Lately, I've seen that meme floating around again, the one where you see the cup of coffee on one side and an e-reader on the other bringing up the point that you can get an e-book for the price of a cup of coffee. It asks that people forgo their coffee to buy a book. I can understand the premise. Some e-books are around the same price as a cup of coffee, and books last longer than a cup of coffee.
But I've found most of the e-books I want are more expensive than my favorite caramel frappuccino that I get on occasion. This leads me to the fact that I have a problem with how e-books are priced these days. In some cases they're almost as expensive (or more expensive in a few cases) than the paperbacks.
I've been doing research on e-book pricing (read that as I've gone through and looked at e-books on Amazon and Smashwords to see if I'm right), and have come to realize from my, admittedly limited, research that the main difference in e-book pricing depends on how it's published. Or rather, who's doing the publishing. In general, I've seen that self-publishers tend to price their books in the $3-$4 range. Small presses are around the $4-$5 range. The Big 5 are $5 and up. There are exceptions to all of these. These are just averages I've come up with perusing the e-book market on my own.
Another thing that intrigued me was the percentage of the profits that authors receive. I can't find the link where I saw it broken down, but I saw that self-publishers get most of the profits (based on price, the site algorithms, and where it's being published), small press publishers get a smaller percentage (but it's still a very good one), and the traditionally published even less. The last is what baffles me. There's almost no overhead for them in the publishing of e-books, and yet from what I remember authors get a very small amount of the profit from e-books.
I believe that the pricing of e-books is variable, based mostly on who holds the rights to the book. It's a little cheaper to support an indie author than a traditionally published author, but in spite of the occasional trip to Starbucks (or your treat of choice), it's still possible to support your favorite authors. And even authors new to you. (That meme irritates me a little.)
What are your thoughts on e-book pricing? Have you seen something different than I have?