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Thoughts on Kindle Pricing and Real Books

July 24, 2011

Wallace Stegner Crossing to SafetyI’ve had a Kindle now for a year and a half. I’m on to my second physical Kindle device (a third generation Kindle), and use the Kindle system to read my purchases (licenses?) on my Mac, my iPad, my Nexus One, my iPod as well as the Kindle. I’ve read more this past year and a half thanks to the ease of acquisition and use.

It’s not a perfect system, and I feel ultimately I’m renting the content, not purchasing and holding it like I would a book.

But I’m price sensitive. I’m still balking at paying over $9.99 for fiction. Texts or technical books, I’m more forgiving. But when (for instance), I am considering Wallace Stegner’s “Crossing to Safety” I see that Random House has set the Kindle price at $11.99 (as Amazon tells me almost apologetically with This price was set by the publisher.) Yet I can get a hardback copy in “very good” condition for 1¢ plus $3.99 shipping for a total of $4, I go for it. (Having read the free excerpt on my Kindle, I think this is also the kind of book I’d like to read in hardback format, anyway).  I have to wait a week or so for delivery, but I already have plenty to read in the meantime. I can’t read it standing in line at the grocer store, and I need to turn on a light when I read it in bed, but so be it.

But in the end, Random House won’t get their $11.99 to split among themselves, Amazon and the author’s estate because they were $2 too demanding.

(I would have provided a link to the book at Amazon.com, but they no longer encourage California residents to refer readers to Amazon.com for book purchases, so you can find the listings for Crossing to Safety at Barnes and Noble’s bn.com).

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