The Coming Collapse Of eBook Prices

I doubt he read my post — Would A US$50 eBook Reader Be A Disaster? — which preceded his by over a week, but he comes to the same conclusion I did.

The price is right?

As I hovered over the buy now button [for the new Nick Cave digital book of The Death of Bunny Munro], I realised that what was stopping me was the price. $29.99 (in Australia). Now, I just dropped $38 in Borders for a paperback for my mum last weekend, so that price is in line with what Aussies pay for printed books. But I had also just bough Gangstar, a Grand Theft Auto clone for my iphone a few days previously. That game has already given me hours of (frustrating!) gameplay for the princely sum of $8.99. Not long ago I would have happily paid $50 for a Nintendo DS game, but my value expectation has been totally re-calibrated by the app store.

And then there’s this. Apple’s itunes LP format, introduced last week seems to open up a different approach to multimedia publishing. Whilst not an iphone app, Tyrese Gibson has released a itunes LP comic book which combines a graphic novel, multimedia elements and music. All for $1.99.

So it’s pretty clear that the there is a different pricing model at work in the itunes space – in fact most online spaces. In that realm, $30 for almost anything seems way out of sync – even if it’s a relative bargain in the printed book world.

Bold emphasis added by me.

What distresses me here is that Nick Cave’s work is not an eBook — it’s a digital book. It’s nine-hundred megabytes of material. And it includes an RSS component that will keep Cave fans in touch with news about him.

If he is unwilling to pay for all that — what does he think the comparable price of a lightly tarted-up text file (aka ePub) should be?

And what about everyone else now too?

Previously here:

Writer Nick Cave At NYC Barnes & Noble
How The Axis Of E Is Killing Publishing
The Continuing Horror Of ePub
Would A US$50 eBook Reader Be A Disaster?
The Devaluation Of The eBook
ePub: The Death Of The Index?
The eBook Cover Scandal
He Understands Something Is Missing
Where I Stand Now
The Axis Of E Book Holocaust
English-Subtitled Editis Smart Digital Book Video
The Issue Of eBook Pricing
Why eInk, ePub, And eBooks Will Fail
Dumb eBooks Must Die, Smart eBooks Must Live
ALL eInk Devices: BAD For eBooks!

One Response to The Coming Collapse Of eBook Prices

  1. I’d say the other writer either doesn’t value the extra goodies in digital books vs. ebooks or, more likely, doesn’t understand the difference. Right now, the only people who know about digital books are the ones who have proactively found out about them. Even then, digital books are a work in progress. What they can be is still miles ahead of what they are–and galaxies ahead of ebooks, which are familiar to more people.

    Also, pricing a multimedia graphic novel at $1.99 seems like a promotional price, even a loss leader. I’ve never heard of Tyrese Gibson, so I suspect he’s trying to build an audience by tapping into iPhone users who, being more tech forward, are a good target for a graphic novel. Pretty smart marketing by Gibson.

    In contrast…

    I just saw an ordinary ebook priced at $19.99. It wasn’t a new release or out of print. In fact, it was also available in cheaper paperback. I agree that the market won’t sustain that kind of pricing.

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