While E-Readers Get Cheaper, E-Books Make Up For It With Rising Prices

Yay! E-readers are getting so affordable! But then, wait, boo, e-books are climbing in price, to the point where there’s just the tiniest gap between them and an honest to goodness real book.

The Wall Street Journal says we’re all getting excited to give and receive cheap new Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers this holiday season, but that while those prices dip, the cost to obtain an electronic version of a book is rising and in some cases, even overtaking their paper equals.

For example — Kindles started out at $399 with each new best seller costing $9.99, digitally. Now they’re below $100, while some e-books, like Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants, cost $16.50 as paperback at the same time.

This is happening because the six biggest publishers have gotten together and decided to set their own prices for consumers. That doesn’t happen with regular printed books. In part, this is why the U.S. and other governments are looking into this kind of e-book cartel.

So where’s the bargain? Is it just in the ease of carrying around a slim reader instead of a massive tome? Consumers can still find cheap digital books, to be sure, it just might take some digging on the Internet, or waiting until a book is no longer hot off the digital presses.

E-Book Readers Face Sticker Shock [Wall Street Journal]