March 31, 2011
Dean Smith points out the most pertinent fact in the ebook pricing debate, and the ongoing woes of "traditional" publishing.
Paperback book prices went from 25 to 35 cents in the early 1960s to the $8.99 range today. If publishing had just adjusted prices for inflation, a paperback book priced at 35 cents in 1960 would sell for $2.60 today.
In that light, Amazon's $2.99 ebook "sweet spot" (the price at which the 70 percent royalty kicks in) makes a lot of sense. Nate Anderson aptly describes the publishing business as having a "global pricing problem."
It's equally revealing (literally) to remember what publishers used to publish when their goal was to get and hold readers. If stories like these were on the curriculum, I bet schools wouldn't find it so hard getting boys to read.
Periodicals. Those science fiction magazines created the modern genre and shaped how we think about the modern age.
Paperbacks. Some surprisingly NSFW covers and a few still-famous authors.