Sunday, September 9, 2012

Discussion: Ebook Prices

Last Christmas, my boyfriend (sort of) surprised me with my very own nook! I was so excited, I rushed to the Barnes and Noble homepage and prepared to fill my new pretty with million upon millions of ebooks.

And then I realized that the ebooks were the same price as a paperback.

Outraged, I took to the internet to find out why intangible data was costing me the same as paper bound together. I found other consumers who were upset about the fixed prices and others who tried to explain that paper isn't as expensive as we readers assumed.

Regardless of the politics, I swore to myself that I wouldn't pay 10 dollars for an ebook when I could buy the paperback for a dollar or two more. And I'm sticking with it! Most of the ebooks on my nook I got at a discounted price, there are only two that I actually paid full price for.

A few days ago, I received word that Apple and a few publishers lost a lawsuit, a lawsuit that accused the group of price fixing to protect their company from a dominating internet retailer (Amazon).

So what does this mean?

It means that Amazon can set prices as low as it wants. Cool, right? That's what we wanted!

It is, ebooks at a reasonable price.

But then I kept reading.

Amazon has become the WalMart of the internet. Always looking for the lowest price to ensure loyal clients. We all know that WalMart imports most of its products from China. Cheap manufacturing costs allow them to sell the products at a cheap price. Now Amazon can offer ebooks at a for a much cheaper price , but it can't change the cost of manufacturing.  People are accusing Amazon of driving prices so low that other publishing companies have no choice but to call it quits, which will leave Amazon as the sole distributor. Also, an article in the LA Times stated "the decision will initially shrink publishers' revenue opportunities, forcing them to make increasingly conservative publishing deals. Think summer blockbusters over indie films and celebrity titles over new voices."

I'm torn because I'm excited to quickly fill my nook with ebooks I've been dying to read, but then again I don't want Amazon to be the only distributor because it ran publishers and other distributors out of business.I don't want less of a selection at a better price. This is an extremely hard situation in which it feels like no one will win.

What do you guys think about this? What are your concerns? Are you happy about the settlement?


LA Times


  1. I have been against paying crazy prices for e-books, too. It really bugs me that you pay almost as much for an e-book as one you can hold in your hand. I don't like having physical copies of stuff. For those who like to buy e-books, it is good that Amazon can lower the prices, but at the same time it isn't fair that they would end up the only distributors.

    1. It especially bugs me that even though you buy these things, they have DRM restrictions. I understand that there is a pirate for everything now but if I buy something, I want to completely own it, especially since I can't sell it back to a store like I can a physical book.

  2. I refuse to pay almost the same price for an ebook as a paper version when I can't lend them as often as I want, sell them back, or give them away. I feel like the publishing industry is going through the same technological change as the music industry did when itunes came about. Things simply just can't stay the same no matter how hard you try.

    The upside is that many casual readers and other readers do not have ereaders and do not plan to get them. There will be a balance eventually.


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