Jay Lake posted a good one on an email he received about Kindle users boycotting books over $9.99, and the resulting comment thread was enlightening and somewhat weird.
Here's my comment:
I think it's crazy to think that "almost all Kindle users honor the $9.99 boycott of digital books." I have a Kindle and a Sony and the Kindle Reader on my iPhone. I buy textbooks, programming books, many books over $9.99 for my Kindle. Most of the Kindle users I know also buy books $10 and up. Maybe the boycott only applies to fiction?
The "no publishing costs" error is also common. Time is money, and I know how much time it takes to convert, test, review any book that goes from one format into another--and the crazy things that happen to characters, line-spacing, paragraph styling, chapter headings, tables of contents, when books are fed through automated converters. It's a costly process.
I'm wondering if what's really happening here with the pricing is that Green is out in hardcover, and Tor wants to drive buyers to it. Seems like good sense to me. Tor can, at any time, go in and change the Kindle price to suit the market, to suit the shift to a new edition, to suit any ebook strategy they're working. It's not like the book price is printed on the cover. It's changeable.
Here's what I know about item pricing for the Kindle:
A publisher can set any price between USD $0.99 and $200, and the publisher will always receive a set percentage of that suggested retail price, even if the product is sold at a promotional price by Amazon. The standard is 35%, but I imagine the big pubs negotiate a far better rate.