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How should you price something new to most people?

The e-book battle will be an interesting one. This NYT article hit on something interesting — consumer expectations. Pricing expectations might be different for the vast majority of people that haven’t associated e-books with low prices.

Predicting the behavior of consumers is always tricky. In the case of e-books, publishers are hoping that a vast majority of people who have not yet tried e-reading devices will not have any expectation of the low pricing now available from Amazon and others, including Barnes & Noble and Sony. They argue that new e-book shoppers will welcome the chance to buy digital editions at a level significantly lower than the typical price tag on a hardcover book.

“With the iPad, the whole notion of e-book reading is probably going to become way more mainstream than it ever has,” said Harvey Chute, who runs KindleBoards, a popular discussion forum for readers of electronic books. “And a majority of people may be coming to it new, and may only see that they are getting $7 off the price they would see at a bookstore.”

But some e-book buyers say that since publishers do not have to pay to print, store or distribute e-books, they should be much cheaper than print books.

“I just don’t want to be extorted,” said Joshua Levitsky, a computer technician and Kindle owner in New York. “I want to pay what it’s worth. If it costs them nothing to print the paper book, which I can’t believe, then they should be the same price. But I just don’t see how it can be the same price.”