View Full Version : It's Steve Jobs' fault..


daffy4u
04-15-2010, 09:29 PM
...IMO.

His deal with the "Gang of 5" Publishers, ushered in the era of the "Agency Model" which has led to higher ebook prices and sales tax on those same ebooks.

Steve Jobs is not a friend of the ebook reading public.

Moejoe
04-15-2010, 09:33 PM
Steve Jobs is only a friend to Steve Jobs and the vision of a Steve Jobsian future where every good little boy and girl does exactly what Steve Jobs wants them to, and they all play in his garden and nobody else's and everyone likes megalomaniacs in turtle-necks.

Me, I'll take Penguins and Devils any day of the week over Apples and Windows. :)

phenomshel
04-15-2010, 10:16 PM
...IMO.

His deal with the "Gang of 5" Publishers, ushered in the era of the "Agency Model" which has led to higher ebook prices and sales tax on those same ebooks.

Steve Jobs is not a friend of the ebook reading public.

I've said this from the beginning, only I didn't say it too loudly, in case of lynch mobs. Go, Daffy!!

Publishers themselves aren't friends of the ebook reading public, either.

JSWolf
04-15-2010, 10:23 PM
Trying to put photos on an iPod Touch using iTunes is like having teeth pulled with no painkillers.

So this is Steve Jobs' idea of how people really want to work?

kindlekitten
04-15-2010, 10:28 PM
can't say I dissagree! in fact karma on that!

=X=
04-15-2010, 10:45 PM
...IMO.
Steve Jobs is not a friend of the ebook reading public.

Wasn't he the guy that said people "People don't read anymore."

Kali Yuga
04-15-2010, 11:53 PM
I have to agree, Apple definitely paved the way for the agency model.

Of course I don't view the agency model as 100% awful; most of the hair-pulling is unwarranted, especially since it's highly similar to the models used by Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon DTP....

Barcey
04-16-2010, 07:55 AM
I think that Steve Jobs believes Apple saved the music industry. The recording industry executives just didn't get it and made bad decision after bad decisions and he showed them how it had to be done. They didn't admit they were wrong and then blamed Apple for lowering the value of the music instead of thanking them for salvaging what remains.

He watched Amazon copy exactly what Apple did in the book publishing industry and it was working well. Then he saw the publishing executives blame Amazon for all their problems. I'm sure he was just shaking his head.

When I look at his background with Pixar and Apple I see that he understands risk. With Pixar they make about 1 movie a year. They have to pick one story and then throw huge resources into animating it and promoting it to make sure it's a hit. They've delivered almost every movie. It's the same with developing any computer electronic gadget. Huge capital investment in R&D and one shot or you're a failure.

If I picture him sitting in a board room with a book publishing executive, doing their normal talking points about the enormous risks they're taking, I picture him wetting his pants laughing. I recall an Apple executive making a comment about the book publishing industry being dysfunctional, and I think that's closer to the truth.

I suspect that Apple tried to negotiate reason with the book publishers and wasn't getting anywhere so they signed a deal that was good for Apple. A guaranteed 30% for an electronic transaction is a very good deal for Apple and a very bad move by the book publishers.

I don't blame Steve Jobs for the BPH stupidity. Apple just bought time. I have enough other things to blames Steve Jobs for.

daffy4u
04-16-2010, 09:26 AM
I "believe" that the iPad would have sold just as well without the iBook bookstore. Leaving it as just an app with a "bring your own non-DRM ePub" flavor would have been great. Jobs could have said "no" to the Gang of 5.

Steve Jobs has caused ebooks to take a huge step backwards with the prices rising after all the other retailers were starting to lower their prices.

Several weeks ago I was having my car serviced and was reading my Kindle while waiting. A woman started asking questions about it because she was thinking of buying one and *she* mentioned how she had read about the coming higher prices. More people may be aware of the change than I thought but I don't think they all understand that Jobs opened the floodgates.

JSWolf
04-16-2010, 09:28 AM
I do think that Jobs should have partnered with txtr and brought the txtr app on board since it supports the Adept. Also, the iPad really needs a way to get data onto it so the apps can access it. Apple is forcing people to jailbreak the iPad in order to be able to use it the way they should be able to us it.

