10 September 2009

Open Letter to E-Reader Manufacturers

Dear e-reader maker:

Congratulations, you have decided to enter the exciting market of e-reading! We are sure that you will remember all the things that made reading so popular in the past and use new technologies to make reading available to a wide variety of new consumers. We look forward to hearing how you are improving the literary world and to the revolutionary ideas that are sure to follow your undertaking.

What’s that? You are going to make reading a luxury good available only to those with shitloads of expendable resources? I see; the reader technologies are expensive to create. That’s no problem. With such a high entry price for the reading device, you can offset this by having lower prices on books. Without the physical price of publishing the book – paper, ink, other manufacturing costs like, I don’t know, very large warehouses – you can offer readers a reading experience that will eventually pay off in the long run...

You’re going to charge the same price for an e-book as a regular book? What could possibly be the logic behind that? You don’t have the same manufacturing costs! It costs exactly the same to create one e-book as a million. Ctrl-C, Ctrl-P. VoilĂ , a new copy of the e-book. I realise there is a set cost for original production: editors, proof-readers, and don’t forget to pay your authors! But, really, how can you justify charging the same price for an electronic version as one you have to print, bind, store and ship?

Seriously, we are going to start this experience with a $200+ entry cost for the reader, then pile on top of that there is a minuscule difference in the price of books? I’m basically paying you $200+ to change my reading experience? Honey, I’m not going to pay you a hundred dollars just to change my reading experience. You might talk me out of fifty.

Oh, I see, your reader exactly mimics my known reading experience up to and including more shades of grey than I ever knew existed. So my reading experience hasn’t actually changed. Okay, I guess that as far as storage goes owning an ebook is definitely...

Wait, what? I don’t actually own my books? My books always belong to the company/publisher from which they are purchased and in the event of a product ‘recall’ my books can be taken away? You want me to pay the same price for books I will not even own?

Are you on crack?

Let’s summarise. I have to pay $200+ to join this reading experience. I then pay the same price for an e-book as I would for a paper. However, if at some point in the future the author of my literary erotica (for example) decides to run for congress, they can reach out and remove all of their works from my e-libraries.

Again, are you on crack?

I would love to jump on the e-reader bandwagon with you, but you need to pull your heads out of your asses and wizen up to the absolutely ridiculous market you’ve created.

Until then, screw you,
Hugs and Kisses,
The Heroine

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