A Bad Apple

On Wednesday a judge found Apple guilty in conspiring with several major publishing houses to raise the price of ebooks and attempting to cut Amazon out of the ebook business.

Major publishing houses complain that Amazon setting ebooks at$9.99 is too low. In the conspiring Apple offered to allow publishers to set their own ebook prices (Hello $15 ebooks) and Apple took a 30% cut.

Why are publishing houses so bent out of shape about ebooks? Customers think ebooks should be priced significantly lower because they aren’t getting a hard copy book. Thing is, hard copy books are actually pretty cheap to make. A hardcover book costs $3.25 to print and ship the book. Ebooks, however, cost a mere 50 cents to convert to a digital file. Publishers spend about $1 per hardcover book on marketing. For digital books it is about 78 cents. (All of this information was from a New York Times article written in 2010.)

Publishers do indeed make more money off ebooks (About 50 cents to a dollar if the book is priced at $12-$15.) but publishers claim that if ebooks become more popular hardcover and paperback copies will become more expensive because they’ll still be shipping and storing them.


This is a pretty good depiction of how I occasionally think of publishing houses.

Excuse me if I do not weep for you, publishers.

I understand that publishing houses are upset because the book world is rapidly morphing, but I think it would be best if they focused on changing and deciding what sorts of technology they should pursue instead of conspiring to edge a retailer out of the market. (Because splitting hairs over rivals  when an entire industry is facing a revolution is ALWAYS the way to go.)

What do you think, Champions? Am I being too harsh?

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