E-Books Now Pricier Than Real Books

Publishers set own prices, and set them high
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2011 8:57 AM CST
E-Books Now Pricier Than Real Books
This undated photo provided by Amazon.com, shows the Amazon Kindle Touch 3G.   (AP Photo/Amazon.com)

(Newser) – If you're hoping Santa drops a Kindle or Nook under your tree, be forewarned: e-book bestsellers don't cost $9.99 anymore. These days, electronic tomes can cost as much or more than their print counterparts, the Wall Street Journal reports, thanks to a move from the six top publishers to set their own e-book prices. A digital copy of Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, for example, will cost you $18.99, while a paperback copy from Amazon is just $16.50.

You can blame Steve Jobs for the change. Before the iPad, publishers sold e-books in a traditional wholesale model, allowing retailers like Amazon to discount them. But Jobs convinced them to switch to setting their own prices. Ironically, they're making less money this way; Amazon used to pay them full hardcover wholesale price on each book, and take a loss to sell them at $9.99. And the last year has also seen a boom in e-book piracy, a possible result of the price hikes. (Read more Kindle stories.)

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