Thursday, December 06, 2012

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I love printed books. They will always have certain advantages over ebooks. For one, you can read them without electricity or batteries. For another, when you buy a physical book, it's yours. You walk out of the store and go home with it and keep it for as long as you want.

To the surprise of some, that's not the case with ebooks. Major vendors control whether and how long you can read ebooks you've "bought". (They now say "rented" is a better description of downloaded books.)

Still reading more paper books than ebooks, I hadn't come to think of purchased ebooks as permanently mine. As a poetry editor, I have to be up on how ebooks are read and created because I want the e-reading public to read poetry. That said, my ebook pricing reflects that ebooks aren't solid like books, in the same way MP3s aren't solid like CDs. If I can't hold them in my hand, I expect to pay less for them.

The ebooks I publish will always cost less than print would, reflecting that no money was spent on paper, ink, and binding. My ebooks will never be free because I believe creative and clerical work have value; but, if and when Amazon or BN decides to pull back your purchases, you're only out the cost of a movie rental.

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