Saturday, December 17, 2011

Expensive eBooks

I've been curious to read Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy for a while, and with movies impending, it seemed like a good time to get them read, so last night I went to see if I could find them in iBooks or on the Kindle store.

No luck. Seems like the selection battle is still being won by Amazon.

I quickly found the Stieg Larsson books on the Amazon Kindle store.

I'd recently been discussing with my mother the comparative price of eBooks, and argued that eBooks should be aiming for the impulse purchase model with a significant discount over physical books, but that at the very least they should not be more, given their additional limitations. I took a quick look at what the physical books would cost me as well.

Book(s) Kindle Price Dead Tree Price Dead Tree Discount
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo$13.53$9.0033%
The Girl who Played with Fire$13.53$9.0033%
The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest$16.91$9.0047%
Millenium Series$39.09$9.00+$9.00+$9.00=$27.0031%

So, by allowing a publisher to cause trees to be chopped down, ground up, paper made, cut, printed upon, bound and shipped to me by, I can save significantly over having some bits sent to my computing device by

It's ridiculous.

This sort of thing causes me to buy fewer eBooks. Last night, I intended to start reading the Millenium Triology, but after looking this over and getting irritated, I ended up watching Netflix. Go Amazon.


  1. Completely agreed with this - I really want to spend $$ on eBooks as there's a benefit to being able to bring them around with me on my assorted devices, but I inevitably do price comparisons and end up angry for exactly the reasons you mentioned (something with no physical representation costs more than something which requires an international supply chain). The eBook model is broken right now, and that sucks.

  2. This is still bugging me days later.

    I believe that publishing could stand to significantly gain from drastically lowering the cost of ebooks -- that a $3-$5 book price would encourage impulse buys, reduce the irritation with DRM and lending restrictions, and possibly end up paying for itself in the long run.

    But that's an experiment I can't support with data, and I don't expect publishers to take my word for it. I do, however, expect that I can buy an eBook without paying a significant premium for doing so, and when that turns out not to be the case, I'm inclined to buy neither the eBook nor the paper book, and not give my money to the people who can't get their act together.