2011: The Year Print Began To Really Die

I was reading a post about how people from different classes relate to their white-collar corporate work environments.

This brought to mind an excellent book on the subject I wanted to recommend in Comments.

And tracking down the book revealed that print has no future whatsoever compared to eBooks.

The book is Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano (I still highly recommend it).

It’s available as paperback from Amazon in paperback with an original suggested list price of $19.95. Sounds reasonable, right?

But wait. Aside from me recommending it, who else is? And how long will it remain in paperback? At some point, demand might fall so low that it will go out of print, as many other good books do.

But wait again. The publisher has decided this title is so important, it will issue it as a Print On Demand title. That sounds good, right?

Until we see the POD price:

Click = big

Forty-five dollars!

This is not an academic book. This is not a college textbook. This is in the vein of books such as Working by Studs Terkel. It’s meant to be read by everyday people, not academics and intellectuals.

Everyday people who are spending $139 on a Kindle.

And you expect them to buy a POD version for over a third of the price of their Kindle?

That’s just not going to happen, period.

Right now, there’s no Kindle version of this book, either.

But you can bet there will be — because no one will pay $45.00 for a POD version.

So all you people who are “optimistic” about the future of print, this post is a flaming stick up your ass to wake you up to that spoilsport thing called reality.

A POD book for $45.00 means print has no future, period.

And if you think this book’s price is an anomaly, that other POD titles won’t have similar price increases, because POD is seen as a premium service, well, there’s just no talking to you at all.


Filed under Books: General, Digital Overthrow, eBooks: General, Pricing

2 responses to “2011: The Year Print Began To Really Die

  1. Nice, but completely depressing post. I had a few minutes to kill when I saw this a little while ago, so I looked up Limbo on Amazon, started the preview and ended up reading the first few pages of the introduction.

    It would’ve been an impulse purchase right then and there when I reached the first message indicating that some pages were missing from the preview, but as you say there’s no Kindle edition and nothing to do but order one of the remaining new or used copies and have it sent to me. If I get around to it before they’re sold out. Ugh.

  2. Tim


    45 dollars for POD? if that’s going to be standard, POD will be totally DOA. Why charge so much?

    However, does look like an excellent book. Thanks for the profile. I’m ordering my copy off Amazon ($13.57) today . ..


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