View Full Version : The New Agency Pricing Scheme is Total B.S.


The-eBook-Reader
04-03-2010, 04:50 PM
As I anxiously await for my iPad to arrive to get started on the review, I've been doing some looking around at the new ebook prices.

The other day I was watching Apple's video demo of the iBooks app when I noticed that they had Stephen King's Under the Dome listed for $14.99 (not sure what it's selling for now).

At the time, all the major ebook stores were selling it for around $9.99.

Today it is up to $16.99 on Amazon and B&N, and $18.69 on Kobo (how does that make any sense?).

Anyway, right next to the ebook price on Amazon you see that they are selling the hardcover for $15.99 new and 10.11 used. Granted you have to pay shipping but still . . .

I also noticed that Amazon now has this to say below the publisher listing: This price was set by the publisher.

Madness, I say. Madness. When you can by a new hardcover for less than the ebook there's something seriously wrong with the system.

phenomshel
04-03-2010, 05:14 PM
Oddly enough, I'm running into the opposite. Two titles by Lou Jane Temple that were way overpriced (the books were published in 2004 or so), have come down from 17.00 to 10.00. The two latest Donna Andrews books have come down also. But these aren't new releases, either - well, one of the Donna Andrews is the latest in the series, but is still not "new".

ficbot
04-03-2010, 05:54 PM
I have emailed Kobo about a book that is $18.59 there and $11.99 elsewhere. No reply yet, but it's Saturday.

ATimson
04-04-2010, 12:39 AM
When you can by a new hardcover for less than the ebook there's something seriously wrong with the system.
Hell. There's something seriously wrong with the system when you can do that with any book... and yet that's the case.

I can routinely find discounts of at least 25% on a book - 33% on hardcovers/trades from Amazon, 25% or 30% on mass markets via Borders' weekly newsletters. If they're not going to let retailers discount, they need to price mass-market books at least 25% below print, and trades/hardcovers at least 33% below print (more, on popular titles, since those can plummet as low as 50% of list price).

Simon and Schuster is at least doing some discounting on their "mass market" titles, which is better than the HarperCollins ones I've looked at (print list at Amazon, 9% above at Kobo - I've sent an e-mail about the latter, I bet they're getting Canadian prices instead of US). Still not enough to get me to pull the trigger on a book I want, though.

Xanthe
04-04-2010, 12:57 AM
The publishers are going to cut their own throats with this.

More people are going to buy used books, which completely eliminates the publisher and the writer from the profit chain. The darknet is going to explode with ebooks, totally removing the publisher from the profit chain.

cfrizz
04-04-2010, 11:07 AM
The publishers are going to cut their own throats with this.

More people are going to buy used books, which completely eliminates the publisher and the writer from the profit chain. The darknet is going to explode with ebooks, totally removing the publisher from the profit chain.

I strongly suspect that this will be the case. The greedier the publishers become, the more people will either choose to go to the darknet for best selling authors, or buy used.

I don't buy hard cover books, I always waited for the paperback version. Now if they are going to try to rip me off for an ebook, I simply won't get it at all.

There are millions of books in multiformat in the genres that I like to read at reasonable prices. I will read all of those before I allow these greedy jerks to rip me off.

Or I just might figure out how to get them for free.

If we truly wanted to bring this foolishness to an end, all we would have to do is not purchase ANY books HC or Pprbk or Ebook for a couple of months or for however long it took these publishers to get a clue. Money talks or lack thereof.

Would this boycott be hard to do? Yes, I love to read, but I stopped buying books altogether years ago because of price & lack of storage space. But I have found others stories to read online to make up for the other.

Just pick a new hobby for a month or 2 & let the books sit in the stores collecting dust & the profits go down the tubes. This new pricing would go right into the trash were it belongs.

rhadin
04-04-2010, 12:03 PM
Today it is up to $16.99 on Amazon and B&N, and $18.69 on Kobo (how does that make any sense?).

Does the Kobo price reflect Canadian dollars converted to the U.S. equivalent (the exchange rate has to be considered)? Isn't Kobo Canadian?

ATimson
04-04-2010, 01:02 PM
Does the Kobo price reflect Canadian dollars converted to the U.S. equivalent (the exchange rate has to be considered)? Isn't Kobo Canadian?
Kobo is Canadian, but their prices are supposed to be in USD. But it looks like both Simon and Schuster and HarperCollins are sending them Canadian prices; HC it's 109% of the USD price, S&S 110%.

mgm1979
04-04-2010, 01:19 PM
so...organize a boycott of ALL of the agency model pricing publishers...someone crafty should whip up on email to shoot out; someone techy should create a website; and someone else who's good with research/legalese should track down all of the "details" to include in both forms.

