The Real Reason Why eBooks Aren’t Selling?

By Deane Barker on July 8, 2003

I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” as an eBook in Microsoft Reader. It’s been a great experience, and I’ll write more about it later, but today I went looking for other eBooks at Amazon, and I was amazed at the prices. Consider:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Boating and Sailing
eBook: $18.95
Paperback: $13.27 new (used from $10.50)

The Disney Way: Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company
eBook: $21.95
Hardcover: $17.47 new (used from $7.99)
Paperback: $11.87 (used from $8.59)

Living History
eBook: $28.00
Hardcover: $16.80

What am I missing here? The digital versions are more than the physical versions. Plus, with the digital versions, you can’t resell them. At least if I have the paperback, I can sell or trade it when I’m done. I don’t get it.



  1. It’s the price you pay for convenience. With an eBook, you have it immediately. Alternatively, maybe it’s just a simple case of supply and demand. As more people use this service, the price should come down, right? Or am I being naive?

  2. Try Peanut Press ( ). The prices are more reasonable, the selection is wider, and the Palm Reader’s DRM model (bind the book to the cardholder) makes a heck of a lot more sense than Microsoft’s (bind the book to the device).

  3. Yes, better. “Living History” is $18.20 ($16.38 is you sign up fo rone of their free newsletters). “CodeNotes for XML” is $7.16 compared to $19.95 cover, and $9.95 for eBooks from

  4. E-books should always be cheaper IMO. Replication of paperback books cost $$ for ink and paper but e-book replication costs absolutely nothing. I’ve tried reading e-books on my Palm and I’ll definately stick with paperbacks. The reason being; I’ve found I can scan over more information much quicker when dealing with paperbacks. That and scrolling on that iddy biddy screen is just annoying to me.

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