But, I also agree 100% that Apple is at fault for the Agency model. All the Agency model has done is make eBooks hard to find/buy and the prices are all over the place. I think Jobs is taking his "People don't read anymore" statement and trying to make it true.

dmaul1114
04-16-2010, 10:07 AM
I don't really mind it myself. Prices are all over the place on paper books when I shop around for them as well. Especially for hardcover books. I've dealt with that for years so having the same thing for e-books doesn't bother me.

If a book costs more than I want to pay, I skip it and go buy and read one of the other gazillion books I want to read. No different with e-books now than it was with paper books my whole life.

JSWolf
04-16-2010, 10:19 AM
I don't really mind it myself. Prices are all over the place on paper books when I shop around for them as well. Especially for hardcover books. I've dealt with that for years so having the same thing for e-books doesn't bother me.

If a book costs more than I want to pay, I skip it and go buy and read one of the other gazillion books I want to read. No different with e-books now than it was with paper books my whole life.

But one of the new problems is now the availability is not what it should be.

dmaul1114
04-16-2010, 10:32 AM
But one of the new problems is now the availability is not what it should be.

Hasn't affected me yet personally, so I can speak to that. I only read 1-2 books a month (and some are public domain) and read pretty mainstream books and a lot of older stuff, so it just doesn't have much impact on me.

My take on is that it will eventually play out that the e-book is launched at a higher price when the hardcover is the only version out (not the hardcover cover price, but maybe $15 or so varying by book), then will drop to at or below the paperback price when that version is released.

I have no problem with that scheme if that is indeed what comes to play. I waited for cheaper paperback versions all my life, I can wait for the e-book to drop in price on the same schedule. Again, assuming that's how things play out.

poohbear_nc
04-16-2010, 11:17 AM
It's unfathomable to me the influence of one person (and his company) to virtually derail an entire industry. I can accept the "fanboy" allegiance to Apple products, Apple pricing, etc. It's a personal choice.

I cannot accept this affecting those consumers who choose not to join the Apple fan club. Why should pricing deals negotiated with Apple be foisted onto the entire reading public? Who aren't using Apple products?

This may not fix the exact legal definition of price fixing, but it certainly is imposing its effects upon all buyers.

I will continue voting with my wallet. I will never purchase an Apple product. I will purchase only those ebooks that I feel are reasonably priced, based on the pre-Agency pricing models. I will look elsewhere for books that I feel are unreasonably priced.

Barcey
04-17-2010, 08:31 AM
I just think the blame and anger belongs directed at the price fixing cartel (gang of 5) and Apple used them to get what was good for Apple.

It's like when a spouse cheats and all the anger gets directed at the person they cheated with. It was obviously the fault of that smooth talking Steve Jobs guy.

I'm not saying Apple is blameless, I just don't think the primary fault should be laid at their feet.

JSWolf
04-17-2010, 08:56 AM
I just think the blame and anger belongs directed at the price fixing cartel (gang of 5) and Apple used them to get what was good for Apple.

It's like when a spouse cheats and all the anger gets directed at the person they cheated with. It was obviously the fault of that smooth talking Steve Jobs guy.

I'm not saying Apple is blameless, I just don't think the primary fault should be laid at their feet.

I think it is mostly Apple's fault. If Apple had not allowed this Agency model, then they would not have gotten it and would not have been able to then bully everyone else into it.

cmdahler
04-17-2010, 10:43 AM
Everyone ought to just keep in mind that this model of pricing only works because 90% of the people who are complaining about it are still buying the books. That is the only thing Jobs and the rest of the industry cares about. You can complain all you want, but if you're still buying the books, then the industry couldn't care less about the complaints. Just refuse to buy the books - good Lord, why would anyone ever need to pay for a book anyway? There are enough samples of quality literature on Project Gutenberg alone to easily fill a couple of lifetimes worth of reading, a good deal of which was written by people who write like they actually graduated from elementary school. Anyway, just vote with your wallet.

