A $238 eBook?!

In light the earthquakes in Japan today, I wanted to read up on the 1994 Northridge Earthquake — a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles that I experienced and remember being particularly intense.

Googling around, I found a book called The Northridge Earthquake by Robert Bolin from Powell’s Books. The book’s description sounded good: “This book concentrates on the social aspects of disasters, focusing on the most expensive disaster to date in US history, the Northridge earthquake of 1994. Surveying historical and contemporary facets of life in Southern California, Robert Bolin explains how vulnerability to disaster has been shaped by more than a century of immigration, urbanization, environmental transformations, and economic development.” But when I looked at the price, my jaw dropped. $238 for an eBook?!

I thought that maybe there would be an old print version available instead, but no, even the used print version on Amazon is $104.53. I understand that out-of-print books often have high prices because they are unavailable, but I have never seen this for a book that has an eBook version. Also, it is interesting to note that there are various different prices depending on the eBook format that you want. The Microsoft Reader version is only $125.12 and the Adobe Digital Editions is $229.07.

Where do these crazy prices come from?