What Price Kindles?

by Fred Ray on April 13, 2012 · 4 comments

Thanks to everyone who voiced an opinion on Kindles and e-pubs in general. Sounds like the overwhelming consensus is that although it does not replace the printed book, many people prefer it. So I guess I should get with the program here.

One other question. What do you readers consider a reasonable price for a Kindle or other e-book? For example Shock Troops goes for $34.95, so what would you expect to pay for the Kindle version? How about other “normal” sized CW books? From looking around prices seem to range from $.99 to about $4.99 or so. What are you willing to pay?

PS> I should mention one of the downsides of Kindles—you never really “own” a book for it. There have apparently been a couple of instances where, after a copyright dispute, Amazon has summarily made the books go away.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

todd April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

this is an intriguing question as before I can answer I need to know exactly from where all the costs derive. For example, the cost of the printing and shipping of the book should be removed, including built in profits from this activity. We should not have to pay for the cost of the people within the company that have jobs solely related to the printing and shipping of the books. How much do you earn? Do you have an agent? How much does the agent make per book? How much profit should the company that peddles the book retain? Since the book resides on servers, it should not take that many people to run the business side. Only after these costs are known could I decide on a fair price. Until then free works for me!


Drew April 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I think those ranges are far more relevant to books like mass market paperbacks. $20 sounds like a more reasonable price for yours.

On the other hand, I see way too many e-books priced higher than the physical book on the same venue, due to the high discount. there should be a better handle on that.


LetUsHavePeace April 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

When books were first printed, the publishers were printers who only sold the sheets; if a book was not a “tearsheet”, the buyer would take it to his own bookbinder. Later publishers began binding every book – as a way to increase their selling prices and more easily hold inventory. When WW II bought paper rationing, the paperback was invented. Kindles and other ePublishing should mimic the paperback and be priced at half or less what a “real” book would sell for. If the Kindle is a “reprint” – a reissue of a former printed book that is now out of print I would price it at a third.


Michael Weeks April 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Based on the news of the last week – the government suing Apple and two publishers for fixing ebook prices – the expectation is that the prices of all ebooks are going to dive.

The lawsuit also sparked a lot of discussion about just how little of a book’s cost goes into making the physical product. Savas Beatie wrote a nice summary about it, with links to a couple of recent articles, at his blog A Publisher’s Perspective – http://savasbeatie.blogspot.com/. (He puts the number at about 15% if the cost of producing the book.)

I have no idea how they get the numbers they do. All three of my books – each paperback and about 500 pages – has a cover price of $19.95, and the ebook price is $9.99.

Fred, I’ve heard the rumor of a title or two being removed, but I don’t think it’s the norm by any means. In any case, once you buy a book, one nice thing is that when you get your new Kindle in 3/5/10 years, you keep all the books you had before.


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