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The Real Reason ebooks aren't selling as well as they used to

You may have heard that print books are doing better than they were, compared to printed books. 

Hooray, maybe people really do prefer the feel of a book in their hand, and being able to turn pages physically.

That may be true, but there's another reason, probably the primary one.

Publishers' greed.

Here's an example: today I was looking for a book by Bertrand Russell. On the paperback edition of his "History of Western Philosophy" costs £17.99. This book is 792 pages long, so the cost of printing and shipping it is considerable.

The Ebook version would be considerably cheaper, right? Half that price, maybe?

Nope. It's £17.03. 

Consider that for a moment: it suggests that creating a digital product costs only 96 pence less than printing, storing, and shipping (from the printing works to the distribution points) a 792-page book. 

There are even times that an ebook costs MORE than a printed book. For instance today on Amazon Ruby Wax's "A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled" costs £3.99 for the printed book, but £4.99 for the ebook. OK, this is due to a promotion for the paperback on Amazon; at other sites, the prices of the paperback is £7.31 and £6.99, and the official price is £8.99. Even so, they lowered the price on the printed book but not on the ebook.

One more example, a current best-seller, "Tom Kerridge's Dopamine Diet." The ebook is £11.69 on Amazon; the hardcover version is £13.00.  If you know how much it costs to produce hardcover books, especially those with color pages, will know that the difference between that and a digital version is much greater.

In the self-publishing world, the difference between the digital and the print version (if the author bothers with a print version) more accurately reflects the difference in costs.

I think publishers are shooting themselves in the foot. Yes, if you want a book on the best-seller lists that is published by a traditional publisher, you have no choice; but especially for non-fiction books, people will turn more and more to self-published ebooks. (Many self-published authors are underpricing their books, but that's a topic for another article.) And that means traditional publishers' short-term gains are going to turn into long-term losses.


This post first appeared on Time To Write, please read the originial post: here

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The Real Reason ebooks aren't selling as well as they used to


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