The other day, I got a recommendation for a book and I thought I’d go ahead and buy it. My preferred vehicle for reading these days is my Kindle, which I love dearly for the clean typography and ridiculously long battery life, but I was shocked to see that the Kindle edition was considerably more expensive than the paperback.

Curious, I bing’ed a bit, and it seems that there are two candidate explanations.

1. The new pricing model, where the publisher sets a price and Amazon gets a cut, means that Amazon can’t lower the price as aggressively. This doesn’t explain why publishers would start up so high to begin with though.

2. Because folks are willing to pay for it anyway.

Now, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to pay more for the Kindle edition, or just get the paperback which isn’t so bad after all (I still need to find somewhere to keep the book I suppose, or donate it when I’m done). In the end, I ended up just not buying the book altogether – I have other stuff to read in any case.

I thought I’d leave Amazon some feedback about the “freezing effect” this price structure had, but after spending about 5-10 minutes (an eternity in Internet time), I couldn’t find a way to leave feedback.

Amazon, your customer spends time trying to contact you, but cannot find any way to get in touch with you directly.

Your engagement strategy is disappointing.

There’s nothing on the banner, or the rest of the home page. Searching for ‘feedback’ yields only products. Looking under ‘help’, it seems I can only send feedback about vendors. The “Community” section seems to be mostly about rating products as well, so that doesn’t look very promising. Searching on search engines yields vendor feedback as well.

And so I have a blog post, no book, and more questions than answers on how book pricing works these days.

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