Is there a right price for an ebook, is it higher for a traditionally published author?

If you are tired of the ongoing discussion about the agency pricing issue, maybe you nroll of US dollare eed to decide for yourself, agency agreement or not, what you’ll pay for an ebook.

The problem

If you haven’t heard about the issue, here’s a quick sketch of it. Traditional Publishers (the big 6) and Apple are being accused of price fixing ebooks. The idea is by making the ebook expensive -sometimes more than the paperback – they can slow down the market for ebooks. Why? Well according to their calculations they can’t make a profit on cheap ebooks. The thing is, Amazon gives them a higher royalty cut if they price between $2.99 and $9.99 so they can make more money at lower prices.

How did we get here?

It all started with agency pricing. A great idea that allowed the publisher, or author set the price of an ebook. The great idea went south when the big 6 decided that meant they could keep the price high.

Why does it matter?

Here’s the thing, when you buy a physical book, it’s yours. When you buy an ebook, it’s kind of yours. Even without DRM (mine are DRM free), it’s still hosted on a the retailer’s server. That means it can disappear. In that light, why would you pay more for an ebook than a paperback?

Why would you buy an ebook in that case?

Everyone has their own answer to this. Mine is, I can carry a whole bunch of books with me for the weight of my phone, or my Kindle.

What can you do?

I like the idea of voting with your wallet. I have decided that I’m not paying more than $10 for an ebook no matter how much I like the author. And, dear big 6, I won’t buy the paperback instead. Like many people who adopted ebooks, I don’t buy physical books any longer – well unless it’s a beautiful cookbook that I got through a class at Barbra Jo’s – so you don’t get a sale.

But Indie authors are crap!

That’s not true. Neither is the flip side. If the traditional route was perfect, every traditionally published book would be a best seller.

Yes, there are people who are putting up work that needs to be edited and proofread. But, a lot of us are getting that done. A lot of us cringe when we hear of an error. And, unlike a traditional publisher, a lot of us make the corrections when they are pointed out.

The bottom line

Think about it when you buy an ebook for more than the price of a paperback (I’ve seen them as more than the price of the hardcover). If you keep paying inflated prices, you validate the policy.