Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Macmillan Price Gouge on Old Classic Sci-fi series

Author Philip Jose Farmer is probably best known for his famous Riverworld series of books. The series consists of - ‘To Your Scattered Bodies Go’ (1971), ‘The Fabulous Riverboat’ (1971), ‘The Dark Design’ (1977), ‘The Magic Labyrinth’ (1980), and ‘Gods of Riverworld’ (1983). ‘Riverworld and Other Stories’ (1979) was not part of the original Riverworld series but a free standing collection of short stories set in Riverworld. The basis of the books are that all of humanity, give or take a few, have been resurrected in an alien world along a seemingly endless river.

I have enjoyed the books and am now on my second reading of the series. However I have found that it is a bit difficult to get the books in e-book format. Since the ‘Agency Model’ has taken over, Macmillan Publishing has decided to slowly release this series of books in the e-book format but price them outrageously for books that were published in the early 70’s and 80’s. Macmillan has taken the first two books and combined them into one e-book called Riverworld and has priced it at 9.99. Which to be fair isn’t to bad of a price since you are getting two books for one. However the third book, ‘The Dark Design,' has been priced as a stand alone e-book at 9.99 which is outrageous for a book that was published in 1977! The remainder of the books are not currently available in e-book format but ‘The Magic Labyrinth’ is set to be released on November 9, 2010, again for 9.99. I have not seen anything mentioned on release dates for the last book in the series.

Pricing and releasing e-books in this manner is in my opinion a slap to the consumer. I am not sure what the real reasoning is behind the price gouging for this long time science fiction classic but I refuse to pay these prices for books originally published that long ago! I guess there are several questions to ask. Why would Macmillan take this tack with this series of books? Is it a test to see how much a customer will pay for an old classic science fiction series like this? Are they trying to build a hype around the e-book? Are we going to see more classic science fiction books priced like this? Hopefully the customers will stand strong against this type of tactic and as much as I hate to say but refuse to buy this series of e-books and any others priced like it.

The combination ‘To Your Scattered Bodies Go’ and ‘The Fabulous Riverboat’ e-book called ‘Riverworld’ and ‘The Dark Design’ can be found on Amazon, the Apple iBook store, and Barnes and Noble. For some reason only ‘The Dark Design’ is for sale on the Borders site. The price is 9.99 on all sites per the standard new ‘Agency Model’ the publishers have slapped on us consumers.

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