Pick a date and execute.

I will NOT pay $20 for a book I can buy in the store for $15 or less...that's absolutely insane. I WILL rip the publishers off as much as I can, through boycotts or otherwise, and prove the CONSUMER rules the world - NOT the vendor. Its time businesses in ALL industries remember this fact - the CUSTOMER is always right...ALWAYS! Price-gouging is wrong/illegal - so are monopolies, which is exactly what they publishers have just created...

ficbot
04-04-2010, 02:32 PM
The $18.50 book I have on my wishlist but have not bought has just come out in paperback, for $11.99 at my local bricks and mortar. Sigh. I really want the ebook, but I will not pay that much, especially when the print version is so much cheaper.

phenomshel
04-04-2010, 03:35 PM
The publishers are going to cut their own throats with this.

More people are going to buy used books, which completely eliminates the publisher and the writer from the profit chain. The darknet is going to explode with ebooks, totally removing the publisher from the profit chain.

The darknet just might be as scarce with ebooks as the stores. Most of the recent ebooks on the darknet are those that someone bought and then removed the DRM and shared. If they can't buy them first, they won't show up on the darknet either. Or at least not unless it's something highly popular that someone bothers to scan. Can't share it if you can't buy it first.

However, I do agree that the used book market is going to expand.

asjogren
04-04-2010, 03:43 PM
This is an opportunity for the Independents.

There are a LOT of authors. Help promote the next wave. It will bring the changes you want sooner.

This group of 5 is interested in CONTROL, not what customers want.

DJHARKAVY
04-04-2010, 03:47 PM
At last count, I have about 1000 books in Calibre, most of which are bought and paid for.

I probably have more than 400 of them that I have not gotten around to reading.

I think I can wait out the Agency model...

Xanthe
04-04-2010, 11:12 PM
The darknet just might be as scarce with ebooks as the stores. Most of the recent ebooks on the darknet are those that someone bought and then removed the DRM and shared. If they can't buy them first, they won't show up on the darknet either. Or at least not unless it's something highly popular that someone bothers to scan. Can't share it if you can't buy it first.



Not really. The books get on the darknet first because someone bought the book. All it really takes is one person to buy the book and upload it to the 'nets. There are always going to be people who'll buy the books no matter what the cost and put them up. There are also group-buys that do the same thing. Not to mention the people who have access to the ebooks without having to buy them.

phenomshel
04-05-2010, 03:21 PM
Not really. The books get on the darknet first because someone bought the book. All it really takes is one person to buy the book and upload it to the 'nets. There are always going to be people who'll buy the books no matter what the cost and put them up. There are also group-buys that do the same thing. Not to mention the people who have access to the ebooks without having to buy them.

No, what I'm saying is if the books are not available at all in ebook. Not just expensive, not there at all to be purchased.

Angst
04-05-2010, 04:13 PM
I've had my ereader for a little over a year. During that time I have bought over 200 books. I have never been tempted to download books from the darknet. Until now. The whole agency pricing debacle is really getting to me. If this isn't resolved by the time I finish my TBR list (4-5 months), I may consider looking elsewhere for content. I am acutely aware of pbook vs ebook prices. I will not pay more for an ebook than a pbook.

Musicman
04-06-2010, 08:06 AM
so...organize a boycott of ALL of the agency model pricing publishers...someone crafty should whip up on email to shoot out; someone techy should create a website; and someone else who's good with research/legalese should track down all of the "details" to include in both forms.

Pick a date and execute.

I will NOT pay $20 for a book I can buy in the store for $15 or less...that's absolutely insane. I WILL rip the publishers off as much as I can, through boycotts or otherwise, and prove the CONSUMER rules the world - NOT the vendor. Its time businesses in ALL industries remember this fact - the CUSTOMER is always right...ALWAYS! Price-gouging is wrong/illegal - so are monopolies, which is exactly what they publishers have just created...

I agree - I will not buy any e-books (I only buy e-books) unless the price is under $10.00. I have a long list of books to read that are available for free at my library, so I will wait them out.

