I am joining the movement. I too do not understand why a version that has no physical publishing costs and can't be resold or shared with friends should be priced the same as a physical book. $10 is a fair price, but anything more is excessive.
What's the right price for an e-book? No more than $10, says a group of Amazon Kindle e-book owners — and they have found a novel way to make themselves heard.
Some 250 Kindle readers are using Amazon's own book-tagging system to mark e-books priced more than $10 with the tag '9 99 boycott'. Their argument: A Kindle book is more restricted in its use than a paper book and therefore should not cost as much.
O'Brien and other Kindle users who have joined the revolt have used the boycott tag more than 7,200 times so far. "It doesn't take that much time to do, and it sends out a message," she says.
"Some of the Kindle books now cost more than their paperback version," she says. For instance, she points out that she purchased a digital copy of Small Favor, a book by Jim Butcher for $10 in June last year. The Kindle price then jumped to $13.94 and is now back to $8. A paperback version of the book costs $10.
Kindle books are limited in their use: They cannot be donated to a library, sold to a used-book store or even Amazon's used marketplace or traded elsewhere. In addition, some books are badly designed and offer little pictorial or other kind of visual relief, they say.
I have both Uranium and Wired for War on my reading list, but both are over $14 in Kindle format. It would be cheaper to purchase the physical books, get the free shipping, read them and then resell them on Amazon. I paid over $14 for The 10,000 Year Explosion and then found out that it wasn't even formatted very well for the Kindle. Never again.
On the other end of the pricing scale, I have noticed a whole bunch of books that are now free at Amazon. Lots of classics like The Return of Sherlock Holmes, some other unique historical documents like Debate on Woman Suffrage in the Senate of the United States,2d Session, 49th Congress, December 8, 1886, and January 25, 1887 and then some newer books like Assassin's Apprentice (no clue why that is free). I had been using Feedbooks for my access to free books for my Kindle (which still formats its classics better than Amazon does and has a cool Download Guide), but now I will have to start checking out Amazon as well.
Update: Gregory Cochran, the author of The 10,000 Year Explosion was kind enough to comment and reply to my suggestions. I should mention that I really did enjoy the book, just wasn't a fan of the pricing scheme and felt that the formatting of the book for the Kindle needed help (see comments for details). He also mentioned that as the author he has no control over pricing, it is all in the hands of the publisher. He got an advance for the book and will see no additional profits from sales unless they reach 25,000. So, it is the publishers that need to have pressure applied to.