Does Digital Publishing Justify a Higher Price for Print?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Digital publishing is arguably more convenient and often cheaper than print, but the print market will continue to exist as there are people who value it.

By Edward Nawotka

book price

Whether to buy an e-book or a print book depends on the circumstances and type of book that you are buying. If you’re buying a book strictly to consume its content (a summer genre novel, for instance), then an e-book will do. But, if you’re buying a book as a keepsake — as an object to cherish — then only a print book will do.

The first question that arises is — provided there is a choice between low cost digital editions or higher cost print ones — whether customers will ever opt for the pricier physical specimen. To do so, they will need justification. Perhaps the book is hand made art object (the kind of handmade books Publication Studio produces) or perhaps the content is intended to be exclusive. Perhaps limited distribution to a smaller audience will entice customers to pay a higher price, thus earning the publisher a greater return on their effort.

Based on this reasoning, which is itself based on the concept of scarcity, will the mass introduction of digital publishing validate and justify the higher price point of print books?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.