Prices are both funny and fleeting it seems to me. For example the list price of my Cruz Velocity tablet is about three hundred dollars. I would be very, very unhappy with this tablet if I had paid that price for it. The little device simply does not have enough power in it to play videos such that you can watch them or even to stream audio and play it loud enough for this deaf guy to hear. I have never been able to download and install any games on this tablet. If I had paid three hundred dollars expecting it to do all of these things I would be bitterly disappointed and would feel horribly ripped off. Despite it’s list price, however, I paid a bit less than one hundred dollars for my tablet. If I recall correctly it came to $97, including taxes, shipping and whatever else they charged.
I have a friend who has an Android phone. It’s pretty top of the line he tells me. I believe the list price or retail price for the phone is about $900. And with the monthly 4G contract, my friend will pay about $3300 over the course of two years to have and use his phone. Sometimes, I have to admit I do feel a little annoyed– like when he keeps multi-tasking and does four other things on his phone, while I am struggling to type him a short message from my tablet. That he can just play Angry Birds, stream video and never even slow down. On the other hand, I always try to remind myself– he is spending 33 times more for his phone than I am for this device.
Given that I did not pay much more for the tablet than my spouse did for his bottom of the line Kindle reader, and given that I can not only buy eBooks both from Kindle and from other online stores– I just today bought my second paid eBook through the Kobo app that came pre-loaded on my tablet. I am enjoying the novel and am thoroughly pleased to be supporting both the novelist and Smashwords while paying a reasonable price. I know that I myself am never going to pay ten dollars for an eBook of a backlist novel. And there really isn’t anything that the Apples and Amazons can do to change the price I’m willing to pay from three bucks to ten bucks. But I think there is a marvelous opportunity there for writers and publishers who embrace a consumer friendly price point to build a huge audience of fans and devoted readers. If but we more of us just say no to the monopolists who are trying real hard these days to control eBooks.