Ebooks and ereaders are pretty incredible things. It may have taken me a long time to get on board with them (and I do still prefer a good old-fashioned paperback!), but I’ve always been able to see how they’ve made reading more convenient, and books much easier to access. Being able to easily buy and immediately start reading any book you like from in your own home is literally the dream for us bookworms!
However, one thing I have noticed is that whilst there are some amazing bargains out there in the world of ebooks, there’s also a lot of publishers who massively overprice their ebooks in my personal opinion, and I wanted to know if anyone else agrees with me.
Personally I’m of the belief that with an ebook you are getting less: you may be getting the important bit, the story, but you aren’t buying anything tangible which you can hold and keep on a shelf. You aren’t buying anything that it will cost the publisher money to manufacture, just the same digital copy that everyone who buys that ebook will get. So in theory, ebooks should be the cheaper alternative, right?
In some instances, yes, that’s the case. I’ve managed to get quite a few books that were on my TBR list for much cheaper than the price of the paperback: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake for example was £3.80, and Heartless by Marissa Mayer was the same (not that I’ve read it yet!). But with many other books, the ebook price is virtually equal to the price of the physical copy, and in some circumstances I’ve even seen it be higher, which is ludicrous! For example, I’ve seen Kindle books that cost £9.99, when the physical copy is £7.99, and personally I’d balk at paying £7.99 for the ebook! My limit tends to be £4.99, because any more than that and I can probably buy the physical book cheaper on Ebay, or second hand on Amazon.
I find this particularly annoying too in regards to series. Often I’ve bought the first book in a series which has been reasonably priced, only to find when I come to the second that it’s several pounds more expensive, and in most cases, this then means I won’t buy it. For example, I recently bought The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick on my Kindle, and I’m pretty excited to read it – it looks right up my street! But it was only after buying the first book that I realised that the second book jumps up in price from £2.99 to £5.99, and then the third is £8.99, which is the same price as the paperback! To an extent I understand newer books being priced higher, but at the same time you would expect a level of consistency across a series unless the later books are significantly longer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for writers being compensated for their work – I hope to be a published author after all – but I think the decision of publishers to price some ebooks so highly is a big mistake. You may be paying for the convenience of having the book immediately, but is that worth more than owning a physical copy you can hold in your hand and display on your shelf?
Maybe to some people it is – the story is the important part of a book after all, and maybe I’m just a bit precious about physical books. I know it isn’t all about the pretty cover and being able to display it on a shelf, but it still stands to reason that something that costs the publisher nothing to repeatedly manufacture should probably be priced lower than something they do. I know that the online store (Amazon, Kobo etc.) must take a cut of the sales, but surely it would make more sense to have a lower price point and sell more books?
I’d love to know what other people think anyway. Am I just being tight, resenting paying more than £5 for an ebook (and sorry, international readers for focusing on British currency in this post!)? Do you think that some ebooks are priced too high, or do you not mind paying similar prices to that of the physical copy?