View Full Version : Will the Amazon Kindle cost US$50?


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Alexander Turcic
11-27-2006, 08:42 AM
Update: Well, roughly a year later the cat is out of the bag. $50 would have been too good to be true. For more, join our Kindle discussions (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=140)

Rumors are that the Kindle, Amazon's leaked E Ink e-reader, may be heavily subsidized to push the online retailer's e-book sales. Quoting Nick Hampshire of Afaics:

This may only be a rumour but it certainly is a viable option, an analysis of the manufacturing cost of the device indicates that a subsidised retail price of about US$50 is possible. And, from market research we know that this would probably be low enough to create a sufficient demand for e-books and e-reader devices to ensure that the company not only recouped its subsidy cost but created a growing market. However, this would mean subsidising the sale of several hundred thousand Kindle readers.
Related: Amazon E Ink reader? (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7569) (with specs), Remember Kindle? (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8111) (with pics)

RWood
11-27-2006, 09:05 AM
If that is true then it may be that a rising tide lifts all boats. However it is more likely that it could become another Beta vs. VHS battle.

Given reviews like the recent one in Forbes, it would seem that they will value number of available texts and total number of features over all other things. Remember that the press is still in love with Amazon.

rlauzon
11-27-2006, 09:14 AM
Rumors are that the Kindle, Amazon's leaked E Ink e-reader, may be heavily subsidized to push the online retailer's e-book sales.

I would worry about the Kindle supporting non-proprietary formats then.

If Amazon prices the Kindle with the idea that they will "make up for their loss" with eBooks sales, then they will have to do something to force (or at least make it preferable) people to buy eBooks from Amazon.

Support for non-proprietary formats would make Amazon lose money on the Kindle. Of course, support for only DRM-emcumbered eBooks will also make it lose money.

yvanleterrible
11-27-2006, 09:32 AM
Even at that price I don't see many people who'd want to be caught with such a poorly visually designed piece.

TadW
11-27-2006, 09:39 AM
yvan, don't be fooled by the pics. It's possible that what we see is just a prototype handed over to the FCC to test the internals of the device, but not the final design.

yvanleterrible
11-27-2006, 09:42 AM
I hope so because I love the idea of a keyboard and bluetooth!

arivero
11-27-2006, 09:51 AM
It can not be, except if they have developed their own operating system.

yvanleterrible
11-27-2006, 09:55 AM
Maybe this is why it's not out yet?

Jake
11-27-2006, 10:37 AM
Hmm, I think this would be quite "do-able" given some favorable conditions. The proven model has certainly been around a long while (sell 'em the razors and they'll buy the blades etc.) And, the expensive R & D end of things is pretty much done - e-ink is a purchase-able commodity for manufacturers at this point.

Lately I've been musing about why Sony didn't just partner with Amazon in the first place - make Mobi-read a supported platform and voila - instant vast storefront, neat software, software support etc. I'd have loved it (I like the mobi-reader platform anyway) and the book selection would have been amazing.

Will never know the negotiating stuff that goes on behind closed doors of course.
Personally I *really* like the form factor of the Reader vs what is pictured as the Kindle, but being a fickle guy to the core, show me a better product and I'll switch in a heartbeat...

CommanderROR
11-27-2006, 10:59 AM
I would love anything amazon offers...if it isn't quite as ugly as the kindle shown on the pics...^^

Amazon is one of my favourite shops EVER and i'm very sad that you can't even buy a single ebook on amazon.de at the moment.
I hope Amazon will not go Sony-way and offer their new ebook reader + software + library in the US only...

About the 50$ thing...I'd rather pay 500 for the device and then get the books cheaper...the amount I read makes that solution a lot cheaper for me in the long run. Also, a subscription service like the Zune-thing that is rumoured to come sometime (of course, US only once again...) would also be cool...a book-flatrate...^^

segatang
11-27-2006, 11:28 AM
It sounds good!
If it is true, it will be the best news in the ebook world~ :)

NatCh
11-27-2006, 12:03 PM
It can not be, except if they have developed their own operating system.About that, I remember that the manual (the one we snaked before they noticed we were looking ;)) listed .PRC as one of the supported formats ... anybody else wonder if this could be a Palm OS device?

Jack B Nimble
11-27-2006, 12:37 PM
About that, I remember that the manual (the one we snaked before they noticed we were looking ;)) listed .PRC as one of the supported formats ... anybody else wonder if this could be a Palm OS device?
I don't really expect it to be. Heck even Palm doesn't seem to want to run Palm (the 6.0 OS was never picked up by the hardware makers, and now the OS people are looking to put the Palm GUI on Linux), though since I currently read on Palm, and most of my tools and software work on Palm, I wouldn't be upset if it were.

More likely, though, it just reads the PRC doc files, which used to be called Palm Doc (though I think it was more accurate to call them Aportis Doc files). The format does not support formatted text, but it compresses well, and just about all handhelds can read it, so it makes a nicely portable alternative to plain text.

Jack

arivero
11-27-2006, 01:06 PM
On the other hand they could subsidize in a different way: to ask, say, for $500 and to redeem $450 in Amazon coupons for any product, or to ask for $200 and redeem $150 in Amazon coupons for e-books and e-music only. No problem then about supporting open or popular formats.

They could even have more subtle strategies as a monthly subsidy during one year, so that they are sure you connect to Amazon at least once per month.

nojetlag
11-27-2006, 01:31 PM
Amazon should rather focus on pushing the ebook price to 25% of the paperbook price, the rest will happen automatically.

NatCh
11-27-2006, 02:49 PM
Quoting Nick Hampshire of Afaics....Say, isn't this the same guy who said Sony sold $.5 mil in Readers in the first week (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8168&highlight=Nick+Hampshire)?

We couldn't really figure out where he was getting his math then, and this time he says he's reporting rumors .... I'm not sure how much weight we should give what he's saying. :shrug:

We're pretty sure the displays alone are in the $150~200 range right now, so even if he's in the right solar system on the price, what sort of long-term cost of ownership would Amazon have to bind its customers to in order to stay alive? ~$50 up front and $30 a month for the next 2 years?

I hope that's not what they're thinking, 'cause I don't think it'd go over well with the general public. I don't like th sound of it, anyway. :shrug:

Liviu_5
11-27-2006, 02:56 PM
Amazon should rather focus on pushing the ebook price to 25% of the paperbook price, the rest will happen automatically.


Unfortunately unless they start their own serious publishing business (not a halfbaked attempt like Amazon shorts) and then damage their relation with the big publishers, it ain't going to happen how much I would like that.

I have my profound doubts on the possibility of a subsidized cheap ebook reader since that model does not work with content as conclusively proved before (gemstar, librie....any device that allows only proprietary content will either get hacked or die).

On the other hand pushing a cheap but breakeven or slightly profitable hardware which allows nonproprietary content may be doable by Amazon to build business as they do with many other programs of that type. I have no idea how much it would cost, but I see a 100-150$ range possible.

Liviu

bowerbird
11-27-2006, 05:00 PM
if you have no idea how much the "subsidy" will be
-- or, just as importantly, the exact form it takes --
isn't it simply irresponsible to repeat this "rumor"?

like david rothman, nick hampshire has made "predictions"
about the imminent debut of unreasonably cheap machines,
and is now trying to salvage some semblance of sensibility,
but he's just digging himself deeper into his own black hole.

let's be smart enough not to believe this nonsense, ok?

if you want to know what a machine like this _really_ costs,
look at the ones actually for sale -- the sony and the iliad --
both of which are _also_ actively seeking means of subsidy...

then ask yourself -- in a time when $300 laptops are the
loss-leaders of the season -- whether a dedicated device
makes sense. you will come to the position that has been
the only possible answer all along: it makes no sense at all,
except to capitalists who'll lock you to their money machine.

-bowerbird

NatCh
11-27-2006, 05:12 PM
... ask yourself ... whether a dedicated device makes sense. you will come to the position that has been the only possible answer all along: it makes no sense at all....I beg to (respectfully) differ, bowerbird. I think whether a dedicated device makes sense, depends on the circumstances and sensabilities of the person evaluating said dedicated device. I don't think this question is one that has an absolutely correct answer, there are simply too many variables and circumstances that potentially affect it that just can't be accounted for. :shrug:

For instance, as of this moment, there are at least 194 (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7878) MobileReaders to whom it made sense enough. :grin:

Nightwing
11-27-2006, 11:16 PM
Hmm, I think this would be quite "do-able" given some favorable conditions. The proven model has certainly been around a long while (sell 'em the razors and they'll buy the blades etc.) And, the expensive R & D end of things is pretty much done - e-ink is a purchase-able commodity for manufacturers at this point.

Lately I've been musing about why Sony didn't just partner with Amazon in the first place - make Mobi-read a supported platform and voila - instant vast storefront, neat software, software support etc. I'd have loved it (I like the mobi-reader platform anyway) and the book selection would have been amazing.

Will never know the negotiating stuff that goes on behind closed doors of course.
Personally I *really* like the form factor of the Reader vs what is pictured as the Kindle, but being a fickle guy to the core, show me a better product and I'll switch in a heartbeat...

Actually surprise they did not partner with Apple. Jobs had the Sony top person on the stage a year are so ago.

jashsu
11-27-2006, 11:54 PM
whether a dedicated device
makes sense. you will come to the position that has been
the only possible answer all along: it makes no sense at all,
Thank you for showing me the light, bowerbird. Just moments ago I threw away my toothbrush, electric razor and hair dryer. Now can anyone tell me where to buy a razorbrushdryer? Preferably under $20. ;)

bowerbird
11-28-2006, 02:39 AM
natchi said:
> For instance, as of this moment, there are at least
> 194 MobileReaders to whom it made sense enough.

i hope 194 customers is enough to make sony happy! ;+)

look, i really believe a $50 machine is a pipedream, and
that continuing to foster this myth is counterproductive.

here's my reasoning...

any dedicated machine will need:
1. a chip, etc.
2. a screen.
3. an operating system, etc.
4. miscellaneous plastic, etc.
5. marketing, shipping, handling.

a multi-purpose machine will need:
1. a chip, etc.
2. a screen.
3. an operating system, etc.
4. miscellaneous plastic, etc.
5. marketing, shipping, handling.

given these two(?) lists, i don't see where
the dedicated machine can squeeze costs.

there might be _tradeoffs_ that can be made.

the most obvious one is battery-life, but
as sony's machine shows, you could also
"opt out" of some capabilities (like search).

another one (which took us by surprise, eh?)
is the speed of screen-refresh on page-turns.

take away enough of these "niceties" and
maybe you could cut the cost enough, but
you've also cut the appeal of the machine.

so i'm not saying that it's _impossible_ that
someone could build a dedicated machine
that _might_ come in at a lower price-point,
and actually make enough sales to register.

but that advantage is likely to be shortlived...
so i don't think you'll _ever_ get critical mass.

it doesn't give me a great deal of joy to say it,
but a dedicated e-book-machine is unlikely
simply because there aren't enough readers
left out in our world to make the thing pay...

so the best hope for e-books is to piggyback
on some other form-factor that _is_ viable...

-bowerbird

nekokami
11-28-2006, 08:52 AM
I think it depends on what you consider "dedicated." A reasonable sized device for reading books isn't probably what most people are looking for in a work machine (or a game machine), but might have overlap with the PDA market. I could actually do most of what I need to do with a computer on the iLiad, if the right software were available for it. Very few of my usual computing tasks require a high framerate or fast processor. In most cases I'd happily trade those features for the ability to read the screen outside.

