Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Circulation Problem

Inside Higher Ed reports that Princeton University Press is making its first book available for Amazon's Kindle e-book reader, joining Oxford and California and a couple other UPs.

This makes a lot of sense to me; some of the virtues of the Kindle (instant access, note-taking, ability to carry a whole lotta bunch of books around with you at once) are especially appealing to brainslaves like me who work with a lot of academic books. Since academic press books aren't regularly available in average bookstores, and ship times are often stiff, instant electronic delivery is also a big plus.

But the prices! Three dollar discounts on paperbacks! I get better than that just by being a member of the MLA!

It would be marvelous* if some intrepid UP or academic startup started experimenting with variable pricing -- $10 for students, $15 for everybody else, less than a CD, let's say -- and see what happens.

*By "marvelous" I mostly mean "marvelous for me" -- although I do think some experimentation with pricing, delivery, book length, etc., might be warranted given the changing economics of academic pricing.

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