How Much Is That Book Worth?

A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve subscribed to Nathan Bransfords’ blog mostly for his Friday special, “This Week in Books”. Last week’s post alerted me to two new and wonderful things. The first is this Great Gatsby classic (online!) Nintendo game which woke up both my inner nerds: Nintendo and books. Hooray!

The second alert makes up the meat and potatoes of this post. In his post Nathan Bransford contained a link to a survey regarding how much you would want to pay for an e-book. I’d recommend you go take the survey and then report back here to finish reading this post. (If you’d like to skip me rambling on about how much I’d be willing to pay and why, just go the survey and spend the rest of the day playing The Great Gatsby.)

After careful consideration I decided that the very most I’d be willing to pay for an e-book would be $11.99.  The thing is that in 2007 the average price for an adult hardcover fiction book was $27.47 (all my average prices will be coming from SLJ) and the average price for a fiction trade paperback was $15.64. If we use the $11.99 cost we have a savings of $15.48 and $3.65, respectively. Those are pretty nice savings, I’m sure we all can agree.

But I’m not saying that $11.99 is the uniform price for all books, whether they’re Steig Larssons’ or General Tacticus’, but that it’s the most I would be willing to pay. If I controlled the world (or at least the world of books, I could settle for that) I would introduce a model of scaled costs. Just as new releases are printed first in the more expensive hardcovers before being released as the cheaper trade paperbacks I would have new books available for $11.99 and after a year or so they would then be moved down to $9.99 (this is a fairly arbitrarily picked price and one that I would be willing to negotiate on). As for books in the public domain, like Chaucer and whatnot, I would encourage e-book distributors to make these books available for free but would not mind paying a few bucks for them (kind of like the Dover Thrift Editions.)

And thus, with great reluctance to not go into the ethics of electronic commerce (*ehum* music piraters *ehum*) and also with an interest to hear what you are willing to pay, I end this post.

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4 Comments

Filed under The Messy Drawer

4 responses to “How Much Is That Book Worth?

  1. I personally think that it’s something like highway robbery to charge as much for an electronic version as they would for the hard media version, be it a song, film, or a book. It costs fewer materials to sell online; it costs less labor, as well–where every individual CD or book must be produced, shipped, unpacked, placed on a shelf, straightened up occasionally, moved, rung up by a human being who must be there to keep the shop open so that you may go in and purchase said book, et cetera, online, you set up the website for digital downloads and it runs itself with some maintenance. You can sell hundreds, or thousands, of copies of a digital download without having to lift a finger after the initial setup.

    I also just don’t find e-books as pleasurable, and thus, an inferior product . . . but that’s me 😉

    • I personally want to look into the costs associated with these electronic materials but where’s the time?!

      What about them gives you less pleasure? For me, when I read them I miss the smell and feel but there is a lovely convenience. I find them complimentary but not exclusive.

      • I have a difficult time reading long passages on electronic media. Not sure quite what it is about it, but it’s hard for me 😐 Other than that, there’s obviously the missing tactile sensations, and the smells, and the.. joy of the physicality of the acquired book. Watching one’s collection grow, and all that. ^_^

  2. Pingback: Sunday Steals (3/13/2011) | Lady Jane's Book

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