Ebook price-fixing in the UK must stop – break up the cartel now…

The new Stephen King Book, The Wind Through the Keyhole, is priced at £11.99 in hardback at Amazon.

The Kindle ebook price – and remember, these prices are set by the publishers and are nothing to do with Amazon, and include 20% VAT not levied on print books (literacy is untaxed, electronic literacy IS taxed – where’s the logic?) – is a staggering £10.99.

Given that ebooks have no physical existence, and thus incur no raw material, printing, storage, or transport costs, this price is quite impossible to justify. It is pure profiteering on the part of the publishers, who set the price.

In the US, Apple and a bunch of publishers are in court for setting up what amounted to a price-fixing cartel (with Apple trying to protect/justify its own insanely high 30% slice of the profit pie)– which is illegal. High time the EU followed their example.

If this cartel continues to operate, it will mean that ebooks will never break out of their marketing niche to become mainstream which, I’m certain, is the cartel’s secondary aim (the primary aim being profit).

I have a Kindle 3, bought in the first UK tranche. I love ebooks, but I will NOT pay the same price as a physical book, not ever.

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2 thoughts on “Ebook price-fixing in the UK must stop – break up the cartel now…

  1. I guess it’ll be only a matter of time before Cameron realises the differences between print and electronic books and looks into slapping 20% VAT on traditional books!

    I’ve only bought a couple of ebooks from Amazon such as the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft only to find a free download of his complete works on an American fanpage website. Apart from the option to read it on my Kindle, I can now read it altogether better on my iMac via calibre than when using Amazon’s reading app which I find to be very buggy as it closes unexpectedly.

    As I find it near impossible to travel to my local library these days, I find myself relying more and more on sites such as Project Gutenburg & Manybooks for their free offerings as well as other sites such as Smashwords. They’ll keep me going for sometime yet.

    • The original version of Amazon’s software was very good. Just a catalogue and reader – no bells and whistles. Then they “improved” it and it hasn’t worked since. I never go near it – if there’s one thing I’ve no desire to do it’s read a book on my computer; not when I can slob out in comfort.

      I discovered ManyBooks and the Lovecraft archive (there are several btw), while I was waiting for Amazon to release the Kindle, so when it arrived I was all ready to go. I do wish ManyBooks would organise their catalogue better, though, and separate short stories from books. Still, it’s free, so can’t complain too much, and it’s still better than the shambles that Kobo fondly thinks is a catalogue – if I’m looking for s-f I don’t want to have to fight my way through hundreds of Star Trek spin-offs to find the real stuff! (I can hear Trekkies unscrewing the cap of the green ink already!)

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