Kobo and iBooks both appear to suffer with back-catalog and niche-publisher availability, and Kobo often has higher pricing on the less popular titles, but availability and pricing of current popular titles is even across the board. I’m particularly impressed by Kobo here: they’re much bigger than I expected.
Marco Arment has done something I’ve always thought of doing but then I’m far too lazy. He has compared book prices in four online services, Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks. What strikes me immediately is now many of these downloads are identically priced across the platforms. But some prices are way out and it shows just how important it is to shop around.
It’s a far greater task to compare ebook sites to brick-and-mortar store prices. I suspect there are big savings to be made by turning to electronic readers. Or, at least, there should be if we are not over subsidising publishers’ vanity in producing pretty dead-tree hardbacks.
Readers should note that in the UK, at least, and probably in some other European countries, electronic books are unfairly subject to sales tax (VAT) (at 20% in our case). Printed books, on the other hand, are tax free. This makes absolutely no sense, although I suspect any rationalisation would result in the levying of VAT on all non-educational books.