E-Books Get Pricey

December 20, 2011 | 3

As e-book sales increase, their prices have inched upward. But will customers pay $10 to $15 for a digital book? Will you?

is an intern for The Millions. She was born in Los Angeles and is currently earning her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at The New School. Her work can be found at thenewyorker.com and at her blog, rachelhurn.blogspot.com. Follow Rachel on Twitter @rachelmariehurn.


  1. The whole attraction of ebooks, for me, has been the lower prices. I ask this as someone unfamiliar with the business side of the publishing industry: besides the one-time cost of formatting a book from print to digital, what is the justification for increasing the price? It has to be less expensive to produce an ebook, since it has no printing or shipping or storage costs, right?

  2. I have a few rules of thumb for e-books. I have a $10 price limit, but I prefer $5. If there are two books I want and maybe I want one more than the other, but the one I want is $9.99 and the one I want less is $4.99 then I’ll buy the cheaper one nearly every time. The only time I’ll go over my $10 limit is if I WANT THE BOOK VERY MUCH or if I’m working off a gift card.

    I do prefer to buy from Amazon because I like their ecosystem better even though I hate the DRM. I occasionally buy e-books directly from the smaller publishers, but I kind of miss some of the features I get in the Amazon ecosystem.

    On the whole, I think the Agency Model is bad for publishing and bad for consumers. When the e-book is more expensive than the paperback then there’s definitely a problem.

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