e-Books have been dramatically increasing in cost to the consumer ever since publishes have gained the ability to dictate their own price. Some people have called this phenomenon predatory pricing, devised to put the bulk of digital bookstores out of business. In a recent keynote with the Book Industry Study Group, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy proclaimed she doesn’t have a problem with high prices.
Despite predictions that e-books might reach 50% of all book sales, Reidy said e-books sales have slowed and are likely to settle at about “25% to 30%” of total book sales. Although initially e-books helped jump backlist sales, Reidy said, “not anymore,” noting that “the novelty has worn off.” She said now “there are fewer readers” entering in the digital category and said the slowing growth in e-book sales have pushed publishers back to “highlighting books as beautiful physical objects.”
Asked if the higher pricing of e-books, in the wake of publishers’ new agency agreements with Amazon, had also figured in the slowdown of e-book sales, Reidy noted that in the wake of publisher settlements over e-book price-fixing charges in the case with Apple, “I’m not supposed talk about pricing, ” but added that “our data says that our pricing is effective.”