Amazon spends a huge amount on shipping. They know it's one of the things that sometimes drives their business to local retailers -- shipping costs and time. Take a look at the deals they've been offering on shipping all along -- no shipping for a certain order size, flat 2-day shipping fee for a year ("Amazon Prime"), etc. If Amazon can get their huge customer base to switch to a device that is easy to read on and can provide more or less instant gratification to customers with no shipping costs, they'd be fools not to jump at it, and I don't think they are fools. I could easily see the device priced at the same cost as the "Amazon Prime" plan, for marketing reasons-- plus some amount that you get back as a "rebate" coupon for Amazon digital goods. Amazon makes up the cost on those goods. (Which means they probably won't be much cheaper than they are now.) I also think Amazon has the leverage to "encourage" publishers to offer more of their inventory in eBook format, if they can show the market is there.

Would this be the be-all, end-all for eBooks? Probably not. But it could be a big step forward, in terms of popularizing the idea of eBooks. A later generation may be able to make both the books and the readers cheap.

yvanleterrible
11-28-2006, 09:16 AM
The latest posts promt me to jump on both sides of the fence at the same time. OUCH! :knife:

Do you remember a very very very few years ago when it was told that that $600.00 printer you bought actually costs $35.00 to produce?

Last week I bought a new LI Ion battery for my Xacti at a store near here. It's about the same size as the one pictured in the Kindle manual and cost $43.00.

You can never trust a price unless you see the company's internal numbers, and that can also be fudged.

RWood
11-28-2006, 10:16 AM
From what I have heard (here's another story with only a little, if any backing) the e-ink screen alone costs the manufacturers over $25. If we assume a 4:1 markup from materials to sales price for the battery mentioned above, that adds another $4 to the mix. $2 for the case and another $3 for the box, instructions, and inserts. That leaves $16 for electronics, manufacturing, shipping, R&D, and manufacturer's profit if Amazon is to sell them at cost.

As for the dedicated reader aspect, I have a small laptop, I bought a Reader. I have a Palm equiped phone that I have used for reading, I bought a Reader. I voted for the Reader with my wallet.

radleyp
11-28-2006, 10:51 AM
I don't think Amazon needs any subsidy at all. Consider cellphones: dealers will give them to you free, provided you sign up for some service contract. Amazon could do exactly the same thing: a free reader with a one-year subscription, say, to their ebook library. The cost of the reader is absorbed into the service contract.

jashsu
11-28-2006, 12:55 PM
look, i really believe a $50 machine is a pipedream, and
that continuing to foster this myth is counterproductive.

here's my reasoning...

any dedicated machine will need:
1. a chip, etc.
2. a screen.
3. an operating system, etc.
4. miscellaneous plastic, etc.
5. marketing, shipping, handling.

a multi-purpose machine will need:
1. a chip, etc.
2. a screen.
3. an operating system, etc.
4. miscellaneous plastic, etc.
5. marketing, shipping, handling.

given these two(?) lists, i don't see where
the dedicated machine can squeeze costs.
The dedicated reader's cpu is probably a Motorola Dragonball or Intel PXA255, clocked between 33-200 Mhz. Its screen is a 6-10" e-ink or greyscale LCD. The operating system is likely a simple proprietary interface or some type of embedded linux. A dedicated reader's chassis is probably much smaller and lighter, maybe at most 10-15 ounces.

The typical notebook computer is using an Intel Pentium M, clocked at 1-2 Ghz. Its screen is between 10-15" color TFT. The operating system is likely Windows XP Home. A notebook computer's chassis can weigh between 4-8 lbs.

Are you honestly saying that you cannot see a massive difference in cost of materials between these two?

When the dedicated e-book reader is priced at $300, its because the company is making a $150 profit selling it. When a notebook computer is priced at $300, its because the retailer is clearing obsolete stock, and its probably being subsidized by an ISP contract.

Nightwing
11-28-2006, 01:39 PM
Would be nice....

kacir
11-28-2006, 01:39 PM
People are grumbling about the look of the kindle.

as long as:
- it features an e-ink display
- it has less than 100 dolar pricetag
- I can upload my plain text file into it (unlike original Librie)

I do not care how it looks, how much memory it has, what material the body is made of.

If it costs $50 I do not care if the body of the device is made from cardboard and the reader needs an external power (I would connect a holder for a few standard AA accumulators.)

Not so long ago I have been using an "ebook reader" that had 2MB of store memory. I was able to load in 4 average books. I do not need more for READING.
I have been reading books from Cassiopeia A-11 and A22 for years and I have never had the need for
- fancy controls except for a) selecting the book, b) selecting the font, c) page-up + page-down
- dictionary
- text search
- touch screen
- mp3 player

Now I have a 16MB Flash card that can hold staggering number of books (more than 32! ;-) and I am happy.

I think there is big market potential for a "barebone" lowcost ebook reader for bookworms like myself that devour book after book after book after book. There are also quite a few people that buy several Harlequin paperbacks a week. That is some potential.

NatCh
11-28-2006, 01:44 PM
i hope 194 customers is enough to make sony happy! ;+)I'm sure it's not, but not every Reader owner is a MobileReader, and I was using the MobileReaders who are Reader owners to point out that your conclusion that a dedicated device doesn't "make sense" isn't as clear and inevitable as you were claiming it is.

But you knew that already. :nice:

look, i really believe a $50 machine is a pipedream, and
that continuing to foster this myth is counterproductive.

here's my reasoning...

any dedicated machine will need:
1. a chip, etc.
2. a screen.
3. an operating system, etc.
4. miscellaneous plastic, etc.
5. marketing, shipping, handling.

a multi-purpose machine will need:
1. a chip, etc.
2. a screen.
3. an operating system, etc.
4. miscellaneous plastic, etc.
5. marketing, shipping, handling.

given these two(?) lists, i don't see where
the dedicated machine can squeeze costs.You're leaving out some reduced cost due to a simpler control set (buttons and such), but that's fairly trivial. :smile:

In any case, I agree, I don't see any way they can get the cost down enough to make any money on the hardware in the $50 range.



From what I have heard (here's another story with only a little, if any backing) the e-ink screen alone costs the manufacturers over $25.I've been trying to get a bead on this for some time. The best guess (and it's still a guess) is that the 6" screen is somewhere between $150 and $200. The folks over at the Baen Bar (http://bar.baen.com) have been trying to design their own e-reader. They couldn't say specifically what costs what (due to an NDA with PrimeView) but they did say that if they bought some of the more common parts themselves and did their own assembly, they could get the cost down to around $300 -- I think that was for a lot of 1000 units. I specifically asked the Sony guys what the cost of the displays was when we were at the Blogger's Day thing -- they wouldn't tell me a number, but did venture the opinion that the ~$350 that iRex was quoting to replace their 10" display was not out of line. Like I said, I don't have hard numbers either, but I've been puzzling over this for some time, and have gathered a few data points. :shrug:


I don't think Amazon needs any subsidy at all. Consider cellphones: dealers will give them to you free, provided you sign up for some service contract.That kind of is a form of subsidy, radelyp. :grin:

Amazon could do exactly the same thing: a free reader with a one-year subscription, say, to their ebook library. The cost of the reader is absorbed into the service contract.I'd be a bit leery of this sort of thing, speaking for myself. If it costs them even as little as $250 to make the units, then they're going to have to recoup that cost in order to stay in business. They'll also have to not lose money on the content they're "subscribing" you to. I have nightmare visions of a new round of "Columbia Record Club" type things for e-books. I don't want to climb in that particular type of pit if I can help it.

Maybe they can come up with an arrangement that would be fair all around (and I, personally, don't doubt that they'll sure try), but I'd want to read the fine print very carefully before I agreed to it. :shrug:

radleyp
11-28-2006, 01:59 PM
But, NatCh, if you own a cellphone you are already in that kind of situation, limited by some service contract. I completely agree that any such Amazon agreement must be read with GREAT care, as is the case with cellphone contracts. In any case, I was only suggesting the possibility.

Bowerbird's point about standalone reader devices certainly resonates with me: while I wouldn't mind packing a standalone reader when going on a trip, I don't want to carry two devices all the time, and that is frankly the main (though, as you already know, not the only) reason I have not bought the reader.

NatCh
11-28-2006, 02:03 PM
Well, there you go then, another case of nothing is everything. :smile:

Nightwing
11-28-2006, 05:55 PM
The catch is the e-Ink displays are probably where LCD were about 7 to 8 years ago. In price and defects... ANd if you price a replacement LCD pannel for a laptop. Major sticker shock!

So they would be expensive. But after using it. Its darn well worth the price. ^_^

Tom Swift
11-29-2006, 01:58 AM
IIRC, Amazon ran at a huge loss for years in order to build the brand and the company. Now, they are doing fine because they (and their investors) took the chance. Amazon does not seem to be scared of taking a loss for a while in order to profit in the future. Maybe something like this would work.

yvanleterrible
11-29-2006, 09:16 AM
But, NatCh, if you own a cellphone you are already in that kind of situation, limited by some service contract. I completely agree that any such Amazon agreement must be read with GREAT care, as is the case with cellphone contracts. In any case, I was only suggesting the possibility.

Bowerbird's point about standalone reader devices certainly resonates with me: while I wouldn't mind packing a standalone reader when going on a trip, I don't want to carry two devices all the time, and that is frankly the main (though, as you already know, not the only) reason I have not bought the reader.
Choice is obvious! Take the reader and leave the phone! :happy2:

kahm
11-29-2006, 09:14 PM
If I could actually buy the kindle (I'm in Canada) without getting completely hosed, I would.

I paid $500 for my Librie. I'd pay $500 again for the kindle if several hundreds of those dollars got rebated or subsidized by Amazon, assuming I could load my own content - it isn't like I wouldn't spend the money there *anyway*.

If there were no rebates, I couldn't load my own content, and I could buy it for $50 I'd STILL buy it, cause at that price it'll be hacked anyway...

People fighting the "Stand-alone" reader concept either don't read enough material "online" (computer/pda/etc) already, or have never used an E-ink device for any time period.

1) Laptops are way overkill - too big, too heavy, too hot, too hard to read (sunlight, backlight induced eyestrain, poor ergonoics for just *reading*). The only thing they do better would be high-res content like PDFs.

2) PDA screens are too small and low resolution. The biggest screen you'll see on a PDA is around 4", VGA resolution, and they share the poor qualities of the laptop LCD - eyestrain and readability issues. The battery life is generally better than a laptop but not great, but you can still run into heat issues. (the bigger the screen, the higher end the PDA, the bigger the processor and the more heat you get out of the backlight. How popular are LED backlights now? None of my devices have one...) PDA's also tend to be clunky and un-ergonomic for reading, even if the weight is in the right range. Add field of view issues for the LCD and it looks even worse. They are more portable and handier than the laptop, while making higher resolution content available (but usually not very well)

3) Other, like cell phones (worse *everything* than PDAs, save for portability), other ebook readers (mostly not bad, save for LCD, battery, and availability), dead tree formats (loss of convenience, bulky, not reusable, relatively expensive to print off or buy everything you'd ever read otherwise...), computer (less mobile than a laptop, uncomfortable to sit in front of for hours on end), etc

Don't get me wrong - I own several laptops, PDAs, and cellphones, and at some point I've read an electronic text on every last one of them and have done so for years. Web pages, documentation, online-only (no dead tree edition) text, books, magazines, manga - the works. Not a single one of the other readers comes anywhere close to how nice it is to read on the Librie. I still read a lot on my "other" devices, but if I have a choice, or I'm going to read for pleasure - it's now on the Librie.

