The economic perversion of ebook pricing

The absurdity of Amazon ebook pricing

If you still believe that the sharing economy does more good than harm, you should sit back and spend an hour or two on getting yourself up to speed.
In short, easy (and very cheap or free) access to content seems great for the consumer, but pushes smaller creators out of the market due to diminished incomes. For musicians, performing (touring) does not compensate for the loss of income and also creates the additional problem of the artists not being able to create new music while working on performing it, limiting potential future income.
Easy and cheap access to content, now, is likely to result in less, only main stream content from a few artists, to be available in the future.

Here's a whole shopping list of the music industry's problems.

A different, but related, problem is the economic model centred around subscriptions. Streaming is, of course, an example of this, but there are others, like the app markets, and 'buying' digital books for your Kindle.
When you buy a Kindle book, Amazon makes it appear that you become the owner of the book in question, but, in reality, Amazon can make your copy disappear when they want and, more importantly, you can never resell, or give away, your copy to anyone else. There is no secondary market of ebooks because Amazon prevents this from existing. Not only does this keep prices of ebooks higher than necessary, the actual set price is in full control of Amazon. And it takes the consumer out of the economic process. In essence, you are leasing the content, not buying it.

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There are some exceptions to the above. Apparently, digital music re-sales are now legal in the US and app re-sales are now legal in Europe.
Also, under some conditions, like being an Amazon Prime member, you can lend out your ebooks to others for short periods of time.

Both of the above problems will slowly turn the industries deploying them into ossified producers of conformist pulp, only appealing to the largest common denominator.

But, it gets worse.

Though the Kindle is a fascinating piece of technology, I resisted the urge to buy one, for its utter convenience, for years, mainly because of the problems described above. I buy a lot of my books second hand, often at a fraction of the original price. For a lot of the types of books I'm interested in, the cost of the digital download is sometimes higher than the cost of the physical book and almost never significantly lower.
However, late last year, after having to stuff some 20 newly bought (but mostly second hand) books in my backpack, leaving for my next trip, I reluctantly took the plunge and bought a kindle.

I'm very happy with the device's functioning, but still haven't bought many ebooks. I'm still reluctant to participate in an economic model that I think is very broken, but, more significantly, quietly enraged that the price of ebooks differs by up to at least 80% when shopping for them in different markets, while the cost of a physical second hand copy of the same book can be negligible.
It is exactly this that highlights my second point above: Amazon can set any price for any ebook, exactly as it sees fit, maximising profit at the expense of the consumer.

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In the image with this article, you can see that the ebook Alexander: The ambiguity of Greatness by Guy Rogers is listed at $11.28 for customers in the US and $20.28 for customers in the Netherlands. Worse, a new physical copy sells for only a fraction more than the cost of a digital copy in the US, meaning I'd save over 40% just by buying a physical in stead of a digital copy.
Meanwhile, a second hand copy could be had at the cost of shipping.

Staying on topic, Plutarch's The Life of Alexander is $2.99 in the US and $11.85 for Dutch shoppers. That's just under 4 times the price (or, nearly a 300% markup). While a new paperback costs $7.84.

A digital copy of Beyond Outrage costs $13.25 on the Dutch market, $5.59 in the US, while a new paperback costs $6.08.

I also found an exception to the above rule. William Easterly's The Tyranny of Experts is $10.49 in the US and $9.89 in Holland. But, a new hardcover only costs $5.