Publishers should set e-book prices, says FutureBook survey

<p>More than three-quarters of people working in the book trade believe e-books should be priced at current street prices or less, according to early results of a FutureBook survey into digital thinking. The majority of respondents indicated that publishers are best placed to set this price, even though they don&#39;t believe the agency model has a long-term future.<br /><br />The survey, which was launched last week ahead of the <a href=" target="_blank" title=" Digital Conference 2010</a> and has already had more than 500 responses, showed that 76% of respondents believed that e-books should be priced at about the same level as the discounted price of the current print edition, or at a significant discount to this &#39;street price&#39;. Just 20% said e-books should be the same price as print editions, or more expensive.</p><p>The survey also revealed that 60% of respondents believed that the publisher was best placed to set the price of e-books, with 43% supportive of the agency model, even though more than 75% believed that it would not last beyond five years. <br /><br />One respondent described agency as &quot;not a good plan long-term&quot;, but conceded that it was necessary because of &quot;Amazon being too aggressive in the short term&quot;. Another argued that publishers on agency terms were getting the pricing wrong: &quot;I think the publishers right now have the price with their agency model too high&quot;.<br /><br />When asked how long agency agreements would remain in place, one third of respondents said up to five years, with only 24% indicating it would last beyond five years. One said it would last &quot;until law enforcement remembers that price fixing is illegal&quot;.<br /><br />The majority of respondents said they believed digital book sales would overtake print after 2015, but when asked whether print books would ever cease to exist, 73% replied &quot;absolutely not&quot;.<br /><br />The full survey results will not be revealed until the FUTUReBOOK Digital Conference 2010, being held on 30th November 2010. <a href="" target="_blank" title=" ">To take part in the survey follow this link</a>, <a href=" target="_blank" title=" book into the conference, click here</a>.<br /></p>