Ebooks at $12.99

Walt Mossberg asked Steve Jobs regarding bestselling ebooks prices. Most ebooks are priced $9.99 on Amazon but higher on the iBookstore. Steve Jobs answered, “The prices will be the same.” Apple wants publishers to set their own prices for ebooks, and the first out of the gate is Macmillan. John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan:

Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99. At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99.

That ticked off Amazon:

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.

I agree that a starting price for “hardcover” ebooks at $12.99 is high. But I think it is the right thing to do to allow publishers to price their books however they want. The market will decide whether the pricing is too high. I for one would never purchase an ebook for $12.99 when I can get the real thing for the same price. If the ebook version were to add additional resources such as interviews (video), commentary (video, audio, text), index (hyperlinked), additional pictures, richer appendix, etc. I might consider the ebook version for the same price. Source: MacRumors