It’s no secret that one of the justifications behind publishers keeping e-book prices high is that they cost almost as much as paper books cost to publish, so they have to sell them at high prices in order to make a profit. But Mathew Ingram has an insightful post on GigaOm in which he points out that the crucial point in e-book pricing is not what the books cost to make, but what consumers are wiling to pay.
Ingram points out that consumers probably do underestimate what it costs to make a book, noting that publishers do “have a pretty good case” for the costs involved when you get down to it. But on the other hand, consumers don’t consider e-books as valuable as printed books because you can’t sell or give them away when you’re done reading them and can be subject to annoying restrictions in the form of DRM.
There’s not anything new in what Ingram says, of course; we’ve known about this difference in perceptions between publishers and consumers for quite some time. Still, the article is interesting, with some good links, and worth reading,