Book Pricing and What’s Behind It

In all this debate over what e-books should cost, here’s an interesting look at what consumers think. Many people (understandably) can’t see why an e-book should cost almost as much as a hard copy of the same book.

But it’s not as simple as “there’s no paper so it should cost way less.” A publisher still needs to pay the author (hurray for writers getting money!) and pay the salaries of everyone working on the book (editors, marketers, graphic designers, etc.). Even though you’re not paying for physical assembly and shipping, there’s still a lot that goes into making a book. As someone who’s worked in publishing, I have to agree that making a book involves much more than putting pages together, and the people doing that work (which is necessary for both e-books and hard copies) deserve to be paid fairly.

Does that mean the debate about e-book pricing is over? Not even close. But I think it’s good to keep in mind that just because it’s digital doesn’t mean there was no effort in the creation process.

3 thoughts on “Book Pricing and What’s Behind It

  1. I agree with parts of your viewpoint.

    There are costs involved in both print and digital publishing. But with little exception every aspect of digital publishing also exists in Print publishing like Editing, Cover Design, Blurb, typesetting(formatting in digital). So costs are virtually the same.

    What is different, is that digital does not have the printing cost that print books do have.

    So therefore there should be a reduction to the Digital Print version.

    • Agreed. I meant that digital should not cost significantly less than print, like if an ebook cost only 10% of a hard copy. I’d expect a reduction of some kind, but not so much that an ebook would be the cost of, say, an individual song on iTunes.

      • If Amazon start selling a new book with a list price of £9.99 and they sell it for £6.67, I would expect the Ebook to be somewhere in the region of £4.99.

        ie, roughly 25% cheaper than the paperback edition

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