I was looking around today for print books by Philippa Gregory ("The Other Boleyn Girl", "The Boleyn Inheritance, etc) for my mother for Mother's day (she's not yet on-board with the idea of an eReader), and I noticed a something that concerns me. In almost every instance, the ebook was more expensive than the paperback - and in some cases, more than the hardback. I have seen this on other books, but this was the first I really paid attention to it.
The only explanation for higher ebook prices I can come up with is the convenience factor associated - I want it, I buy it, I have it. I don't have to go to a brick-and-mortar store. I don't have to wait for delivery. I don't have volume after volume (further) cluttering up my bookshelves. I can carry it - and roughly another 1,499 of its closest friends with me no matter where I go.
On the flip side, with a paperback/hardback, I OWN a tangible asset that I can do with what I please - no limitations. If/when I get tired of owning this asset I can loan it out, give it away or even sell it. (But honestly, this never happens - I still own virtually every book I've had since I was a kid).
I am guessing that the Agency Pricing plays into this - I really didn't do much comparison shopping before.
When I purchased my nook, I did so on the premise that I could live with the limitations - because over time I would (eventually) save money. Granted, it would take a while. But after today, I will have to reevaluate my original premise. I don't mind reading a 'real' book, although I now prefer reading on my nook. But I still have plenty of room for new bookshelves. (Who really needs furniture anyway? ) Now, I not only have to comparison shop between sites, I also have to between formats.
Even though when I was researching eReaders, the $9.99 pricing for new releases was a serious draw for me, I am not locked in to this ceiling price - I will pay a little more if I really want it. However, I absolutely refuse to pay more for an electronic rendering of a book that once produced, has virtually no cost to the publishers outside of royalties. There are no printing costs, transportation costs, shelf-space considerations, etc.
PLUS the limiting of 'ownership' rights, to me, automatically reduces the value of an ebook below that of a hardback/paperback. I am not really 'BUYING' an eBook - the publisher is really just sharing their copy with me.