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Old 06-23-2009, 07:21 AM   #1
DerbyBoy
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Device: Sony PRS505
Price and Availability of Ebooks - UK

This is my first post and have been lurking here for a while and have picked up some great tips from the rest of you, thanks very much.

I've had my 505 since Christmas and I think it's really great. Apart from one thing.....the price and availability of books. I know that there is a lot of free content out there but I enjoy reading new "popular" books as well and I am finding that my choice is somewhat limited both by availability and price.

I recently did an exercise based on the Sunday Times bestseller list for June 14th. I compared the price of PBooks from Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smiths with the price of EBooks from Waterstones, WH Smith, BooksonBoard and Fictionwise.

Of the hardbacks 4 were unavailable as ebooks, 3 were cheaper as PBooks (an average of 6 cheaper) the other three were cheaper as EBooks (an average of 3.50 cheaper) these were from Fictionwise.

Of the paperbacks all were available but all of them were cheaper a PBooks! The price difference ranged from 1.63 (Gypsy by Lesley Pearse) to a frightening 12.69 (Deadly Intent by Linda La Plante) the rest showed a price difference of between 2.10 to 8.95)

Even taking the most expensive PBook and comparing it to the cheapest EBook there is still a difference that is not explained by VAT.

Why is this? To expect me to be willing to pay an extra 12 odd for something that only I can use. I can't lend it to a friend, sell it on after I've read it or even donate it to a charity shop.

Why haven't they learned from the piracy problems encountered with music and film. If they price a product properly there will be no need for people to buy pirate copies of ebooks just to ensure they are paying a fair price. I must admit I have been tempted by offers on e-bay where I can get 24 "bestsellers" for a fiver. I've not done it yet, but unless they (publishers and sellers) get their act together I will probably seriously consider it.

I don't want them to give me the book, I just want to pay a fair and reasonable price. If I can buy a newly released hardback book for 10 I'd probably be willing to pay the same for an e-version. Having said that I'd have thought that publishers and booksellers would be falling over themselves to promote something that costs very little to produce, stock and deliver compared to the traditional method.

When I've been asked about my reader I've been enthusiastic about it, however, I always finish with the word BUT and tell them that if they are expecting to be able to buy books for it then they should be prepared to pay a premium.

As regards availability I recently contacted Random House to enquire about the new Edward Rutherfurd "New York" due out in September. The reply was "There are no plans to release this title in digital format"

Sorry that my first post is a rant but I had to get it off my chest. I will send my comments to WH Smith and Waterstones but I do not expect any real, meaningful reply. I suspect that I will get a lot of platitudes blaming the publishers. But if 2 of the biggest booksellers in the U.K. can't influence their supliers what chance do we have of getting reasonable priced EBooks. Thanks for listening.
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