13 Bucks: E-book Pricing Wars
5 February 2010
Thank goodness for Max Magee who’s always so good at making sense of book business developments for us lay folk. Here’s his take on the Amazon vs Macmillan e-book pricing wars.
I don’t know, folks — I’m a little disappointed in e-readers who are bristling about the possibility of e-book prices going up to $12.99-ish. If you love to read and you care about literature, is 13 bucks instead of 10 bucks really going to make a significant dent in your life? Is a book not worth 13 bucks, when many of us pay 3 bucks for a cup of coffee, 12 bucks for a movie? And if buying new books is a true financial hardship, I’m a big fan of the public library; if you keep up on what’s coming out in the near future you can usually get in line on the hold list and not have to wait too long. E-books are now downloadable (for a specified period of time) through libraries, and sometimes they are “always available” with no wait (although I suspect there will be resistance to this from publishers, understandably, with new books). I myself often read library books and then buy the book later, once I’ve decided it’s definitely a book I want to own.
Of course, as an author, I find it disturbing to see the prices for new books being driven down. In case it’s not already obvious to readers, it’s very difficult to make a living as a writer; and even more difficult to devote your time and energy to writing if you are having to worry more and more about how to make a living alternatively. I am also now an up-close witness to all the work that goes into writing, editing, designing, producing, and promoting a book. Truly, a labor of love.
Sometimes, the Tyranny of Convenience needs to be checked, I think.