So if you don't read much, have no disposable income, only read in pitch darkness,don't want to carry an extra 255gram device, or if you have no interest in anything that's only available online, it may not be the device for you.

Otherwise you'll find the reader is generally easier to read than a book (no holding pages open), most people find that the refresh doesn't bug you after using it for a while, and the size, shape, and weight beat out most other hand-held electronic devices for reading, hands down. Add that to a low-eyestrain 6" screen with a guaranteed 180degree FOV, and you've got a winner. :) You just have to try it for a while to realize it.

kahm
11-29-2006, 09:56 PM
The manual for the Kindle gives an interesting hint as to exactly how Amazon plans to market the device.

P26
Q. I lost my Kindle. How to I cancel my account?
A. Customer service can help you with that.


It reeks of "subscription" to me. If you lose a non-subscription device, why would you care about cancelling your account? You just stop using it.

Subsequent pages also talk about replacing purchased material that you accidently deleted. They mention that all the data you've ever bought will be visible in the "home" screen on the kindle itself, and anything you buy automatically downloads itself directly to the Kindle. There isn't any mention of managing purchases on a PC. (Although, I would imagine that you'd purchase though a web browser in the first place...)

It mentions a Kindle Companion (PC only) program that lets you convert your own data, or being able to load your data directly onto the Kindle when it's mounted like a USB drive, but nothing about purchases on or working with the computer.

Interesting.

bowerbird
11-30-2006, 02:59 AM
this was originally mis-posted into another thread,
so i apologize if some quotes are from elsewhere.

***

nekokami said:
> I think it depends on what you consider "dedicated."

i can answer that in one word -- e-mail.
if you can read e-mail and write responses
on it, that machine will be "good enough",
at least for a good percentage of people.

if you can throw in general web-browsing,
then i think you'll satisfy almost everyone.
(mapquest on the go is a _big_necessity_.)

on yeah, has to be a phone/mp3 player, as
otherwise, we'd have to carry two devices.

there are machines out there that do this!
i don't know why nobody ever talks about
the sidekick. everyone i know who has one
raves about it. but look at what they cost!
(and then up that price for a better screen.
and notice they are subsidized with plans.)

but on ebay, a used sidekick holds its value,
because people are willing to pay that much
for a machine that can do what it does, and
no profit-minded company will sell for less.
(and anyone who thinks they will is wrong.)

***

jashsu said:
> are you honestly saying that you cannot see
> a massive difference in cost of materials
> between these two?

i'm saying if you can build a dedicated reader
that you can profitably sell for $50, _do_it_!

do it _now_, for crying out loud, you'll sell millions!


> When the dedicated e-book reader is priced at $300,
> its because the company is making a $150 profit selling it.

ya know, i'm cynical about corporate greed -- really cynical --
but even i cannot be _that_ cynical. not even close. you win!

the machine sony sells for $350 _costs_ $350 to make and sell,
once you figure in all the corporate overhead, which you must.
(selling the thing -- which includes support -- costs more than
its manufacture in the first place, often _quadruple_ as much.)

that $50 "credit" that sony gives new purchasers now is the $50
they're willing to lose now so as to get customers for the future.

the $650 iliad probably costs $750 to make and sell (because
the spin-off doing it doesn't have sony's economies of scale).
they're burning the parent-company's money as an investment.

***

radleyp said:
> I don't think Amazon needs any subsidy at all.
> Consider cellphones: dealers will give them to you free,
> provided you sign up for some service contract.
> Amazon could do exactly the same thing: a free reader
> with a one-year subscription, say, to their ebook library.
> The cost of the reader is absorbed into the service contract.

um, except that's exactly what a subsidy is.

and i'm sure they'd be happy to do just that, but
their 1-year plan would likely require you to buy
four dozen books -- just 1 book a week, folks! --
at a price of $25 each, which works out to $1200.

which might not seem _that_ bad -- especially to
those heavy readers out there -- until they realize
the books from which they're allowed to choose are
the ones that sell in the bookstores for $8.99 each...

and don't forget the d.r.m., which means that you
cannot pass the e-books on to friends or relatives,
like you can with those $8.99 bookstore p-books.

(ironically, it will be the d.r.m. which sky-rockets
calls to tech-support, raising that price sky-high,
which is why everything will cost so damn much.)

oh, maybe we forget to mention that, because of
the extra special deal you got on this "$50 reader",
we had to disallow loading "unauthorized content".

and none of your _personal_ content is "authorized".

sorry.

but you _can_ purchase our "blanket authorization",
which we have on sale (this month only!) for $398,
regular price $599, meaning you save _over_$200!_

do you get the picture?

anyway, in summary...

any scheme to "give them the razor for free and
charge them for the blades" is simply impossible
when so many people are giving away free blades.
(more content than you could read in your life is
already available free of charge on the internet.)

so you're chasing a pipedream, folks.

i'm sorry to bear this bad news. but anyone else
who says something different is trying to rob you
by giving you a "deal"... you're too smart for that.

-bowerbird

p.s. however, since i hate to leave you on a sour note,
take heart in the fact that _eventually_, full computers
will weigh less than 6 ounces and have screens that
are visible in full daylight _and_ also glow in the dark,
and can be folded just like a piece of paper and put in
your pocket. (technically, it will _be_ a piece of paper,
one that has had a special electrical grid painted on it.)
and, wonder of wonders, it will cost you a mere $389.
(that might sound like a lot now, but when this miracle
comes to pass, that will be what a loaf of bread costs,
so it'll actually be quite affordable, even to the masses.)
you just have to live for 57 more years for it to happen.
but i'm gonna live until i'm 191, so i'll be _stylin'_... :+)

NatCh
11-30-2006, 11:52 AM
i'm saying if you can build a dedicated reader
that you can profitably sell for $50, _do_it_!

do it _now_, for crying out loud, you'll sell millions!Now that I agree with whole-heartedly! :yes:

RWood
11-30-2006, 01:11 PM
While Amazon did lose millions of dollars in their early years, they made a "profit" on each item sold. Their early problems wer they were not selling enough items to cover the fixed expenses. At no time did Amazon sell goods below what it cost them except to clear old stock from the shelves.

Their business model is to make a profit on each item. For something like this they may shave their profit toward zero at the start to get people to buy it and then to come back for more books. There is also a huge market for selling maintenance contracts and insurance for devices.

yvanleterrible
11-30-2006, 01:23 PM
...Their business model is to make a profit on each item. For something like this they may shave their profit toward zero at the start to get people to buy it and then to come back for more books. There is also a huge market for selling maintenance contracts and insurance for devices...
Almost the lost leader model.

Nightwing
11-30-2006, 01:26 PM
Here is the real catch... Not the reader but how many book are available in E format

In the Razor blades-Handles concept... it was not untill Gelette figured hot how to make blades so cheep and in vast quantity.

Like a video game unit. Normally sold at a loss but made up on games. But if very few games for unit are available then its a looser even if its the best avaiable.

arivero
11-30-2006, 02:15 PM
In the Razor blades-Handles concept... it was not untill Gelette figured hot how to make blades so cheep and in vast quantity..
Actually they figured what to do and how to do it. It was a new concept in metalurgy.

Nightwing
11-30-2006, 02:57 PM
Actually they figured what to do and how to do it. It was a new concept in metalurgy.


Thats right... Had something to do with ribbon steel and putting a edge on it.

bowerbird
11-30-2006, 06:15 PM
if they undercharge for the machine,
they will overcharge for the books...

and if they undercharge for the books,
they will overcharge for the machine...

what we really want (or _should_)
is for them to charge the fair price
for the machine and for the books.

that's why we need to stop all this
ridiculous twitter on $50 machines.

even if it was realistic (and it's not,
by a longshot, not even close to it),
it simply wouldn't be a _fair_ price...

that's not to say that a _bookseller_
-- especially one as big as amazon --
wouldn't dangle it out there as bait...

but you know what happens to the
fish who go for the bait, don't you?

-bowerbird

jashsu
11-30-2006, 08:53 PM
that's why we need to stop all this
ridiculous twitter on $50 machines.
If there's any chance that the machine can read non-drm material (and i'd be pretty surprised if there weren't), then there's reason to hope for a $50 device.

rlauzon
12-01-2006, 05:08 AM
If there's any chance that the machine can read non-drm material (and i'd be pretty surprised if there weren't), then there's reason to hope for a $50 device.

The issue that I see is that there is no way for the device to be $50 and be able to read non-DRM material.

They simply cannot produce a usable device for $50 (today, at least) and break even. They have to sell it at a loss. Which means that they have to make up for that loss somewhere.

The obvious place is in the eBooks. If the device can read other formats, then there is little incentive to buy eBooks specifically for the device. Also, DRMed formats have very low value to the reader (remember, you never BUY an eBook with DRM - you LEASE it), so it would take alot of eBooks - or they will have to overprice the eBooks - to make up for the loss.

Not a good business model.

I agree with the previous poster: the reader should not be sold at a loss. At cost, maybe, but not a loss.
Then sell the eBooks at a reasonable price.

nekokami
12-01-2006, 08:29 AM
Generally good points, but they don't take into account the overhead of handling paper books: storage, order assembly, shipping, etc. For a local bookseller, the savings would be good, but for Amazon the savings would be astronomical. The infrastructure to sell the eBooks is already in place, an investment since payed off by their pBooks business. Amazon stands to benefit hugely if they can get even a substantial fraction of their customer base onto eBooks.

I wouldn't expect Amazon to sell a reader for $50, but I could see them taking something of a loss per unit initially, or offering a substantial coupon in the at-cost price of the unit toward books/music, just to get the market primed. This would be a "limited time" kind of deal, like the free Amazon Prime trial they offered last year. But they've got to get the volume of ereader sales up to get the unit cost down and to realize those savings in book order fulfillment, and they need to build a critical mass of customers in the eBook arena if they want to be able to leverage publishers to put more of their inventory into digital format.

I don't think a reader will sell for anything close to cost unless it can accept non-DRM books/user content, but I would not be surprised if the only DRM supported on an Amazon reader is Mobi, and other formats may need to be converted to Mobi unsecured to work. (I personally would not buy it unless it can support PDF, even though I think PDF is far from ideal as an eBook format -- I have too many academic papers in PDF format that I'd want to be able to read. But not everyone is an academic.)

yvanleterrible
12-01-2006, 09:03 AM
Amazon occupies the historical feat of being the first commercial internet book reseller. I'm not too sure if they are still the biggest but my point is this. Being internet only it would be a matter of pride to sell e-books and being the biggest at it. A loss leader like the Kindle is the perfect stepping stone to achieve this.
As a reminder of this marketing concept here is a definition.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_leader
My previous comment was a joke.:)

jashsu
12-01-2006, 11:14 AM
The issue that I see is that there is no way for the device to be $50 and be able to read non-DRM material.
I can see your point here, but I contend that it would be very difficult to market a media player device at any price if it cannot play back the user's content. I don't think any digital audio player has been released that could not play mp3 or a proprietary format that the user could create from his existing mp3s.

So that leaves a motivation for Amazon to price it at $50. My initial inclination is that the actual pricing will be something like $200 with a $150 ebook credit.

NatCh
12-01-2006, 12:23 PM
I don't think a reader will sell for anything close to cost unless it can accept non-DRM books/user content, but I would not be surprised if the only DRM supported on an Amazon reader is Mobi, and other formats may need to be converted to Mobi unsecured to work. (I personally would not buy it unless it can support PDF, even though I think PDF is far from ideal as an eBook format -- I have too many academic papers in PDF format that I'd want to be able to read. But not everyone is an academic.)The manual we lifted from the FCC site (before it was pulled -- and can now be found here (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=37735&postcount=28)) listed a number of formats.

