Thursday, October 07, 2010

E-Books Controversy Strikes Again

On Tuesday, the NY Times had an article about the price of E-books on Amazon. Best-selling author Ken Follett’s new book had a hardcover price of around $19.39, but the Kindle electronic version was $19.99.

The fallout was dramatic, with readers actually slamming Ken in the reviews of the book because of the outrageous e-price. But in fact, the publisher sets its own price for electronic versions, so it really wasn’t the author’s fault. Add to that the cheaper price on the hardcover (which Amazon sets) and you can see why readers were confused and incensed.

I know more and more teens who read on Kindle. It’s bringing more kids to books, which is a great thing. That said, making it more expensive to enjoy a book is a terrible idea -- both for readers and authors.

Do you use a Kindle or E-reader? I don’t. I’m not saying that I ever won’t, but for right now, I’m still in love with the old fashioned experience, no batteries required. Plus, I spend all day on my computer, so I don’ t want to have more screen time when I read for pleasure. I know people who love their Kindles, but I love the sound of turning book pages, the smell of the ink, the way you can read for hours if you want.

There is room for both, of course, providing the books are affordable for everyone. This kind of crazy pricing makes no senses -- especially when publishers don't have the expense of paper, printing, shipping, etc. It's digital for a reason, remember? Physical books at the library are free -- you may have to wait a little while, but the price is worth it. And if you buy a physical book, you can read it, love it, and either pass it on, or keep it on your shelf to enjoy again.

The future is not so far away, though -- can you imagine your local library loaning limited-time Kindle downloads as if you were checking out books? I’m sure it’s only a matter of time...

Would you pay $19.39 for a e-book? I really want to know.

Happy Reading,

P.S. Pug/Kindle photo taken by amazing author Alyssa Day and starring Daisy.
Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen
The Clearing - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Wherever You Go - Harcourt Fall 2011


Unknown said...

I currently dont have a kindle but I do read ebooks. Ive always preferred a hard copy of the book so I would probably just buy the book.

sunnynikki said...

I have a nook and one of the things I expect out of an ebook is a better price. While I bought an ereader to save space rather than money on books since I'm getting a digital copy rather than a physical copy I expect it to be cheaper. I too prefer a hard copy of a book and even with my overflowing shelves if a copy was cheaper in physical form rather than e form I'd by the physical.

j.leigh.bailey said...

I love my Kindle and have noticed the the prices of e-books have been increasing lately. I've really noticed it with YA--it's often cheaper for me to buy the book in paperback than it is to download it. For me, I'll generally buy whichever version is cheaper, unless I really really really can't wait for the book to be delivered and the convenience of the immediate download is worth more than the difference in cost. I don't judge the quality of the work or blame the author, however, for the pricing. That's just silly.

Jenny N. said...

I've had a e-reader for a couple of monthss now and I've only used it about a handful of times to read books on. I still prefer reading and having a physical copy in my hands. If I had to pay that much for a book then I might as well buy the hardcover copy.

stephhale said...

I"ve thought about getting an ereader but that's about as far as I've gotten. Honestly, I'm kind of tired of so many electronic devices. Sometimes I can't even figure out what is ringing! :)

Jessica said...

I have a Nook and I end up weighing out how desperately I want to own the book (Nook storage is great as opposed to my overflowing bookshelves) with how much it costs. I work at a library so oftentimes I check the book out from the library when it's new to read and then once it's been out awhile I'll buy it because the price of the ebook will have gone down.

Unknown said...

NO WAY would I pay over $10 to "borrow" an ebook (because, according to the Supreme Court (it was that court that made the ruling, right?), we don't really "own" the book). Almost $20 is outer limits.

TinaFerraro said...

I enjoy certain aspects of my Kindle and am glad I have it...but one of the benefits, IMO, is the cheaper prices per book. I paid for the Kindle with the understanding that in the (very) long run, this could pay off in book discounts. So if I paid as much for the e version as a paper copy, it would be defeating that purpose.

nymfaux said...

Well Heather, the time is here--I downloaded the Pretty Little Liars series from my library just last week! I can either check a book out for 2 weeks, or a month, but I think it said something about only being able to download a copy up to three times--Then they expire, similar to downloading a galley from Netgalley--No late fees, no misplacing the book, no out of the way trips to return the book. This was perfect for me, because I can't exactly afford the whole series right now, plus my local library doesn't carry the series, they have to request it from other branches--and I was on a 3 month waiting list for the first book!!! Now I can get them free and they're instantly at my fingertips, any time of day, I can read them on my computer, but since I have a Nook, I just moved the copy from my computer to my Nook and can read it anywhere I want.

I am a huge book lover--but I was also a book hoarder, now (aside from library books or galleys) I don't ever have to worry about getting rid of books to make space again.--or leaving any of my favorites behind when I go on a trip.

I will always love the feel and smell of the real thing, and now I have plenty of room for my favorites. But for it's many MANY conveniences, I LOVE my Nook.

As for prices...with the newer books, I've found it about half and half. Books from the early 1900s and older are almost all free. I'd say I've gotten over 700 free books. But I want to read new books too, I've been very disappointed that there are rarely ever B&N coupons that work on ebooks, and my membership card doesn't work on ebooks either. But I do live an hour away from the nearest bookstore, so I don't have to pay shipping. There are still a lot of pros and cons, obviously, and a lot of it is just going to be up to personal preferences.