Since posting about e-book prices a couple of times, I have been following the story. Today’s WSJ had a front page article about e-book prices.
For those of you not familiar with what’s going on, e-book prices have been going up over the last year or so. In some cases, e-book prices are higher than the price for a paper version of the same book.
Agency pricing. Basically, what that means is that publishers set the prices for e-books and do not allow discounting. There’s no such restrictions on paper books.
Why the change?
This is the interesting part. This all happened due to Steve Jobs. From the article:
It was Mr. Jobs himself who wanted to level the playing field for e-book pricing. Early last year, as Mr. Jobs, then CEO of Apple Inc., planned for the launch of the iPad, the company wanted to start an e-book store so that iPad owners didn’t have to rely on Amazon’s Kindle store to buy e-books.
But Apple didn’t want to have to compete with Amazon’s discounted prices. Under Mr. Jobs’s direction, Apple persuaded five of the biggest publishers to abandon the wholesale model, by which retailers were free to discount the recommended retail price. Under the new pricing arrangement, publishers set the price of e-books.
In March, Random House Inc., a unit of Bertelsmann AG and the country’s largest consumer book publisher, joined its five large rivals in adopting the no-discounting digital pricing model.
Seriously, it really irks me to have to pay so much for something I know is cheaper to produce than the paper edition. So, I have decided that I’m not buying any more e-books until the prices come down.
Related: The Wall Street Journal Takes a Look at E-Book Pricing