Assuming it's still accurate (from page 43):Formats natively supported are: .AZW, .PRC, .MOBI, .MP3, .AA, and .TXT.So no RTF, no HTML and no PDF. Presumably there will be some sort of conversion software for 'personal files.'

Since it has the same 6" screen that the Reader has, I wouldn't expect A4 PDFs to be any more pleasent on it than they are on the Sony Reader anyway. :shrug:

My wife, who is also an academic (her collegues love it when I say I'm getting a 'Marital B.S. in English Literature' -- I'm planning to print my own diploma! :)), says to let her know when there's an A4 e-ink device that supports markups. She likes the idea of getting papers turned in electronically, then reading, marking up, and sending them back the same way. With the bonus that she keeps a copy of the paper and her comments.

I think they'd sell extremely well, so I plug the idea whenever I can. :grin:

rlauzon
12-01-2006, 12:37 PM
The manual we lifted from the FCC site (before it was pulled -- and can now be found listed a number of formats.
Formats natively supported are: .AZW, .PRC, .MOBI, .MP3, .AA, and .TXT.

Never heard of .AZW (and can't Google anything on it either).

PRC is not a file format. It's a Palm Resource. So it depends on what's in it. Although Mobipocket content is usually mis-named with a .prc file extention (instead of .pdb which is what it should be).

So, it looks like the Kindle will be no better than a Palm/WinCE with an eInk screen (as far as content goes).

That being the case, why buy the Kindle over a PDA?

NatCh
12-01-2006, 12:47 PM
I'm guessing that .AZW is a proprietary AmaZon(something that starts with "W") format. It seems to me that I did locate an AZW extension for something, but it was totally unrelated (like medical engineering or drafting or something -- sorry, really don't remember :shrug: )

I think that Palm executables usually have a .PRC extension, is that what you mean by "Palm Resource?"

The list is a bit short, but not really shorter than the Sony (please don't let me start you on a rant on that, rlauzon :grin: )

Liviu_5
12-01-2006, 01:52 PM
That being the case, why buy the Kindle over a PDA?

Why buy a Sony Reader then? What does it bring as extra content capabilities since on the Kindle you will get drm prc and those are far more around than drm BBeB, while pdf on Sony Reader as everyone mentions is no better than pdf on pda.
Everything will depend on unknown as of now details. Price, capabilities..., so until we have official word everything is speculation. Personally I think that a "cell phone" like model, cheap device plus 1-2 year subscription plus personal content, makes sense and Amazon is in a good position to try it. But again, that's just my opinion...

Liviu

NatCh
12-01-2006, 03:00 PM
Just a side note: we don't know that Kindle will support DRM'd PRC files, only that they planned for it to support PRC files. Unless you found a statement to that effect in the manual (I haven't looked), I wouldn't assume that it supports any DRM except perhaps .MOBI :grin: As you say, Liviue_5, there are a lot of unknowns here. :shrug:

bowerbird
12-01-2006, 04:07 PM
jashsu said:
> So that leaves a motivation for Amazon to price it at $50.

"motivation"? what does that have to do with the price of tea in china?

sure they have "motivation" to sell a $50 machine, but if no one can
_build_ a machine at that price, what good does that "motivation" do?

***

on the question of mounting your own content, _no_company_
will ever sell a machine on which you can't load your own stuff.
since no one would even take a second look at such a machine.

since the first e-book-machine -- the rocketbook -- was released,
the #1 f.a.q. has been "can i put my own content on this machine?"
if it's not possible, at all, you're not gonna make very many sales.

however, i could see a company attempting to _charge_extra_
for the "privilege" of loading your own content. of course, they
wouldn't be so stupid as to piss us off by phrasing it that way.
instead they'd offer a "steep discount" for a hobbled machine that
only accepted their own content (overpriced, to offset the subsidy).

and for _some_ people, that particular tradeoff might be worth it.
(specifically, people who had no desire to load their own content,
and only wanted to buy the bare minimum from that company.)

whether it would be _enough_ people to make it worthwhile for
the company, i'd have _serious_ doubts. but who really knows?

after all, this _is_ the model that the game consoles are using, and
they seem to be making lots of money. except for the wii machine,
the other big ones (sony's ps3 and microsoft's xbox) are _heavily_
subsidized. the ps3, which sells for $500, actually costs over $800.
sony expects to make the money back when customers buy games.

and microsoft has lost billions (literally) on its xbox over the years
-- hardware-wise -- although, if i remember correctly, they have
finally turned the corner on profitability by selling enough games.

and here's where we get to the crux of the matter.

sony and microsoft are the only parties that can sell the games that
play on their systems. that is, they have a monopoly on the content.
so they can charge (or overcharge) whatever they want for the games.
sure, nobody has to buy a game. but what good is the console then?

that monopoly is the reason they can overcharge for the games,
and that allows them to use the games to subsidize the consoles.

but that approach will not work for e-book-machines, because
the makers of the e-book-machines have no content monopoly.

even if you could force all the publishers to go through you
-- even if you gave them a big enough share of the money
that they were _completely_ecstatic_ to work through you --
the end-users would _still_ want to load their own content...

some of them might _never_ buy one thing from you. _ever_.

so you'd have to require them to make at least some purchases
from you, enough to make up for the discount on the hardware.

***

there's another set of important variables running around here,
but this post is long enough, so i'll save them for the next one...

-bowerbird

rlauzon
12-01-2006, 04:16 PM
I think that Palm executables usually have a .PRC extension, is that what you mean by "Palm Resource?"

By convention, yes. .prc files are usually programs and .pdb files are usually data files.

But for the Palm, .prc and .pdb extensions are for show. The files themselves contain information telling the Palm what they are.

It's just a bit of a peeve for me. pdb is NOT an eBook format. It's a Palm Database. The data in it may be anything, not just an eBook.

The list is a bit short, but not really shorter than the Sony (please don't let me start you on a rant on that, rlauzon :grin: )

Well, it's shorter than most. At least the Sony supports PDF. And I thought it supported HTML as well.

A short list isn't bad, if many of the items on that list are standard formats.

The Kindle seems to support formatting only for its proprietary Mobipocket format. The only open format that I can see is text.

rlauzon
12-01-2006, 04:19 PM
What does it bring as extra content capabilities since on the Kindle you will get drm prc

1. PRC is not an eBook format. It's a Palm Resource file (and it's probably mis-named since it should be a .pdb).
2. DRM has no value to the consumer. DRM makes content worth less to the consumer. So saying that a device supports DRM is certainly NOT a selling point.

So, why buy a Kindle if you already have a PDA?
Even if you don't have a PDA, why would a Kindle be more vaulable?

Liviu_5
12-01-2006, 04:29 PM
but that approach will not work for e-book-machines, because
the makers of the e-book-machines have no content monopoly.
-bowerbird

That's definitely true and the reason the Librie/Gemstar failed and Sony Reader or Ebk1150 as their reincarnations with personal content allowed are selling ok. However, Amazon as opposed to Sony/ETI is a big book seller, the biggest online and has probably 5-10% of the total book market here in the US. Also they own Mobi.

These 2 factors may allow them to offer a cheap ereader with some subscription included. The big issue that I think will determine whether they do it or not, is how will publishers react to this since one thing Amazon is not going to do is sour their relationship with them. Amazon Upgrade has been a dud until now beacuse of publishers, so Kindle may not appear soon, but again who knows.

So let's wait and see...

Liviu

NatCh
12-01-2006, 04:34 PM
But for the Palm, .prc and .pdb extensions are for show.Ah, just a convenience for the wetware to understand it more easily, then. :nice: I hadn't looked at the Palm files enough to figure that out, but then I haven't really needed to either. :shrug:

At least the Sony supports PDF. And I thought it supported HTML as well.Not natively, it doesn't, but it's not that hard to convert to RTF -- if you don't have a lot to convert, of course. :wink:

Liviu_5
12-01-2006, 05:05 PM
1. PRC is not an eBook format. It's a Palm Resource file (and it's probably mis-named since it should be a .pdb).
2. DRM has no value to the consumer. DRM makes content worth less to the consumer. So saying that a device supports DRM is certainly NOT a selling point.

So, why buy a Kindle if you already have a PDA?
Even if you don't have a PDA, why would a Kindle be more vaulable?

Completely agree with point 2, while about prc I have no idea what is, just that as long as is unencrypted, Fbreader reads it, and BookDesigner converts it and that's good enough for me to know :)

Again, why buy Sony or Iliad, or Ebk1150? I would not and did not for any proprietary content, but for capabilities and price. So the same will apply to Kindle if and when it appears.

Personally I want fast navigation, 1GB min storage (my main problem with Ebk), one handed usage, as high a resolution as possible with minimum 100 words per screen at acceptable font, and then 2 device sizes, one pocketable and one book. Ability to do any nondrm pdf well would be gravy, but that is unlikely in a dedicated reader because the computing power and sharpness of screen required are out of reasonable price reach for now.

Liviu

phuata
12-01-2006, 10:53 PM
The manual we lifted from the FCC site (before it was pulled -- and can now be found here (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=37735&postcount=28)) listed a number of formats.

Assuming it's still accurate (from page 43):So no RTF, no HTML and no PDF. Presumably there will be some sort of conversion software for 'personal files.'


It says that on page 28 on the copy of the manual I've found in these forums. However, I notice on page 15, under the heading Connecting to Your Computer, it confirms your presumption of conversion software.

When you connect Kindle to your computer you can transfer books, newspapers, music, and other files. You can also convert and transfer personal MSWord, PDF, and other documents.

kacir
12-02-2006, 10:25 AM
jashsu said:
on the question of mounting your own content, _no_company_
will ever sell a machine on which you can't load your own stuff.
since no one would even take a second look at such a machine.

Remember a small, insignificant company called Sony
and their first e-paper e-reader e-product "SONY Librie"?

I know, their special format got cracked eventually, but the at the beginning you had to buy the content. What is worse, the content you have "bought" expired after 60 days. There is no wonder the device was a failure.

bowerbird
12-02-2006, 04:05 PM
kacir said:
> There is no wonder the device was a failure.

yeah. but as you pointed out, they _did_ try...

of course, as you also pointed out, their format was cracked,
which meant that then people _could_ load their own content.

so maybe we should "play along" with a locked machine,
knowing we can break the lock whenever we really want.

i've wondered whether to do the same with d.r.m., act like
"it works" until all the content companies get fully on board,
and then pull the rug out from underneath them... :+)

-bowerbird

rlauzon
12-02-2006, 04:19 PM
so maybe we should "play along" with a locked machine,
knowing we can break the lock whenever we really want.

Bad idea - at least here in the U.S. The DMCA forbids it.

Sony also has a history (remember Aibo?) of going after fans who enhance their products by hacking them.

b_k
12-02-2006, 05:09 PM
...

so maybe we should "play along" with a locked machine,
knowing we can break the lock whenever we really want.

i've wondered whether to do the same with d.r.m., act like
"it works" until all the content companies get fully on board,
and then pull the rug out from underneath them... :+)

I would rather like to see that the content suppliers realize that d.r.m. won't work with every customer that uses his head. Too bad that the average customer doesn't realize, that he is locked to Sony, until he would change the platform/hardware.
But if they don't seem to learn it that way, the alternative obviously is to do it like you said.

bugsbunny14
12-03-2006, 12:52 AM
hi ,
when will the amazon online book service begin ?

yvanleterrible
12-03-2006, 11:39 AM
When comparing paper with ebooks, if you deduce stock-up fees and warehousing and transport and wages and...whatever, it makes quite a bundle! That is a lot that you can invest in a loss leader. If they figure that with their proprietary format they can get captive buyers, (as shown in the format list) it is highly probable that they could offer a reader at that price. Stuff made in Asia is very cheap and I'm sure that a deal could be cut with Eink for a cheaper display made there. The idea of a $50.00 reader is not that far fetched, just a good marketing exercise.

