Publishers Short-Sighted in E-Book Price Fight

Another episode of As The E-Book Turns wrapped this week, with locked in a page-turning battle with the publishing industry. The plot twists are many, but here's a quick outline: Amazon wants to continue charging $10 for versions of most new titles and bestsellers, but the industry's leading publishers think that price is too low.

Macmillan, for instance, most of its e-book titles, a demand that to last week. Hachette, another major publisher, also plans to drop Amazon's $9.99 price model, and would rather see many e-books in . HarperCollins has made a similar move. Meanwhile, the industry just gained an ally in Apple, which has agreed to let publishers designed for its

It's no surprise that publishers would want higher e-book prices, particularly for hot new bestsellers. But their strong-arm efforts to eradicate Amazon's consumer-friendly pricing aren't a good way to grow a nascent e-book market () market.

Let's play devil's advocate and assume there's a valid reason for hiking e-book prices. If so, publishers have done a poor job so far of stating their case. HarperCollins owner Rupert Murdoch has said that Amazon's pricing "." Really, how so? I'm sure most owners would disagree.

A physical book and an e-book are different. You can sell the former, not the latter. You can't lend a Kindle title to another user, although hopefully that policy will change over time. (Barnes & Noble allows users of its to share titles, but only for a brief two-week period.) And since you can't line a bookshelf with e-books, there's no home-decorating value either.