11 March 2009

eBooks: A Rant

So Fictionwise - and it's little brother eReader.com - have been acquired by B&N apparently. I've been an eReader.com customer for ... well, a really, really long time. For me, the initial draw to ebooks was based on 1) convenience (lots of books available all the time, all in my purse on an itty-bitty reading device), 2) ease of storage (ebooks take up no physical space - a good thing in a small house), and 3) PRICE.

PRICE was the big one (that's why it's in caps, heh-heh). Ebooks, back in the day, were cheaper than regular books (paperbacks or hardcover). The people who produced ebooks seemed to understand that since they aren't having to cover the cost of paper, printing, shipping, storage, etc., it ultimately costs them less to produce an ebook and hey, why not pass that savings on to readers. OK, yes, sure - they have to maintain servers and websites and such, but these days, most booksellers have to do that anyway.

The price has gone up over the years, but I don't mind paying 7 or 8 bucks for an ebook. That's about the same as a paperback these days, and let's face it: the economy sucks and ebook producers have to feed their kids too, so I don't mind doing my part. :) And honestly, the convenience and storage features are worth it, so the $7-8 range seems quite reasonable.

So imagine the sticker shock I experienced when I clicked on a link to an interesting ebook in my newsletter from eReader.com and discovered that the fucking thing is $25!!! WHAT?!?? I just sat there blinking at my screen thinking, "You're fucking kidding, right? That's, like, a typo, right? That's the price of a hardcover! I'm seeing things, yes?"

But, no. I was not seeing things. That was the actual price, and folks, that is fucking ridiculous.

Now I understand that a hardcover book costs more to produce than a paperback, and for certain books, I'm not only willing but happy to pay it. But I'm sorry, but I see no reason for an ebook "equivalent" to a hardcover -- other than the greed of the booksellers. OK, if they want to make a bit extra by charging double the cost of a paperback, let's say $15 or $16, for a new release, I'd pay that much (and have) for an ebook that I really don't want to wait for. But I draw the line at paying over three times the cost of a paperback. That's just highway robbery, plain and simple.

Besides that, I'm seriously doubting that authors see anything extra when their ebooks get priced this high. The poor author of the ebook I was interested in unfortunately isn't going to be seeing ANYTHING from me, because I refuse to participate in the greedfest. Bummer. It sounded really interesting too.



Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You're not the first to feel this way. Good for you for not paying the price. (Pun intended?)

Btw, I do sort of think that $7 or $8 is too high. But then, I don't see the situation the way some would want me to.

Bethanie said...

Yeah, I sort of agree about $7-8 being too much for something that doesn't even cost publishers the cost of paper, etc. But the instant gratification is such a draw for me and I have a SERIOUSLY tiny house.... :D

Anonymous said...

*blllllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiink* It's so ridiculous I was hoping you were the one that made the typo. I would feel hard pressed to pay that amount for a hardcover let alone an e-book. Though I admit I'm not horridly fascinated to find out what this book is.

Bethanie said...

Soleil, it's this one here:


And I just noticed: $25 is their "SALE" price! WTF??!!??

Bethanie said...

And I meant to add: It's "The Warded Man" by Peter V. Brett, which you can get for the Kindle for $9.99 or actual hard copy for $16.50!

Now I'm really pissed!

James Swezey said...

As an author I would never allow my ebooks to be sold for that much, because I know that I would never purchase an ebook for $25! I can't rectify in my mind many people that would. I believe the general price for an ebook should be about $10, and then fluctuate a little bit above and below that. I mean otherwise why not just get the hardcover book itself? If marketers really want to get the public behind the whole ebook business than they have to make it appealing. This is most difnitely not the way to do it. Hopefully this does not become a defining habit as time porgresses.

Bethanie said...

James, you're right -- this had better not be the way the publishing industry thinks it's going to go with ebooks, because it ain't gonna fly. Not with me anyway... or with, yanno, real, actual people who have jobs and lives and kids and like to buy more than one book a year...