(image courtesy ArtMarketBlog)
Over at Teleread, they have a very interesting, if unscientific, analysis of eBook pricing over the years. By taking prices from 2004 and comparing them to prices today, Chris Walters determined that there has been a slight drop in overall pricing, even if it doesn’t feel that way with the Agency Model taking away $9.99 price points!
In a nutshell, Chris argues that the same books bought for $280 in 2004 would cost $213 today. Yes, it’s a subjective analysis, but as a random sampling it’s somewhat helpful. And he further points out that the average price for fiction titles was $17.21, which is still higher than the average price of an ebook today, even if it’s being sold for $14.95 under agency pricing.
Here’s something Chris didn’t factor in that I think strengthens his point: inflation. Over the last ten years, overall inflation has averaged around 2.5%. Granted, the rate of inflation dropped precipitously in the last few years, and further eBooks are somewhat removed from the immediate influences of inflation (since the costs that normally drive prices up like paper costs and transportation/gas prices are further from the end result), but even so, not only have eBooks become cheaper over the last few years, but they’ve bucked an inflationary trend towards inching higher!
It’s a very minor bright spot in the midst of Random House going to the agency model, but the next time you see an eBook for $12 and grumble, remember that a few years ago it was far worse!