An editor-who-shall-not-be-named recently told a colleague of mine that the cost to a publisher of creating an ebook (such as a Kindle or Sony edition) is in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars. Another colleague, the sort of writer who pays real attention to the business of writing, estimates the cost couldn't be more than two thousand, even if they used the most expensive format converter available. A Google search turned up lots of opinions, but no facts.
Do you buy ebooks? And do you think the cost is reasonable?
A friend and I recently bought the new Sarah Dunant novel. My friend bought the hardcover, which has a list price of $25.00. I bought the Kindle edition for $9.99. I considered this a deal, and in my usual art-centric way, I didn't spend any time thinking about what it cost the publisher to make a Kindle edition available.
Ace recently brought most of my backlist (everything since 2000) out in Kindle editions. I assumed this was a great way for them to easily add to the profit on those novels, as all the work had already been done, editorially speaking. As I'm the sort of writer who keeps her head down, working, not making too many waves, I haven't asked for the details. I'm not sure I could get them even if I did ask. But my guess is that ten thousand dollars production costs is not reasonable. I suspect any publisher that claims that is burying other costs.