Pricing electronic books

Does anyone have any idea how publishers determine a price for electronic versions of books and how sales are going?

I’ve just come across a number of books about the Hellenistic world which appear to have no physical edition and electronic editions priced at over 150 Australian dollars. I can’t think of anything remotely approaching a justification for that sort of price. Is there one, or is this the spectacular ripoff it seems?

Ghoti (Broke or Cheapskate, or possibly both)

That sounds like a spectactular rip off - is there anything similar in print form that would give you an idea of comparison? Does it indicate how many pages there are? Perhaps it would equate to a multi volumed collection such as a set of encyclopedias, rather than a single book?

Having just looked at a Hellenistic world ebook priced, as you said, it stated it contained nine books by Frank W. Walbank. His Books individually priced vary between £35 and £55. :open_mouth: Perhaps the ebook isn’t such a bad price after all… or, perhaps both his treeware and eware are rather on the steep side.

Francois Chamoux, “Hellenistic Civilization”. $AU64.95 in paperback from the John Wiley Australia website; $AU169.95 in Adobe Reader from Dymocks Online (Dymocks is a major bookseller in Oz).

Andrew Erskine, “A Companion to the Hellenistic World”. $AU62.95 John Wiley paperback. Two Adobe Reader versions available from Dymocks online: $AU56.95 with printing turned off or $178.95 with printing available. I presume someone’s found a hack for those settings??

Zofia Archibald, “Hellenistic Economies” GBP80.00, USD140.00 in Library Binding, whatever that means, from Amazon UK and US. Amazon US offers a Kindle edition for USD112, but that’s useless outside the US and still an obscene price IMO. Dymocks online $192.50 in Adobe Reader, MobiPocket or Microsoft Reader. The online version is cheaper , but still prohibitive.

These are scholarly books which are never going to be profitable, but I don’t understand how pricing them out of the reach of people who don’t have institutional budgets makes any kind of sense or profitability. I think these prices are a monumentally stupid (because why on earth would anyone pay them?) swindle. But maybe I’m missing something.


[Oops. Edited to correct a titular tupo]

Ghoti, your points are very well taken. The pricing of tree-media books is exactly why we need to get scholarly publishing to turn to a subscription model. You should be able to pay 10 or 20 dollars to get a downloadable version of those books.

That was one of the original ambitions of Google Book Search and Google Scholar, but the publishing companies have resisted. I did check on GBS for “Hellenistic Economies.” A searchable version is there, and at a quick glance it seemed that I could scan through most of its pages. It’s not entirely satisfactory, because you can’t copy-paste passages or even make PDFs of them (at least I can’t). But you can get quite a good sense of the contents. —Droo … cs#PPP1,M1

Supply and demand then factor in what the market will allow. Adjust the price accordingly.