Recently Amazon.co.uk eliminated their discounts on ebooks within 24 hours of being notified by big publishers (Penguin, Hachette and HarperCollins) that retailers would no longer set the selling price of books; publishers would now dictate the terms. As a result, the pricing of many ebooks were marked up to equal or even higher than the printed versions.
This led to a revolt by readers who took to their keyboards and gave poor ratings to the affected books on Amazon's UK site. More than 600 complaints were lodged with publishers for what they believed were actions spurred by greed. They also spoke with their wallets, "...when the Kindle version of the book costs more than the hardback I won't buy either."
As a reader and an author I don't think it makes sense that an ebook should cost the same as a hard copy because no one had to print, ship or warehouse it. It seems logical to me that even though publishers incur the expense of paying out advances, editing, typesetting and promoting a book, an ebook should cost less than a hardcover. It's a confusing and multi-faceted dilemma.
We already pay $12 - $15 to enjoy a feature film, which has far more production expenses than a book, so why shouldn't a good book price stay on par with a beautifully produced movie?
Although it feels early in the ebook lifespan to have this all figured out, as one of the targeted authors on the low rating rampage pointed out, "[I am] extremely sorry that books and authors are the victims of this debate which should have been sorted out by now."
Will pricing an ebook the same as a hardcover lead to pirated copies?
Will the ebook eventually cannibalize hardcover sales?
What would you be willing to pay for an ebook?
Would you boycott an author or publisher because of the pricing model?
I would love to hear how fellow avid readers and authors feel about this shift. Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
To read more of the Amazon UK story, check out "Stars Fall in Amazon Protest About Ebook Prices".
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com