Monday, October 1, 2012

E-Books Cost Less Than Magazines

A recent publishing industry pricing report from Bowker shows that e-book pricing for fiction fell from 2010 to 2011by about 8%. An e-book cost $5.24 last year – but was $5.69 the year before. Non-fiction dropped by a whopping 25%, from over $9 a book in 2010 to just $6.47 per e-book in 2011 Still, non-fiction e-books sold for about 20% more than a fiction counterpart in 2011. But in 2010, non-fiction e-book pricing was 65% higher than fiction. The gap between fiction and non-fiction is closing and the prices across all genres are dropping.

Wow! A book costs what some magazines go for. How can an industry continue to gravitate towards e-books that are so low-priced?
The industry is struggling not because it doesn’t know what to do or have great books to sell, but because it won’t say no to ridiculous pricing levels.

Conversely, some printed books are going up in price. Many coffee photography books are selling for $75 or more these days.

In a marketplace where free content on demand seems to rule, we need a market correction that gives e-books a proper value. Books are not a commodity, sold by the word count, but rather they are the products of sometimes years of experiences, thoughts, research, writings, and editing. A 100,000-word novel now average nearly 200 words per penny of the cover price.

Publishers and writers are struggling to find a profitable formula. May I suggest one simple solution? Raise the price of e-books.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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