There’s a lot of discussion about e-Books and pricing. I think I understand the author and publisher view. I understand e-Books aren’t necessarily cheaper to produce than paper books, although the costs are different.
The New Yorker has an interesting article this morning asking if the iPad will topple the Kindle. I might have missed it, but it seemed more like an article about how Amazon wants to become a publisher and cut out the traditional publishers, working directly with authors. If, as quoted in the article, the average reader reads one book per year, their model may work. I’m not sure how it will work for the readers who value the texture of books. In today’s post, I’ll share my personal view of e-Books (and that’s all it is).
To me, e-Books are intangible and disposable. Because of that, I’m not interested in paying hard cover or even paperback prices for them. At this point, I haven’t been willing to pay anything for them. I don’t trust them. Why not? In one instance, Amazon pulled all copies of a book from Kindle (I believe they reimbursed customers what they’d paid for it, but still…). iTunes, Audible, and other electronic publishers limit the number of devices which can be authorized for an account. As computers die or get lost, some people seem to not be able to get those authorizations back, which eventually could result in dead accounts where people cannot obtain their legally purchased electronic material. If I want to give a paper book to a friend either permanently or on loan, I can do it easily. No so with an e-Book. I can sell a paper book in a yard sale or a used book store. I can donate it to a library, senior center, hospital, or paperback exchange. So far, no opportunity to do that with an e-Book. I have books in my collection well over one hundred years old. I can open them and read them at any time. I have no confidence someone will be able to do the same thing with an e-Book one years from now (not that I’ll be around to care, but I see much information being lost in the coming generations due to electronic data loss via various means.
I think the real question becomes, how typical or how unique am I and my “archaic” views and concerns?
Where do I see advantages for e-Books? They’re ideal for travel. If you’re carrying your e-Book device, you can haul an entire library in a pound and half (iPad) or less. I could see giving e-Book rights with the purchase of a hard cover or having a paperback/e-Book combo price in addition to a stand alone e-Book price. Personally, I could see buy hardcover, get e-Book version free; buy paperback, get e-Book version for $0.99 or less. Finally, stand alone e-Book for $3.99 or less (emphasis on less).
I’m certain many if not most published authors and publishers have a different view on this. What do you folks think?