Ebooks cost less but sell for as much or more – a look at why that is.

The Mystery Of E-Book Pricing Explained

Electronic books clearly cost less to produce and distribute but often sell for as much or more as the printed version. Why are ebooks so expensive?

If you like to read and have at least partially switched to e-books you have likely been frustrated by the pricing. Price is supposed to be a function of cost and, since there are no costs associated with printing, binding or shipping ebooks, ebooks should clearly be cheaper than the printed versions.

Unfortunately that isn't the case. Ebooks almost always cost nearly as much – and sometimes more – than their printed counterparts.

Take a look at this...



The ebook version is slightly less than the hardcover version but more than the paperback version. Since the paperback clearly costs more to print and distribute why would that be?

The answer is that the price is no longer tied to the cost. Instead the price is based on what you value and what you are willing to pay.

Both the paperback and the ebook are simply delivery systems for the same content – the text you want to read. The paperback can't automatically be assumed to be more valuable to the reader just because it exists as a physical object, in fact to many consumers that is a negative.

Meanwhile the ebook offers several advantages (instant delivery and convenience among them). Consumers are willing to pay more for these advantages, and the seller is happy to charge accordingly.

Here is a more in-depth look at the pricing of e-books and why the savings are not what readers were hoping for.