Moejoe
04-17-2010, 10:50 AM
Everyone ought to just keep in mind that this model of pricing only works because 90% of the people who are complaining about it are still buying the books. That is the only thing Jobs and the rest of the industry cares about. You can complain all you want, but if you're still buying the books, then the industry couldn't care less about the complaints. Just refuse to buy the books - good Lord, why would anyone ever need to pay for a book anyway? There are enough samples of quality literature on Project Gutenberg alone to easily fill a couple of lifetimes worth of reading, a good deal of which was written by people who write like they actually graduated from elementary school. Anyway, just vote with your wallet.


I agree one hundred percent. The publishing industry and, shamed as I am to admit this, the independent publishing world are criminally bland at the moment. I've now shifted all my reading to Public Domain works where the writing and the stories are by far more interesting, engrossing and challenging.

=X=
04-17-2010, 11:06 AM
...
My take on is that it will eventually play out that the e-book is launched at a higher price when the hardcover is the only version out (not the hardcover cover price, but maybe $15 or so varying by book), then will drop to at or below the paperback price when that version is released.
I have no problem with that scheme if that is indeed what comes to play. ...

Your last sentence in the quote really gets to the heart of my concern, I don't believe that their prices will follow their proposed pricing. The whole reason for the agency model is to control the price., and in my opinion keep them high. Just think about it they could have always had control over the MSRP and could have adopted a similar pricing model as their proposed agency model. So then why go to an agency model... To prevent retail stores from dropping the price of an eBook to the price where ebooks are much more attractive than their paper counterparts.

Tamara
04-17-2010, 11:40 AM
I honestly don't understand what all the crying is about. I've had a reader for over 3 years now and I've yet to actually buy a book. There is so much available in the public domain that it can keep even the most avid reader busy for years.

I also honestly don't understand why everything is always Apple's fault. They brokered deals for their ebookstore just like they did with the music labels. There is absolutely no reason that Amazon/B&N/etc can't broker their own deals.

At the end of the day, if you don't like the price, don't buy it. Crying here and playing the blame game is a waste of time.

tompe
04-17-2010, 11:51 AM
Steve Jobs has caused ebooks to take a huge step backwards with the prices rising after all the other retailers were starting to lower their prices.


I think it is a huge step forward since the backlists are or will be available and the ebook are be available at the same time as the hardcover and the price of the ebook will be lowered automatically when time passes.

tompe
04-17-2010, 11:54 AM
It's unfathomable to me the influence of one person (and his company) to virtually derail an entire industry.


Yes, Amazon was on the way to derail an entire industry. So one more big entity saved the situation.

Crowl
04-17-2010, 01:29 PM
I honestly don't understand what all the crying is about. I've had a reader for over 3 years now and I've yet to actually buy a book. There is so much available in the public domain that it can keep even the most avid reader busy for years.


To paraphrase a popular statement from the apple forum, if you don't buy books then you have no right to an opinion on pricing. :D


I also honestly don't understand why everything is always Apple's fault. They brokered deals for their ebookstore just like they did with the music labels. There is absolutely no reason that Amazon/B&N/etc can't broker their own deals.


While many things are apple's fault, this isn't one of them, if it hadn't been apple then the publishers would have taken advantage of whoever came along that was potentially large enough to play off against amazon.

Tamara
04-17-2010, 02:23 PM
To paraphrase a popular statement from the apple forum, if you don't buy books then you have no right to an opinion on pricing. :D


I don't recall ever seeing that on the Apple forums but I generally don't go to the iTunes related ones.

The biggest reason I don't buy ebooks is the quality of modern "literature" is poor at best while being sold at a premium. Before B&N closed in our town, I'd flip through the new books to see if I wanted to buy the ebook version and invariably the answer was no.

I also believe that if I'm going to buy the book, I expect proper spelling and grammar. I'm reading a somewhat interesting Creative Commons novel and I was going to donate to the author but the level of misspelling is unacceptable. It seems that he didn't even bother to use a spellchecker or have a second set of eyes proofread it. Murdered is consistently spelled mirrdered. AU appears anywhere that All is used as the first word of a sentence, etc.

kindlekitten
04-17-2010, 02:25 PM
I honestly don't understand what all the crying is about. I've had a reader for over 3 years now and I've yet to actually buy a book. There is so much available in the public domain that it can keep even the most avid reader busy for years.

I also honestly don't understand why everything is always Apple's fault. They brokered deals for their ebookstore just like they did with the music labels. There is absolutely no reason that Amazon/B&N/etc can't broker their own deals.

