Monday, June 14, 2010

Hey! What's Up With That?

Screenshot from Barnes & Noble's Website

I went looking for this book online, only to discover that even though it's only been out for a little over 4 months, the price for the hardcover is already down to about 50% of list price.  Now that's all fine and dandy, but why the hell is the eBook version still selling for 75% of list price?

It's not like the hardcover has been out long enough that it should be "remaindered" already (should it?).  I may not understand the ins and outs of the publishing and the bookselling businesses, but, as a consumer, I can tell you that I'm not about to buy an eBook for $5.00 more than a hardcover would cost me.

The end result of this is that I'll put off reading The Information Officer in spite of the fact that I liked the other book I've read by Mark Mills (Amagansett).  And, since I'm kind of forgetful about this kind of thing, it's not inconceivable that I'll totally forget about this book's existence and I won't end up buying it when the price falls to something I think is reasonable. I know I could put the book on a 'wish list' or whatever BN has to remind me of stuff I might want in the future, but I'm perverse about that sort of thing -- is it really my job to keep track of that sort of stuff, or shouldn't BN and Mr. Mills be working a little harder at selling me their books?

So, instead of me achieving a little more instant gratification, I'm going to hand the nook™ over to GF so she can read the Stieg Larsson series I've been raving about and I'm going to walk over to Greenlight Bookstore, and see what they have on their shelves.  My gratification will only be delayed for a little while and I like to spend money in the little Indie Bookstore in my neighborhood, so everybody wins!  

And as long as I'm over on Fulton (because it's slightly off my beaten path), I guess I'll stop in at The Greene Grape and see what they have for dinner!  They actually have their own butcher on site and lots of other really good stuff!

UPDATE:  So I'm back and I got a couple of books I'm happy about: The Scar by China Mieville and ... I realized that even though it's one of my favorite movies, I've never actually read  To Kill A Mockingbird!  This shall soon be rectified.

Also, regardless of how it compares to other items' prices, I don't think I'm likely to pay $18.57 for any eBook in the near future.  For 18 bucks, I expect something I can put on my shelf when I've finished reading it.  Sure, the eBook is theoretically mine and I can go back and read it again if I want to, but there's still something a little too ephemeral about it to make me want to spend that kind of money on it.  Also, there's always those collections of stuff I have on floppy disks and LP's on vinyl to think about.  I haven't experienced the joys of any of that content any time recently.


cjdahl60 said...

I have a Kindle from Amazon and their e-book prices have also crept up recently. Everything used to be $9.99, but most are now in the $10-$14 range.

The particular book you are looking for is still cheaper in e-book form than the hardcover on Amazon, but not by much ($12.38 vs $13.75). Hardly worthwhile buying e-books in some cases.

And, just to comment on "To Kill a Mockingbird," you're going to love it. It was required reading for both of my daughters.

Steve Buchheit said...

Difference in discounting schemes and the roll out of the "agency" business model for e-books.