If everyone did this, then the prices would drop.

schmolch
04-06-2010, 11:52 AM
No, what I'm saying is if the books are not available at all in ebook. Not just expensive, not there at all to be purchased.

ADF-Scanner: 150$
Scissors: 5$
Turning any book into a free ebook within 30 minutes: priceless

Angst
04-06-2010, 01:53 PM
The worst part about the new agency model is that it destroys retailer's customer loyalty programs.

From Kobo:
"With agency, the price is the price. We lose most of our ability to issue coupons, promotions, special discounts, kickbacks, buy-X-get-one-free."

http://blog.kobobooks.com/2010/03/29/countdown-to-agency-and-party-like-its-9-99/

Skydog
04-06-2010, 02:13 PM
ADF-Scanner: 150$
Scissors: 5$
Turning any book into a free ebook within 30 minutes: priceless


:rofl:

Skydog
04-06-2010, 02:17 PM
No, what I'm saying is if the books are not available at all in ebook. Not just expensive, not there at all to be purchased.


If that is the case I still will never purchase the book. It's off to my local library...

Tonycole
04-07-2010, 05:02 AM
As someone who has a blog about eReaders and eBooks, I should know about this "dark net", but I don't. I gather it is a sort of eBook equivalent of illegal music and video download sites. Please tell me more.
I might even be inspired to write a post about it on my blog.....

Logseman
04-07-2010, 05:16 AM
The darknet is a common name for the places where you can download copyrighted books for free. Those are certain websites, p2p content servers and lots of content in direct download servers as well.

langshipley
04-07-2010, 06:14 PM
The darknet is going to explode with ebooks, totally removing the publisher from the profit chain.

What is this darknet that everyone is talking about and where does one find it? Do I just google darknet?

DawnFalcon
04-07-2010, 07:07 PM
As someone who has a blog about eReaders and eBooks, I should know about this "dark net", but I don't. I gather it is a sort of eBook equivalent of illegal music and video download sites. Please tell me more.
I might even be inspired to write a post about it on my blog.....

The term as-used comes from a Microsoft research paper (http://msl1.mit.edu/ESD10/docs/darknet5.pdf) from 2002, which talks about the futility of trying to choke off unauthorised download sources.

MV64
04-07-2010, 07:26 PM
As I anxiously await for my iPad to arrive to get started on the review, I've been doing some looking around at the new ebook prices.

The other day I was watching Apple's video demo of the iBooks app when I noticed that they had Stephen King's Under the Dome listed for $14.99 (not sure what it's selling for now).

At the time, all the major ebook stores were selling it for around $9.99.

Today it is up to $16.99 on Amazon and B&N, and $18.69 on Kobo (how does that make any sense?).

Anyway, right next to the ebook price on Amazon you see that they are selling the hardcover for $15.99 new and 10.11 used. Granted you have to pay shipping but still . . .

I also noticed that Amazon now has this to say below the publisher listing: This price was set by the publisher.

Madness, I say. Madness. When you can by a new hardcover for less than the ebook there's something seriously wrong with the system.


Under the Dome is now 6.99 or whatever at Barnes and Noble. Hardcover. I know the Publisher's can't take into account bargain books from a single bookseller, but it certainly doesn't help their cause when they try to sell it for the same price (or close) as the regular book. As we all know by now, e-books should be seriously discounted.


EDIT": And as a BN employee, it's going to be considerably harder to sell the nook when I can't point to cheap ebook prices anymore. Now I have to explain to already skeptical customers that the expensive ebooks aren't our fault, but the publisher's. Yet another thing for customers to give me an eye roll for.

dmaul1114
04-07-2010, 07:48 PM
I don't like it, but I'm not up in arms over it.

If I don't like a books price (i.e. it's more than the cheapest paper counterpart) I don't buy it. Hopefully most will do the same, and even with the agency model publishers will realize that at most they can charge the same as the cheapest paper book, and less for some titles.

But I have no problem with publishers setting prices, I don't really like content providers forcing prices on them. They should be able to set MSRP and stores should be able to discount (at their own reductions in profit) how they seem fit just like for most physical products.

There are lots of physical goods, including books, I feel are overpriced. I just do without. Tons of other books to read that cost amounts I'm willing to pay, not to mention the freebies. So I feel no need to cry about it online, justify going to the darknets or something. I just ignore it and go buy something I feel is reasonably priced to read and hope publishers get the message.

