The prices of e-books

John found this article on the Guardian about the development of the prices of e-books and the possible impact on the customer. I have to admit I hardly ever buy e-books. I used to buy some romance books that were comparably inexpensive (their prices are around $5), but for at least a year or so I haven’t bought any e-books at all. I either get them for review or from the library. But I am shocked at the prices Mr. Gillmor mentions in his article. I would NEVER buy the same or even more for an e-book than for a physical book.

How much would you spend for an e-book? And, more important, would you pay the same or more than for paper? And if so, why?

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  1. When I buy books then I will go for physical copies every time. Well, that’s not quite true. I have bought a total of four eBooks from Smashwords this year. Apart from supporting some great authors that way I have no intention to get into a buying frenzy like some folks do in the Kindle shop (in fact, I don’t own a Kindle and I don’t even want one strictly due to the fact that it doesn’t read epubs – are Amazon and Adobe at war or something, well, I digress).
    It’s funny, on one hand you get eBooks at dumping prices and some folks even “complain” when a book costs more than 99cent on Smashwords, and on the other hand I’ve also noticed how big house publishers often sell eBooks and physical books at almost the same price, and sometimes the eBook is even more expensive. You should think that eBooks must be cheaper as you skip the whole production/printing phase, but obviously it doesn’t quite work this way.

    So, how much would I pay? The eBooks I bought were all $2,99 which is a very reasonable price for an eBook. And no, I wouldn’t pay more for an eBooks than a physical book. Call me old fashioned, but nothing beats a “real” book to a “virtual” one. Ultimately I am happy to pay more for paper than for, well, air 😉 !

    P.S.: Ultimately I have to say that I don’t like how the pricing develops in two directions – super cheap, or super expensive. Can’t there be a middle ground?
    Birgit’s last post ..Beyond the Shelf – Books Set In

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    • I have no Kindle either and am not planning on getting one. My Sony is great for me and I find the idea of WiFi when it comes to books rather uncomfortable. We have heard of cases where amazon has REMOVED books from customers’ Kindles.
      You are right, a REAL book is nicer, but an e-book can be very convenient, too. But to charge the same is just something I don’t understand. There are no costs for material or production worth mentioning, so why the high price?

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  2. I don’t have an ebook, I am not planning to buy one in the new year, so ebooks don’t really interest me, here they cost half the price of the printed book, so I guess that’s still a bargain, especially when you don’t have enough room in the house 🙂

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    • 50% less is quite cheap compared to other countries. But since you have no e-book reader, this is one less topic for you to get upset about, 😉

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    • I have no idea how much the production of a print book is, but I think there are other factors that should be considered. You can’t lend an e-book to anyone, you can’t re-sell it or give it away; basically once you have read it you are stuck with it or you throw it into the virtual binbag. With paper you are much more flexible that way.

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  3. I have an iPad and I LOVE the eBooks. I’m finding the ebooks to be only slightly less in cost, but I can adjust the size, switch between any number of books or magazines (depending on my mood) and I don’t have the physical books taking up all my space in my purse, lol.

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