If someone could find the numbers I'd be curious to know how many ebooks each Rocketbook or eBookwise owner has bought in the life of the device. Take a cut from all of them and add it up and I'm sure you'd get an appeciative figure.

NatCh
12-03-2006, 02:41 PM
when will the amazon online book service begin ?Shucks, bugs, we don't even know when they're going to release the hardware. :grin:

I'd expect them to come at the same time. :shrug:

bowerbird
12-03-2006, 03:17 PM
> The idea of a $50.00 reader is not that far fetched,
> just a good marketing exercise.

sigh. the desire to believe is _so_ very strong, isn't it?

perhaps the fact that it never happens will _eventually_
teach you it is indeed "far-fetched". or maybe it won't.

-bowerbird

NatCh
12-03-2006, 11:48 PM
Oh, I think it will probably happen eventually, bowerbird, just very eventually. :grin:

Nightwing
12-04-2006, 12:14 AM
One question I have that could impact this is exactly how many e-Ink/e-Paper display can be made per year? This could be the limiting factor on this and other readers.

If they did wonder if it will flop like the Unbox?

Bob Russell
12-04-2006, 12:30 AM
One question I have that could impact this is exactly how many e-Ink/e-Paper display can be made per year? This could be the limiting factor on this and other readers.Not sure, but I think Nick Hampshire reported that there will soon be a ramp up to allow production of 60,000 e-ink displays per month. That would mean that there are many less right now per month, and they have to be shared by the various device makers. Probably price, large commitment and early commitment were factors in who gets what. At 60,000 per month capacity, however, I'm not sure how much of a scarcity that leaves, nor when that capacity is supposed to be available. I'm pretty sure it was sometime between now and end of next year. Anyone else remember?

Nightwing
12-04-2006, 04:20 AM
Tnks! ^_^

Kind of hoping the 50 reader may be true. Be fun to "modify".

yvanleterrible
12-04-2006, 10:23 AM
Eink is a serious company with a great future. It is now in a position to act on the success and new maturity of their invention. Believe me growth is a killer, If they are as serious as their image now is, they will have manufacturing in Asia. Then everything will click and the ball will roll, giving cheaper displays,good profits and a wider amount of customers. All is left is for us to buy.

NatCh
12-04-2006, 11:44 AM
Not sure, but I think Nick Hampshire reported that there will soon be a ramp up to allow production of 60,000 e-ink displays per month.Hopefully he's actually somewhere close on that report ... he's had a bit of a questionable track-record lately. :sad2:

bowerbird
12-05-2006, 02:24 PM
yvan said:
> Eink is a serious company with a great future.

perhaps -- as natch put it -- "eventually"...

but in the many years that eink been making big promises,
their press-release vapor far outstrips what they've done...

and my word, have they burned through the investor cash!
i'd think they're a laughingstock of the v.c. world nowadays.

in my humble opinion, unrealized expectations have been
the downfall of e-books so far, and the hype and marketing
of eink has been the single cause that is most destructive...

-bowerbird

Liviu_5
12-05-2006, 04:00 PM
in my humble opinion, unrealized expectations have been
the downfall of e-books so far, and the hype and marketing
of eink has been the single cause that is most destructive...

-bowerbird

Commercial e-books did not succeed until now because it is not in the interest (and not unjustifiably so I think) of the publishers/distributors/bookstores to compete with print books, so they use drm and unrealistic pricing to kill the market. As long as there is no external force to compel the publishers to change, there will be nibbling here and there, basically using e-books to sell more p-books, but no serious attempt to try to expand the market beyond the 1% that occupies now (even if that).

Both the music and movie/tv experience demonstrate that. Until mp3's and Napster, and more recently broadband and time-shifting, there was a similar lack of interest from the music and tv/movie studios in online selling.
Now it's all the rage, and though the business models are still evolving, there is innovation at least...

Liviu

bowerbird
12-05-2006, 09:53 PM
there was a lot of hype put out that
the age of electronic-books had arrived.

indeed, it's the same hype that is
being put out to this very day...

"eventually" it might come true, but
you'll excuse me if i laugh at it today.

-bowerbird

yvanleterrible
12-06-2006, 08:57 AM
When and only when the sheet and thickness sized eink readers come out, will there be populism about ebooks. The current crop of readers is a transient from the PDA movement, which is today popularly considered the actual standard e-reader.

When these "sheet format" ereaders come out, they will be "silicon printed" , making them more affordable ie. more acceptable.

slayda
12-06-2006, 10:18 AM
there was a lot of hype put out that
the age of electronic-books had arrived.

indeed, it's the same hype that is
being put out to this very day...

"eventually" it might come true, but
you'll excuse me if i laugh at it today.

-bowerbird

I remember when the HP 35 scientific calculator came out in 1972. There was no programability, it required 12 ICs, had LED display of only one line & cost $395 in 1972 dollars. That was only 34 years ago. Today you can get a cheap computer for $395 in 2006 dollars. Quite an advance in very limited time. So don't be too pessimistic, bowerbird. Be patient & it will come.

I realize we live in the age of "instant gratification" & "What have you done for me lately?", but be patient. The Sony Reader is a large step forward. :thumbsup:

yvanleterrible
12-06-2006, 10:49 AM
I remember when the HP 35 scientific calculator came out in 1972. There was no programability, it required 12 ICs, had LED display of only one line & cost $395 in 1972 dollars. That was only 34 years ago. Today you can get a cheap computer for $395 in 2006 dollars. Quite an advance in very limited time. So don't be too pessimistic, bowerbird. Be patient & it will come.

I realize we live in the age of "instant gratification" & "What have you done for me lately?", but be patient. The Sony Reader is a large step forward. :thumbsup:
I'm about your age. I've got to tell you that nature won't permit me to wait an other 35 years! :happy2:

slayda
12-06-2006, 03:12 PM
I'm about your age. I've got to tell you that nature won't permit me to wait an other 35 years! :happy2:

I understand, yvanleterrible. Maybe that's why I am enjoying the reader so much now. :happy2:

bowerbird
12-12-2006, 03:35 AM
slayda said:
> So don't be too pessimistic, bowerbird.

i'm not being "pessimistic", i'm being _realistic_.


> Be patient & it will come.

well, first of all, i've been "patient" for over 25 years now.
after the first 15, it gets to be quite easy, to be honest...

however...

e-books are already here... they don't need no stinking
hand-held machinery to make them "real" to me, no sir.

millions of people now trot over to wikipedia every day,
people who probably haven't looked in a p-encyclopedia
more than once or twice in the past year. and they aren't
just _reading_ this e-encyclopedia, they are _writing_ it!

and even 10 years ago, who would have predicted that
more-or-less ordinary people would be writing up their
more-or-less ordinary thoughts of interest to them and
having other people read these "blogs", and this would be
one of the most widely-talked-about aspects of the web?

if you do a word-count on an active blog, you'll see that
over the course of a year or two, they've written a book!

nor is this the only form of creativity that is flourishing,
what with myspace and youtube attracting millions of
people, then being sold for $800 million to 1.6 billion...

there's a lot of action out there happening...

so i'd advise anyone who is being "patient" and "waiting"
to schedule themselves a wake-up call, and start _moving_,
or you're gonna miss the jet-plane flying out of this dump...

-bowerbird

jlong7
12-21-2006, 07:49 PM
If an Amazon Reader can search texts and is easy to hold in my hand and has a bookstore that I know won't go out of business I would be willing to waste $50 just to try it out AND not care what it looks like. For me reading books is not as style conscious an activity as listening to Christina Agulara on an i-Pod.

Of course, I'd want to try it out on free books such as those that were offered by blackmask.org. OR I'd want to use it with cheap books. I don't think I'd ever be into spending full price for a DRM restricted book. I can understand why publishers and manufacturers would want to use DRM (electronic formats can be shared much more easily than paper).

But publishers and manufacturers have to understand that I'm not going to pay full price for a library that slams shut every time my wife takes a book off the book shelf. Or a library that disappears every time I leave a reader in the pocket in front of my airplane seat. Or that makes me worried every time my hard disk goes out. Or that I can't buy for half price at a used ebook store. Or sell for some money once I've finished reading it. Or check out at the library if I just want some quick information. Or give away when I'm done reading it. Or can't return if someone buys me a book I already have.

Paper books are just so much cheaper when you consider how many times they can change hands for free. Let's take a popular best seller like "State of Denial" that really rakes in the cash for publishers. The book retails for $29.95. Joe Blow buys the thing for $16.50 new at Costco or Amazon. He reads it and gives it to his Dad for his birthday. Dad never reads it, but appreciates the gift. He sells it at Half-Price Books. Jane Doe picks it up for $10, reads it and loans it to her mom who reads the first chapter before getting bored and returning it to Jane. Jane then donates it to the school library where it is read one more time in the next decade. That's five reads for $16.50. During that time it has served two people with information, one as a gift, one as a curiosity, and another as a source for the two page paper he has to turn in for High School History on Monday. Out of these five people, only one of them was willing to pay the publisher. But the publisher still made a killing.

An e-book, on the other hand - I buy the book for 75% of the discounted price ($12). I either can't get into eink as I thought I would, I don't like the book (and can't figure out how to give it away), I loose my e-reader or my hard disk fails (and I can't stand figuring out how to reconfigure my windows and/or online profile and/or e-reader profile to reauthorize my book [or deauthorize the second reader my wife bought but never uses]), or the company selling the book looses the format war and stops manufacturing replacement parts after five years. Multiply $12 by the 50 or so books I've purchased in the last year and that's allot ($600). I don't read 50 books a year. But they are always there waiting their turn.

That's my pre-buyer's remorse syndrome keeping me from taking the plunge into e-books.

Jonathan

jlong7
12-21-2006, 09:41 PM
The reason e-books never caught on with the Amazon crowd is that you can't print the things and no one wants to read an entire book (anything you can't finish in one sitting) on a computer screen.

I have a hazy notion that it's not the publishers who don't want e-books to take off. Its the printers, distributors, and bookstores. I know that many publishing houses are vertically integrated (they publish, print, distribute, and retail). But if you look at publisher's core competency, it's finding, editing, and marketing good books to customers. Amazon's competency is providing the marketplace. I would imagine that Amazon and a publisher, if they stick to their core competencies would be happy to sell e-books and pass along a large percentage of the savings on to consumers in order to steal the rest of the percentage from the middle men. The only thing holding the innovation back is consumer reluctance to buy a book they can't print (e-readers solve this) and some fixed costs (publishers having invested vertically). Of course Amazon could solve the first problem with subsidized e-readers. It could really take over allot of the bookstore chain business if it gave the instant gratification of downloading and reading a book within seconds rather than the minutes it takes to drive to a bookstore or the days it takes to ship. Just imagine the shipping costs Amazon would save by pushing the adoption of e-books.

There is every reason for Amazon to want to push e-books. They have the customer base. They understand virtual products and virtual shopping. They have the above mentioned incentives. And they have the brand name and the staying power associated with it. I can't see them not taking a stab at it. The question is how much of the savings can they pass on to consumers?

