Was the last time I bought a dead tree book1. Its not because I don’t like the dead tree format, it is more because I like the ease of acquiring new books, ease of storage, ease of reading as I consume a lot of books quickly. When I was traveling extensively it really sucked to be a heavy reader, as you can only bring so many books when you are headed out for 6 ~ 8 weeks to a non english speaking country. Dead tree is heavy and takes up a lot of space unfortunately, also since 9/11 airlines have these crazy bag fees and kill you with them if your bag is one kilogram overweight.
Then came the Kindle 1 and I was meh… no real selection in Science Fiction. Along came the Kindle II and I got one a lot more books, but it was not without its problems. I had a mysterious battery drain issue when out of the country (yes I had the wireless turned off) where the battery life would diminish after I had finished reading books it got worse after every book, it got so bad at one point I had to recharge the thing every other day. Then came the iPad.
The iPad brought me not just the Amazon store2, but the Nook store, and Apple’s hot mess3 that is iBooks. It also allowed me to go to my favorite purveyor of books who are putting out ebooks in the Baen’s eBook website and I was finally able to put it in a format I could read on something other than my computer. Life was good for a voracious reader.
Yes life was good for the consumer but it killed competition which is bad for the consumer.
The mall book store: Gone.
Barns and Noble: just about gone nearest one is half an hour away.
Books-a-million: Meh never liked it as the section for Science Fiction sucked.
I really never ordered a dead tree book off of Amazon except for a couple out of print really hard to find books. But I usually always went into Borders and the mall book stores when I was in the mall, and frequently bought books especially hard backs from authors I loved and could not wait for paperback at the local book stores.
Where am I going with this ramble???
Well upon hearing that some new books were out from authors I have read in the past I went to go order them, but I was appalled at the prices I am seeing on Amazon. I will not pay 12 dollars for an eBook of something that I would have typically waited till it was in paperback and pay 8 dollars or less. I am just not going to do it. Worse is that the prices just don’t come down for months or even years for some authors. I have purchased Baen4 eARC books for 15 dollars before, but they were mostly the “Oh John Ringo no” series, Michael Z Williamson books, and a few David Webber books.
Now I am spending a lot of time buying the $3.99 and under selections in the science fiction section of Amazon . I have found a lot of good to great authors that have self published, most of the misses have been in the less than 2 dollar range but there have been some real gems there also. But the big names (Jim Butcher. Patricia Briggs, Terry Prachett, etc) who bring their ebooks to the market at above 10 dollars will just be placed on the wish list and maybe purchased in a few years when the price is reasonable, or maybe I forget about the story and why I liked it so much and don’t bother buying it at all, which is what I have done with Jim Butcher books.
I don’t mind paying 6 ~ 8 dollars for a known quantity but that is my maximum, except for Sci-Fi from L.E. Modesitt.
There is just is not the expense behind the eBooks that there was behind the dead tree format, Yes amazon takes their cut but so did Borders. But eBooks do not have to be printed, shipped, stored, or stocked5
It would be interesting to hear from some authors on eBook pricing, but that is my take.
- besides special books and first editions of something I really really like or something I read in the 80s that is out of print and I really want to read it again ↩
- which is verging on if not already a monopoly ↩
- yes it is a mess, finding a book to read is a horrible and slow experience and unless you know an authors name you are really shit out of luck. A three year old could make a better interface to buy book than Apple did with iBooks. One of their rare fail moments. ↩
- Baen has always been special for me as a Science Fiction fan, as almost everything coming out of Baen is a home run or damn close. ↩
- other than putting it up on a website and I am sure that is mostly automated by now ↩