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'Pay a fair price, e-whingers'

11 April 2011

'In tough times for everyone, it rather sticks in the craw to have to defend higher prices. But with e-books, the principle is plain. At long last, Amazon seems to have halted the race to the bottom on titles for its Kindle reader. After months during which charges for e-book bestsellers often plunged to sub-magazine levels, the digital giant has agreed on the "agency model" with Hachette, HarperCollins and Penguin. The publishers will set the price, and the retailer will keep to it. Similar deals will no doubt follow.

Cue a blizzard of complaints on Amazon forums about the injustice of having to pay more than few pennies for a work that enshrines the skills of authors, researchers, editors and (even digitally) designers. Talent and experience should cost a just amount of money in a commercial marketplace. Professionals deserve a fair reward. This whingeing, petty, adolescent sense of entitlement to culture and entertainment for free has almost proved the death of recorded music. It must not happen with books.'

Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor, in the Independent