Let's think about the savings. No paper, no distributors, no warehouse, no shipping. They pay for the writer, the publisher (editor), marketing costs, servers, and bandwidth. Surely they could increase revenue and pass along some savings too. Of course they have to either pay an e-reader subsidy or sell enough that economies of scale bring down the per unit cost. With the size of their market, I don't see it as an infeasible investment.

Here's a model Amazon already seems to be playing with. Buy the book and download the e-books for $3 more. Or what about the model that online music stores/cell phones are using: access to 10 million books for $20 a month (tiered subsidized e-reader with a 12 or 24 month contract). Or the PS3 model/Amazon used books model: book publishers have to pay Amazon a royalty to use their platform which includes a subsidized e-reader. Or a Yahoo/Google model: discrete advertising in e-books subsidizes the e-reader. Or an Steve Jobs/i-Pod model: tell the publishers to drop their prices or else. Or the Microsoft model: Amazon uses their platform to push it's own publishing house. Wow, I can see why publishers are nervous now that I think about it. But give it 5 years and it's impossible that Amazon would not launch a loss leading e-reader.

nekokami
12-21-2006, 10:03 PM
Or what about the model that online music stores/cell phones are using: access to 10 million books for $20 a month (tiered subsidized e-reader with a 12 or 24 month contract).
Actually, I've been thinking about it, and I could live with this, if the proportion of the Amazon stock list available in eformat was high enough. I spend $20 on books per month already (maybe more). If I could have *any* book at Amazon for that price, whenever I wanted, I think I could overlook the DRM. Heck, I'd get a reader for each member of my family if the unit price was low enough. I wouldn't care if I couldn't share books with another member of my family, because we'd all have access to all the books anyway.

I'd still need to be able to put my own content on, though.

yvanleterrible
12-22-2006, 11:29 AM
... I think I could overlook the DRM. Heck, I'd get a reader for each member of my family if the unit price was low enough. I wouldn't care if I couldn't share books with another member of my family, because we'd all have access to all the books anyway...

Submitting so easily is dangerous thinking. This is the how big outfits gain their way with anything. Slow accustomizing to private rules. When they put their foot down you're cooked! :uhoh2:

nekokami
12-22-2006, 11:54 AM
Submitting so easily is dangerous thinking. This is the how big outfits gain their way with anything. Slow accustomizing to private rules. When they put their foot down you're cooked! :uhoh2:
I see your point. One has to be ready to change if the rules change. For example, I used to have a regular cell phone plan. The rates went up, and I don't use a cell phone much, so I dropped the plan. Now I have a "pay as you go" cell phone for emergencies, which is much less expensive for me.

I'd be willing to try an Amazon plan, but I'd also be prepared to drop it if they changed the rules. I also think I'd continue to buy anything I really cared about in hardcopy. :D

rlauzon
12-22-2006, 03:02 PM
I'd be willing to try an Amazon plan, but I'd also be prepared to drop it if they changed the rules. I also think I'd continue to buy anything I really cared about in hardcopy. :D

A frog, when placed in a pot of boiling water, will immediately jump out.
A frog, when placed in a room temperature water, will stay - and as the heat is slowly cranked up, will allow himself to be cooked.

Just because Amazon doesn't have bad rules today, doesn't mean that they won't tomorrow. That's the problem with DRM - the companies control what DRM controls and what it means - not law.

DRM + DMCA has effectively given the authority to modify copyright law to the corporations.

The only acceptable DRM to me is none. The seller of the eBook must be able to guarantee that I will be able to read that eBook 10 years from now - without repurchasing it or accepting new restrictions on how I can read it. Just like a paper book today.

If the seller cannot do so, then I am not "buying" the eBook. I am leasing it and I will not accept a purchase price for a leased object. The value of a leased object is far less than the value of a purchased object.

nekokami
12-22-2006, 03:37 PM
If the seller cannot do so, then I am not "buying" the eBook. I am leasing it and I will not accept a purchase price for a leased object. The value of a leased object is far less than the value of a purchased object.
Yes, that's my point. An online "library access service" is something that I would be willing to pay for. I'm under no illusions that I'd be buying the books. If I wanted to buy the book, I'd probably buy the paper version.

I'm not saying this should be the only model for eBooks, or that anyone else should be satisfied with this model. I'm saying that *I* might be satisfied with this model-- if the price was right, i.e., the quantity of books I would read per month would reduce the cost per book to a reasonable rate for a lease.

rlauzon
12-22-2006, 03:57 PM
I'm not saying this should be the only model for eBooks, or that anyone else should be satisfied with this model. I'm saying that *I* might be satisfied with this model-- if the price was right, i.e., the quantity of books I would read per month would reduce the cost per book to a reasonable rate for a lease.

There's also the issue of who owns culture. If all books were effectively free, but locked up by corporations forever, the corporations end up owning culture.

Here's an example:
Edgar Rice Burroughs died in 1950. But only about 32 of his books have fallen into the public domain. You can get them on Project Gutenberg.

The rest of the books are sitting somewhere. Now, whether it's his estate or his publisher's fault I don't know, but none of the rest of his books are being republished. Not that you can't get these other books. You can get them usually through a used book store.

But what would happen in the eBook world? There are no used book stores because you can't "sell" your eBook. So if a publisher decides to no longer lease an eBook, you have no alternate way of getting a copy.

The publisher effectively controls what people can/cannot read.

With DRM it gets even worse, because a publisher can revoke your right to read the eBook you just acquired.

Tom Swift
12-22-2006, 06:45 PM
That is what I find frustrating. The publishers are sitting on tons of older material, still under copyright but not being published. If they sold it in electronic format, they could make some money from their back catalogue instead of making no money from it just sitting there. The Burroughs estate gets nothing from the books not being published. If they released the books in paper format, the profit would not be massive because most of the fans of his work have the books already (I know I used to). An electronic release would not cost them much and would result in more profit for the family. And the publishers.

You know, why do we even need publishers anymore? You could have editor groups that would choose books and edit them and guarantee that the books are of a higher standard. Then the author could do with them as they will. Sell them to a printer, or a print on demand or a electronic company. Or there could be companies that would do this for him for a cut. This is probably why the publishers don't want to go with electronic books. They know their business is obsolete in the future.

nekokami
12-22-2006, 08:50 PM
There's also the issue of who owns culture. If all books were effectively free, but locked up by corporations forever, the corporations end up owning culture.
It's a valid point (and a good example). Perhaps I'm relying too much on the darknet to keep the books available regardless of what the publishers want.

But I'm not sure this is as radically different from the situation we have today as you are saying. Yes, one can resell paper books (and the publishers and some authors hate this, btw). But many people don't resell them, they get pulped or burned, and valuable works are lost as a result. Did you know A. A. Milne (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Milne) was an accomplished playwright? Fewer than half of his plays are still preserved in sources such as Project Gutenberg, though. They weren't considered interesting enough (compared to his tremendously popular children's books) to save.

I'm not saying I think the scheme I've outlined above would preserve books any better -- I don't think it would be even as good as the paper system currently in use. But I think it's a matter more of degree than kind.

rlauzon
12-23-2006, 05:06 AM
It's a valid point (and a good example). Perhaps I'm relying too much on the darknet to keep the books available regardless of what the publishers want.

The problem with relying on the darknet is that it breeds a lack of respect for the law (which isn't that respectful today, but still...). Having a free, open market is usually the best way to ensure access to works.

But I'm not sure this is as radically different from the situation we have today as you are saying. Yes, one can resell paper books (and the publishers and some authors hate this, btw). But many people don't resell them, they get pulped or burned, and valuable works are lost as a result. Did you know A. A. Milne was an accomplished playwright? Fewer than half of his plays are still preserved in sources such as Project Gutenberg, though. They weren't considered interesting enough (compared to his tremendously popular children's books) to save.

Yes, that problem happens. Some other famous authors come to mind as well.

But what is worse? Knowing that a work used to exist, but doesn't due to human short-sightedness? Or knowing that a work exists, but the company that held the keys to unlocking it is gone - along with the keys?

THJahar
12-23-2006, 11:58 AM
I wonder has the kindle been resubmitted to the FCC yet? That would give us an indication of the release date of the device.

yvanleterrible
12-23-2006, 12:31 PM
That is what I find frustrating. The publishers are sitting on tons of older material, still under copyright but not being published. If they sold it in electronic format, they could make some money from their back catalogue instead of making no money from it just sitting there. The Burroughs estate gets nothing from the books not being published. If they released the books in paper format, the profit would not be massive because most of the fans of his work have the books already (I know I used to).

A (frightening)thought here. How many classic book would not be published today because they don't fit in the marketing tastes and plans now in favor?

rlauzon
12-23-2006, 01:45 PM
You know, why do we even need publishers anymore? You could have editor groups that would choose books and edit them and guarantee that the books are of a higher standard. Then the author could do with them as they will. Sell them to a printer, or a print on demand or a electronic company. Or there could be companies that would do this for him for a cut. This is probably why the publishers don't want to go with electronic books. They know their business is obsolete in the future.

I've been saying that for quite some time now.

Today, in the pBook world, publishers have value in that they make printing books cost effective. Remember from history class, before the printing press, if you wanted a copy of a book, you paid someone to copy it by hand.

But in the eBook world, the cost of "printing" an eBook is almost zero. What value does a publisher bring an eBook? I can't see any.

I do see the value that a publisher may bring an author, but as a reader, why do I care? For the author, that's a cost of doing business and it's not a reason for me to pay more for an eBook.

My view of the eBook publishing industry is that the author writes the eBook on his word processor, saves it into a standard file format (like ODF) which he sends to a place like Fictionwise to handle the transactions with the readers.

NatCh
12-23-2006, 09:39 PM
I do see the value that a publisher may bring an author, but as a reader, why do I care? For the author, that's a cost of doing business and it's not a reason for me to pay more for an eBook."Cost of doing business" is traditionally passed on to the customer in one form or another, rather like a retail business's taxes, the customer really pays them. There ain't no tax fairy, and there ain't no 'cost of doing business' fairy.
http://www.cadet-world.com/cwforums/images/smilies/fairy.gif

If there is a benefit to the author, then it translates to a better product (at least better than it would have been :)). If product X is better for my purposes than product Y, but costs more, then I have to decide whether to pay more, or make do with less. :shrug:

Of course, there is a limit to how much cost can be passed on, but if the business person can't pass enough cost on to his customers that he can still put food on his table ... well, then the business closes and nobody's really served by that. :shrug:

nekokami
12-23-2006, 10:04 PM
I do see the value that a publisher may bring an author, but as a reader, why do I care?
Leaving out the obvious benefit to the reader of having a book proofread before one reads it, some publishers develop habits of purchase that help to indicate what their books are like, which can be useful in deciding whether to purchase -- or even spend time reading -- a book, especially by an unknown author. For example, Baen books has a certain "style" of sf. I like some of their stuff, but not being much into military stories, I don't like all of it. However, I know more or less what to expect from a Baen book. Other publishers similarly can have certain trends in their books.

