Sunday, 28 October 2012

A grumble about Kindle

A few months ago I bought a Kindle. It was prompted by publishing my collection of fiction as an e-book, but I also thought it would solve my problem of a growing number of paperbacks cluttering up the house until I got around to a cull.

But I’ve bought very few e-books, because Amazon charge as much as they do for the paperbacks for new titles. I have even spotted new hardbacks on promotion in shops at much lower prices than the Kindle version. Given that an e-book doesn’t require the printing and distribution costs of a hard or paperback, it’s pretty clear that someone is taking a lot more money for every one that’s sold.

I don’t know how it’s broken down, but suspect the authors don’t get any more from the larger margin taken on each sale. And as a consumer who has to watch his spending I’m not inclined to drop more money into the coffers of the publisher or Amazon. So I’ve largely confined my Kindle purchases to old books at low cost, those from long dead and out of copyright authors, and the self-publishers who, like me, are willing to sell at a much lower price than those for high profile writers.

I’m not sure how the pros and cons will turn out. Maybe more people will begin looking to self-published writers for a less expensive read, which might mean a few repeats of the ‘Fifty Shades…’ phenomenon. But there’s a growing number of us competing for attention, and it’s difficult for people to make the choices without a reliable third party opinion. Or maybe people will pay the same price as for a paperback, the publishing industry will make more money and invest it in new authors. I can’t help feeling sceptical about the chances of that happening. Or maybe they will ultimately cut the price of e-books to reflect the lower production costs. Maybe.

But for now I’ll continue going to the library and buying cut price books, and rationing the number of times I fork out the full price for a download to my Kindle.

Mark Say's collection of fiction, Perversities of Faith, is available on and Also check out

No comments:

Post a Comment