At the end of the day, if you don't like the price, don't buy it. Crying here and playing the blame game is a waste of time.

some of us actually DO like to buy current popular books. it's great if your reading needs are being met by free offerings, but not everyone wants to do that. I get a LOT of my stuff through the free offers as well, but, as is intended, occasionally the first in a series or just a new author is available, and my interest is piqued. and sometimes there are books you learn about that just sound good. if we don't "cry" here now, we'll be taken advantage of for years

Kali Yuga
04-17-2010, 03:04 PM
So while I still agree with the general premise, I just have to say again that some of y'all need to get a grip. Really.

Availability will improve, since the major publishers will not have to worry about ebooks sabotaging high-margin hardcover sales; e.g. Macmillan's CEO has publicly stated they will put out the ebook at the same time paper first goes on sale. The real issue that has temporarily affected availability is that a few smaller ebook retailers did not handle the transition to the agency model properly. Perhaps they didn't get enough notice, perhaps their DBA's suck, but whatever happened it was short-lived. Meanwhile, on Amazon alone the number of ebooks has gone from around 400,000 to nearly 500,000 since January 1st, 2010.

Thus, it's a tad silly to conflate a retailer fumbling a major pricing change with "ongoing lack of availability," especially since the numbers indicate otherwise.

Prices also aren't affected nearly as badly as the Chicken Littles proclaim. Some new ebooks are expensive, others are still at $10 or so. As a title gets older, it will drop in price -- just in the same way that a new hardcover gets released as a less expensive paperback after a delay. I'm sure someone will drum up a handful of titles that cost more than they are willing to pay, but really you'd have to do a full analysis with a representative sample of commercial titles, before and after the agency model, to get an accurate picture.

I might add that the $10 price point was not exactly universal prior to the agency model. Sony, B&N, Amazon and others didn't always hew to that exact price point, and when they did it was often subsidized by the retailer in order to try and gain market share.

Lastly, ebooks are still in their infancy, and sales still only account for 5% or less of the total book market. There are plenty of people who have never bought a commercial ebook, who will not necessarily have the expectation that "ebooks ought to be $10," and won't flinch nearly as badly at paying $13 for a NY Times Bestseller in ebook form.

IMO all this doom, gloom and bile is not fully justifiable, and I seriously doubt it will result in the destruction of an entire tier of the book industry as some believe (or desire).

JSWolf
04-17-2010, 06:12 PM
Sales of eBooks has been up while sales of hardcovers is down. This should say something about such high prices.

daffy4u
04-17-2010, 07:39 PM
At the end of the day, if you don't like the price, don't buy it. Crying here and playing the blame game is a waste of time.

There was no crying (notice the lack of a crying smiley). I am not playing a game and stating my opinion (first letters of the first post ..."IMO") is not a waste of time and if it is, it is my time to waste.

daffy4u
04-17-2010, 07:40 PM
While many things are apple's fault, this isn't one of them, if it hadn't been apple then the publishers would have taken advantage of whoever came along that was potentially large enough to play off against amazon.

Or maybe not. ;) Maybe no one else would have gone that route.

daffy4u
04-17-2010, 07:42 PM
I also believe that if I'm going to buy the book, I expect proper spelling and grammar. I'm reading a somewhat interesting Creative Commons novel and I was going to donate to the author but the level of misspelling is unacceptable. It seems that he didn't even bother to use a spellchecker or have a second set of eyes proofread it. Murdered is consistently spelled mirrdered. AU appears anywhere that All is used as the first word of a sentence, etc.

One of the reasons they don't, IMO, deserve to charge higher prices for ebooks. Way too many of them have formatting and spelling issues.

TallMomof2
04-17-2010, 08:04 PM
The only way the publishers could've pushed the Agency Model through was to either convince Amazon or another big player or potential big player. Enter Apple with a new device and the publishers knew that if they could convince Apple/Jobs then Amazon would have to follow and that would force all the ebook sellers to do the same.

*If* Apple/Jobs hadn't caved then we probably wouldn't have the Agency Model.

That's one way you could blame Apple/Jobs.

