Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Publishers price fixing for ebooks
Yesterday a group of big publishers started to put into practice what they call 'Agency pricing' of ebooks. This means that retailers are no longer allowed to discount the price they decide to charge. Amazon has reacted by adding the tag This price was set by the publisher below agency prices - though it's also easy to identify these books by their higher price usually ending in 99p.
When this happened in America, sales of those books fell. The same will happen here. Publishers are okay with this, as they think that if the dead tree book is cheaper, readers will buy that, which suits them just fine. They are comfortable with the status quo. They'd really, in their heart of hearts, prefer ebooks to go away.
However, what they are leaving out of the equation is piracy - the illegal downloading of ebooks free from the internet. Right now, you have to search to find the book you want, but as more Kindles sell in this country, it will become as easy as downloading a film or music is today. (Not sure how to do it? Ask any teenager.) Kindle owners don't want to buy the paperback, they want the Kindle version. And they get annoyed if they feel they are being ripped off, particularly when they have paid £149 for the Kindle in the first place.
Caroline P said on the Kindle forum: I can't believe I'm saying this... because I have never ever downloaded files illegally. Not even once. And now I'm considering it. Because if publishers want to rip ME off, maybe it's not so wrong to rip them off?
I have to say I'm watching the publishing industry shoot itself in the foot with some enjoyment. Their loss is my gain, and the gain of any independent with a realistically-priced ebook to sell.
*See also the Bookseller's article.
Posted by Lexi at Tuesday, November 02, 2010