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What Can Publishers Do For Authors in a Mostly-ebook World?

Oct 26, 2014   [permalink]

Executive summary: This is a pointer, go read this piece about why publisher justification for high ebook prices don't hold water in a mostly-ebook world. :)

A meme I've been seeing a lot recently is the one that goes, "ebook prices have to be pretty high because look at all the work involved." The various analyses tend to then list all the important things that publishers do that are cost centers, with the intent of showing that the cost of paper and shipping are really small potatoes; thus ebooks should cost just as much as paper (or in some twisted justifications, more).

These may, perhaps, be true today, but it seems pretty likely we're in a transition period toward an ebook dominated marketplace. I can understand publishers wanting to make readers think ebooks should be priced high (why not, shoot for the moon!) :) and to try to get authors to think that publishers will still be indispensable in a mostly-ebook world.

But neither are really true. Again, I'm talking about "if": If ebooks come to dominate the market, as seems quite possible (and quite soon). In that case, the rules change.

So it happened that yesterday someone posted one of these "look why ebook prices have to be high" justifications on the workshop forum. Cool -- that gave me the kick I needed to write up the rebuttal I keep thinking I should write.

I've done that, so mainly this blog post is to say, here, go read this piece about why publisher justification for high ebook prices don't hold water in a mostly-ebook world.

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