To eBook, or not to eBook: that is the question.

Have you ever wonder why eBooks are so expensive? I mean, they are digit and available on the Internet, so why do they have to cost so much?

An article by Michael Hyatt, former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World – a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller – answered the question: Why are eBooks so expensive?

Michael Hyatt broke it down into three reasons for why they are so expensive. They are the following:

  1. Adjusted retail price. The price you pay is roughly half of how much it would cost you to buy the physical book. In addition, the way retailers that buy the eBook is going to shift to “the agency model” – the publisher sets the price and the “agent” (retailer/buyer) would get a “commission” from the publisher.
    1. For example, if an eBook is being sold for $10, then the publisher will gain a net of approximately 70%; thus, they will gain a net profit of $7.
  2. Cost of physical manufacturing and distribution don’t cost that much. Yup, you heard it, the cost of physically making the book doesn’t cost that much. In fact, it only make up around 12% of the total retail price of the book.

So, why are eBooks so darn expensive? It’s not like they cost much to begin with. Well, because of the third reason:

  1. The three new costs:
    1. Digital preparation. The books must be scanned or manually keyed in, and then they have to be formatted to work on all the various eReaders. If you think that’s a lot of work, the last step of preparation is collecting and adding all relevant metadata so customers could easily search for them.
    2. Quality assurance. The time-consuming process quality assurance a.k.a. “QAing”. Each page has to be rendered correctly.
    3. Digital distribution. The files have to be distributed to the various eRetaliers. With more eRetailers than Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple, they each also have their own individual protocol to how to upload the book.

So, the new costs are initially the reasons why eBooks cost so much. The process of making it and distributing it is time consuming and costly. You might believe that you’re getting a great deal by buying the eBook but, when you think about it, you’re not. You’re basically paying the same for the hard, physical copy of the book.

We already pay so much for college. Why do we have to pay more for eBooks? The books that would be cheaper due to the fact that they’re not the physical copy and they are easily accessible on the web. So, next time you need to buy a textbook, ask yourself this: Is the price I’m paying worth it?

If you would like to read the article published by Michael Hyatt, click here.

If you would like to learn more about “the agency model”, click here.



Picture for thought.