20th March, 2011: Sunday afternoon on Amazon

And so the weather returned to its default state – a bit wet, a lot grey, slightly cold. Well, at least we made it out of the house yesterday.

Yesterday was, as I also indicated, a good writing day.

Project: Hang Wire (serial killers and superheroes in San Francisco)
Words today: 3,053
Words total: 47,381/100,000 (44%)
Total words for 2011: 79,334

Yesterday’s epic allotment of words was entirely one scene, featuring Bossanova Bill and an old lady. This sequence has a couple of natural breakpoints and in the edit will be intercut with other chapters, but it made sense to just keep writing and get that bit of the story down.

The other day I organised my iPad, stripping out crappy old apps I never use and then sorting the ones I kept into different folders. As I organised my various ebook apps (iBooks, Kindle, etc), it occurred to me that while I’m a big fan and advocate of ebooks, I’ve actually been buying more paper books now. In fact, I’ve gone back to the old habits of shopping for paper first.

I think this is simply because in most cases, the paper copy of a book is cheaper than an ebook. I’ve talked about this before, and I know there are a number of legitimate reasons for why this happens, so I’m not going to go over it all again.

What I will say, however, is that as a consumer this is none of my concern. None at all. As someone who buys quite a few books, there are three ‘levels’ to me, ranging from top price to bottom dollar. It goes:

hardback > paperback > ebook

It’s that simple. There is no fancy formula required, no lengthy analysis of the whys and wherefores of it all. As a consumer, I just don’t care.

So, what prompted today’s microrant? David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, actually. I was contemplating checking it out, only the Kindle version is nearly twice the price of the paperback. Yes, Amazon have the paperback at a very large discount. Yes, I know, that means the prices are not comparative.

Except… this is none of my concern. The ebook should be cheaper than the paperback. Period.

  • I’ve noticed a few ebooks at prices higher than the paperback – ridiculous. As much as I love my kindle, I’ll always choose paper first so an ebook has to be substantially cheaper for it to be an option.

  • That formula works for me. Now all I’ve got to do is tattoo it onto the damn eyelids of every Amazon employee in the world. And every rich Kindle owner.

  • Rob Mammone

    Consumer is king and price is God. And physical books rule the multiverse!