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Apple eBook Pricing Controversy:
What do you think? [Discussion]

By now you’ve surely heard that Apple and several major book publishers have been sued by the U.S. government this week because of their alleged collusion to raise eBook prices, a violation of antitrust laws. It’s really a pretty sordid story (as sordid as it gets when it comes to the topic of eBook pricing).

photo by edvvc

In a nutshell, a few of the major publishers were unhappy with Amazon (who was dominating the eBook market at the time with the success of the Kindle) setting the average price of eBooks at $9.99, a figure the publishers felt was too low, especially since Amazon was taking a big chunk of the sales for themselves. Apple was aware of the discontent and decided to take advantage of it when they entered the eBook race with the iPad. They secretly conferred with the publishers and together decided to raise the publishers’ cut which drove the rate of eBooks to around $14.99.

Now it seems with the government stepping in for a severe wrist slapping to all parties involved, readers will earn a small victory with reduced eBook prices in the future.

So what do you think? As indie authors, eBook sales are a huge part of our livelihood. And even if you haven’t published an eBook yet, you’ve probably bought and read one on your eReading device of choice.

Here are a few questions we’d like you to answer in the comments:

  • Was Apple wrong to raise the price of eBooks?
  • How much profit should a publisher keep from an eBook?
  • Is it fair for Apple and Amazon to take a big cut from eBook sales?
  • As a reader, how much are you willing to pay for an eBook?
  • Will this affect the way you price your eBook?
  • Do you think Amazon’s average of $9.99 is too high too?
  • How can the eBook market be adjusted so the pricing is more fair to everyone?

Jump in the discussion and let us know what you think!

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  • http://sylviahubbard.com Sylvia Hubbard

    Was Apple wrong to raise the price of eBooks? I don’t really think they were wrong. I think Apple was wrong in using their proprietary software and making it seem as if consumers can’t get books from ANYWHERE else except their store. Yet, As consumers we need to make the best decision when buying things in this economy. I did realize my iBook sales were slightly higher for a number of books and didn’t realize it until the DOJ thing came about but because i don’t have iTunes on my computer I couldnt see how much was being charged and none of my readers brought it to my attention. I wish they had now. How much profit should a publisher keep from an eBook? At least fifty to sixty percent (coming back to the authors) when dealing with distributors, libraries and bookstoresIs it fair for Apple and Amazon to take a big cut from eBook sales? Can’t really say. See previous answer.As a reader, how much are you willing to pay for an eBook? 3.99 to 4.99 for fictionWill this affect the way you price your eBook? nope. I enjoy the rates from working with smashwords and amazon. I’m won’t change a thingDo you think Amazon’s average of $9.99 is too high too? YEP!How can the eBook market be adjusted so the pricing Personally I think the consumers will decide and there’s nothing “the market”‘s decision will be able to do about it. We’ll go with whatever the “consumer” is willing to pay. Heck, personally if they keep thinking they can drive up the price, authors will start selling from their own website and just cutting them out completely.
     

    • http://www.selfpublishingteam.com/ Shannon @ Duolit

      Thanks for answering Sylvia! I think you’re right about more authors doing sales through their websites. If you’re on top of your marketing you should be able to drive traffic to your website anyhow and use sites like Smashwords and PayPal to make sales. 

  • http://twitter.com/trustmuse Muse Seymour

    What I would really love to see is the publishing industry take a page from the music industry. I love having physical copies of my books and I love my bookshelves being full. I would love for books to be sold similarly to vinyl, in that I am would be willing to pay say an extra $5 for the physical book and have an access code to download the eBook on my iPad, kindle of whatever. Since, eBooks cost very little to produce comparatively to physical copies it raises profit margin on physical copies and helps bookstores stay afloat.

    I think there are enough people who love the physical copy on their shelves while having the fantastic portability eReaders offer.

    • http://www.selfpublishingteam.com/ Shannon @ Duolit

      I really like this idea! It’s similar to what the movie industry is doing now, too — including a digital copy with the physical DVD or Blu-Ray. That would be a great offer for readers — buy the eBook copy at a discount for convenience/instant gratification, or buy the more preservable paperback copy and get the eBook included. I think you’re onto something Muse! Thanks for sharing.