November 7th, 2008

books in a stack

E-books vs. p-books

An item on GalleyCat asks the question, are e-books better suited to riding out the recession than paper books? The post mentions the recent round of layoffs and other grim news at various magazine and book publishers, and quotes a suggestion from Seth Godin, author of Tribes, on the HarperStudio blog that now is the time publishers should make e-books really cheap: "So you can decide to hassle your readers (oh, I mean your customers) and you can decide that a book on a Kindle SHOULD cost $15 because it replaces a $15 book, and if you do, we (the readers) will just walk away. Or, you could say, "if books on the Kindle were $1, perhaps we could create a vast audience of people who buy books like candy, all the time, and read more and don't pirate stuff cause it's convenient and cheap..." "

Actually, plenty of Kindle books are only 99 cents. Those are the books that are out of copyright—Dickens, Austen, Tolstoy. If you've been dead long enough, your books are only a buck on a Kindle. I have bought several classics this way in the last 48 hours, some that I want to reread and some that I never got around to reading. And I do think that it's difficult stop myself from buying a book when it's that cheap. Interestingly, his book Tribes is $9.99 on Amazon's
Kindle site.

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