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What price fiction?

The TeleRead blog has all kinds of good info for ebook lovers. The MobileReads site is more of an interactive user forum, where you can ask questions and find folks with the same kind of eReader you own, while TeleRead is into posting what's new in the ebook arena. A recent post about prices discussed a HuffPo post calling for ebooks to be $4.00.

Yup, that says four dollars. Here's a section of the post I thought was very thought-provoking:

 Imagine if books were only available in hard cover today. How many current readers would have long ago abandoned print books due to the high price and large size of hardcover?

 Ebooks are a lower cost format, and therefore may hold the key to the book industry's salvation.

 Many publishers view ebooks with a skeptical eye. After all, won't cheap ebooks cannibalize expensive print books?

 This is the wrong way to examine the situation. Lower cost ebooks help publishers retain customers who might otherwise abandon books altogether in favor of lower cost alternative media options.


I think he's glossing over things a tad when it comes to the cost of producing books. Editors' salaries are not much affected by the book format. However, I agree that pricing ebooks lower may bring in new customers— people who are put off by the high cost of hardcovers, for example. But I do agree that the potential for ebooks to lower production costs is definitely there. Publishers just have to figure out how to do it.

It sounds simple, but I'm sure it's not. And as the TeleRead post mentioned in a quote by Michael Cairns, price isn't the only factor in whether a book sells.

And to keep the FTC happy, I didn't receive any goods, money or services from any of these people! But the guy who posted on HuffPo did found the ebook/self-publishing site Smashwords.





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