Amazon Charges More For eBook Than Hardcover

Amazon customers are outraged that the ebook version of Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants costs more than the hardcover. The nearly 1,000 page book, which is published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin, costs $19.99 in the Kindle store, while the hardcover is $19.39.

Similarly, James Patterson’s latest, Don’t Blink, is $14.99 in the Kindle store, while the hardcover is $14. Don’t Blink is published by Little, Brown & Company.

According to the New York Times, these are the first two ebooks to cost more than their hardcover versions. Amazon did not set these prices, as that is now up to the books’ publishers.

Frustrated customers who do not want to spend almost 20 bucks on an ebook are using Amazon reviews to vent their anger. Fall of Giants currently has 163 1 star reviews, and almost all of the negative reviews seem to be because of the price rather than the book’s content. It doesn’t appear to be hurting sales too much, though, because Fall of Giants is number 8 on the paid Kindle bestseller list (as of 10/05).

Personally, I think $20 is too much to pay for a book that I can’t share with anyone or donate to the library when I’m finished. I’d like to read Fall of Giants, so I’ll probably try to get it from the library rather than buy it on my Kindle. It’s a little disturbing to see two different publishers raise ebook prices because I’m hoping this will not turn into a trend.

What do you think about ebooks costing more than hardcovers? Would you pay $20 for an ebook?

(Source: NY Times)

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  • Sandie

    You know I did notice that eBook prices are starting to get closer and closer to regular books, so what’s the point. All that’s going to do for me, is just stop buying books or wait until the price goes down.

    I agree that it’s ridiculous that an eBook which you cannot share with anyone costs the same as a regular book. The fact that books were cheaper actually made me buy books, now I’m probably going to stop again. Oh well, my Kindle won’t see as much action anymore. Only for books that were recommended :-(

  • Barbara

    Nope. Wouldn’t pay that much for an ebook — don’t actually own it, can’t share it, can’t donate it to the library when I am done. Soooo, that would make me buy it used OR get it from the library. Neither of which would help the publisher much, huh? Guess they don’t ‘get’ that a lower cost for an ebook would get them some money versus none. I now have a Kindle and am buying many more books than before — when I spent more time at the public library!

  • John

    What is interesting is that you clearly focus on Amazon, when it is all ebook sellers that are charging $19.99 for the ebook versions. How come no mention of Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble, Sony’s ebook store?

    In fact, Amazon actually undercuts B&N pricing for the hardcover version, so they are actually giving readers better pricing overall on the book (in all formats) than the other sellers.

    Nice bias.

  • Henry Hutton

    Wow, that is strange. I’m unfamiliar with this issue although I publish a lot of ebooks. Thanks for sharing, and I’ll check into it further…

  • Peter

    In answer to your question as to would I ever pay $20 for an ebook: No way in hell. I love my Kindle, but of publishers think I’m going to pay that much for an Internet-distributed file, they’ve got another thing coming.

  • Sarah

    “According to the New York Times, these are the first two ebooks to cost more than their hardcover versions. Amazon did not set these prices, as that is now up to the books’ publishers.”

    I would never pay that much for an eBook, but I also wanted to point out that these are NOT the first books this has happened with. Penquin has done that with MANY of their books. But it’s not just them. Lots of publishers have decided that charging more for the kindle edition than the paper suits them just fine. For example, books that have this problem include the True Blood book series, several young adult series (such as the Mortal Instruments series), many romance novels and mystery novels, and so on. It’s been going on for almost 2 years now.

    I was so angry over it, that I wrote letters informing the publishers, authors, and Amazon, that I will NOT be buying any ridiculously priced books from them at ALL – including the paper versions, and that they lost a definite sale. I’d rather wait 2 years to get it from my rural library than shell out a penny for this kind of disrespectful pricing strategy.