eBooks

Can anyone explain why eBooks are so expensive?

I can buy a softback book in the supermarket at £3.95, or two for £7, and the equivalent eBook can be up to £10 or more, each.

I would have thought the costs of printing, storage and distribution would make books far more expensive than eBooks. Even when books are sold at full price there seems to be little in the way of savings for buying eBooks when I would have thought the savings, and 'green' issues, would encourage a lower price to entice people to go 'green'.

 

 

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afairpo's picture

Printing & distribution is a v small part of the cost of a book    1 thanks

afairpo | | Permalink

Can't explain the £10 for a £3.95 paperback, other than perhaps the discounted paperback is a loss-leader from the supermarket (seems unlikely) but elsewhere, the bulk of the costs of a book are in the publisher's overheads - editors, designers (for covers etc), publicity and so on and so forth - and the author's royalty (10%) and vendor's cut (at least 30%). The dead-tree part is a pretty small element of the overall cost of a book, at least for the major publishers - around £2 to print and distribute the average book, much less for one that sells well.  There are also costs involved in digitising content so that it reads well on an e-reader, which need to be balanced against the lack of print/distribution costs.

Until the book has recouped the costs of production, there's little in it - a well-formatted ebook needs to sell a couple of thousand copies before it starts to pull ahead of the paperback in terms of production costs. After that, some sort of discount for electronic format would be appropriate - and increasingly is applied as well. About a year after release, ebooks are usually quite a bit cheaper than the price they started out at - assuming that they've sold reasonably well. But even then, the author's cut and vendor cut will mean that (assuming the author is actually getting anything reasonable in the way of royalties) the book still can't be discounted to next to nothing.

Long ramble over.

ShirleyM's picture

Your long ramble is much appreciated

ShirleyM | | Permalink

A very good and clear explanation, thank you :)

Another smallish factor

paulwakefield1 | | Permalink

is that ebooks are subject to VAT

The price of hard copy books

jpcc1 | | Permalink

The price of hard copy books compared to ebooks looks more favourable when you consider the fact that you can lend hard copies at will.

A more annoying issue than the price of ebooks is the fact that you're not buying them you are leasing them.

Hence the restrictions on lending.

And, when I eventually shuffle off to the secondhand bookshop of eternity, the kids will get my 2,000 books (to throw away no doubt) but not the 1,000 ebooks

 

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