Aug. 26th, 2010

distractions: It's a pink rose. (Default)
Remember when the agency ebook pricing started, publishers like Macmillan said that prices would "be dynamic over time?"  Presumably, for anyone daring to apply logic to the situation, this meant that while prices for e-books might start out at $12.99 or even higher when the hardcovers were initially released, they would drop when the mass market paperback for that title came out.

Well, here were are, more than six months later.  Here are a few examples of books with in print mass-market or other paperbacks with substantially higher priced Kindle versions -- some of them are backlist titles, some of them are recent hardcovers with fairly new MMP releases, some are fiction, some nonfiction.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin) - Kindle edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99
Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey (Hachette) - Kindle edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99
The Lion's Game by Nelson Demille (Hachette) - Kindle edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99
The Lovers: A Thriller by John Connolly (Simon & Schuster) - Kindle edition, $17.99, MMP, $10.20
Failure is Not An Option by Gene Kranz (Simon & Schuster) - Kindle edition, $12.99, trade paperback, $10.88
Time and Chance by Sharon Penman (Penguin) - Kindle edition, $19.99, MMP, $10.88
Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb (Harper Collins) - Kindle edition, $14.99, MMP, $7.99
On Writing by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster) - Kindle Edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99
The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory (Simon & Schuster) - Kindle Edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (Hachette) - Kindle Edition, $9.99, MMP, $8.99
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster) - Kindle Edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99
The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (Hachette) - Kindle Edition, $9.99, MMP, $7.99
The Constant Gardener by John le Carre  (Simon & Schuster) - Kindle Edition, $12.99, MMP, $7.99 

In some of these cases the e-book price is 40% or more than the MMP price.  This list is hardly exhaustive, and I didn't include a large list of books which have a $7.99 MMP available for pre-order with a $9.99 or higher Kindle price.  I guess I'm hoping that when the MMP is actually released, the Kindle price will drop.  But as the above list shows, that is not always the case.

At the risk of repeating myself: e-books should never cost more than the least expensive paper version.  To keep the e-book at $12.99 while offering a $7 or $8 paperback is nothing but price-gouging and punishing those who choose to read e-books rather than paper.

Get on the ball and keep your promises, publishers.  Your problems will not be solved by trying to destroy e-books through ridiculous pricing policies.  Instead, you will find your readers turning more and more to independent authors and small press publishers who believe that e-books should be priced fairly.

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August 2010

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