So not just satisfied with ruminating on why eBooks are the price they are I also contacted Waterstones to ask why there is such a price differential. This was their response:
“I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the price difference between ebooks and other formats online.
There are a number of reasons why the prices are different online but as this is an exclusive product prices may vary, I would like to inform you that in the future there will be reductions and promotions as the item becomes more popular.
I do apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
I am not sure that I understand the response and it certainly doesn’t address the issue, although to be fair I didn’t expect them to.
What’s interesting though is that this comes on the same day as HMV’s results are announced (they are the parent company of Waterstones) which stated a drop in revenues at the book seller as more people shop online
You may feel that I am unfairly picking on Waterstones. The fact is I like Waterstones and spend a lot of time and money with them and so it was a natural place for me to be looking.
The bottom line is that the market needs several things: more people reading ebooks, more competition in the ebook market place a better up taken of an open format (epub) and no DRM.
It seems we are still a way from that.