E-Book Prices Prop Up Traditional Print Books – WSJ.com

I was doing a lot of impulse buying back when Amazon priced most of its books at $9.99. ┬áThis article explains why we’re not seeing that kind of price very often.

I do want to pay for the time and talent that authors and editors put into books; I recognize the need to pay for the designers of the fancy covers and the marketers who get the book reviewed and advertised; I don’t like that my ebook purchase pays to print, ship, warehouse, stock, return, and pulp physical copies. So much waste, which will only delay the inevitable.

As physical book sales fall, publishers’ fixed costs are becoming more cumbersome. One area major publishers can cushion the blow is by keeping e-book prices higher. “If e-book prices land at 99 cents in the future we’re not going to be in good shape,” said one New York publishing executive, who asked not to be identified.

Indeed, e-book prices on many new national best sellers are higher today than they were at the start of last year. That’s because the six major publishers have adopted a new pricing model, known as “agency pricing,” championed by Apple Inc. Publishers, worried about the deeply discounted $9.99 digital best-sellers promoted by Amazon.com Inc., agreed to set the consumer prices of their digital titles. Under this model, retailers act as the agent for each sale and take 30%, returning 70% to the publisher.

via E-Book Prices Prop Up Traditional Print Books – WSJ.com.