Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some Get it, Some Don't

One problem with books from university presses is the price. Books by these presss don't make money. They aren't expected to so they can be pricey. What would be a way to bring down the prices of these books and to give access to older books that are out of print? Electronic editions, of course. I decided to see what was available out there.

The University of Michigan Press offers this book in a folio edition for $72.50 and the ebook edition they are selling for $67.50. That just don't make no sense. Not only that but they use the Adobe Digital Editions software and limit how you can use your purchased item. To give you an idea of how backwards this is check out what science fiction author Cory Doctorow is doing with his new collection of short stories. You set your price and there are no restrictions to what you can do with it once you get it. Doctorow published a progress report on his project here. Even Barnes and Noble knows you should charge less for an electronic format of a book. They paper edition of Grisham's newest book is retailing for $15.00 and the ebook version you can get for $9.99. I still think they sell older books at a price higher than necessary but at least they are shooting themselves in the foot overall like the university press. At least they offer digital editions.

The University of North Carolina Press offers a lot of the books on the Barnes and Noble website but for some reason they aren't clear about that on their their website. You can buy their books on Google books also but they aren't too clear on how to get to them. Both Barnes and Noble and Google don't give you much of a discount for the ebook format. I didn't see any older out of print editions available. I'd like to see that happen someday.

The Princeton University Press ebook versions through online retailers for a discounted price. That's not bad. I can even go to the Nook Book section of Barnes and Noble's webpage and do a keyword search for Princeton University Press books.

The University of California Press offers ebooks (but not yet for all titles) and they do seem to give a discount. The few books I found in the ebook format were $5 less than the paperback versions offered. They force you to use Adobe Digital Editions also.

1 comment:

Grumpy Old Man said...

I have seen the same thing in my line of work. It isn't a cost thing with me though. I am trying to get digital versions of all my technical publications. This would save the floorspace needed to store the books, allow the tech to view or print only the pages needed and make it easier for everyone to have access to the information. Some manufacturers offer their manuals in easy to navigate digital formats, others just mail another catalog sized book. Progress is too slow for me sometimes.