To celebrate the arrival of my new Kindle (I sold my first-gen model for $270 on Amazon last week), here are a bunch of articles about e-book pricing and why publishers are scared crapless by the example of Apple and iTunes:

  1. Kassia Kroszer, who writes wonderfully about this stuff on her blog, argues that $9.99 is tops for what consumers will pay. I agree, as there are a number of Kindle books that I’ve blown off because they’re priced above that, including the new translation of War & Peace (which I finally bought a minute ago after the price dropped from $22+ to $8.96).
  2. Here’s an interview with Ms. Kroszer!
  3. Here’s a publisher at HarpersStudio explaining why paper, printing and binding (PPB) only account for about $2.00 of a book’s price, and therefore why Kindle books need to cost a lot more than $10. It looks like he doesn’t account for bookstore returns in that estimate; overprinting and getting stuck with tons of unsold copies doesn’t occur with an e-verison, of course. And he may be lying.
  4. This guy disagrees with that guy.
  5. Jason Epstein still wants a high-speed machine that will make print copies of books on demand. No, seriously. Oh, and good books will be written by demented shut-ins “highly specialized individuals struggling at their desks in deep seclusion and not by linked communities of interest.”

I’m gonna go read something now.

Publishing: Still Doomed

I’m still a bit under the weather, so I won’t offer much commentary on these posts about book publishing. There was a big shakeout yesterday at Random House and layoffs at Simon & Schuster. Along with last month’s announcement that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was “freezing” acqusitions — leading to the resignation of its publisher — the industry looks like it’s reeling.

Kassia Kroszer thinks that imprints don’t mean much and that independent publishers have a great opportunity ahead, since they don’t need to worry about generating profits that would satisfy a multinational corporation.

Eric Wolff thinks that publishing needs to return to its roots as a hobby for literary rich folk.

Oh, and here’s a link I’ve been sitting on for a little while: Theodore Dalrymple on used bookshops and inscriptions.

Talk amongst y’selves . . .