How to Productively Criticize High Kindle Book Prices

I’ve noticed no small number of negative reviews going around for Kindle books that publishers insist on pricing above their corresponding hardcover editions. I wholeheartedly approve!  What makes it worth commenting on at the moment, however, are the ones that come from verified customers.  Seriously, how does that make sense?

Let’s think about this for a moment.  When you buy an eBook, you are making a statement.  You are telling publishers that “yes, this eBook is worth at least as much to me as you are asking me to pay for it.”  If it were not, then you would have kept the money.  I can almost understand where somebody who buys an alternate edition of a given book, say a paperback, can justify popping into the reviews to talk about the fact that they would have rather had an affordably priced eBook, but once again it fails to mean anything to a publisher who is already going out of their way to encourage their customers to avoid eBooks and stick to the traditional paper medium.  The publishers simply will not care about your complaints while they can view them as confirmation of the view that readers are willing to cave to the pressures of the model they have forced on the industry.

But obviously you want to read a good book, right?  Otherwise there really wouldn’t be much of a point in having a Kindle to begin with.  If you don’t purchase something to read, you don’t get to do the reading.  Fortunately, the sheer volume of options available, especially now, should work in your favor.  This is a great chance to indulge in a collection of new authors.  I would say there’s an excellent chance that you’ll be able to find something to your taste among the increasingly prominent crowd of self-publishers, if nothing else. Personally, I also find a great deal of excellent expense-free reading material from sites like Manybooks and the Baen Free Library, although I can understand that some people might be hesitant due to their “limited” selections (Not much in the way of current Bestsellers).

Whether you like the idea of altering your reading habits or not is going to be a personal choice.  I tend to view a reason to go through the wider variety of publications as a positive rather than an inconvenience.  The alternative is to accept that when it comes down to it, the publishers have a point and you simply do value grabbing the newest books at the highest prices to the point where they can get away with continuing on the path they have been.  Complaining isn’t going to do much, as far as I can see, if it’s followed by caving in on the issue.

The Kindle offers a practically unlimited selection of eBooks to choose from.  More than any person could hope to read in a lifetime.  And that’s great, of course.  What brought many people around to the eReader alternative was the promise of less expensive reading material that reflects the lower cost of production.  The desire for, or even necessity of, that change is something that I feel should be made clear to the publishing houses, even if it means putting off grabbing a popular new book or heading to the library to read it there.

5 thoughts on “How to Productively Criticize High Kindle Book Prices”

  1. I agree. When the agency model was first implemented, I discovered indie authors through all of the comments. Why buy one book for $14.99 when you can get at least 7 books for the same price? Now, I don’t buy any bestsellers at all, even from my former favorite authors.

    Random House was especially bad. At least half of the books on my price drop list at went up in price. Every “hardback”, “paperback”, and backlist title. Why would I ever consider buying a 10 year old book for the list retail price of $7.99? My money is better spent elsewhere.

    Now that the Kindle will be library compatible sometime this year, I may get to read some of those former favorite authors again. But then again, a number of the big-6 publishers don’t do business with libraries so maybe not. In the meantime, I’ll stick with the indies and the established authors who have the rights to their backlists and who understand the new ebook world. Frankly, I don’t miss those bestsellers one bit.

  2. I just buy Indie books. There are plenty out there, they love contact with their readers, and they’re just as good as the high priced eBooks. Putting your money where your mouth is, is always a constructive way to tell businesses what you want. :)

  3. Every time you pass up an eBook because of the price, simply state that you got the book second-hand, or from the library, instead. Granted, the author doesn’t make any money that way, either, which is sad, but neither does the publisher, and the publisher is setting the prices. [shrug]

  4. When the Amazon books are priced below $5. I buy… many. But when they go above, I sort by price and stay below $5. Only in rare circumstances will I break this rule. Many others I’ve spoken to feel the same. This price point should provide all the players in the game a fair profit. I hope the publisher will recognize the “I’m being robbed” backlash they are creating and realize that they could sell A LOT more books with an honest price. Greed over honesty is not healthy for anyone.

  5. I’d love it if they replaced the “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book on Kindle” links with “Tell the Publisher! I’d like to read this book for a more reasonable price!”

    My favorite is Random House bundling the four George RR Martin paperbacks (“Game of Thrones”, etc) for the excellent price of $20… but that’ll be $36, for us Kindlers.

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