An Interesting Truth at the Ebook Online Store

They answer to or the syntactically challenged: The Ebook Online Store – download ebooks for $10 and less.

This is their reason for being: “More eBooks — more DISCOUNTS! Every eBook costs $10.00. The more you buy, the more discounts you earn. 2 Ebooks cost $19, 3 Ebooks cost $28, 4 Ebooks – $36, 5 Ebooks – $44, 6 – $51, 7 – $58, 8 – $65… 30 eBooks – $199…These are updated every few weeks.” They offer fiction, comic books and technical manuals.

Does anybody buy eBooks that way? Uh, I just wanted one maybe two eBooks because I’ve come all the way down here, I might buy three; but I see that if I buy 30 titles for $199.00, then I’ll drop the individual price to $6.63 per book.  Excellent deal, yah? Now, what 30 titles do I need…

It’s a twist on an old sales model. You pay less because you want more. (That usually applies to multiples of the same item, doesn’t it?) I’m not sure how they justify the discount.

There might be some incentive from the consumer side if it took more than the click of a mouse to visit the online store, if there was some bother to get there, fight through crowds and if getting home required putting the kids in the van and driving through traffic.

And from the store’s point of view individual eBooks take up very little space on a server which flies in the face of the traditional idea behind discounted merchandise that was usually linked to a store being “overstocked” or it was time to move old merchandise to make room for the new. You can’t overstock a single file from which multiple copies can be downloaded, can you?  Whuh, am I missing something?

The truth is: if they can offer the book for $6.63 when you buy 30, there’s no reason they can’t offer the same price for one. Is there some kind of voodoo they’re working to influence these prices? There isn’t some virtual clerk walking around there, packing stuff, stocking shelves… Strange…

Unless they and other eBook sellers, are forced into no-win sales scenarios with the traditional publishing houses, and have to sell high for the right to offer the books… hmmm. That wouldn’t surprise me at all. So what kind of margin are they making that they can offer these items for ten or six dollars?

That’s something someone could please clear up for me. Anyone out there know what kind of deals these sellers have to work with?

So, my test items, all of them from New Moon to Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth would cost you the same $10 for the one item, or $6.63 if you’ve got 28 other books you’d like to read. When they get them. I see they don’t list those particular books as of Jan. 14/09. They do offer many of Stephen King’s books (again King…), and you know what, that might be one author you could name 30 titles for. But would you want to pay $199 for his publisher’s backlist as digital files?

Not to sound too negative, but if you look around you’ll see the site’s a little drab. Could it hurt them to post a few book covers? But I do like the way they acknowledge an interesting truth about eBooks.

There is no fundamental difference book to book to book that warrants a difference in price. They’re digital files right? Other than maybe slapping a premium on new releases (which will unfortunately encourage piracy) eBooks really should be available at affordable and relative prices. That way you can enjoy the author you know and love on your Kindle or Sony, or take a chance and try a new author… at the same low, low price. I think $5.00 and under is the direction this should be taking.

We should keep an eye on this site. It’s delivery may be somewhat austere and two-dimensional, and $10 is still too much to charge for eBooks and avoid piracy, but the one price for all is my kind of thinking.

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