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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2012

    Today I noticed a book whose hardcover price is $78 and e-book price is $101. At first I thought it must be a typo, but that doesn’t seem to be the case: most World Scientific mathematics books are not available as e-books, but those that are seem to cost about 30% more in that format. This makes me wonder how publishers are pricing academic e-books more generally. Does anyone know? Is there any reason why an e-book might cost 30% more? Maybe there are some extra expenses in producing nicely formatted e-book files, and the cost of printing and distribution might not be so high, but my gut feeling is that an e-book ought to cost a little less than a printed book.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorsmitternacht
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2012

    I think this is generally the case, at least when the e-book has an easily distributed format, such as downloadable high quality pdfs (usually one pdf per chapter). My interpretation is that the publisher is trying to cover an imagined cost of decreased sales due to more people being able to read the same copy.

    I work at a university library and it’s not uncommon that we pay more than the list price for e-books due to the potentially large circulation. Some e-books are bundled into subscriptions and are then more or less equivalent to journal volumes from the library perspective. The publishers regularly change their bundles, so some books disappear without notice. This is especially troublesome when they are used as text books.