So, I really want Kiss of the Dead by Laurell K Hamilton, but the kindle edition is $17.05 whilst the hardcover is $16.77. Granted it is not too much of a difference but I think the publisher, amazon and LKH are all cashing in. I'm in Australia and have turned to the dark side aka the kindle revolution, but now I think I'd rather by it hardcover. Rather pathetic if you ask me.
I don't know how it is in Aus but in the US, you can easily find Hamilton's newest book in used bookstores in like a week's time. Sure you would be waiting a bit longer, but you'd be saving a lot of money. In LKH's defence though, the author rarely has a say in price. Personally, I don't think her recent work is worth my money, but that's me. I figure I am not happy with her work so I will voice my dislike with my wallet.
Australia was a terrible place to buy books, even with accounting for the differences in currencies book prices in Australia where often double almost anywhere else, at least when I was there in 97. Books that cost $9.99 in Canada cost $15.99-$18.99 in Australia and the Australian dollar was about 95 cents Canadian at the time.
Is it available in the Kindle Lending Library? I thought Amazon was trying to herd new releases in there. I'm a little embarassed to say that I can't figure out how to use the lending library, so I really have no idea if it's even offered in australia. If it has the lending feature enabled (and it may well not), you could try a site like kindlelending.com and get it free.
Its still the same here Cal. You often have to get things ordered in specifically because they don't carry a huge selection either :( Most books are around $20/ $30. I love my kindle, books are so much more affordable and I can get them instantly, except when they are not available to my country (although when that happens there other options, I'd rather buy them though to support the author).
I made a point when I was there to only buy books from Australian authors I'd never heard of, so at least I wouldn't be wasting money on something I could get cheaper back home. Then on top of ridiculous book prices you have the same kind of prices that England pays for electronics, though I do hope that with the move to near universal HD standards that might finally end. Though I think being asked to pay for ketchup packets was the biggest shock...well after Vegemite anyway.
Lol I work in a service station and sell those little packets of tomato sauce (gotta speak local :0P) its just the done thing here, its been the same since I was a kid. Its always struck me as a bit cheap though lol, I wish they would just give them out to people buying a pie or a sausage roll (which aren't really cheap either).
I don't think our prices for anything will really fall, even if they do end up costing the companies less they will still charge more because they know that people will pay for it. Any content related products are especially high, video games are around $110 for a new release, cds are around $30, books range from $12 (cheap paperback) to well in the hundreds (full pictured hard covers).
Internet buying had the retailers in a tizzy a little while ago because people are buying so much stuff online now. They wanted to tax people buying things online so the price of goods would be more even. I don't think they got anywhere with that idea but it gives a good indication of how much cheaper things are online :)
Why is it so expensive? Greed on behalf of the publishers. They give us this long and gratuitous explanation of how the books have to be so high for this or that reason, such as "paying the typesetters" for the books, paying to have them adjusted to ebook format, blah blah blah.
While those reasons might hold water for books that are less popular, they don't make much sense when you have books that are guaranteed to have a decent amount of sales. For example, KTD is pretty much guaranteed to make back whatever money was spent on creating the basic ebook format for any given system. I know that ensuring that a book is correctly formatted and available isn't cheap, but it's not like there's only going to be 100 e-copies sold. If current costs for an ebook (for the company) run about $7, there's no reason why the price couldn't be set lower, at about $10-12 for guaranteed sellers- if not even lower than that.
It basically boils down to the publishers wanting to make as much money off the general public for as long as they can. They can claim it's because they have to make back expenses or because they have to use the ebook profit to cover the costs of the hardback, but ultimately it's just that they want to make money and they know people will purchase it. If they don't purchase it at the full price, they'll buy it later on when it's a few dollars lower. The only way to win against publisher greed is to not purchase anything of theirs in either ebook or print format. Their rationale is that if you buy the ebook at full price, they get their money. If you buy the hardback, they still get their money. It's a win-win scenario for them and it stinks. The publishers are fully aware that the book buying public is not happy and that there's various protests (lowering book ratings, petitions, etc) but they just don't care.
I'm convinced that pricing is set on a wide variety of products-not just books-so that the retail establishments can sell them at an advertised 30-50% off from the get-go and still make a profit. Seriously, I see things that are never sold at full price. The corollary is that people will never want to pay the full price for anything, and will resent it if something is not discounted. On the other hand, since I don't read ebooks, I'm not certain about the pricing there. Presumably they could do the same sort of thing with bestsellers and have people feel happier about their purchases. Thus the popularity of the bookstore chain I previously worked for-everything always discounted.
Contrast that with the current prices of dress patterns at the local fabric stores. Virtually no one ever sells them for less than 30-40% off the marked price. But the customers assume that there will always be further markdowns, and don't want to buy unless they're down to $.99-$3.99 each, which is a huge markdown on something that is originally priced at $17-$25.
Don't know how it works in your country but but statesides- in Delaware- I use the library an awful lot. Depending on how popular the book is you can get it pretty quick. We even have electronic books, that you can use with Kindle and others. If I likethe book enough to own it then I can go and buy it.
I'm going to guess that the reason why ebooks are the same price as the physical books, is to make up the revenues lost when the brick and mortor bookstores closed down. Borders and Waldenbooks were two big markets that are now gone. Barnes and Noble shut down the littler B.Dalton bookstores, and alot of indie bookstores have shut down due to a changing market.