When Apple announced their new iPad Internet Tablet last week, one of the major features was their new e-Book reader and iBook store. This was pretty exciting for me. I am a huge fan of e-Books, and this is one of the nicest looking e-Book readers I have seen. The interface is simply fantastic, and the bookstore is already stocked with a supply from several major publishers. Sounds great, right?
Well, maybe not so much. At least not for you and I. One of the biggest problems I have had with e-Books has been the price of the books. With no printing or distribution costs, you would expect the price of the books to be rock bottom, as in under $5.00. This has not happened, though, mainly because the publishers cling to an antiquated pricing scheme, which focuses on the paper and ink version of the book. To be honest, until publishers truly embrace the e-Book format and recognize it as a realistic alternative, if not replacement, for the pen and ink books, then this will not significantly chance. Nonetheless, Amazon has done a fantastic job of negotiating lower and lower prices with the publishers, even offering significant incentives to publishers who offer lower priced books. As a result, Amazon has been able to keep their Kindle e-Book prices below $10 for most books, including new releases. Faced with the market dominance of Amazon’s Kindle, other e-Book stores quickly followed suit, with Barnes and Noble, Sony, and others soon lowering their prices to match or even beat Amazon’s.
This was all great news for consumers. As 2009 turned to 2010, there were several fantastic e-Book readers available, with the promise of up to a dozen more by the end of the year, as well as several fantastic bookstores, and a price war which featured an apparent race to the bottom in terms of e-Book pricing. 2010 was shaping up to be the year of the e-Book.
Sadly, that all came to a screeching halt last week when Apple unveiled its iPad and iBook Store. While Apple has not officially unveiled their iBook Store pricing scheme, it is rumored to raise the e-Book price ceiling to $15 per book or more. One might expect Apple to feel the backlash from consumers as a result of this higher pricing scheme, but that has hardly been the base. Instead, the backlash came almost immediately from publishers as MacMillan and Harper Collins demanded to renegotiate their pricing schemes with Amazon and raise the prices of e-Books to more closely match Apple’s pricing scheme. Sadly, Amazon had no choice but to relent, effectively ending the downward trend of e-Book pricing. The end of the $9.99 e-Book is nigh. Can the end of Amazon’s market dominance be far behind? Write in and let us know what you think.