What Price A Comeback?

I know I’ve ranted before (and at some length) about book pricing here in Australia but it’s a topic I like to re-visit every now and again; mostly to see if the issue is still the same giant mess. There’s always the slim chance that someone fixed it up while I wasn’t paying attention right? I’d hate to waste my ranting about things that aren’t problems anymore when there are so many rant-worthy subjects to be found 🙂

What prompted this particular post was seeing a tweet from Jon of Pages & Pages book store in Sydney saying that Peter Corris’ brand new release, COMEBACK, is only $9.99 in his store’s eBook outlet. The rest of the world might cringe at that price for an eBook but it’s damned cheap for a traditionally published, new release title by an Australian author regardless of the format. Was it a sign of a new regime of sensible pricing or an inexplicable aberration I wondered and was, as ever, bemused by what I found when I checked the price in other outlets (all prices in Australian dollars):

Kobo (kobo eBook) $7.99
Pages & Pages (ReadCloud eBook) $9.99
Readings (Booki.sh eBook) $9.99
Amazon (kindle edition) $14.99
Booktopia (Google eBook) $22.50
Booktopia (trade paperback) $23.95 + shipping
Boomerang Books (trade paperback) $26.99 + shipping
Dymocks (google eBook) $29.99
Dymocks (trade paperback) $29.99

At this stage the physical version of the book is not available from overseas outlets (neither Book Depository nor Amazon).

So I guess I have learned I can still rant about this subject without looking like an out of touch crazy lady, though for the moment I’m all out of rant. So if you are a publisher (particularly the publisher of this title) consider yourself slapped with a wet fish.

For the record I did purchase a copy of the book from Pages & Pages. I could have gotten the book $2 cheaper but I’m happy to pay a small surcharge for dealing with an Australian company. Especially given that the Pages & Pages ReadCloud store is the only eBook store that I’ve used (and I have used about 2 dozen such stores in the past 18 months) that rivals Amazon for ease and speed of use and download. If you are a reader of ePub books you should definitely check it out (and no Jon hasn’t paid me to say that but if you’d tried as many complicated checkout/download operations as I have, you too would be raving about something that offers speed and simplicity without assuming all customers are criminals in waiting).

I shall go to sleep tonight hoping that COMEBACK’s price is a sign of our publishing industry’s maturation on pricing issues, but I shan’t hold my breath 🙂

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13 Responses to What Price A Comeback?

  1. suzsspace says:

    Have you also checked out the prices in New Zealand? Just out of interest. I was there recently and the price of new paperbacks was more expensive than Australia, I almost fell over.

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  2. Interesting!
    You missed Angus & Robertson. AU$26.99 for paperback, and AU$9.95 for eBook.

    For the record, I’m an Australia author who publishes with BeWrite Books, in Canada, whose pricing policy is great (never more than $5.95 for an eBook unless it’s a omnibus of 3 books or more). I think there are 8 Aussie authors in the stable of about 80.

    We thought we’d be getting cheaper paperbacks in Australia when LSI opened last October, but I haven’t noticed any changes yet.

    But this is the year they are all going to have to do something. Just go and look at my titles at Angus & Robertson, and then compare them at Book Depository – where would you go?

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    • Rosanne we don’t have any A&R outlets left here in Adelaide – or at least not anywhere near me – so I don’t have them on my radar anymore. I don’t bother with Borders eBook store either as it is a complete pain in the …. er….. neck… to use.

      I guess the traditional publishers are at that point of having their known world radically changing before their eyes and they are all scrambling to work out how to respond. I know it can’t be easy to change the practices of decades but it seems to me they’ll have to soon or disappear completely.

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  3. Bernadette – It is amazing to see that price difference! I hope you’re right about Comeback‘s price but as you say, it’s probably best to withhold judgement for a while…

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  4. Belle Wong says:

    Thanks for the link to Pages & Pages – it looks like it will be handy for getting ebooks by Australian authors I might have a hard time getting my hands on otherwise. As for me, I’m currently quite disgruntled by publishers who see fit to price ebooks for hardcover releases at higher than the hardcover price. It feels like very larcenous behaviour to me.

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    • Belle I get the sense those publishers do it deliberately because they don’t want people to buy eBooks – pretty short sighted behaviour I think but I know of at least one local publisher who thinks it’s a vialbe strategy – price the eBooks high then people will buy physical books then publisher can legitimately claim no one wants eBooks – I wonder how long they’ll be in business at all.

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  5. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    Sigh – the disparity is just ridiculous. There is a book that shall remain unnamed that was published this month both in the US and Australia – the C format paperback is currently the only version available in Australia at a price of $27.95 while in the US the book was released as a mass market paperback and the price is just $7.99. Really – what are Australian publishers thinking?

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    • Shelleyrae I think some of them at least are still hoping the internet is a fad and we readers will revert to the good old days when we bought what we could get and we liked it.

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  6. Maxine says:

    I just checked out Kinglake-350 which I bought on Amazon UK as a Kindle book in a Christmas promotion for £2.69 which is apparently Aus$3.98. The book is no longer listed on Amazon in Kindle or any form. I checked out your Pages&Pages site and it tells me I can buy the e-book for about Aus$33 which is about £22, ie ten times as much. QED to your post, Bernadette? I ask you.

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  7. Pingback: Books of the Month – January 2012 | Reactions to Reading

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