Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cost, Price And Value

Has the CEO* of a company sounded more like a dinosaur? Here's Carolyn Reidy, of Simon & Schuster, in the New York Times:
“The concept that because a book is an e-book it should automatically be priced significantly lower than a paper book is one we don’t agree with,” said Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster. “What a consumer is buying is the content, not necessarily the format.”
The Times story questions that assumption.

Is Ms. Reidy arguing that the price of a book should be set by its value and not its cost? That's just, uh, priceless. The digital format makes the hardcover/paperback distinction about as relevant as a 9.6K modem today. If more readers don't want to pay 26 bucks for a digital copy of that latest legal thriller, well, then $9.99 just has to be accepted as the new standard. Why is that so hard for these companies to understand?

*No, he never said 640k would be enough.


??! said...


Of course, I may be biased because I've never really got the 'get-the-ridiculously-expensive-hardcover' deal. (As a buyer - as a seller I know it makes good economic sense). I just thought it was such a snotty thing - unless of course I really had to have a book and couldn't wait for 12 months till they released it in paperback.

And yes, publishers still have to pay editors and marketers, but they don't have to pay for the book itself. Or for shipping the book. Or return of unsold inventories. So, no, I don't buy their guff.

km said...

One doesn't even have to wait 12 months for the paperback. Most of the NYT mass-market bestsellers are available on Amazon or for far less.

Dinosaurs, all of them.