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Consumer Confidential: E-books, cigarette profits, kicking the habit

February 11, 2010 | 10:06 am

Here's your throat-clearingly Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- Just as e-books are starting to catch on (can you say iPad?), publishers are pushing to boost the e-price of new releases to as much as $14.99 from $9.99. It was that established the lower, consumer-friendly benchmark. But publishers think they've been low-balled, and they're seeking a higher price. The question is what e-consumers will say. I'm thinking that, at about $15 a pop, I'll just wait for the paperback, as I do now.

-- Tobacco titan Philip Morris International, the company behind the Marlboro Man, says that quarterly profit is up thanks to increased sales in the developing world. How nice for Philip Morris. How unfortunate for anyone who thinks it's immoral to sell a product that's virtually guaranteed to harm or even kill you.

-- Speaking of which, researchers Down Under at the University of Sydney say they're unimpressed by all those products designed to help smokers kick the habit -- the patches and gum and whatnot. They say the most effective method is to go cold turkey, on your own. Tough as this may be, the researchers say it works better than trying to gradually wean yourself from a nicotine addiction using pharmaceutical products. I wonder what smokers have to say about that.

-- David Lazarus