Friday, January 14, 2011

I looked it up so you don't have to...

So I haven't posted in forever, but I'm here now and I think you'll agree this was worth waiting for.  Or maybe not.  Anyway, a recent kerfluffle about agency pricing model and Kindle and ebook pricing made me curious about ebook prices.

I read a lot of ebooks. A. Lot. Last year I think I might have read in excess of 150 epublished items. I write for epublishers as well, so the debates on pricing concerns me.  It also makes my mind wander when it should be doing other things like writing or folding laundry. So I started wondering what the most expensive ebook out there was.

The internet makes everything so easy. A few minutes and I had the answer. It took me considerably longer to put my eyes back in my head and close my jaw. The most expensive ebooks were all scientific treatise, and when I say expensive, I mean a gasp-inducing $6,431.20.  Yes, I'm serious. Selected Nuclear Materials and Engineering Systems sells for over six grand. Plus the 20 cents. No idea what the small change is about. Six grand isn't enough?  It's actually discounted. The price used to be over $8K.  Hey, it's expensive, but it's part 4 of a series (all similarly priced) and it's #53 in the Kindle Store for ebooks on thermodynamics. At only $4,960, Selected Systems from Al-Fe-V to Al-Ni-Zr is kicking Selected Nuclear Materials and Engineering Systems butt in the rankings.  The "customer reviews" are hilarious. "I had to sell my car and take out an equity loan on my house to buy this book, but it was worth every penny." They are worth following the link.

Fiction was a distant cousin. I had to sort through over 1,000 books to find fiction. The most expensive fiction ebook I could find was a self-published novel.  The author priced it at $200 and strangely hasn't sold one yet. Maybe that's because he keeps describing it as "a film" in his back cover copy--which is also rife with errors.  No, I'm not making it up. Go check the link. I'll wait here. I'm not sure what makes it worth $200, but that makes me think twice for griping about a $15 ebook. I still won't pay $15 for an ebook when the mass market paperback is 7.99, but I don't go pick up the paperback either. I just generally don't buy the book.

There is someone offering his resume for the same price. Also a selection of clearly gag offerings are listed. I guess everyone needs a hobby. There is even a listing by someone who doesn't want you to buy his book. No, really. He has some sort of dispute with his publisher, so he raised the price up to $199.99 and begs people not to buy his book.  Sadly, he has a higher Amazon rank than the self-published novel that thinks it's a film, indicating that people have ignored his wishes and purchased the book in spite of the fact that there is no indication of the subject matter.

All of this of course raises the question of just how much to price something.  Fortunately for you, my next ebook is only $5.50. The First Ghost will be released on February 21st and, as you can see, it's a bargain.  You should buy it.


  1. oh... oh I want to do a review on the "film" and say I might buy it if the publisher's description was written in English!!!!

  2. How bizarre! I wonder why the prices are that high.....

  3. You're back! I thought I broke your blog! ;)
    Yes, indeedy. Worth the wait. Congrats on the new book! w00t!!!

  4. Thanks, I am back. Life just sort of nommed me during the holidays, but I'm back to blogging and online stuff. :)

    You really should poke around Amazon sometime when you are bored. It's scary and wonderful at the same time.

  5. I've actually been so floored by the prices of some ebooks that I haven't ventured to buy one yet. That may change, though. I'm finding more and more that most of the titles I want are all ebook format. I like to hold my book in my hands, but I guess that's what a Kindle is for. Thanks for posting this... it makes me think twice about complaining about the price of some ebooks too. 6 friggin grand. Sheesh.

  6. Wow, talk about news of the weird. Thanks for sharing those links.

    And congratulations on the release!