As I was checking on the price of the forthcoming paperback version of the book the other day, I noticed that the paperback price is about four dollars less than the Kindle price, which itself is a few bucks cheaper than the hardcover.
Not owning a Kindle, I am curious about this. One the day the paperback is released, will the Kindle price magically drop to rival the paperback? Or would the Kindle price remain higher than the paperback? (this would seem to make little sense to me as 1.) it is obviously cheaper to produce and distribute the Kindle version than the paperback 2.) The paperback has a potential resale value, however slight; there is no ‘used Kindle book’ market, as of yet at least 3.) There is arguably more longevity with even the paperback version of the book than Kindle — we are still reading ancient manuscripts yet digitized records from the 1980s are in some cases already almost beyond recall, as the technology has changed). I don’t know how true this is, but Nicholson Baker notes in the New Yorker that the Kindle doesn’t handle endnotes very well, which is a big liability in the case of my book (one thing I think Baker neglected to mention is the idea of the “pass along” — how many beloved books have you given to friends? Is this made obsolete with the Kindle?)
Even if it drops, this is still an odd situation to me, which I’m sure an economist could explain in some terms. The Kindle edition’s price at the moment is pegged to the hardcover — or does it reflect its own “Kindle” price, pegged to the cost of producing it, supply and demand, etc.? — and when the paperback is released it will presumably drop in the face of being eroded by the cheaper paperback (unless Kindle owners so cherish their devices they will pay more for a virtual edition). In the meantime, while hardcover and paperback editions are very different things in terms of production costs, the Kindle edition costs will not have changed at all; meaning, depending how you look at it, Amazon will have to relinquish some Kindle profit in light of the paperback, or that that profit was all rather vaporous to begin with. The Kindle edition price point seems to relate to the existence, or lack thereof, of a competing price point in a print edition; it is almost an anti-price, if that makes any sense.
Anyone have any experience with this?
This entry was posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 8:51 am and is filed under Book News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.