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December 28, 2011
Gillmor on the E-Book Pricing "Swindle"
Oh look it's been 20 whole days since I wrote something about the ungodly mess that is e-books this year. TL;DR version: nothing has changed, physical books are still better, you can go now.
The source for this rant is +Dan Gillmor's column in the UK Guardian titled "The great ebook price swindle". In it, Gillmor points out that greed and arrogance (he forgets to mention utter terror) have led publishers to adopt a collusive (and possibly illegal) agency pricing model. The result being that e-book prices jumped 30-50%.
The result is, as Gillmor says, "a terrible deal for the customer." Whether that terrible deal will lead more people to think twice before they buy e-books is still up in the air. Gillmor says it has changed his behavior, so maybe that's so. But I tend to think that once people have taken the plunge and bought an e-book device they want to keep feeding that habit. Ferpetessakes people pay $3 and up for a measly ringtone. I think the demand here is not particularly price-sensitive and in that respect publishers' greed isn't going to have much impact on adoption. Sales figures for December e-book/physical book purchasing should be out in the next couple of weeks and we'll see whether Gillmor or I am correct.
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