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Sunday, January 13, 2013

More Thoughts on E-Book Costs

Just how are e-book costs
arrived at?
I guess I'm the eternal idealist because I feel the content (quality of, likability, timeliness, entertainment value, etc.) should drive the cost of books, in whatever format, and not just the manufacturing and distribution costs (or lack of) --- which so many are using to justify why e-books should be cheaper than their  printed counterparts.

I have previously written many times about e-book costs on both this blog and the Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue Blog (just refer to the labels on these sites).

Tonight we're presenting some old and new thoughts on this subject:

'E-books don't involve costs like paper, labor, and shipping, so why do they often cost more than their paperback counterparts?'

Some TP's say “The elimination of manufacturing and distribution costs are being offset by retail price reductions and the additional costs I have outlined. The good news is that we are making about the same margins, regardless of whether we sell the book in physical form or digital.”

'E-books cost as much to produce as hardcopy? Hogwash.'

'Anyone who produces anything digital that was formerly physical knows digital is cheaper. A website is cheaper than a newspaper. A digital version of a video costs less to deliver than a tape. An e-book costs less than a physical book. Anyone suggesting otherwise, like this publishing executive, probably has a dog in the fight.'

See these thoughts and others come together in this piece by Stacy Johnson in the Christian Science Monitor:

Why do e-books cost so much?

E-books don't involve costs like paper, labor, and shipping, so why do they often cost more than their paperback counterparts? Here's the answer, and why e-book prices may be falling in the future.

Here’s a question I got on our Facebook page. Maybe you’ve wondered about it too.

Why do your Kindle books cost more than a paperback copy? The Kindle version of Life or Debt on Amazon costs $9.73, but they’re selling the paperback for as little as $6.00. Since e-books should cost much less to produce, why do they cost more to buy? This seems unfair, especially when you’re writing about how to save money to pay off debt.
- Ted
I got a very similar question a little more than a year ago, published in a post called "Why Are E-Books So Expensive?" I’m going to answer it again, however, because since then things have happened that shed more light on this subject.

As I said in my earlier post, I have no control over the price of my books. When you work with a traditional publisher (mine is Simon & Schuster), you have no input – they set the price.

Whoever establishes the price, however, you’ve still got to wonder…

Why are e-books so expensive?

The first time I attempted to answer this question, I quoted an article called "Why Do eBooks Cost So Much? (A Publisher’s Perspective)" by Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Here’s how he justified the high cost of e-books…

Read and learn more

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