I went online to hunt for the Fiber Trends felted clog pattern that seems to be super-popular here, and I discovered that I could pay $5.95 for a paper pattern, or I could download a PDF of the exact same pattern for $7.95. This seemed odd to me, so I e-mailed the company to ask why.
Here's the response I got:
We keep our print patterns lower than the pdf versions for several reasons, but the most important one is to support stores who stock them. We want you to always find the best value when you visit your local yarn store. There are a number of stores in Seattle that carry this pattern.
Other than that, there are many costs involved in having a company host and process sales for pdf downloads.
I should say first off that I'm happy to have gotten a response from the company at all. I've tried e-mailing my local neighborhood yarn store a few times, and have never actually gotten a response from them. (That's another rant, though.)
However, in this age of recession and green-happy consumerism, it STILL doesn't make sense to me that a digital version would cost me more. The goal of supporting neighborhood yarn stores is worthwhile, but surely there's a market for environmentally conscious crafters on a budget. And whatever the costs of "having a company host and process sales for pdf downloads," is it really worth an extra $2 of overhead? I don't have an MBA, but seems to me that since Fiber Trends essentially gets to keep all the profits on that pattern (no middlemen), and since they aren't paying to have the patterns printed or shipped across the country, that any costs associated with the online transaction would still allow for a healthy profit margin.