A New Form of Price Gouging? (via @PnPBookSeller)

Jon Page from Pages & Pages Booksellers comments on eBook price gouging of retailers:

We are all familiar with traditional price gouging where a retailer “prices goods or commodities much higher than is considered reasonable or fair.” It is something we often accuse petrol stations of before long weekends and there have been allegations made against some retailers after Hurricane Sandy in the US.

But there is a new form of price gouging which is occurring in the eBook world and it is escaping notice because consumers are not the ones being gouged, it is eBook retailers.

As someone who buys books and has not the slightest insight into the difficult word of running a book store, it's sobering to see the costs incurred by small retailers. Of course, it's no secret that Amazon uses loss-leading strategies in the hope that a future monopoly will recover costs used to drive competitors out of business.

This form of price gouging, where the small retailer is gouged in ordered to preserve a publisher’s return, only helps to speed up the process. What boggles my mind is I know publishers don’t want a dominant Amazon yet some of them continue to sell books in a way that leads in only one direction: a book world with only Amazon.

I've previously suggested a way that small book sellers can compete with giant online retailers in this article (tl;dr: by making your store a community site, much like how bars survive in a world of liquor stores despite charging more for the same product). However, this doesn't seem to work well for the ephemeral process of buying an eBook, which is as easy as (easier than?) buying one in a store.

Note: I ground my teeth with frustration when Jon listed a DRM fee as part of his baseline costs.

DRM helps nobody. Again.

Read the entire article here: http://bitethebook.com/2012/11/13/a-new-form-of-price-gouging/