One third of bestselling ebooks cost more than hardback versions

London, October 1 (ANI): Readers are paying far more for some ebooks than for the hardback versions, according to a new survey of bestselling fiction and non-fiction sold by online retailer Amazon.

Consumers say that electronic versions should be cheaper because they cost nothing to produce, store or transport, it said.

JK Rowling's new book for adults, The Casual Vacancy, costs 9 pounds if ordered on Amazon with its discount of 11 pounds on the original publisher's price. The ebook version, however, is being sold on the same website for 11.99 pounds, it revealed.

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, a book sold alongside the TV series, costs 10 pounds in hardcover but 12.99 pounds for Kindle - an increase of almost a third, the survey found.

Publishers admit they save more than five per cent on titles sold as ebooks, although they pay extra in value-added tax for the electronic versions.

"A price of 2-3 pounds off the average selling price, including discounts, would be a fair price that the public would be more willing to pay for ebooks," the Daily Mail quoted Tom Tivnan, from industry experts The Bookseller, as saying.

"If you can get The Casual Vacancy for 10 pound in hardback, publishers should try to price the ebook around 7 pound -8 pound," he added.

The survey of Amazon sales found the biggest differences in price were for non-fiction titles.

Comedian David Mitchell's autobiography, titled David Mitchell: Back Story, is available for pre-order as an ebook for 12.99 pound - almost 30 per cent more than the price of 10 pound for the hardback version.

Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton's autobiography, Between the Lines, costs 12 pound in hardback but 12.99 pound for kindle.

But HarperCollins, which publishes both books, said: "Our job as publishers is to seek to find the delicate balance between setting the right price for the consumer while simultaneously ensuring the author's interests are protected."

Benedict Evans, from research company Enders Analysis, said ebooks should not necessarily cost less that hardback books.

"The cost structure of a publisher is largely fixed so there's no particular reason why the ebook should be cheaper than a print book," he told the Sunday Times. (ANI)