Home > Business, Publishing, Reading, Tech > In this round of e-books battle, consumers lose

In this round of e-books battle, consumers lose

Kindle users can kiss many of those $9.99 e-book titles goodbye. The impending release of Apple’s iPad has forced Amazon.com to renegotiate terms with publishers, and now the WSJ reports that under Amazon’s new deal with Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, most new bestsellers will be in line with iPad e-book pricing: $12.99 to $14.99. And it’s not over yet, because Amazon has yet to come to terms with other book publishers.

Perhaps American consumers are spoiled. It’s the Wal-Martization of our nation; we expect to be able to buy things at rock-bottom prices. Now, I know authors and agents and marketing and publishing executives have to be paid. But what I’d really like to see is a detailed comparison of the cost of publishing a printed book vs. the cost of distributing an e-book. In other words, are these new prices for e-books fair to consumers? I can see an argument for publishers. They still have to deal with the costs of distributing books in print as well as the added cost of distributing it in electronic form. But some consumers would argue — and rightly so — that owning an e-book is not the same as owning a physical book: You cannot really lend it out (or have to work within your e-reader’s constraints); you cannot read it if your e-reader’s battery runs out; you would be forced to read it on your PC if you dropped and broke your e-reader. All this brings up another question about the true value of information: Should its price be determined by the medium on which it is delivered?

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