Monday, June 1, 2009

Would You Pay $26 for an ebook?

By Anthony S. Policastro

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Google has announced that it will sell ebooks to consumers - competing directly with Amazon.

The Times reported,
"In discussions with publishers at the annual BookExpo convention in New
York over the weekend, Google signaled its intent to introduce a program by that
would enable publishers to sell digital versions of their newest books direct to
consumers through Google. The move would pit Google against,
which is seeking to control the e-book market with the versions it sells for its Kindle reading device."
I applaud Google for taking on such a challenge because it is not healthy for anyone when one group or organization monopolizes a given market. And Amazon clearly wants to dominate the ebook market with its ebook reader, The Kindle, as it did with printed books.

However, the Times also reported that publishers were happy about the announcement because publishers,
"...have expressed concerns about Amazon’s aggressive pricing strategy for e-books. Amazon offers Kindle editions of most new best sellers for $9.99, far less than the typical $26 at which publishers sell new hardcovers. In early discussions, Google has said it will allow publishers to set consumer prices."
It seems to me that publishers are happy because they will be able to charge $26 for an eBook through Google - the same price they command for a print version.

Well, they will have another rude awakening because most people who buy ebooks don't believe they should be the near or the same price as a printed version. Just take a look at all the commercial ebook sites whose titles average $15 or more. Their ebooks are not selling.

Part of the success of the Kindle is that the average best seller is priced at $9.99. People who have Kindles feel like a kid in a candy store whose dad just said, "Get anything you want."

The $10 price is the sweet spot of pricing for ebooks. If prices increase significantly, then it is no longer a sweet deal.

What do you think?
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Pepe said...

I think that 10$ is too much for having a book with drm, indeed for a book with drm I wouldn't pay more than a dollar.

Otherwise, if a get a book at a small price, provided it's without drm, and provided at least more than 50% of the price goes to the author I would pay for it, gladly, even these 10$ if the book really pleased me and is a long one.

But this is even expensive, lot of people paying this amount will consider they have the right to give it away freely, and this is not good for the author, so why not sell them really cheap, let say 2 or 3$ and convince people that they should pay for reading it because that way the author will be able to produce more of these books they really enjoyed?

I think this is really possible, there's money for the author, for the online editor and people will be happy knowing most of the money they pay goes to whom really deserves it.

Anthony S. Policastro - Novelist said...

Hi Pepe,
I think that authors are now getting more for their ebooks rather than the publishers.

Amazon pays 35% of the list price of its Kindle titles and Smashwords pays 85% of the list price minus the electronic handling fee between 30% and 36%. Other sites are paying authors 60% of the list price.