Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Kindle Conundrum

It's something of a surprise to find myself to a point defending a 'serial tax avoider.' This is because I am a Kindle user. In the real world away from boating, I would normally choose to buy a paperback book. We have limited space on the boat and electronic storage of a whole library is possible in a tiny space. Generally speaking I always avoided the more expensive hardback copies. Then my reading is done with an almost subconscious eye on purchase costs.  I suppose once read, paperbacks are something you intend to exchange, give away or donate to a charity shop. A book unlike a dog is not your responsibility for its lifetime.

Amazon is in a a bun fight about eBook, pricing with publisher Hachette. Amazon believes that an eBook should cost a unit price.  Hachette think the price should be 50% or even 100% more.  Amazon subscribe to the
(Lord) Alan Suger  theory of marketing which is stack it high and sell it cheap. Better profits being made on volume sales. Hachette believe its our price or 'your fired!' Apparently the bun fight started when the two publishers couldn’t agree over pricing for Hachette’s books on Amazon’s site. Amazon are saying research has proven the books will sell more at the unit price, meaning more revenue for everyone. 
This begs the question, would you pay the same price for an eBook as you would a printed copy. For me the answer is no because in the world of the eBook the once separate functions of the distributor and retailer are now the same. In a strange way, its the author who has little to do with the setting of the price. It can take the author a long time to research and write a book.  First, declaring an interest as a writer, I believe the author should expect a reasonable return on the time invested.  
Its a bit like supermarkets and farmers where the supermarket takes the major portion of the profit. We all want the farmer to benefit more than the supermarket. Its a David and Goliath thing, we always support the under dog - but we still want cheap milk.  I think that if the buying public does not want to pay the price of the eBook version, they will not buy it. After all, books very quickly start to appear on the shelves of many charity shops. So what does this say about us - the book buying public - we are a fickle lot.

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