Wednesday, October 06, 2010

2 E-Books Cost More Than Amazon Hardcovers
By Julie Bosman - New York Times, Published: October 4, 2010

Readers of e-books may not be able to turn paper pages, lend their copies to friends or file them away on living room bookshelves. But they do have the comfort of knowing that they paid less for them than for hardcovers.

The e-book price for Ken Follett’s new novel exceeds that of the hardcover version. James Patterson fans face that, too, prompting Kindle customers to lodge complaints.

Unless they bought “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett, which was published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, last week. On, the price for the e-book was $19.99; the hardcover edition was $19.39.

Or “Don’t Blink,” by James Patterson and Howard Roughan, whose publisher, Little, Brown & Company, charged $14.99 for the e-book. Amazon priced the hardcover at $14.

Customers, unaccustomed to seeing a digital edition more expensive than the hardcover, howled at the price discrepancy, and promptly voiced their outrage with negative comments and one-star reviews on Amazon.

“Really, James Patterson?” wrote one reader from Elgin, Ill. “Why would it possibly cost more for a digital download than printed and bound ink on paper?”
Other customers directed their anger at the publishers. “They aren’t penguins,” a Web commenter from Paradise, Calif., wrote about Mr. Follett’s book. “They are pigs.”

Several major publishers said those two books were the first they knew of that cost more as e-books than in hardcover on Amazon.

The skirmish over prices is possible because of deals that publishers negotiated with Amazon this year that allowed the publishers to set their own prices on e-books, while Amazon continues to choose the discount from the list price on hardcovers.

That upended a previous understanding by Kindle customers, who were used to paying only $9.99 for an e-book.
Full story at NYT.

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