Archive for February, 2010

eBook Pricing

February 15th, 2010

I needed to brush up on my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) awareness so I thought I’d buy an ebook on the subject, instead of waiting around for the print version to arrive.

Because if anything’s got a short shelf life it’s going to be a book about how to improve your web site.

As I’m a member of a thriving LinkedIn community called “Ebooks, Ebook Readers, Digital Books and Digital Content Publishing” I thought I’d solicit the help of my fellow members and so I asked them “Can anyone recommend a good ebook about SEO? ANY ebook on SEO seems to be hard to find.”

They responded generously. I chose “SEO Warrior” by John Jerkowicz, for two reasons: it was the most recently published book on the subject (see comment above about short shelf lives) and it was published by O’Reilly, a trusted name in computer publishing.

It was suggested by Jill Tomich, the CEO of eBookPie, together with a link through to the page on her site where I could buy it: This was great. Just what I wanted. It was only $30.69.

But something made me pause. When I got my iPhone, I bought the O’Reilly “Missing Manual for the iPhone”. And it cost me £2.99. So I went to the iTunes store and found 600+ O’Reilly titles ranging from free (free is a price point) to £3.49. And there was “SEO Warrior” for £2.99.

Reader, I bought it.

Now everyone knows that O’Reilly are smart guys. Perhaps they can explain to me the following price structure for “SEO Warrior”:
Recommended retail price, USA:$44.99, UK £34.50

Print copy, Amazon USA: $29.69
Print copy, Amazon UK: £18.41
eBook, eBookPie USA: $30.69
eBook, iTunes App Store UK: £2.99

As an App developer myself (Aaron’s Time Machine: New York will very shortly be released) I know that Apple take 30% from the sale of any app. So what’s the thinking behind O’Reilly selling the same product (OK, in different formats) at prices ranging between $44.99 and $4.69? A near tenfold difference? How does the author feel about his royalty?

Please tell me. I’m really curious.

Yes, I feel bad about not buying it from Jill Tomich’s site, as she was so kind as to point me to it. But not as bad as I’d have felt if I’d paid $30 for the ebook and an hour later found it being sold for £3.