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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Breaking Dawn breaks the bank

   Until today the price for Breaking Dawn in eBook on Apple's iBook store was £13.99 and now today it drops to  £4.49 - the reason for this is that Little Brown want to keep eBook prices identical to their print equivalent. And today the paperback edition comes out - so in effect the same eBook was yesterday worth the price of the hardcover and today it is only worth the paperback price.

However Waterstones and Amazon made their own discounts some time ago which leaves the publisher looking ridiculous and unable to defend their position for these prices which are only applicable to Apple's iBook Store- Publishers want to see eBooks priced at close to parity with the prevalent print edition, but the publisher has been criticised by customers on Apple's iBookstore for its pricing of Breaking Dawn, with the Kindle edition available for £3.59, and the hardback priced at £7.49 on Amazon, and on Waterstones.com for £8.29.

Now I'm no expert but I imagine a large part of the price of a hardcover book goes towards its actual production and distribution, so pricing an eBook at the same level looks to the consumer as a blatant rip off which, in fact, it is. Also it is most certainly morally wrong, just as downloading the eBook illegally would be morally wrong. The writer should make money and the publisher should make money but the pricing should reflect the vastly different production costs of each medium.

In theory e-books take up no space in warehouses and require no shipping, because they have no physical presence and require no raw materials, they can be sold (and are sold) at much lower costs than printed books. A person who buys the new UK Kindle at £109  will very quickly repay his investment if he/she regularly buys books.

 Many publishers already charge a reasonable price for their eBooks and are being rewarded with healthy sales but the Hachette Group have really scored a home goal here. A spokesman for the company commented:

"We want to ensure that our e-books are good value and therefore we consistently review our pricing and frequently make adjustments to the price of our e-books."

RELATED:  This weekend on the Archive we have several guest posts planned on the pros and cons of the eBook medium - be here for the digital weekend.

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