E-Readers Are Cheap Now, But Are Ebook Prices Skyrocketing?

If you’ve picked up a Kindle since the price plummeted to a mere $79- cheaper than many pairs of jeans on Amazon- you probably ticked off the imagined savings in your head, switching from expensive-to-produce paper versions to cheaper digitally created and distributed texts.

After all, there’s no printing cost, no expenses from shipping to the seller, no allocation of warehouse space to house physical copies of the book you’ve just bought. But you may have noticed that in-demand e-book titles often command a price in line with that of their dead tree counterparts, hovering around the exact same price point if not in some cases inexplicably costing more than a version that cost the publisher money for paper, glossy covers, and freight. And then you get hooked on the slim lines, the easy to use interface, the ability to carry hundreds of books in your purse- and you’re stuck paying jacked up prices and it sucks.

The Wall Street Journal brought the issue to light this week with a piece about price collusion amid publishers, sparking debate over fair pricing of ebooks. The paper confirms that the Justice Department is looking into whether the actions of publishers to keep the prices on par with those of printed tomes falls afoul of laws preventing such agreements:

The Justice Department confirmed last week that it was investigating whether there was improper collusion between the publishers and Apple to prevent discounting. Publishers last week either disagreed with the allegations, said they were cooperating with regulators or declined to comment. Random House said it isn’t part of the probe and otherwise declined to comment. Apple declined to comment at the time.

Do you find ebooks to be creeping ever steadily upward in price?