Thursday, February 23, 2012

Each and every ebook costs $99.

I hadn't read the recent Cracked article on ebooks, but I just did and now I understand that every ebook you buy costs you $99. Or $79. Or whatever it was you paid for your ereader.

And this is what told me: #7. You Need Physical Books for Physical Tasks

One of the reasons they say that physical books are better than ebooks is for when you need a physical object. And this is the key. A book is a physical object. And an ereader is a physical object. It doesn't matter that it holds 3,000 ebooks; it's still one object.

If you have a portable ereader or an iPad or a smart phone or even a laptop, then each and every ebook you put on that device costs as much as the device.

There is no way to average out the cost of all your books when you drop your reader in the toilet. You don't pay 3 cents to Amazon or Barnes & Noble each time you open a book. You pay $79 or $99 or $199 up front and it's up to you to find the most cost-effective way to use the thing.

You can get print books and each one of those costs exactly what you pay for it, ten cents or two-hundred dollars. And you make decisions on how and where and to whom to lend or when to read those books. And each individual physical book has its own worth.

But if you get mad and throw your ebook at someone: $99.
If you use your ebook to shelter your new haircut from the rain: $99.
If you use your ebook to keep the table from wobbling: $99.
If you repurpose your ebook as a Christmas tree ornament: $99.
If you hollow out your ebook to use as a bong: $99.
If Neil Gaiman scribbles his autograph across your ebook screen in Sharpie: $99.
If you write your phone number on the corner of your ebook and tear it off: $99.

Because you still have to replace the device no matter how many books it held.

So don't try to trick yourself into thinking that the device gets cheaper with each book you load on it. It doesn't. You're just bad at math.

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