Thursday, July 22, 2010

The e-book revolution

Amazon is now reporting that e-books for the Kindle are outselling hard copy books at Amazon. Perhaps that is not surprising for on online distribution company.

One analyst is quoted as saying "Book lovers mourning the demise of hardcover books with their heft and their musty smell need a reality check". As a booklover I feel no sadness at all - my Kindle is delightful. I can carry a heap of books at once - actually if I'm in 3G coverage I can have my whole library with me. The Kindle is lighter than most books, I can vary the font size (there are some books - Simon Scharma's Citizens being one where I struggle even wit my glasses), and e-ink is really really easy to read.

Plus my book is delivered within minutes of buying it. The biggest problem we're likely to have is the operation of marketing "windows". That's the process whereby books are released first in hardcover, or large format paperback, at a higher price than the paperback - that higher price is not the extra cost of the different binding. It is simply a price discrimination practice to extract the most consumer surplus possible from the "early adopter(reader)".

What we need is Amazon and publishers to agree that price discrimination on early release e-books is okay. Whether there needs to be some other "content" (author interview?) that comes with the premium priced initial release is the question.

My note to all Australian authors - get your books published on Kindle and every other e-reader platform.

1 comment:

ian said...

A couple of comments:-

1. If publishers were serious about copyright you wouldn't have to pay full price for books you already own. I don't expect this to happen.

2. I have looked at lots of e-books, and they are all too small. They may be OK for reading books specifically formatted for e-book, but virtually all journal articles, discussion papers are published as A4 portrait pdf, and are unreadable on existing e-books.

3. I would probably have bought an iPad to use as a reader, except for the restrictions which prevent you from loading content. For now I will stick with reading on mu MacBook turned sideways.