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Dog's avatar

Why are eBooks as expensive as print books?

Asked by Dog (24864points) February 11th, 2011

It seems to me that the saving in printing costs, storage, shipping and physical storefront would trickle down to the consumer a little.

Why is this not happening?

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9 Answers

Seelix's avatar

Really? I find that they’re much less expensive than print books. New releases are going to be expensive regardless of the medium, but backlist titles seem to be to be reasonably priced. I buy mine from

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ve gotten all of my ebooks cheaper than I would if I got them in print. Newer books are more expensive than older books, but still less than the print version in my experience.

iamthemob's avatar

They’re still cheaper for the most part – but, like electronic music, more expensive than I think they should be.

It’s because of the rights concern and paying up-front for free-loaders. Much of the cost is built in as payment for the artistic investment of the artist and producers and the copyrights and licenses for that – you’re essentially buying a license to “perform” or “exhibit” the art, although limited to private non-commercial manners of it.

But also, releasing things electronically ensures that there will be copying of it and distribution of it in a manner that means loss to the company releasing it. Many people will pirate/share in a manner unintended and not allowed by their “license.” So, you tack on some of that to the price to cover for that.

YoBob's avatar

They are not.

The books I get for my Kindle are quite a bit less expensive than the printed version, sometimes by as much as 50% or more.

Dog's avatar

Okay- case in point:

Print version

eBook version.

Maybe I am just unlucky that I am picking books regularly that are near the same price or more. I would really prefer the digital version because it saves trees.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Dog I’d guess that has more to do with the company selling the book (Kobo in this example) than the publishing company/writer. Personally, I wouldn’t be a consumer for a company I realized did something like that on a regular basis. I guess it could also be a supply vs demand thing as well if they are one of the only places that have the eBook version, they can get away with charging more for it where as with the print version, you can shop around and find the better deal for it.

YoBob's avatar

@Dog Hmm… that is interesting. I have been comparing my kindle purchases against the printed list price displayed through the kindle store without bothering to look at the actual price one can purchase the printed version on Amazon.

It appears that the “printed list price” is not to be trusted!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Dog : It very likely depends on the type/genre of the book as well. For example this super-bestseller-to-be will be significantly less as an ebook than a new paper release. The title you cited has a somewhat limited market, by comparison, which makes a big difference in pricing in the industry. It was always that way with only print, it seems to be carrying over into the ebook market.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Maybe because lots of people get free pirated books?


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