Today’s New York Times reports an astonishing fact: Book publishers wholesale their ebooks to Amazon for precisely the same price as their paper books. Amazon loses money on every ebook for the Kindle they sell because publishers don’t discount zero-cost ebooks.
Apparently, the publishers don’t count the paper, storage, inventory, shredding and shipping expenses in their cost calculations.
Either that, or they own a tree plantation or a printing plant.
And of course, they own neither.
Penguin has reported that e-book sales from the first four months of 2008 have surpassed the house’s total e-book sales for all of last year. According to the publisher, the spike is “more than five times the overall growth in sales, year-on-year, through April 2008.” Penguin Group CEO David Shanks said he attributed the jump, in large part, to the growing popularity of e-book readers.
What are publishers thinking? It’s a nascent market, don’t kill the golden egg laying goose.
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