BTB #295: The Trouble With E-Book Pricing

Jeremy GreenfieldConsumers are taking to e-books fast – almost as fast as they have taken to the readers and tablets where e-books live in the digital world. A February 2012 report from the Pew Research Center found that one in five US adults had read an e-book in the last year. The latest figures available from the American Association of Publishers show that year-over-year sales of adult e-book titles rose 49.4 percent in January 2012, from $66.6M to $99.5 M; children & young adult eBook climbed 475 percent over last year from just under $4M to $22M.

But there is trouble in e-book Eden. News that the US Dept. of Justice is suing a number of publishers and Apple over alleged price-fixing for e-books has thrown a spotlight on the issue, raising questions in the minds of consumers and publishers about costs, prices, and profits. In a recent report for Digital Book World, Jeremy Greenfield, DBW editorial director, found confusion and even anger among consumers. He tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally that publishers are now struggling to defend their pricing practices, while bemoaning that consumers aren’t seeing the whole story.

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