Publishers 'completely divided' over e-book pricing

<p>An overwhelming majority of publishers believe that e-books should be less expensive than the printed version, but only 15% support Amazon.com flat-rate of $9.99 on front-list titles, a survey from the Frankfurt Book Fair has suggested. The survey indicates that publishers remain unsure about how much cheaper e-books should be, with the FBF saying that the industry remains &quot;completely divided about appropriate e-book pricing&quot;.</p><p>Just under 80% of those who responded to the FBF&#39;s poll concluded that e-books should be cheaper than the printed equivalent, with just 15% suggesting parity pricing (as is currently prevalent in the UK), while 4% of respondents said e-books should be more expensive. Some 840 people took part in the survey from around the world. </p><p>The most popular view, by one percentage point, was charging 20% less than the print edition for a digital version. More than 30% cheaper was the next most popular option, while the suggestion of a standard charge, such as Amazon.com&#39;s $9.99 rate, picked up 15%</p><p>FBF organisers said the &quot;tremendous range of opinions&quot; revealed just how disparate the industry was over the question of e-books. &quot;It is still completely unclear whether or not e-books will be used merely as a &#39;second book&#39; for a quick glimpse, or whether portions will, in fact, ultimately be sold as mobile content for a price many times higher than the printed work,&quot; the fair said. </p><p>The survey also looked at another pricing model, with a quarter of publishers believing that a flat rate subscription model would be the most prevalent format for future digital purchases, . </p><p>The model, which would allow access to all of a provider&#39;s online content for a subscription fee, was particularly popular among continental European publishers, and supported by 25% of all respondents, FBF said.</p><p>Among UK and US publishers, micropayments, or payments for &quot;individual snippets of content&quot; was the most favourable route, with 23% of the total saying this would be most prevalent. A premium model, with a special subscription for selected online content, trailed behind these two options, with just 16% of publishers anticipating it as the prevailing option. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The price for an e-book should be:</strong></p><p>More expensive than the printed book: 4%<br />As expensive as the printed book 15%<br />10 per cent cheaper than the printed book 11%<br />20 per cent cheaper 17%<br />30 per cent cheaper 14%<br />More than 30 per cent cheaper 16%<br />A standard price as with Amazon ($9.99) 15%<br />Other price model 6%<br /> </p>