A good review service could potentially replace this, and I'd like to see more of those. I don't mean just Amazon style popularity contests, but reviews by critical readers whose opinions I trust. But what is the benefit to someone reading through the "slush pile" of self-published eBooks and rating them or writing reviews? Web page ads just don't generate that much. Some reviewers might be paid by magizines (including webzines), but that in itself might not be enough compensation if one has to read 100 eBooks to find one worth recommending. Perhaps if there were a way of providing reviewers with a commission on sales, it could be worthwhile for people who have critical reading and writing skills to take on this task. (And if you think this would be a conflict of interest, it's no more so than traditional publishers already have.) But in any case, I think some alternate model will need to be developed to compensate for this function of publishers before they can be eliminated from the process.

nekokami
12-23-2006, 10:09 PM
But what is worse? Knowing that a work used to exist, but doesn't due to human short-sightedness? Or knowing that a work exists, but the company that held the keys to unlocking it is gone - along with the keys?
To me these two situations are pretty much the same thing. My hope is that at least with an encrypted file, there's a chance that someone will be able to unencrypt it later (in some happy, more enlightened time). Then again, perhaps no one would even save a copy, just as no one saved copies of some of Milne's plays.

Don't get me wrong, I think DRM is a bad idea, and I'd prefer that Amazon offer a service for a monthly fee with no DRM.

Maybe every US publisher should have to provide one unencrypted copy of each book published to the Library of Congress. (Isn't something like that being done in the UK?)

rlauzon
12-24-2006, 04:53 AM
"Cost of doing business" is traditionally passed on to the customer in one form or another, rather like a retail business's taxes, the customer really pays them. There ain't no tax fairy, and there ain't no 'cost of doing business' fairy.

But when you buy a car, there isn't a line item on the receipt saying 'fee for the dealer's mortgage'. Yes, you end up paying for it - but not 100% of the cost. The dealer only passes on part of the cost to keep competitive.

This kind of stuff is what I call a "fuzzy cost". The consumer ends up paying for it (at least partially), but it's not explicit (like sales tax) and it's not 100% passed on.

rlauzon
12-24-2006, 04:56 AM
A good review service could potentially replace this, and I'd like to see more of those. I don't mean just Amazon style popularity contests, but reviews by critical readers whose opinions I trust.

These already exist on the web in various forms.

We don't need a commercial entity to review books - as a matter of fact, I would not trust such an entity to provide accurate reviews. The only good reviews come from other readers.

rlauzon
12-24-2006, 07:19 AM
Maybe every US publisher should have to provide one unencrypted copy of each book published to the Library of Congress. (Isn't something like that being done in the UK?)

But now you have the gov't controlling culture - which may be a bad thing as well (especially in light of the U.S. gov't using security clearances to censor newspapers (http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/23/1827241) ).

NatCh
12-24-2006, 10:33 AM
Yes, you end up paying for it - but not 100% of the cost. The dealer only passes on part of the cost to keep competitive.
<snip>
The consumer ends up paying for it (at least partially), but it's not explicit (like sales tax) and it's not 100% passed on.I respectfully disagree, rlauzon. For a business, 100% of the revenue comes from the customers, therefore, 100% of the costs have to be paid with money that comes from the customers -- that includes the owner's 'salary.'

If the business cannot bring in enough money above and beyond the costs for the owner to make a living, then he stops doing that business and goes on to something else. The pressure to stay competitive, has to be balanced against the pressure to eat.

Of course, most businesses lose money in the beginning, and you're quite right that the owner might accept a lower 'salary' than he'd consider ideal, but if it drops too low, he can't afford to keep at it, precisely because he does have to pay that mortgage, and buy milk and eggs, and put gas in his car.... :nice:

rlauzon
12-24-2006, 12:58 PM
I respectfully disagree, rlauzon. For a business, 100% of the revenue comes from the customers, therefore, 100% of the costs have to be paid with money that comes from the customers -- that includes the owner's 'salary.'

It seems that I'm not being clear. Let me try again with a simple example:

We start with a widget. The cost to produce it is $10. It sells for $20.
So, as a customer, I pay $10 (the cost of the item) plus another $10 for profit of the producer.

Now, someone comes out with a new process that will chrome plate the widget. It costs $2 to chrome plate it. As a consumer, a chrome plated widget is only worth $21. I won't pay $22 for a chrome plated widget. So the producer must make a choice.

Option 1: Don't chrome plate the widget (avoiding the extra $2 cost).
Option 2: Chrome plate the widget, eat the extra $1 cost, dropping the profit to $9 - in the hopes that more widgets will be sold now that they are chrome plated.

My point is that as a consumer, the full cost of chrome plating is NOT passed on to me simply because I won't pay for it and I will go get my (better value) widgets someplace else.

Bringing the discussion back to eBooks: The cost of producing an eBook is extremely small. If the author decides to employ a proofreader, that's fine. But in passing the full cost of that on to me, I may decide that his eBooks are no longer a good value and go someplace else. Therefore, he may not be able to pass the full cost on to me and has to make the same decision as above.

I predict that eBooks are going to be very cost sensitive simply because they are so cheap to produce. Extra costs will have a very large impact on sales.

NatCh
12-24-2006, 05:30 PM
Oh, I I understood what you were saying, rlauzon, I'm just pointing out that if the producer has to eat enough of those little bits then the remainder gets too small to be worth his while to do the work. :nice:

I.e. if he chrome plates 5 different types of widgets and eats $1 of the cost on each of them then his profit drops from $10 to $5. If that $5 isn't enough for him to mess with, then he stops messing with it. That's all I was getting at.

Because he eats that $1 he takes home $1 less per widget. If his 'salary' is $50k and he makes/sells 10k widgets and eats $1 on each of them, then his salary drops to $40k. If he can live on that, and is willing to do so, then fine, if not ... well, nobody gets widgets from him, chrome plated or otherwise.

For widgets, that's not that big a deal, usually someone else is making something comparable. But books are a bit different, usually a given book is only going to be written by a given person, so this would mean it just didn't get written at all. Imagine if Shakespeare had decided that he just couldn't make enough money from writing that "Romeo and Juliet" thing. :sad3:

As you point out, e-book margins are pretty thin, but I don't know that they'll be that much thinner than p-book margins, from the author's standpoint anyway. So a lot of folks might be dissuaded if we the consumers expect the prices to be too much lower than the paper price. I guess that's my overall point. :shrug:

rlauzon
12-24-2006, 07:27 PM
As you point out, e-book margins are pretty thin, but I don't know that they'll be that much thinner than p-book margins, from the author's standpoint anyway. So a lot of folks might be dissuaded if we the consumers expect the prices to be too much lower than the paper price. I guess that's my overall point. :shrug:

Since eBooks effectively cut out the middle-men (i.e. publishers and retailers), they can be priced significantly lower than pBooks - with the authors and retailers making the same.

I don't believe that authors believe that they will make more off an eBook sale than a pBook sale. In the short term, that may be the case, but not in the long term. In a capitalistic system, prices tend to drop until they can drop no further. Since the cost to produce a copy of an eBook are effectively $0, we are just paying for the author's and retailer's profits.

NatCh
12-24-2006, 10:25 PM
Since eBooks effectively cut out the middle-men (i.e. publishers and retailers), they can be priced significantly lower than pBooks - with the authors and retailers making the same.Now that we agree on. :yes: And I hope that your estimation of how much cost that cuts is closer to the reality than my own. :grin:

I don't believe that authors believe that they will make more off an eBook sale than a pBook sale.Nor do I, nor, I imagine do most of the authors themselves. :nice: Although, it may be that they end up making more money on e-books from higher sales rather than a higher per unit profit. :shrug:

Since the cost to produce a copy of an eBook are effectively $0, we are just paying for the author's and retailer's profits.Well, their time and effort are worth something, or we wouldn't be buying the books in the first place. :wink:

b_k
12-25-2006, 05:12 AM
...Since the cost to produce a copy of an eBook are effectively $0, we are just paying for the author's and retailer's profits.Well, their time and effort are worth something, or we wouldn't be buying the books in the first place. :wink:I think this was more about the cost for paper and other print material. The content is worth something, but basically ebooks cut out all the "hardware" cost on the publishers/authors side.
We can now go on and say, they will have to include costs for hosting and such in the price tag. But I'm sure this has to be a small fee for the single ebook, that it couldn't lead to prices like for the paper version.
Especially for those books that are only rented (DRM-books) for a unknown amount of time.

nekokami
12-25-2006, 05:49 PM
We don't need a commercial entity to review books - as a matter of fact, I would not trust such an entity to provide accurate reviews. The only good reviews come from other readers.
Perhaps. Maybe if you distribute the work far enough across multiple volunteers, the slush pile will get read, rated, and reviewed, and the gems will rise to the top. Meanwhile, access to the work has been so broad that there's really no good reason for anyone to pay for a copy of the book by the time the reviews are written. (You might be able to get volunteers to read the slush pile while it's free, but I seriously doubt many readers would be willing to pay for the privilige. And while Baen uses volunteers to help sort the slushpile, ultimately books are read by a paid editor before the author is offered a contract, and the book changes form between the time it is pulled from the slushpile and the time it is published.)

Which means that if the authors who write the books are to be compensated at all for their work, a completely different model would need to be used, e.g. an honor system in which readers pay what they think the book is worth after reading, or an advertising system in which ads are embedded into the book. (These aren't meant as the only two possible models, just two examples.) Perhaps this is where publishing will eventually go, but I don't think it's the next step from where we are now. Nor do I see either of these as a great improvement for either readers or writers from the current system. Your opinion is no doubt different. I think this is an area where we will not agree.

BooksForABuck
02-23-2007, 04:20 PM
I'm a true believer in making eBooks affordable. I think we can expand both the eBook share of the market and the total reading market if we set affordable prices. That said, I get a really uncomfortable feeling when I read the idea of Amazon pushing for lower prices. For paper books, at least, Amazon demands a 55% discount. It's virtually impossible for small publishers to make money with that kind of discount--even when we set relatively high prices. Mobipocket sets a 50% commission, which is about the industry standard--and since there are minimal manufacturing costs, it's possible to make money. Still, do I want Amazon telling me what prices to set? Not hardly.

Rob Preece
Publisher, www.BooksForABuck.com

Amazon should rather focus on pushing the ebook price to 25% of the paperbook price, the rest will happen automatically.

Jaime_Astorga
04-20-2007, 10:01 PM
http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&q=amazon%20kindle&btnG=Google+Search&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&sa=N&tab=wn

It seems the Kindle is going to cost upwards of $400. I am very disappointed.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/amazon-kindle-ereader-gets-more-details-pricing-time-frame-features-254048.php
http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/20/amazons-kindle-400-for-spring/

bowerbird
04-24-2007, 02:50 AM
don't be disappointed, jaime. it's actually _great_ news for book-readers.

why? the fact that they're charging you a _fair_ price for the _hardware_
means they're not going to try to subsize it on the back of the _content_,
which is the _books_ that you are going to buy. since you're gonna spend
a _lot_ more on books than $400 -- if you're a real book-reader, that is --
you will be spending less money this way in the long-run. and if they are
charging you a _fair_ price for the content (instead of trying to gouge you),
they won't have as strong an aversion to letting you load your own content,
and that will be good for you in the long run too, because it'll pressure them
to keep their prices honest. once they start gouging you, it keeps escalating,
like the price of popcorn in movie theaters, until it's totally unreasonable and
the market collapses entirely, which we _really_ do not want to have happen
with e-books. especially as this was the vicious cycle that doomed p-books.

e-books -- if they're cheap -- let us rediscover the midlist, even the long tail,
and that's the way ideas should be, wild and free. so this is great news, jaime.

sure, it'll be tough to bite the bullet at the start, but that's the (high) price
that early adopters have always had to pay, i'm afraid to say, so that's life.

and yes, you were sold a bill of goods by the constant "news" from places
like teleread, that a $50 machine was "right around the corner", but hey,
-- i hope you'll pardon my french -- that's what you get for being a sucker.
now you know who you can and cannot trust.

