Wednesday
Mar142012

So You Want to Buy an eBook...

So you have your eReader and now you want to start buying books. All you have to do is go to the Kindle Store / Kobo Store / Sony Reader Store and go shopping, right?

Well...yeah...right...

The only problem is that the first time I went to the Kobo Store, with my new Kobo in hand, I thought I was still on the Chapters/Indigo print-books site. Why? All the books were virtually the same price!  I thought eBooks were supposed to be cheaper!  No printing costs!  No storage costs!  No distribution costs!  Why am I still paying $15 to $20 for a book?

Let's draw a random comparison;

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse by Try Denning.

At Chapters.Indigo.ca a hardcover copy of this new release currently runs for $21.12 CDN if you buy it online. Apparently the list price is $32.00, so we save $10.88. Sounds like a bonus, but really this should be the case seeing as by buying online we're helping to minimize their overhead costs. But I digress...

At Kobo.com the very same book in e-format currently costs $16.99 CDN.

So by eliminating the costs of printing, distribution, and warehousing these books, we get a total savings of $4.13 CDN. And that's before tax. I'm all for progress and putting an end to the kulling of the rainforests, but personally I'd rather pay the four bucks and have a physical copy.

The problem here is that we still feel compelled to look for our reading material at these tried and true booksellers. We've made the transition from 'brick and mortar' to e-store, but we're still thralls under the sway of the publishing industry, be it the actual publishers or the point-of-sale retailers.

It would almost be excusable if these high-priced eBooks were only for high-profile authors such as Stephen King – right or wrong, the costs of their contracts and the advertising that goes with their books must be costly.  Sadly this price point is much more common.

The publishing industry is still reluctant to let go of the strangle-hold they  have on the market, as well as the hopes and dreams of all the aspiring authors.  This is more reason to forgo the Kobo store (or any other mainstream publisher's online offerings) and dig a little deeper for the independent authors and their more affordable aspirations. There are plenty of sites where you can buy affordable independent ebooks, such as;

http://www.independentebooks.com

http://www.booktango.com

http://www.smashwords.com

That's a short list. I'm still building up a list of sites for myself.

Now the pros of an independent ebook listing can also be its greatest con – like American Idol, for every talented person there are several who are deluded into thinking they are greater than they are. As such, sometimes you will have to cherry-pick through the rabble in order to find the hidden gems. However seeing as the majority of those gems can be anywhere from free to only a few dollars, it's a much safer risk.

So don't be afraid to venture out and go beyond the safe-but-sure booksellers – by doing so you will not only be supporting an independent author but lending your hand in smashing down an out-dated paradigm.

 

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