Some Thoughts on the Economic Viability of E-Books


A friend of mine (I’ll identify him if he so desires) sent me the following email:

I think this is an excellent observation. My first thought on this is that the cost of maintaining the infrastructure for the e-content right now is rather high due to the immaturity of the space. I think it’s many times more expensive than it will be relative to the cost of publishing dead-tree versions.

In other words, dead-tree publishing is currently as cheap as it’ll ever be, and e-publishing is currently as expensive as it’ll ever be. And right now e-publishing is currently a bit higher.

Within a short time (perhaps a year or so) I expect this to equalize, and then within another 1-3 years I expect e-publishing to be far more economical.

So, as a short answer: the solution is currently an early-adopter solution, as it does cost more due to being a new model. But as things mature e-books will become far cheaper than dead-tree versions.

What do you guys think?

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