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October 22, 2009

Stephen King's e-book Under the Dome to cost $35

Even as Walmart, Amazon and Target continue their slash-and-burn pricing of new hardbacks -- dropping as low as $8.99 -- Stephen King is providing an odd counterattack. Scribner, which is publishing his latest, "Under the Dome," said Wednesday that the digital edition would be released a month after the hardcover and would have the same list price: $35.

So let me get this straight: I can spend a couple hundred bucks for a Kindle, nook or other e-reader, for the privilege of buying a digital book later, and at a higher price? It's obvious that publishers have been driven mad by the onset of e-books and the price war by big-box retailers.

The pricing move can be seen as a break for independent bookstores, which will be hurt by the price wars of mega-retailers. (In letters to Shelf Awareness, some indies have wondered out loud why they would buy boxes of books from publishers when they can get the few they need at a lower price from Walmart.) But if publishers think they can artificially prop up prices for e-books, I'm afraid they're mistaken. The e-book genie is out of the bottle, and double-digit pricing -- let alone $35 -- is likely to have all the staying power of a dream.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 8:02 AM | | Comments (3)


The whole pricing structure is crazy. Amazon is accepting pre-orders for the print version for $9. No Kindle version is listed yet, but my guess is that it will ultimately sell for either $9 or $9.99, regardless of what the publisher is blabbing about right now.

This is actually incorrect information. The publisher misspoke when they said the e-book would cost $35. Don't worry, no one will have to pay that much for the e-book version of Under the Dome.

According to a recent EW article, the reason behind this is to give the smaller bookstores a break. Not sure how that's supposed to work exactly but that quote is attributed to King.

Oh, and I recently pre-ordered Jim Butcher's last book int eh DCodex Alera series and it was $9 on Amazon. Now if only I could get a hold of the hard covers of the first two books (especially since those two hold a special place in my heart which I don't have time to mention right now).

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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