5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2010 4:12 PM by BikerBook-Reader

    A Premium for Convenience?

      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? :smileyvery-happy:) 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.


      OK - I will now step down from my soapbox. :smileywink:


        • 1. Re: A Premium for Convenience?

          Well said.

          • 2. Saving money with e-books
            Cleos_Mum wrote:

            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.

            At the moment, it depends on what you read. If you're big into having the latest best-sellers from the big-name authors, this certainly can be a concern.


            Me, I'm not invested in any of the best-seller series nor any particular authors, and I've more than made up the cost of my nook by downloading free content. I've downloaded somewhere around 70 free novels in the past not-quite-a-month, and more free novels of interest come out faster than I can read the ones I have. I've read about eight novels and haven't yet spent a penny on an e-book.


            Most of what I've got came from Smashwords. It helped that the week that I got the nook was "Read an e-book Week" and a number of authors were offering 100% discounts on their e-books that week. Even so, I've found the quality of the free offerings to be surprisingly high. Yes, there is some junk. But you can browse the beginning of each publication online, and check the reviews and ratings (check over at B&N, too, because they resell Smashwords content).


            I've also picked up a couple of B&N's freebies, and I got The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo freebie at Kobo. I keep an eye on the InkMesh Twitter feed for new promo freebies.


            Since sci-fi/fantasy is one of my interests, I've also been looking at the Baen free library. They often put up the first one or two books in a series for free, in the hope of snagging your interest so that you'll pay the $6 each for the later books in the series. So far I've downloaded and read one free novel from there, and I thought it was pretty good.


            And of course, there are the free "classics" that were published prior to 1923 and are out of copyright, available from places like feedbooks—or manybooks or Project Gutenberg or (yuck) Google Books.

            • 3. Re: Saving money with e-books

              I've heard someone else on this board say that they don't mind paying a few dollars more for the 'convenience' of reading a book on their reader.   I can't say I'm quite on board with that, though I agree it's convenient,  for me it's not worth paying several dollars more for nearly every book I read on the ereader.  Add to that the price of the ereader,  so you're starting out by paying $259, now add between $2 and $10 more for a book now that prices have gone up,  paying over what they would cost in print, that really adds up.  If you total what you purchase by month and then by year the cost of owning/using an ereader can get pretty big.


              I wish I could say the free books would balance it all out for me but to tell the truth, there has only been one free book that I've read and enjoyed enough that I would have paid money for.  I guess it's just a personal taste thing, my taste in books hasn't meshed with what I've seen offered for free.  Not enough to offset the cost of adding several dollars to the books I really do want to read.

              I'm not stuck on $9.99 but it does have to be less than I'd pay for the print version,  HC or paperback or I'm going to end up paying a lot more for ebooks in the long run than I will if I go back to print.  I suspect this is what the publishers are hoping for.



              • 4. Re: A Premium for Convenience?

                Hi Mum,

                I agree with everything that you pointed out. And if it were not for Amazon starting this "$9.99 Business" many of us would not be stuck on that price point either.

                And yes - there is certainly a convenience factor also - especially if one does not live/work near a decent bookstore.

                And while I don't have problems paying more for new books by popular authors, I think that the pricing of older books - ones that have already been published in either a trade or mass paperback format - needs to be addressed. At no time should the price of an ebook be more than it's paper version (whether hardcover or not). The limitations of the ebook format more than outweigh the convenience factor and the publishers will probably learn this the hard way.


                • 5. Re: A Premium for Convenience?


                  I could not have said it more eloquently.  Thanks for the celerity.