Originally Posted by lilac_jive
But just so you know, books also don't need to be published in hardcover. They do it for profit. Publishers make more of a profit on hardcovers. And they don't go into paperback until a year after they go off the bestseller list.
But I agree that they need to get better with dropping the prices when books go into paperback.
Yep. Hardcovers do cost a little bit more to produce but it's not nearly responsible for the huge difference in price. It's a way to make that high price, high margin object more attractive. They want to get as much profit as they can out of the first round of buyers who are willing to pay a premium to have it now or to have a nice binding. Even if the binding isn't a big deal, it assuages the feeling of being ripped off. Eventually there'll be plenty of used copies available, you'll easily find it at the library or you'll be able to borrow it from a friend. So then they have to roll out a lower margin item to compete with these cheaper alternatives.
Amazon seems to understand the level of premium ebook consumers are willing to pay to have the book earlier rather than later. We'll pay a couple bucks but if you try to charge us $10 more when the only
benefit we're getting is time, it doesn't fly. They may not care how we feel about it since ebooks aren't very common yet and they figure if we don't like it, we'll probably just go buy the hardback and they'll get their margin. They need to understand that increasingly they will be competing with free illegal downloads. Taking a lower margin is better than losing a sale. If ebooks become a lot more popular then they need to look at changing their approach to the whole market. The head-in-the-sand approach doesn't have a good track record.