I don't see eReaders going the way of the pager anytime soon. Amazon's top eBook price was $9.99, but will rise to $14.99 for new releases and best sellers. Current eBook customers aren't happy about the price increase, but publishers hope that new customers will adopt the price increase with no problem.

The change raises an interesting question: when we buy a book are we paying for the content or the physical product? Supporters of a lower price point out that digital books carry no physical production costs, and the lack of a tangible product should equal a lower price. I tend to agree; after all, who pockets the additional $5 from the price change? Publishers? Authors? What do you think?

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bengalspice bengalspice 7 years
For those of you who argue that the production cost is cut out, and thus the ebook should be cheaper ... the only difference between the digital book and a physical book is the $2 per book spent on paper, printing, and warehousing. There isn't much savings other than that. There is still marketing, publicity, editing, and typesetting that needs to be paid for. There is still the retarded author advances on royalties that need to be paid. The publishers still need to make a 30% or more profit on each book it sells, regardless of format, to stay in business. And I think the ebook should be priced relative to the print book strategy of putting a higher priced premium copy out before paperback and mass market. If you want the ebook so badly that you can't wait for the price to drop, then you should pay the higher price. Steam's game pricing is the model publishers should move towards, where the digital release is priced the same as the list price of physical games, and then goes on special sale at a later date.
midori0e midori0e 7 years
Actually I might be the only few who might say the price should be in par with the paperback to draw people to buy both hardback and the option of the download option. In Canada, people are not too keen with the digital books yet. I don't mind the price to be a little bit steep to have both options. Too sad that the production of books are never that cheap anyway.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
I totally agree with the comment about hardback vs. paperback. A totally valid point about content vs. object. Also, shelling out 200 for an ereader was a huge and LONG awaited decision (and gift mind you) so a price increase would affect me. I JUST got one this Christmas after waiting years and one of the main reasons is because I read a lot of books and I read them quickly, so I either have to buy books on sale or I'm spending 200 at B&N in a just a few outings (without realizing how quickly it adds up). The whole draw was to SAVE money on books, so if the books go up in price, I would totally be outraged. I do save money on new releases (which I used to try and wait to buy) but older books are actually more if they are already on sale at the store which is annoying. And as for holding a book in your hand it has been worth it for me for the convenience and what I thought were eventual savings on books. I feel like I'm holding a book with the cover on it as well, and one or two books I have LOVED I have bought a hard copy for my library.
mek123 mek123 7 years
Since it costs a lot less to produce/distribute e-books the price should be less. If they are going to charge the same amount I want the ability to share/give my e-book product.
Jmartens Jmartens 7 years
I'm just waiting for Amazon to give me a free electronic version of every print book I buy. There is almost no incremental cost.
Lola-Di Lola-Di 7 years
wow i felt the hate there.... ;)
Azurefire Azurefire 7 years
"plus, i feel that if you're willing to spend $200 on the reader itself you're probably not sweating a $5 increase on the price of books. " -Consider that is $5 per book. -If you are like me and purchase 3-6 E-books a month, that's $15-30 more you spend every month(not counting tax). Which averages $270 a year. It adds up. -$9.99 is equal to or more then (depending on where you live) the price of a movie ticket, the cost of an X-box Live subscription, or 10 songs on I-tunes...doesn't exactly seem like $9.99 a book is ripping off authors or publishing companies especially since they save on printing/shipping costs with E-book formats.
vivaciousv1114 vivaciousv1114 7 years
I agree with the first comment about hardcovers vs paperbacks. If we use that same logic then ebooks should definitely be cheaper. If I have to pay almost the same amount (and some cases the same since I have my B&N discount) then I'd just rather have the physical book. There is no point in wasting the money to buy a $200 ereader then end up paying the same for books on the reader as buying a physical one.
Azurefire Azurefire 7 years
I'm NOT willing to spend $200 on a reader, I don't have that kind of money. I use Barnes and Nobles free e-reader app on my netbook (before you point out the cost of a netbook, it was free). I don't mind paying the $10 for new releases as I think that seems a fair price without a physical product in hand, but if they raise the cost I simply don't see it as being worth it to me to continue using the E-book format. I'd rather have a real book, so if E-book pricing goes up, there's no draw for me.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
eBooks should be cheaper than regular books. They are definitely cheaper to distribute, and it's not like I can read an eBook and then donate it to a library or lend it to a friend (unless of course you both have a Nook, but even then it's only for a limited time). If they want to charge the same for an eBook as a regular book then they should allow the same freedom that you have with a book. I don't have a problem paying more for a book if they make it DRM free and usable on any platform that I wish whether that be on my Kindle, my Nook, my iPad, or if I just want to give it away to a friend (regardless of whether that be for a week or forever).
einat einat 7 years
Two words: price margin. I think the price margin should remain the same for print vs. digital therefore if you take away the cost of producing physical books the pricing should follow suit.
Lola-Di Lola-Di 7 years
$15 is actually pretty cheap for a new release. plus, i feel that if you're willing to spend $200 on the reader itself you're probably not sweating a $5 increase on the price of books.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
I acidentally voted wrong! -.- Anyway.. I think if the production costs are lower (materials, shipping, and so on), you should pay less. Sucks for the people who actually print the words on the paper, but that's how it is.
Azurefire Azurefire 7 years
Well, consider that a hardcover copy almost always costs more then a paperback copy. Part of the cost of a book IS in the physical product you're getting. I buy E-books quite frequently now that Barnes and Noble has the free app I can use on my laptop, but I do prefer a real book in my hands. Being slightly cheaper was a large part of the lure of E-books. After all, I can slip most novels into my purse just as easily as fitting a Kindle/Nook(I understand those devices can hold many books, but how often do you leave the house and need more then one novel at a time?). If they go up to normal book prices then I would much rather be holding an actual copy of a book, as I enjoy the feel of a crisp new book and can actually take it to the tub with me since reading in the bath is a habit of mine.
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