While it’s said that information wants to be free, that’s not how it works if you want it delivered in the form of a book. But how much should that book cost when it doesn’t need to be printed? Kindle users resist paying more than $9.99, reports the New York Times, while publishers want higher price levels. In fact Amazon is currently subsidizing the purchase price of new books so it can offer them through Kindle, paying publishers the same $13 it pays them for a new hardcover title with a list price of $26.
Publishers are caught between authors who want to be paid high advances and consumers who believe they should pay less for a digital edition, largely because the publishers save on printing and shipping costs. But publishers argue that those costs, which generally run about 12.5 percent of the average hardcover retail list price, do not entirely disappear with e-books. What’s more, the costs of writing, editing and marketing remain the same.
“The concept that because a book is an e-book it should automatically be priced significantly lower than a paper book is one we don’t agree with,” said Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster. “What a consumer is buying is the content, not necessarily the format.”
[Thanks to John Mansfield for the link.]