Posted on June 7, 2013 in Archive

Why Amazon’s digital book pricing is frustrating

07Jun

I love almost everything about my Kindle…

I love its size and its portability. I love its debonair tan leather cover and built in stand.

I love my Kindle’s optional light (which makes it the perfect bedtime companion) and easily accessible page-turning buttons (never before have I found it so easy to drink a cup of tea and eat a plate of vegemite toast whilst reading!)

I love everything about my Kindle… except overpriced digital book fortress in which it has me locked.

 

Digital book pricing - Picture of woman reading Kindle in bed

Kindle has all the right features – except interoperability

 

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying I don’t want to pay for digital books. I’m simply saying I don’t think it’s fair that I should have to pay more for a digital copy of a book than other digital book users.

Amazon’s high pricing of its Kindle editions has frustrated me for months- and I’m not alone. People worldwide are stamping their feet over the comparatively steep prices of Kindle books, and have been for years.

Some Amazon customers have attempted to challenge the company by voicing their concerns on a forum called ‘kindle book prices too high’.

One of the most common complaints from Kindle users on this forum is that they have been able to source cheaper print copies than digital copies of the books they want to read, sometimes even on Amazon.

Personally, what annoys me the most is that I am unable to shop around for the cheapest copy of a digital book; I’m limited to what Amazon has to offer.

The current domination of the digital book market by the big digital book retailers, like Apple and Amazon, isn’t doing anyone any favours. Not even the retailers themselves.

The Educational Development Corporation in America was so fed up with Amazon’s predatory tactics that last year they removed all of their titles from the retailer’s virtual shelves.

Other companies have tried similar strategies.

Right now, Apple is involved in a heavily publicised court battle with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that began last year in the US over accusations of digital book price fixing.

According to the DOJ, Apple was the leader of a conspiracy among digital book providers to increase their prices to better compete with Amazon.

While digital book retailers might think Amazon’s domination of the market is unfair on them, digital book readers are the ones copping the raw end of the deal.

Readers want to be able to download the cheapest version of whichever book they want to read, and they should have the freedom to do so.

As I said in one of my recent blog posts, readers are ready for interoperability and a diversified digital book market.

We have been waiting patiently to be able to shop with different virtual retailers and sync our purchases between our devices and we’ve finally had enough. We’re ready for more options.

The competitive and closed nature of the digital book market is placing restrictions on readers that stands in stark contrast with the potential openness, accessibility and ubiquity of digital publishing.

Headline image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.