Like a lot of industries these days, book publishing is struggling to deal with the massive change wrought by the internet and new mediums like the Kindle. Unfortunately for people who like to read books, the people who publish them have settled on a strange new strategy going forward: screw the customer.
Publishers make more off of cloth books than they do e-books, so against everyone's best interest they're beginning to make it cheaper to buy hardcovers. Which means we've now reached a moment of pure absurdity, where it actually costs more to download a 1,000 page novel than it does to have the mashed-pulp version shipped and delivered to your door.
According to the New York Times, Ken Follett's "Fall of Giants" and James Patterson's "Don't Blink" are the first two books to cross this crazy pricing threshold. The "Fall of Giants" e-book costs $19.99, while its hardcover edition sells for six cents less. Similarly, "Don't Blink" will set you back $14.99 on your Kindle, but goes for only $14 in physical form.
Desperately trying to maintain a status quo that no longer exists is a doomed business plan. (See, the music industry.) Meanwhile, in related news, it still costs absolutely nothing to get a library card. See you never, book publishers.