If the print edition of a book costs $9.99, how much should an ebook edition of that same book cost? For many traditional publishers in 2012, the ebook edition should also cost $9.99. But our latest poll suggests that more than 80% of readers think that ebook editions should cost less.
The results are clear. 40.63% of respondents to our poll said that a $9.99 print book should retail for around $2.99 in its digital format, while another 21.88% think the price should be even lower. Only 6.25% said that the price should be the same, while (somewhat surprisingly) three respondents suggested that an ebook should cost more than a print edition.
The question of ebook pricing is a thorny one right now. Obviously the cost of producing and selling an ebook edition is considerably lower than the cost of doing the same for a print edition. But should readers be charged based on what the product cost to get to the market, or based on the perceived value of the overall product?
So far in 2012, it looks like traditional publishers are keen to keep their ebook prices high. But as more and more indie authors sell their books at $2.99 or lower, there’s a strong chance that price perceptions will continue to drift downwards. In other words, the days of the $9.99 ebook might be numbered.