London: More than a
third of bestselling ebooks are priced higher than their hardcover
versions, says a survey of the books traded online by Amazon.
Experts and consumers are outraged by such a disparity in prices
as electronic versions should be far cheaper because they cost
nothing to print, store or transport.
The findings are also all the more controversial as they come
after a landmark European Union ruling that publishers may have
illegally colluded to raise ebooks prices, according to the Daily
J.K. Rowling's new book for adults, "The Casual Vacancy", costs
nine pounds if ordered on Amazon with its discount of 11 pounds on
the original publisher's price. The ebook version, however, is
being sold on the same website for 11.99 pounds.
"The Chronicles Of Downton Abbey", a book sold alongside the TV
series, costs 10 pounds in hardcover but 12.99 pounds for Kindle -
an increase of almost a third.
ebooks make up about 15 percent of books sold in Britain, a market
which is estimated to be worth 260 million pounds this year.
Amazon amounts to as much as 80 percent of the ebook market.
Publishers admit they save more than five percent on titles sold
as ebooks, although they pay extra in value-added tax for the
Tom Tivnan, from industry experts The Bookseller, said: "A price
of two to three pounds off the average selling price, including
discounts, would be a fair price that the public would be more
willing to pay for ebooks.
"If you can get "The Casual Vacancy" for 10 pounds in hardback,
publishers should try to price the ebook around 7-8 pounds."