I just got myself an eBook reader – the new Sony PRS-300.
It’s a new device, and while it doesn’t have many gizmos and features it does have a great little screen that is pleasant for reading books. I read a lot of books, and my first thought when I got it in the post was to – you guessed it – buy a bunch of books for it 🙂
It’s astonishing. If I buy a physical book, I can scribble in it, read it, lend it to someone, and sell it when I don’t want it any more. The Ebook is protected with DRM (Digital Rights Management), I am not allowed to copy it or resell it, and I can’t lend it to anyone. Yet it’s more expensive than the hardback!
Unless publishers wake up to this and start pricing eBooks at a reasonable level, the market will never pick up. Instead, people will buy what they want in hardback, and use pirated copies for their eBook needs – whether from a single sold copy or from a scanned and OCR’ed physical book. Clearly, the publishing industry learned nothing from what happened in the music world and to CDs.
Waterstones has an online bookshop that sells eBooks, and while the selection is fairly small I was sure I could find something. Specifically, I was interested in Peter Hamilton’s Void Trilogy, where I had listened to the first book as an audio book. And yes, they have it – here is what it looks like in the shop, first the special edition hardback version for £12.50:
To my surprise, the eBook version of the same book – which has no cost of shipping, printing, etc – is £15.90, or £3.40 MORE than the special edition hardback:
What is WRONG with these people? I was hoping and expecting to find the eBook version a bit cheaper than the paperback version. For £5, I would have bought it and thought it was a bit expensive, and for £2.50 I would have bought a whole bunch of them. But for £15.90, they can keep their eBooks!