Monday, October 4, 2010

I Don't Like to Critique Reading Habits, But

I just stumbled over this NYT article about Amazon charging more for Kindle editions of recent books by Ken Follett and James Patterson than for the actual hardcover copies. Customers, unsurprisingly, are upset. One Amazon reviewer quoted in the article said, “They [Penguin] aren’t penguins . . . They are pigs." Another said, “Really, James Patterson? . . . Why would it possibly cost more for a digital download than printed and bound ink on paper?”

I understand why customers are upset at jacked-up prices on these two novels--books that don't require paper and shipping and stocking and etc. probably should cost less, as they usually do--but I have trouble sympathizing with their outrage. Complaining about the price of the new James Patterson while so many lesser-known and probably better books are available for less and untouched is like going to a record shop and complaining about the price of the new MTV-blessed collection of singles instead of browsing the cheaper stuff one rack back from the front of the store. Maybe Amazon or whoever should gouge the hell out of whatever customer base is willing to pony up the dollars for these premium pieces. It might encourage a few people to try a few new options.

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