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Old 10-07-2008, 11:03 AM   #1
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Amazon states sometimes ebooks will cost more than pbooks.

This is unbelievable. Physical books shouldn't cost less than an ebook... and Amazon says if they do it's not always going to be a mistake/corrected!

My email to them:

10/06/08 12:57:18
Your Name: Debbie
Comments:Hello! The item

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Decoded-M...3322907&sr=8-1

is $6.99 for hardcover and $9.79 for the Kindle edition. Is there any way to lower the Kindle edition to at least match the hardback price?


Their reply:


Hello from Amazon.com.

Thank you for writing about the pricing of content for Amazon Kindle.

While we may offer multiple editions of a book at Amazon.com, that does not necessarily mean the Kindle edition will be lower in cost than the physical copy.

I've passed your comments along to the appropriate people in our company. We are working hard to build a successful digital book store and make every effort to provide you with the best price possible.

Thanks for your interest in Amazon Kindle and the Kindle Store.

Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:

If yes, click here:
http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-y?c=axfhegcd3486848432
If not, click here:
http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-n?c=axfhegcd3486848432

Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.

To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.

Best regards,

XXXXXXXXX
Amazon.com Customer Service
==============================
Check your order and more: http://www.amazon.com/your-account
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:24 AM   #2
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This may not be up to Amazon. The publisher presumably sets the price of the ebook, and they aren't likely to lower it just because Amazon decides to have a sale. Also, a big pile of unsold books serves as a physical sharp incentive to a publisher or distributor to sell at a knockdown price to clear inventory. No such incentive exists for the ebook (indeed, if anything they might want to *discourage* people from buying the ebook instead of the pbook!)

Pbooks more than ebooks is a bit weird, yes, and certainly shouldn't be the norm, but I don't think it's unreasonable for exceptions to occur.
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:43 PM   #3
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You probably received a "standard reply" from Amazon Customer Service who does not have the power to lower prices.

Hopefully, as the note states, your request will be passed to the appropriate people as feedback.
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Old 10-07-2008, 01:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by random50 View Post
The publisher presumably sets the price of the ebook
Although in many cases, Amazon prices below what the publisher desires, in order to sell at the $9.99 price point.
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Old 10-07-2008, 02:45 PM   #5
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As I understand it, the publisher and Amazon agree to a "list" price and the portion of that amount that each receives. Amazon is free to sell the book at any price they wish, as long as the publisher gets the agreed-on fixed amount. The discount comes entirely out of Amazon's portion. Amazon can give the book away, as long as they pay the publisher their cut.

I've seen it said that Amazon is subsidizing the $9.99 cost to some extent to develop the market, and it wouldn't surprise me. That would mean at some point, the costs of best sellers and other new books might rise.

The cost of printed books is more about the publisher charging what they think the market will bear (considering the competition) than charging a "fair" price, I think. There's is no reason that the publisher wouldn't look at the smaller cost of ebooks as an opportunity to increase revenue by selling for the same price as printed books. All we can do is try to hold the line at what we consider reasonable prices, and hope the publishers don't interpret this as there being no market for ebooks and pull out completely, despite Amazon's drive to promote it.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:47 PM   #6
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Electronic resources (ebooks and emagazines and ejournals) costs are very puzzling. Vendors are frequently pricing the cost of these eresources over the print price in their sales to libraries and there is very heated discussion about it. Some of the publishers assign all costs (editing, marketing, etc.) to the e-version and therefore the print version ends up cheaper. Librarians are not happy about this pricing.

The pricing defies logic, but many of the publishers have a monopoly and practice take it or leave it pricing. I personally think they are on the verge of killing the golden goose.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:18 AM   #7
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Amazon is right; it's up to the seller to determine the price of anything they sell. Various factors may modify the price, but it's ultimately up to the seller.

So if the question's "Can Amazon charge more for the Kindle Edition than the paperback?" the answer is yes. If it's "Should Amazon charge more for the Kindle Edition than the paperback?" then most consumers would argue the answer should be no.

I believe the appropriate price for an e-book should be somewhat lower than that of the currently available paper edition. They should cost more while the book is in hardcover than when it's in paperback because certain costs are higher. For example authors make more in royalties on hardcovers (it's a larger percentage of a higher price) so e-Book prices should reflect that while the hardcover is on sale.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:26 AM   #8
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I think this may happen for some new book, maybe some publisher don't want the ebook affect the sales of pbook, as the need to pay cost for printing. There are really many factors.
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Old 10-24-2008, 03:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMikeD View Post
As I understand it, the publisher and Amazon agree to a "list" price and the portion of that amount that each receives. Amazon is free to sell the book at any price they wish, as long as the publisher gets the agreed-on fixed amount. The discount comes entirely out of Amazon's portion. Amazon can give the book away, as long as they pay the publisher their cut.
I can confirm this. I've been an Amazon Advantage seller since late 2004. As the publisher I set a retail price for my products and Amazon pays me a predetermined percentage of this retail price. If Amazon sells at a sale price, it's their business, but it does not effect my cut.

However, I have not closely read the seller agreement for the Kindle products, so I cannot 100% attest to the case being exactly the same. It's seems it would have to be a similar deal though. I'm still debating about whether to make my titles available as ebooks at Amazon, but that's another subject.
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
Amazon is right; it's up to the seller to determine the price of anything they sell. Various factors may modify the price, but it's ultimately up to the seller.
I recall hearing about certain products (gaming consoles, specifically) being contractually limited to only be sold at a given price. There was debate about whether or not that was actually legal, but the point relevant to here is that I believe it's conceptually possible for the publisher to dictate the price via contracts. Of course, the sellers then have the right to reject the contract...
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Old 10-24-2008, 05:31 PM   #11
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The physical books actually cost them money store and inventory. I can understand that they wouldn't want to reduce the Kindle edition cost to be lower then their clearance price. $6.99 for a hardcover seems like a clearance price to me.
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Old 10-24-2008, 06:28 PM   #12
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... and most contractual limitations are for price minimums not maximums.
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Old 03-12-2009, 01:48 PM   #13
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The physical books actually cost them money store and inventory. I can understand that they wouldn't want to reduce the Kindle edition cost to be lower then their clearance price. $6.99 for a hardcover seems like a clearance price to me.
I follow the reasoning here that paper books may cost more than ebooks to store and distribute, but Kindle owners already paid for the device in the first place. I would say one of the compelling reasons for buying a Kindle is to pay less. Many people on this forum believe that over the lifetime of savings, the cost of the device becomes amortized. That's a difference between being a Kindle owner, and somebody who doesn't have a choice but to buy the paper edition. The Kindle owner will probably always buy the ebook, even if it costs the same or a little more, so it's not like if Amazon prices the ebook less, it would be stealing away pbook customers.

Today I looked up Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, and discovered the Kindle edition priced at $11.99, and the paperback at $10.20. I would probably pay the extra $1.79 for the ebook, but I'm not thrilled about it. I would feel much better if the two were at least priced the same :|
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Old 03-12-2009, 02:18 PM   #14
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The hardcover mentioned in the OP is a bargain priced remainder. If you compare the ebook price to the regular priced hardcover the ebook is quite a bit cheaper.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:24 PM   #15
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I hear what everyone here is saying, but I have to agree with Deb (the original poster). There is something about paying more for an ebook than for a hardback or paperback that leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, and I really don't care what the reason is that Amazon is charging more for an ebook.
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