$9.99 is probably the most I'd pay for an e-book, and most I've bought on my Kindle are less than that. No shortage of things to read at that price or under, so thus far I'm good and figure agency pricing will eventually just shift to matching (or being a bit under) the cheapest print version. So higher at release when just the hardcover is out, dropping when the paperback comes out. I have no issue with that, been waiting for cheap paperbacks all my life, can wait for the e-book prices to drop on the same schedule.

fugazied
04-07-2010, 07:48 PM
It's very disappointing because I really do not want to pay more than $9.99 for books. I am willing to wait for books as well (I already have a massive list of books to read) so I am willing to wait for price reductions.

There is no way I will ever pay $15 for an e-book which gives me less rights (ability to lend to friends, ability to resell) than a paper book.

Sweetpea
04-08-2010, 02:54 AM
After a nice email from BoB, I finally figured out what this Agency Pricing Scheme is... And now I know why I've never really understood what the fuss was all about.

We already have this for ages... The main problem is that it has been implemented only now, while the ebook sales are up and more and more people are hit by the chaos you always have when you change a pricing method.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 04:24 PM
Madness, I say. Madness. When you can by a new hardcover for less than the ebook there's something seriously wrong with the system.

Simple... greed. It's a niche market still, so they figure they can get away with cranking up their profit margins and taking advantage of the early adopters. Is it fair... probably not. Is it surprising... probably not.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 04:31 PM
Yep, not fair, but not surprising. As the market grows and sales lag on books priced more than the cheapest print version pale in comparison to books priced at or below the cheapest print version, pricing will work itself out.

People who want every book to cost less than the cheapest print version will probably remain out of luck, but I'd say eventually most every e-book will cost at most the same as the print version.

But it will be annoying until then. But there's still a ton of books priced at or below the print versions, as well as free books, so I have plenty to read at prices I can live with in the meantime.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 04:36 PM
...but I'd say eventually most every e-book will cost at most the same as the print version.


The one caveat here is that with the print versions, you always have the option of getting one from a used bookstore if the new price is too high. With eBooks, not only are the eBooks commonly overpriced, but the Publishers are using DRM to eliminate first sale rights and kill off the used book market.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 04:43 PM
Yep, that's the one negative of all forms of digital content pretty much.

Can't buy used versions, no first sale rights in many cases etc.

I don't mind personally for books as I seldom bought used (textbooks during college aside) and never resold books (besides textbooks). The ones I don't want to keep (the vast majority) just get given away, donated or chucked in a recycling bin when moving and not having time to deal with donating.

So I'm fine with it for books as I prefer the convenience of not having a physical copy to store or dispose of.

But I hate it for video games as I get most of my games used off a game trading site (Goozex) and trade most every game on there after beating them.

Hopefully eventually they'll have some unified licensing system that allows reselling/transferring of licenses so people can sell their e-book, download game etc. while losing access to it on their machine (unless they rebuy).

That's the main challenge to it for publishers. With a paper book you sell or give away you no longer have a copy. It's much easier to keep a copy of an e-book while selling or giving away multiple copies.

So we're not going to get first sale rights until they come up with a system to allow sales/trades that takes the license away from the seller/giver. Pirates will still get around it of course, but the average user would be fine with it just like they're fine with selling or giving away the physical copy and not having access to it.

mykoffee
04-08-2010, 05:07 PM
People who want every book to cost less than the cheapest print version will probably remain out of luck, but I'd say eventually most every e-book will cost at most the same as the print version.
.


Cost the same as the suggested retail price of the print version? Because for a hardcover that can be $25 or more. A retailer such as B&N, Amazon, Target, etc are allowed to offer those hardcovers and paperbacks at a discount. No discounts allowed on this set ebook pricing. When was the last time many of us purchased a hardcover book at full retail price? Before ereaders most of us got them discounted at retailers or checked them out from the library. How will it be determined what matches the price of a print version when retailers can discount print versions but not digital versions?

Linda

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 05:10 PM
I never bought hardcovers period. I always waited for the mass market paperback, and those tend to just cost cover price in bookstores and online stores like Amazon.

So with e-books it's the same. If it costs the hardcover MSRP (or even the discounted hardcover price on Amazon) I'll not buy the ebook then and wait for it to be cheap when the paperback is out and at the same price.

