If you’re a Wired subscriber, the new issue should be arriving on your doorstep right about…now. Though it doesn’t seem to be posted online yet, and the iPad version always comes in the middle of the month. But, in the new September 2010 issue, Wired devotes a few column inches to answering this question: “Why do e-books cost so much.”
The answer may already be known to you if you work in publishing, but it’s instructive to learn how e-book economics are explained to the few readers out there who don’t actually work in publishing. Here’s a little excerpt from the article (which I had to hand-type!):
Fat-cat book pushers aren’t to blame. Not entirely.
“People vastly overestimate how much a publishers saves,” says Erik Sherman, an analyst who studies e-book economics. Turns out, the physical aspects of book production can account for a s little as 15 percent of the cost of the title. The rest can be divvied up among the author, editor, designer, marketers, publicists, distributors and resellers. A lot of fingers dip into that $14.99 money pie before the house takes a slice.
A bit later, the article goes on to note that “tacking an e onto a book requires antipiracy software, digital warehousing, extra legal support, and programmers to adapt each title for Android, iPhone, Kindle, and all the other formats. That’s on top of the regular costs of turning a manuscript into a finished product.”
Whether or not that’s news to you, the fact that e-book pricing is deemed an issue worthy of every Wired reader is further evidence that e-books are probably taking over.