Many publishers have been asked to quantify why they charge what they charge for eBooks and many are keeping quiet.
There is a misconception that eBooks cost nothing to produce and it could not be further from the truth. There is physical costs in time, effort, production and distribution associated with eBooks. Each eBook has to be totally reset for eBook publication and conversion into different formats, this is a time consuming and expensive process. And that is before we begin to include other costs such as promotion, advertising and marketing. Even more expensive.
Because we have lived in a world where up until now there has been availability of many free eBooks and many sub-standard eBooks which have had very little cost associated, consumers have been happy to download them for free and this has led to a false expectation that all eBooks should be free or only cost pennies. The market has grown up considerably in the last six months and consumers have to make the transition too. Quality products which are well produced and marketed have to have a reasonable cost attached. The cost per title also includes the cost to the reseller usually between 35 and 60%. Authors have to be paid for their hard work and publishers should also be rewarded for their hard work too. So £4.95 for an eBook which retails at £7.99 for the physical paper version is a good balance.
Some publishers are charging too much for their eBooks and consumers will vote with their wallets and rightly so but an eBook which costs a third to a half less than the paper version is a price which will make the market sustainable and allow strong growth, leading to more choice for consumers.