Controversy over the 20p ebook

When I saw an article on The Bookseller‘s website about the 20p ebook promotion, I immediately wondered what ebook sellers were aiming to achieve by pricing ebooks at such a low price.

According to ‘The Digital Reader’, publishers have stated that the low price has devalued the ebook and as a result the consumer will come to expect this low price permanently. However Peter Shea, the digital manager for Sony Digital Reading services affirms that ‘it is not the new price of the ebook and is merely a discount in which customers can enjoy for the time being.’

Meanwhile Nick Harkaway states on a FutureBook post that publishing houses have advanced to cater for the massive change in the industry and these changes are still going unnoticed with ‘absurd’ ebook pricing and the quality of the ebook itself being poorly presented.

It can also be observed that these 20p ebooks are keeping potential new releases that would be bestsellers off the top spot as observed in The Bookseller‘s article a couple of days ago.

Whilst I think this is a great way in which to introduce the consumer to the ebook, I do believe it could prove damaging to the industry should it continue. For a start, the publisher would no doubt receive less profit for its sales and as Peter Shea rightly said, consumers could come to expect this discounted price all the time which could create a decline in ebook sales once the prices are altered.

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About ambergunn

English Language and Literature graduate and MA Publishing graduate from Anglia Ruskin University. Production Editor at a STM journal publisher in London. Tea lover, bookworm and metaphor appreciator. View all posts by ambergunn

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