Monday, March 28, 2011

My Free eBooks Obsession

Ever since I got my iPad and downloaded the Kindle for iPad app, I've been obsessed with acquiring free ebooks. I now have upwards of 150+ ebooks, all of which I've acquired gratis. Even with this abundance of digital reading material, however, I can't help but continue to love - and I mean LOVE - DTB (that's "dead tree books" in the ebooks community, i.e. physical books made of paper).

I have a ton of DTB, which I don't ever foresee relinquishing. What I've been marinating on lately, however, is the medium and pricing. I already feel that an ebook should NOT cost the same as a DTB. Isn't there a parallel here where the prices of CDs were way higher before the market for MP3s was established?

If I own a DTB copy of a book, it feels like I should be able to buy the electronic version at a discount. I mean, we can rip a song off a CD and have an electronic version easy. Why not an easily acquired electronic version of a book, too? That said, something doesn't feel "right" about the reverse - a discount on the DTB if one already owns the ebook. Doesn't that, in and of itself, show less of a "value" to the ebook, whether it is just perceived or actual (e.g. being able to resell the DTB, costs of the physical production)? So, why do publishers insist on making the ebook the same price as the DTB?