If there is anything good about e-books besides weighing less than the paper variety, it would have to be the way they de-emphasize the material aspect of owning books and emphasize the importance of the ideas within them. I think that’s why Bookshelf Porn associates itself with porn. Good liberals like me feel slightly guilty about coveting so many objects at once.
Amazon.com, however, appears to be doing everything it can to exploit such proclivities for its own material gain. When I wrote my original “Kindles Are for Suckers” post, the price of the Kindle version of David McCullough’s The Greater Journey was pennies more than the hardback. [I now see that that relationship has reversed since the book came out.] As I write this, the Kindle version of Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects is over five dollars more expensive than the paperback.
This would explain why Amazon.com is selling a device that costs $84 to make for $79. While there are other e-readers out there, Amazon has a monopoly on all things Kindle. With no used copies of e-books circulating to keep down prices, why not test what the traffic will allow?
Maybe a little materialism isn’t such a bad thing in the end. It might even end up saving you money.