Rant on Kindle Prices

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...
Cover via Amazon

The new book by JD Robb, New York to Dallas, came out September 13. The price for its various editions look like this:

Kindle: $14.99

Hardcover: $15.51

Paperback: $7.99

MP3 CD: $16.49

Audible: $23.95

In what world does the Kindle version cost nearly twice the paperback version?  It makes no sense. Most people would get the paperback over the Kindle. And I am thinking that’s the whole point; the publisher is pricing the Kindle version absurdly high so it won’t sell. They don’t want to sell Kindle books.

But I have no space; I cannot buy any more physical books and I have no intention of paying fifteen dollars for the Kindle version. I have the New York to Dallas on hold from the library (the city library). When I get it, it will live on my table, because there is no space on my shelves.

I am thinking one of the reasons they can do that is because JD Robb (also known as Nora Roberts) is a bestselling author; everything she writes ends up on the New York Times bestseller list. Plus, the In Death books is a long, beloved series (no, I don’t know why New York to Dallas doesn’t have the words In Death in it like every other book in the series). People hurry to get them. I did in high school. (I am more patient these days.)

The top fifteen books from the New York Times bestseller list for September 18: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson & Marchall Karp, 1105 Yakima Street by Debbie Macomber, Blind Faith by CJ Lyons, The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan, The Abbey by Chris Culver, The Lincoln Lawyer, Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, One Day by David Nicholls, Second Son by Lee Child, Only Yours by Susan Mallery, One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost, A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Marin and Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens.

Out of fifteen books, there are two whose kindle editions are more expensive than the paperback, four are the exact same price, two more are almost exactly the same price. Three are in ebook version only and one is not yet out in paperback. Only three price their kindle and paperbook version different.

I’ve heard that ebooks don’t cost that much less to produce, that the storage and distribution of physical books make up the smallest cost of producing them. But even that slight difference isn’t reflected in the prices of a quarter of these books. As for the two whose kindle price is almost exactly the same – one has a difference of 6 pennies; the other has a difference of $1.19. I am not buying 6 cents is the cost of storage and distribution of physical books. 1.19? Maybe. I don’t know (because the publishers won’t give out exact numbers) but it could be.

Only the Harlequin books have a price difference I have no difficulty buying: $2.61. Near as I can tell, I think they are also the only ones who still let Amazon set the price.

Only twelve of the books on this list are published traditionally; the other three are self-published. The other twelve? I cannot help but feel 7 or 8 of them are trying to rip me off. It’s outrageous.

Plus, I also feel they are trying to keep people from buying ebooks and that makes no sense at all.

Kindle more expensive than paperback:

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp. Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, imprint of Hachette. Paperback: $9.77. Kindle: 12.99. Hardcover: 14.71

One Day by David Nicholls. Publisher: Knopf Doubleday, imprint of Random. Kindle: 11.99. Paperback: 9.97.

Exactly the same price for Kindle and paperback:

Canyons of Night: Book Three of the Looking Glass Trilogy by Jayne Castle. Publisher: Jove, imprint of Berkley, owned by Penguin.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. Grand Central Publishing, formerly Warner Books, now owned by Hachette. Reissue edition

One Grave at a Time, by Jeaniene Frost. Publisher: HarperCollins.

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue, by Stephanie Laurens Publisher: HarperCollins.

Slight difference between Kindle and paperback price:

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin, imprint of Macmillan. Kindle: 9.99 Paperback July 5, 2011: 9.54. Hardcover: 13.59. Difference of 6 cents.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Publisher: Berkley Trade, imprint of Penguin. Kindle: 9.99. Paperback: 8.80. Hardcover: 14.97. Difference of 1.19 cents.

Significant difference between Kindle and paperback:

1105 Yakima Street by Debbie Macomber. Published by Mira, imprint of Harlequin. Price set by Amazon. Kindle: 5.38. Paperback: 7.99

Blind Faith by CJ Lyons. Publisher: Createspace. Kindle: .99. Paperback: 12.59

Only Yours by Susan Mallery. Publisher: Harlequin. Price set by Amazon. Kindle: 5.38. Paperback: 7.99

Books with no physical edition.

Second Son by Lee Child. Publisher: Delacorte, imprint of Dell, owned by Random. Second Son is in ebook format only, probably because it’s only 161kb or only 40 pages. I’ve heard 40 pages is not a good length for print. Before I saw this, I didn’t know any of the big publishers put some stuff in ebook only format.

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan. Publisher: Amazon digital services. Kindle: .99.

The Abbey by Chris Culver. Publisher: Amazon digital services. Kindle: .99

Only Hardcover

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. Publisher: Random House. Kindle price is 14.99, hardcover price is 18.80.