Ghosts of p-books past

People with Kindles commonly ask about books that were published in paper that aren’t available in e-book form (legally).  There are tons of those, of course, although I expect we’ll see more of the backlist in the next couple of years.

But what about the other direction?  Are there books that were first published in p-book (paperbook) form that are now available only as e-books? 

In a word, yes.  That seems logical to me, and I expect it to increase over time.   It costs almost nothing to keep an e-book available.  Oh, there are some customer service costs and such, but it’s quite low.

On the other hand, reprinting a p-book is relatively expensive.  Not only printing it, but storing it, shipping it, what we called “shrinkage” in the bookstore (loss, due to damage or theft)…expense-wise, e-books make more sense.

This is especially true for a book where you don’t expect to sell a whole lot of copies…number 17 in a 40 book series, that kind of thing.  If this gets people to switch (or expand) to e-books, all the better…the profit is reportedly higher there as well.

I ran this analysis on a well-known fantasy series back in April:

Titles in paper: 69%
Titles in Kindle: 75%

19% are not available in either.

Of the books not available in paper, 40% are available in e-book.

Of the books not available in e-book, 25% are available paper.

I just checked a few of them again, and yes, some of them are available (at least at Amazon) only in e-book and not in p-book.  Their physical forms will no longer be avaiable, with only the non-physical left…but still interacting with people.

Ghost books! 



The Scorpion Jar by Jason M. Hardy (#13 in the Mechwarrior: Dark Age series). Published in paper in 2004, now only available at Amazon as a Kindle book


Someone raised the question of how Barnes and Noble e-book prices compare with Amazon Kindle prices.

I did a quick comparison. I looked at the e-book bestsellers at Barnes and Noble.

On the top 20 e-book bestsellers at Barnes & Noble, the total was $168.81.

The same books in the Kindle store totalled $156.78: a savings of $12.03. That’s a savings of about 7%.

The biggest savings on an individual title was $2.20.

Eleven of the books were the same price ($9.99), and nine of them were cheaper at Amazon.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

One Response to “Ghosts of p-books past”

  1. “When will the book be available in paper?” | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Ghosts of p-books past […]

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