Welcome to Friday Debate, a feature on cup of tea with that book, please, where every Friday a question will be posted that tantalize the brain and expands our horizons. For this week’s question:
The other day, I received an email for a deal on a Kindle e-book. Unfortunately, the e-book was only available in the Amazon UK store. I assumed that the price would be the same in the US store.
It was not.
While annoyed by this, I started noticing something. E-books in the UK Kindle Store appeared a lot cheaper, compared to the ones in the US store. The conversion rate and the value of the dollar and the pound may have something to do with it. However, even after the conversion e-books are still significantly cheaper. Then, that led me to look at other foreign stores. The prices vary. In some online stores, the price was higher in the US and vice versa. Sure, the language and the presentation will be different. But other than that, I don’t really see why e-book pricing cannot be the same across all boards.
Why so much inconsistency? Publishers have never been too keen on e-books but accepted the format since consumers enjoyed them. It looks like publishers have gone out their way to restrict the accessibility. The prices have to be the same across all retailers. You can’t share e-books like you would with print books. If you purchase an e-book from a particular retailer, you can only access the e-book through the retailer’s applications. You can only buy e-books in your home and country due to copyright. I can go on all day listing e-books’ restrictions and its limitations. The famous e-book lawsuit of 2012 didn’t help matters for the publishing world, but, I do know that restricted access of e-books can cause a reduction of e-book purchases, an effect that publishers most likely wanted along.
So for this week’s Friday Debate, I am asking these two questions: