Nik Fletcher presents two rules for publishers moving to digital and explains why it’s bullshit when publishers charge more for a digital copy because it’s “convenient” as well as not making it available globally.
The item you’re selling has to launch globally from day one. I know it may be shocking to the folks at the MPAA and RIAA, but the Internet is a global network. Saying something is only available online in a specific territory is frankly ridiculous in this day and age. There are people wanting to give you money for your wares elsewhere in the world. Make it damn easy for them to give you their money.
The item you’re selling has to be priced relative to any physical predecessor. No, really: when you’re supplying a digital copy in place of a book with substantial printing costs, we’re going to question why we need to pay a premium when there’s lower costs associated with the production of said item. The idea that a user should pay a premium for the ‘convenience’ or ‘privilege’ of a digital copy is laughable, and will simply disenchant users who feel penalized by this premium.
Publishers are trying to have their cake and eat it. They want the higher profit from the lower costs associated with producing a digital version as well as the higher profit from increased revenue.
Unfortunately, a mindset like this just pushes consumers to piracy. It has to be easier and cheaper. That’s why iTunes succeeded. What if we were still locked into Album-only purchasing instead of individual songs?