Just a matter of having some self control/patience and not having to buy books right when they come out. Before if you wanted to do that you had to pay a higher price for a hardcover, I see no reason it shouldn't be the same for e-books. Cost more when it first comes out, price drop with the paper back is out.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 05:22 PM
Yep, that's the one negative of all forms of digital content pretty much.

Not all, just those with DRM.


Can't buy used versions, no first sale rights in many cases etc.


To be correct, you still legally have first sale rights. The Publishers are blocking it with DRM. The end result is the same, but we should make sure not to mislead people into believing that first sale rights don't legally exist just because something is digital.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 05:23 PM
Cost more when it first comes out, price drop with the paper back is out.

Assuming that's what actually happens.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 05:57 PM
Not all, just those with DRM.


True. I just meant that aside from music, most digital content has DRM. At lesat most content from major publisher's, studios etc.

Can't resell or trade downloaded video games on the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Can't resell or trade movies and TV shows bought and downloaded from iTunes and other sources.

There is some DRM free movies, books etc., but most has DRM. I don't have a big issue as I see it as a huge threat to publishers when people can sell/give away their content while keeping a copy for themselves.

They just need to come up with a DRM scheme that allows license transferring IMO.

Assuming that's what actually happens.

Of course. But I think it will as long as people don't buy e-books that cost more than the cheapest print version. They'll see that they have to at least match the print version pricing schemes if they want to maximize sales.

But only time will tell for sure.

Hellmark
04-08-2010, 06:04 PM
No, what I'm saying is if the books are not available at all in ebook. Not just expensive, not there at all to be purchased.

If books can be bought in any form, it'll be available to be pirated. A good chunk of the pirated ebooks I've seen have been scanned. Funny enough, some of them are better quality than the commercial version.

Shaggy
04-08-2010, 06:49 PM
They'll see that they have to at least match the print version pricing schemes if they want to maximize sales.


I'm not convinced that they really want to maximize sales. The impression I have from many Publishers is that they would prefer that eBooks didn't exist.

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 06:55 PM
I'm not convinced that they really want to maximize sales. The impression I have from many Publishers is that they would prefer that eBooks didn't exist.

For sure. All digital media is a threat to publishers, studios etc. as piracy is much easier with digital content than physical product (less steps involved).

But as the market grows, they'll have no choice but to embrace it as larger chunks of book sales are going to e-books. They can't turn the back on chances to make money and maximize profits when the market becomes to large to ignore.

sminarovich
04-08-2010, 06:59 PM
Here are a few interesting prices, yesterday I purchased to books at my local independant bookstore...I like to support local businesses but this makes me wonder??

I purchased the hardcover The Spellman's Strike Again by Lisa Lutz and in paperback The Bad Book Affair by Ian Sansom for a total of ... $50.03 CAD

So i checked online to order from CAD Amazon the price $36.05 CAD

if I was to purchase these books as ebooks from two
different sellers since you can't purchase from the
same seller their total price, Kobo in CAD $ and from
Books on Board in US pricing $27.58 CAD

keep in mind I added the yet to be added Harmonized Sales Tax
yet to be implemented and the Cad price when purchased using a credit
the Cad conversion not the book price is trading at par...
Except for the inconvience and difficulty getting all the books I want ( Changeless by Gail Carriger is unavailable in Cad as an ebook so far as I can find ) these prices seem all over the place.

Book buying seems to be getting complicated how can I support my local businesses
with these prices??

MerLock
04-08-2010, 07:31 PM
I'm not convinced that they really want to maximize sales. The impression I have from many Publishers is that they would prefer that eBooks didn't exist.

That's very odd since the publishers could have refused to release ebooks in the first place. As far as I know, I started hearing about ebooks for sales when Sony first released their PRS 500 and Sony was working with publishers to make a Sony ebookstore. If publishers feared ebooks, shouldn't they have told Sony that no way they were going to digitalize any books for sale?

dmaul1114
04-08-2010, 07:34 PM
Book buying seems to be getting complicated how can I support my local businesses
with these prices??

That's nothing new. Local businesses haven't been able to compete price wise for years.

First it was the big box stores (being it chain book stores, or target/walmart etc.) and then the online stores undercut everyone.

Supporting local businesses largely means being willing to pay more to shop their vs. a chain store or online store.

greenapple
04-08-2010, 08:24 PM
I'm not convinced that they really want to maximize sales. The impression I have from many Publishers is that they would prefer that eBooks didn't exist.

They're probably trying to make it happen.