Friday, May 11, 2012

Why does my E-Book version cost more than the print version?

I didn't notice at first, because I was so caught up in the excitement of ordering a book at 11pm at night and it arriving directly to my E-Reader. I was so thrilled because my bookshelves are overflowing and now all my recent books are on one, small little device.

Then one night I went to go buy a Joanna Bourne novel, because, well, her writing is gorgeous and the book came with some amazing recommendations. And the price for the book was $11 canadian. Which I found weird, because the mass market paperbacks at my local bookstore are $9.99. (We pay for books in Canada, than the US, mostly because of duties). I didn't buy the book then, because I thought it was strange. I had the same experience when I tried to buy Meredith Duran, and now Sherry Thomas, all the e-book versions of their latest releases are more expensive than the print versions.

 There's a lot of chatter about this on the internet. A lot of back and forth, none of which I've really read. I do know, when I go buy a YA novel thats out in Trade paperback, or hardcover, on my kindle, I pay a little less than the print version. This is really something I've only noticed in mass market paperbacks which is primarily how a lot of single title romances are released.

Here is my problem with paying more. There is a cost to printing a book, a much larger cost than downloading an electronic file. There is a cost for publishers in sending books to retailers, because retailers send back the mass market paperbacks they don't sell. This cost isn't incurred in selling an E-book. I'm not asking for a major reduction in cost, but paying more just doesn't make any sense to me.

I will happily pay for the editing of the book, the cover art, but all those costs are incurred in the print version, so it's not like they are an additional cost to the E-book. And given my love for my kindle a lot of my books are being bought through Amazon, who clearly state, price set by publisher on their sale page of each book, so Amazon isn't setting the price.

 I know there is a war being fought by the publishers and Barnes and Noble against Amazon, but as a consumer, I don't care. I've bought more books since getting my kindle, which works well, at least for the publishers.

But I still haven't bought the Bourne, Duran and Thomas books. It might only be a $1.00, but that dollar bothers me. Do they think I don't notice, or care? I may be the only consumer who cares, and maybe these author's sales haven't been affected.

But in the end, a book I would have happily bought the moment it was released, I'm now going to borrow from a friend, and the author and publishers lose out.

I just don't know why they don't see that?


Anonymous said...

My best guess is that they feel that paperbacks are losing out to the electronic versions, and so they are trying to even out the costs by charging more for the electronic versions.
Still, it seems a little strange.

Jessica Peter said...

Hm... I have a feeling that the last couple romances I bought on my Kobo were actually a bit cheaper than the ($8.99 or $9.99) paperback price. But I don't think they were brand new.

I'm might investigate further...

Anonymous said...

Jessica, I don't think it's all publishers, but definitely some and it may differ between the US and Canada.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Sinead - I definitely think it has to be a Canadian thing. For me on Amazon - all kindle versions are priced at the same as mass market if mass market is available.

If it's in trade/hardback only - then the kindle version is less that price - but would be more than mass market.

Which unfortunately only makes it worse. They're not charging you more for any reason other than you live in a different country than the publisher?

Maureen McGowan said...

Agency pricing pushed the e-book versions up... But I actually think what you're seeing is a different phenomenon and it is a Canada thing... I read something about it somewhere... Oh, that's helpful... but it has to do with them having to state the price "all in" with the GST included or something like that. (because of the one click purchasing) I suspect that if you went through a full check out on the e-book or the mass market it would cost the same?
Will dig out the info later. :) I think it was on the NINC loop... Author Deb Cooke noticed that her e-books cost more at Amazon and got this explanation. I don't think they're forcing Kobo to do the same thing so it looked weird to her. But the actual price is the same. Kind of like how airlines have to show prices with all the surcharges in now.

Miss Lila said...

I recall reading an article not too long ago explaining this same phenomenon. I just need to remember how to properly use HTML tags to link it.

Miss Lila said...

Ah, figured it out.

Needless to say, after looking over the article I have linked above, it's pretty interesting to see that ink and paper doesn't cost as much as people traditionally believe. However, I personally think that e-books should always be cheaper, even if only because I like spending less on books. :)

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