Amazon really liked their $9.99 sales model because it really helped to sell a lot of Kindles. I don't see them agreeing to the Agency Model if Apple hadn't done so first.

Just my opinion.

charleski
04-17-2010, 09:21 PM
I suppose those with plenty of time on their hands have nothing better to do than keep whining about pricing, despite the fact that average prices have stayed about the same.

OTOH, now that ebooks aren't just a promotional tool for Amazon's hardware business, there's a much better chance that publishers will put more resources into getting them right.

Crowl
04-17-2010, 09:25 PM
I don't recall ever seeing that on the Apple forums but I generally don't go to the iTunes related ones.


I mean the apple forum on this site, it seems fairly common for people to say that others aren't allowed to be critical about the ipad if they haven't got one i.e. if you aren't buying books you have no right to voice an opinion on their pricing either. ;)

daffy4u
04-17-2010, 10:28 PM
I suppose those with plenty of time on their hands have nothing better to do than keep whining about pricing, despite the fact that average prices have stayed about the same.


Did I miss memo? Are there guidlines as to how much time one should have and what one is allowed to do with it. And maybe I misunderstand the dinfinition of whining because I don't know what you're referring to (maybe you're not talking t me but I'd still like to know).

dyrinn45
04-17-2010, 11:30 PM
yea, books are close the same price.

Atlas Shrugged pre A5 - $5.99

Atlas Shrugged post A5 - $27.99

but the ebook prices are the same!

bgalbrecht
04-17-2010, 11:39 PM
The real issue that has temporarily affected availability is that a few smaller ebook retailers did not handle the transition to the agency model properly. Perhaps they didn't get enough notice, perhaps their DBA's suck, but whatever happened it was short-lived.

It wasn't just the smaller retailers, it was also two of the three major ebook distributors.

JSWolf
04-17-2010, 11:40 PM
One of the reasons they don't, IMO, deserve to charge higher prices for ebooks. Way too many of them have formatting and spelling issues.

I totally agree. I reformat most ePub I buy because they are not formatted like we get with a paper book. How many paper books have line spaces between paragraphs and some are huge. Also we get sometimes huge indents and also we get font sizes that are too small at the default size. No cover, and large margins also need fixing. So these sorts of things need fixing and I do it. So they should pay me.

JSWolf
04-17-2010, 11:42 PM
The problem was that the publishers didn't have the leverage to say to Amazon... "Fine, we just won't sell through your shop.". Now the were able to say to Amazon... "Fine, don't sell our eBooks, we'll let Apple do it.". See how it's Apple's fault here?

mykoffee
04-18-2010, 08:00 AM
I suppose those with plenty of time on their hands have nothing better to do than keep whining about pricing, despite the fact that average prices have stayed about the same.

OTOH, now that ebooks aren't just a promotional tool for Amazon's hardware business, there's a much better chance that publishers will put more resources into getting them right.


Stayed about the same? Nearly every book on my wishlist went up in price, many by several dollars. They are now more expensive than their print counterparts and there is no such thing as 'shopping around' for them since the prices are fixed everywhere. Yeah, I'm happy to spend my time talking about it, complaining about it, hoping that something may change if people don't purchase the books at these higher prices. This topic is quite interesting to me and apparently many others right now, you too obviously since you took your own time to join in. :)

Linda

Tamara
04-18-2010, 10:21 AM
I mean the apple forum on this site, it seems fairly common for people to say that others aren't allowed to be critical about the ipad if they haven't got one i.e. if you aren't buying books you have no right to voice an opinion on their pricing either. ;)

I understand now :).

MerLock
04-20-2010, 04:03 PM
Everyone ought to just keep in mind that this model of pricing only works because 90% of the people who are complaining about it are still buying the books. That is the only thing Jobs and the rest of the industry cares about. You can complain all you want, but if you're still buying the books, then the industry couldn't care less about the complaints. Just refuse to buy the books - good Lord, why would anyone ever need to pay for a book anyway? There are enough samples of quality literature on Project Gutenberg alone to easily fill a couple of lifetimes worth of reading, a good deal of which was written by people who write like they actually graduated from elementary school. Anyway, just vote with your wallet.

Agreed. I've stopped buying ebooks that I feel are overly priced or DRM I can't strip.