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An Unanswered Letter to John Sargent

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

February 5, 2009

John Sargent
c/o Macmillan
175 Fifth Avenue
New York NY 10010

Dear John Sargent,

I spent too much time reading in high school, and didn’t pay much attention to the important subjects like math, so I need you to break something down for me. I thought $9.99 was too expensive for an electronic edition of a book, and now I read you’re wanting to charge even more? This make no sense to me. It’s overly greedy as I see it, but I am willing to concede I could be wrong.

With a traditional made-from-trees book I get to read it, put it on my shelf, and know it’s mine forever. Or I can sell it, trade it, lend it, or just plain give it away. It’s mine to do with as I please. I can point to it and say “I own that!”

With an electronic book I can do few of these things. There is no such thing as a used copy. It can’t be resold, lent, or given away. It doesn’t liven up a room. And in many instances I can only only view it as long as I have a device that supports the format I purchased it for. Drop that Kindle in the bathtub and I’ve not only destroyed one book, I have essentially destroyed all of them!

I understand that it costs money to make a book. There are transportation costs, distributors to be paid, warehousing costs, booksellers, and editors and authors, and marketing and design, etc.! Each additional book costs more money to make. This isn’t the case with an electronic book. Once your initial investment is over each additional copy costs you nothing. Zero dollars.

So break it down for me. Why would I ever pay that much for an eBook? As long as they continue to be this expensive I’ll keep waiting for the physical book to come up for used and buy that for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Anything else doesn’t make sense.


Christopher L. Jorgensen


Have a comment? Put a stamp on an envelope and drop it in the mail to:

Christopher L. Jorgensen
PO Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

Be sure to mention what letter your comment applies to. Adding some cash with your correspondence is a good thing. You can email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you must.

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