E-books and price resistance

Now that I have a Kindle Paperwhite, I’m paying more attention to my book-buying thought process. Yesterday I was thinking fondly about A Fan’s Notes, and I was prepared to purchase the ebook, but I just couldn’t bring myself to click the button — $9.99 just seemed too high a price for an impulse purchase where there was a good chance I’d be disappointed.  I would certainly have bought it for $4.99, but I wouldn’t have gone much higher.

The big publishers essentially won their battle with Amazon over agency pricing for ebooks.  They get to set the price, and they don’t seem to want to go below $9.99, even for a 47-year-old mid-list book like A Fan’s Notes.  I can’t really say they’re over-charging simply based on my personal level of price resistance.  But:

We’re hearing widespread but totally unofficial reports that big publisher ebook sales are dropping noticeably when their new higher Agency prices are activated.


What appears to be happening, writes Shatzkin, is that higher Agency pricing by publishers may be placing  the majors’ ebooks right out of the market for many potential buyers.

I did pay $11.99 recently for the ebook version of Faith vs. Fact.  But that was at least partially because I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment over the years from reading Jerry Coyne’s website Why Evolution Is True and wanted to give something back to him.  I find it hard to imagine I’d pay that much otherwise.

Interesting times for traditional publishers.

3 thoughts on “E-books and price resistance

  1. Interesting information. I’m not happy about the high e-book prices. My complaint is that when you pay over ten dollars for an e-book, you don’t even have it to put on a shelf. It’s pretty much gone.


  2. Pingback: More on e-book price resistance | Richard Bowker

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