Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ebooks and price expectations

Well, ebooks haven’t exactly “withered,” but the revenues from ebook sales have fallen somewhat:

"In the first five months of 2015, publishers’ revenues from e-books sales fell 10% to $610.8 million, according to the Association of American Publishers, compared to a 2.3% drop in print book sales in the fiction, non fiction and religious categories (that the industry calls trade books.) Some of that relative decline might be explained by e-book prices that have risen: many people still prefer the tactile pleasure of a physical book and will choose that over a digital book for the same price."

Pay attention to the bolded sentences above. The big takeaway here is that readers will purchase ebooks, but they expect a significant price discount in exchange for accepting an intangible electronic file rather than a hunk of paper that looks nice on a coffee table or a bookshelf.

This is a reasonable expectation. Ebooks were supposed to spread the habit of reading not just by being more convenient than print books, but also by being cheaper.

Some publishers, it seems, are more concerned with making sure that ebooks not be allowed to cannibalize print book sales.

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