Publishers vs Amazon

There’s an argument doing the rounds at the moment about what consumers are prepared to pay for e-books. Amazon think $9.99 is about right, publishers $14.99 (all the comments I’ve seen so far are US orientated, hence the $ not £).

Round one has gone to the publishers, who have hidden behind their big brother (Apple) and he’s squaring up to the bully (Amazon) – cos he’s big and he don’t scare easy.

Now there are a lot of commentators who argue that if you make the price too high it will turn off readers and they will avoid any products that seem to them to be bad value. But that argument only works if you have Heinz baked beans and the Tesco value version of haricots in tomato sauce.

Books ain’t beans.

Say you’re a Kate Atkinson fan – she writes the kind of crime novels you can really get into. But oh no, her e-book costs $12.99, and that’s just too much. So you decide that you’ll buy the new Martina Cole for $9.99, cos that’s a fairer price.

Not very likely is it?

Or you’re a big book fan, you’ve got some spare cash to spend on entertainment (lucky you!) and you visit Amazon to get your hands on Wolf Hall – it’s a big book, you’re a big book fan – you get to the homepage and discover that Amazon have decided to boycott Macmillan products. What do you do? You can’t get the book of your choice? It’s obvious, you spend your hard earned on something else instead, a video game maybe, you’ve never bought one before, but if you can’t buy Wolf Hall, you’re jolly well going to buy some other form of entertainment.

Equally unlikely.

Books aren’t beans, much as many analysts would love them to be.

Some Kindlists have left angry comments on Amazon (.com) about the high price of some e-books and the greed of the authors, leaving one star indignant reviews. They say there are plenty of books out there they haven’t got around to reading yet, they don’t need to pay the high price imposed by publishers. So I expect they’ll be grinding their way through the Jane Austen back catalogue rather than reading the latest James Patterson et al. Yep – I can see that happening globally.

We might as well give up on new content right now… hurrah for 18th century blockbusters.


About Eva Hudson
Eva Hudson is an author who specialises in writing crime thrillers featuring strong female leads. Eva was born and raised in south London and now splits her time between the Sussex countryside and central London. She’s been a government officer, singer, dotcom entrepreneur, portrait artist, web designer and project manager. In 2011 she won the inaugural Lucy Cavendish fiction prize for her first novel, political thriller, The Loyal Servant.

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