Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ray Bradbury and the ebook version of Fahrenheit 451

In an article complaining about the cost of the ebook version of Fahrenheit 451 it mentions that Bradbury was basically forced to accept the ebook format. The argument was that because 20% of book sales are ebook the publisher would refuse to do a contract with Bradbury if it did not include ebook rights. Bradbury's current publishing contracts were expiring so he was having to re-sign with a publisher to keep his books in print.

Bradbury could have withheld the ebook rights if he really wanted to. Fahrenheit 451 is a extremely solid back title that constantly is selling copies. I guarantee that he could have found a publisher that would have published the book is they only had print rights to the book. In fact, Bradbury does not even need a publisher he just needs a printer. When you have an established book like Fahrenheit you just have to print copies and they will sell.

Now let us look at the part of the article that was complaining about the price of the ebook version of F451. The article states that the book is selling for the ridiculous price of $9.99. What makes this price ridiculous?

The article makes this argument about why the price is so high, "This is for a book that you can buy in a paper copy used for a penny and new for $2.84."

There are a few problems with this argument. First both these prices are for copies on the secondary market. The $2.84 new price is not the price from Amazon but from an Amazon 3rd party seller. To get the book new from Amazon in paper you pay $6.99. And the $6.99 price is for the mass market paperback version. If you want the non mass market version the cost on Amazon is $10.20. The list price for this version is $15 and Amazon reduced that price to $10.20. The hardcover version of the book is $11.86 with a list price of  $16.25. When you compare to these prices $9.99 is not out of line.

In regards to the used copy for a penny that is also bogus. You cannot buy a copy for a penny. You can buy a copy for a penny plus $3.99 shipping. So if you want the book in your hand the absolute minimum you will pay is $4 not $.01. If you don't understand how Amazon penny books you should read this: Making Penny Selling Work for You

I also wanted to comment on one other paragraph in the article:

Of course, some people like to point out that Bradbury's hatred of ebooks is kind of ironic, given that they believe Fahrenheit 451 is about censorship and book burning. But it's not. As we've noted in the past, Bradbury has long maintained that the book had nothing whatsoever to do with censorship, but was about the dangers of new media, specifically television, to entertain people in a way that made them no longer care about physical books. To Bradbury, it seems, the physical book is everything. (emphasis mine)

At the end of Fahrenheit 451 people are the book. Montag is the book of Ecclesiastes. So for Bradbury paper is not the only format.

(ebook version) $9.99

(mass market paperback) $6.99

(Standard paperback version) $10.20

No comments:

Post a Comment