I’ve been aware of the rising cost of eBooks and have always thought that publishers would find a way to finagle higher prices. And, after reading a report on an article written by The Wall Street Journal, describing  how eBook buyers would soon find that the cost of an electronic version of a book would be higher than the hard copy version, I was not surprised.

Now that many of us have purchased a Kindle, NOOK, or enjoy reading a book on iPad2, what’s being called “e-book sticker shock” will soon become a reality.

To answer the “why” of it all, allegedly six of the top book publishers had a meeting and agreed to set prices for the electronic book market. The agreement prevents retailers from discounting e-books without the publisher’s permission. There is no similar agreement with hard copy books, so you can expect to continue to see discounts.

Readers are probably aware that book sellers have been selling a newly released book as an eBook for $12.99 which, until now, is a lot less than buying a newly released hard cover book for about $25 or $26.

The whole eBook agreement was actually launched by Steve Jobs of Apple. It’s reported that he wanted to create books to read on the iPad and, at the same time, didn’t want to compete with Amazon.com’s cheap titles.

Apparently, Amazon.com lost money selling eBooks for $9.99 but the low price was designed to encourage consumers to purchase an eReader.

The Justice Department is investigating the situation to see if there’s an ethics problem with Apple and the book publishers colluding to prevent price discounts. I really hope something is done about this.

Under the new pricing model, a $25 hardcover is often priced at $12.99 for the e-book. And because publishers receive 70% of the e-book retail price — while retailers retain 30% — that means publishers receive only $9.09. Publishers were willing to accept the lower profits because they felt the new arrangement preserved the value of books and encouraged other retailers to enter the e-book market. Indeed, the new arrangement means guaranteed profits on best-selling titles for retailers like Barnes & Noble Inc., which today claims about 27% of the digital books market, as well as Amazon.” Cite WSJ.

Another example of pricing cited by The Wall Street Journal was “Ken Follett’s 985-page novel “Fall of Giants,” which costs $18.99 as an e-book, but can be purchased in paperback for $16.50 on Amazon.com.

Do you feel like you’ve been ripped off yet?  Don’t forget that your local library is a wonderful place to borrow a newly published book for free.

If you’d like to read the article report click on BottomLine.

If you’re a WSJ subscriber click on The Wall Street Journal to read the original.

8 Comments on Expect to pay more for your eBooks, one more consumer rip off to add to the list

  1. Allison K. says:

    Just another way to make the consumer feel like a sc—-k. I hope the DOJ does go after them. It just stinks.

  2. Tin Lizzie says:

    This kind of thing is why at least some, and I do mean some, folks are Wall Street protestors. The public is tired of being ripped off. Even if it’s legal, don’t they teach ethics classes in schools and colleges. The cost of publishing a book costs a lot more than creating an eBook that can be downloaded countless numbers of times. People are getting wise to this. Long live public libraries.

  3. Pam says:

    Everybody was so busy admiring Steve Jobs that nobody ever bothered to look at who he was as a person. I’m not at all surprised that his name is associated with this type of business practice. In my opinion, he was just the sort of predatory slug who would spearhead this type of thing. Steve Jobs is one of the reasons that I don’t buy Apple products. This article just confirms that practice may have been a bit of good judgement on my part.

  4. Jill D. says:

    I tend to agree with Pam. A lot of Business entrepreneur genius types tend to be like that with almost Asperger like personalities. That’s probably why they’re so successful they have a single focus and nothing gets in their way on the road to success not even family.

  5. The holy grail says:

    Nobody is ripping consumers off. Consumers are trying to rip writers and authors off by expecting them to write for peanuts. If you cannot afford ebooks, get a library card or stay with dead tree books. But don’t come over to ebooks with all these complaints.

    What I mean is, being able to sit back at home (or ANYWHERE) and download an ebook saves you money on gas since you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to wait ot pay for shipping. You can adjust the font of your book which helps people who normally wear glasses. An ereader is lighter to hold than a book which helps people with arthritis.

    Complainers only note the negatives about ebooks to help their plight. They leave out all of the positives I’ve just mentioned. *No standing in line at the store for your book is another plus I forgot to mention.

    I’m sorry you feel ebook prices are just so unfair. You expect all this convenience and hours of entertainment for little of nothing and it won’t happen because everything in the whole, wide world has gone up. Why do you think the price of content should go down when everything else has gopne up??? Please.

  6. P.S. I wasn’t directing my comment at anyone in specific when I kept saying “you”, it was just a general comment. It wasn’t directed specifically at the poster of this article or and responders. Thanks.

  7. Sandy Arnone says:

    That’s okay. Your comment was very intense. That said, I certainly do believe that authors should be well compensated for their efforts. The book sellers and publishers likely control how much authors are paid and I suspect they make their profit. Perhaps more research should be done on this subject by people who don’t have a stake in the outcome.

  8. I had already collected several pocket novels and stories through online but personal reading is more valuable than reading it online. So I do really agree with you for paying more for ebooks cause that’s really what I wanted to do so.

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