-bowerbird

bowerbird
04-24-2007, 03:08 AM
oh, by the way, i think it's hilarious that the web echo-chamber
has announced to itself that this thing will debut "this spring"...

by my calendar, spring is 1/3 sprung already, and i haven't heard
one word of this from amazon itself. have you? i didn't think so.

is it really our opinion the p.r. department for the world's biggest
bookstore has been struck deaf-dumb-and-blind? no sir, children.

i can't say for sure, because i am not them, but if i _were_ them,
i'd announce this along about june and have 'em available september
for positive reviews aimed at the year-end holiday gift-giving season,
when conspicuous consumption is the order of the day, doncha know?

-bowerbird

p.s. the atari-beige one is the $400 model. white shiny one goes $500.

delphidb96
04-24-2007, 10:55 AM
Well, regarding point 1, no it isn't and yes it is.

In the strictest definition, the one made by Palm when setting up PalmOS, it most definitely is *NOT* an ebook format.

However, both Mobipocket (.prc) and eReader (.pdb) have built their ebook files around the .prc/.pdb resource and data file structures and have released enough (can we say *FLOODED* here?) ebooks that many people who don't have or routinely use PalmOS devices make the assumption that the .prc and .pdb file structures *ARE* ebook formats. Sorry, but that's just the way it goes.

Look at Webscriptions and Fictionwise, they both offer ebooks in, what they term, the 'Mobipocket .prc ebook format'. They don't go around sticking up an explanatory paragraph saying that what they *really* mean is they offer ebooks in either text or html format bundled into a PalmOS .prc resource database file structure. In some ways this is like unto whether one should say Kleenex (R) or kleenex - except that Palm never insisted upon enforcing the original definition (trademark) and there's no going back.

Derek

1. PRC is not an eBook format. It's a Palm Resource file (and it's probably mis-named since it should be a .pdb).
2. DRM has no value to the consumer. DRM makes content worth less to the consumer. So saying that a device supports DRM is certainly NOT a selling point.

So, why buy a Kindle if you already have a PDA?
Even if you don't have a PDA, why would a Kindle be more vaulable?

bowerbird
06-06-2007, 06:06 PM
back in april, i said:
> oh, by the way, i think it's hilarious that the web echo-chamber
> has announced to itself that this thing will debut "this spring"...
>
> by my calendar, spring is 1/3 sprung already, and i haven't heard
> one word of this from amazon itself. have you? i didn't think so.
>
> is it really our opinion the p.r. department for the world's biggest
> bookstore has been struck deaf-dumb-and-blind? no sir, children.
>
> i can't say for sure, because i am not them, but if i _were_ them,
> i'd announce this along about june and have 'em available september
> for positive reviews aimed at the year-end holiday gift-giving season,
> when conspicuous consumption is the order of the day, doncha know?

well, it's june. two weeks until the end of "this spring". any new word?
no? well, um, gee, exactly what i thought. heard any good echoes lately?

and if nothing is announced by the end of july, there will only be a lump of
coal in your christmas stocking, no $50 e-book reader-machine for _you_!

-bowerbird

mogui
06-06-2007, 08:46 PM
The late Adam Osborne produced an early portable computer that enjoyed popularity for a while. Then he made a mistake that was fatal to his company. He announced a new improved model. Everyone wanted it, so those that had been planning to purchase his current model waited for the new model to come out. And waited, and waited . . .

When Osborne finally put the "Executive" model on the market, it was too little, too late. Osborne's company failed and Compaq inherited the design.

The Osborne effect causes consumers to delay purchases based on the promise of better, cheaper future technology. Using it, some companies can exert a measure of control over market conditions, to their advantage.

Or should we call it the Kindle effect?

bowerbird
06-09-2007, 03:08 PM
the osborne i was my first computer -- one of the great loves of my life.

and your recounting of the debacle around adam's second machine is correct.
(although -- like most people -- you've forgotten to say he had little choice
about pre-announcing his "executive" because he was trying to raise money
to produce the machine by selling stocks to individual investors.)

but notice that that is _not_ what amazon did here. first of all, they didn't
announce this -- and still haven't. second, they have no existing product
that might be accidently cannibalized by a premature pre-announcement.

if you're positing that they deliberately let this rumor slip, so as to sabotage
the sony reader, then that's a different type of strategy, but one that already
_has_ a name -- namely "f.u.d." (for "fear, uncertainty, and doubt"), and it's
the specialty of another seattle-area company called "microsoft", thank you.

but i don't think that's what happened. because remember, it wasn't amazon
that blew this thing out of proportion. it was rothman over at teleblog and
some people here and on some other blogs, people who have been telling us
for _years_ that a cheap machine is right around the corner, who are now
_desperate_ that they've sacrificed so much of their credibility on this, and
are looking for _anything_ that might salvage a bit of it. but sorry, charlie...

cheap machines _will_ come. but it won't be sooner, it will be later.

even the o.l.p.c. -- which is pushing the edge of the envelope, what with
their research and development bringing about _major_ accomplishments --
won't come as soon as we'd like, considering that their may 30th deadline
for ordering has passed without any big announcements, unfortunately...

-bowerbird

mogui
06-09-2007, 11:20 PM
I have a vague memory of Osborne's column (Interface Age?) called the Exclusive Oracle. But that far back, memories tend to run together like asphalt in the sun :wink:

bowerbird
06-13-2007, 06:27 PM
i forgot to say that it strains a bit of credulity to posit that amazon
is trying to using f.u.d. here to slow down the sony reader, because
(a) amazon doesn't have credibility to begin with regarding hardware,
and (b) sales of the sony reader have been spectacularly lackluster,
so nobody's really afraid that it will soon "lock up the marketplace"...
indeed, as soon as it appeared in reality (as opposed to in the press,
where every coming machine is believed to be the next best thing),
people consigned it to the dust-bin and started looking elsewhere...

and the hype-masters are sure to satisfy that techno-wanderlust, too.

here we are, one week from the end of spring, and david rothman
has come out with a new entry on his teleblawg, pitching the rumor
that the kindle will be released "this fall". some people never learn.
maybe you think i'm talking about rothman? well, maybe i am, or
maybe i'm talking about the fools who believe his rumor-mongering.

-bowerbird

NatCh
06-13-2007, 08:34 PM
sales of the sony reader have been spectacularly lackluster, so nobody's really afraid that it will soon "lock up the marketplace"... indeed, as soon as it appeared in reality (as opposed to in the press, where every coming machine is believed to be the next best thing),
people consigned it to the dust-bin and started looking elsewhere....Out of curiosity, what are you basing that statement on? :nice:

JSWolf
06-13-2007, 09:50 PM
I was looking on Fry's website today and they list it as sold out. That's actually good.

Nightwing
06-13-2007, 09:53 PM
I have a vague memory of Osborne's column (Interface Age?) called the Exclusive Oracle. But that far back, memories tend to run together like asphalt in the sun :wink:

Still have some of those mag's... Remember the disk they had with some of the mags... :grin2:

Nightwing
06-13-2007, 09:54 PM
I was looking on Fry's website today and they list it as sold out. That's actually good.

They had at least one at the local store... And was going for 299. Need to check to see if it had a red tage on it. AKA that means end of product...

yvanleterrible
06-14-2007, 10:09 AM
Do you mean "End of Sale" or really "End of Product Line".?!!?!!?

Could it be that Fry's will drop the Sony or is there a possible successor in the works?

Ahhh! Gossip... what would we write without it!

nekokami
06-14-2007, 10:41 AM
Ahhh! Gossip... what would we write without it!
Snarky personal attacks? :rolleyes:

yvanleterrible
06-14-2007, 11:03 AM
:laugh4:

NatCh
06-14-2007, 11:37 AM
Just so long as it's not a boojum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snark_%28Lewis_Carroll%29#How_Lewis_Carroll_has_th e_hunting_party_imagine_the_unimaginable).

nekokami
06-14-2007, 11:52 AM
I don't know. Does a boojum have more of a sense of humor than a common snark? (Snarks are notoriously humorless, after all.) And some threads (I won't say posters) could do with softly and suddenly vanishing away. Particularly those which have long since expired but are suddenly revived by the insertion of frumious remarks.

NatCh
06-14-2007, 11:55 AM
I'd say that Boojums are likely less good humored than regular Snarks, but I've never met one, myself, nor do I know anyone who has. :shrug:

I find it's easier just to shun such manxsome threads, makes life much more frabjous, don't you think? :grin3:

Nightwing
06-14-2007, 02:11 PM
Do you mean "End of Sale" or really "End of Product Line".?!!?!!?

Could it be that Fry's will drop the Sony or is there a possible successor in the works?

Ahhh! Gossip... what would we write without it!


Usualy red tags mean getting no more of that model in... Selling the last few...

yvanleterrible
06-14-2007, 02:16 PM
Oh! That's not good news for Sony... unless there's a newbie somewhere!!?!!

Nightwing
06-14-2007, 02:20 PM
The only plus Sony had last year was the Reader. batteries and PS3 really took them down hard...

And looks like Wii just went past 8million units... With PS3 under 4...

nekokami
06-14-2007, 02:34 PM
I read this bizarre blog post the other day in which a self-described "hard core gamer" was bemoaning the popularity of the wii because it was encouraging people to buy game consoles and games who never had before, which was further encouraging developers to make games for "casual gamers" and "grandmas" (his words, not mine), rather than the kinds of games he preferred. As if the game market couldn't use a big shakeup so we could see something other than first-person shooters and massively multiplayer killfests for a change....

Do red tags ever mean the item is a refurb? Otherwise, it sounds like Fry's is dropping the PRS. I had thought all the Fry's were in CA, but I just looked at the list and there are some east of the Mississippi, though not many. Does Borders still allegedly carry them?

NatCh
06-14-2007, 03:40 PM
Allegedly, yes, Borders still allegedly caries them, but not at all stores (only one in the Houston area, and it'd the fourth largest city in the country).

Where did you see the list of Fry's locations, the one on the Frys.com site was pretty out-dated last time I looked -- have they updated it then?

nekokami
06-14-2007, 03:53 PM
Here's the one I saw: http://www.frys-electronics-ads.com/frys-store-location.htm

I see now that this isn't the official Fry's website, though, and I have no idea how up to date it might be, as I don't live near any of the places on the list and there are no Fry's near me.

NatCh
06-14-2007, 04:04 PM
Fry's itself is notoriously bad about keeping their list of locations up to date -- they finally list the locations in Houston, but they'd been open for about 4 years before they did.

Thanks for the link!

Dr. Drib
06-14-2007, 04:24 PM
The late Adam Osborne produced an early portable computer that enjoyed popularity for a while. Then he made a mistake that was fatal to his company. He announced a new improved model. Everyone wanted it, so those that had been planning to purchase his current model waited for the new model to come out. And waited, and waited . . .

When Osborne finally put the "Executive" model on the market, it was too little, too late. Osborne's company failed and Compaq inherited the design.

The Osborne effect causes consumers to delay purchases based on the promise of better, cheaper future technology. Using it, some companies can exert a measure of control over market conditions, to their advantage.

Or should we call it the Kindle effect?

---but the software didn't include WordStar. Mine ran CP/M.

Don

mogui
06-14-2007, 07:37 PM
i forgot to say that it strains a bit of credulity to posit that amazon
is trying to using f.u.d. here to slow down the sony reader, because . . .

Did we first hear of the Kindle as "leaked news" or was there an announcement at a trade show? I don't recall. I speculate though, that some eBook fanciers who were contemplating the purchase of an eReader at that time delayed their purchase to see what Amazon would do.

If I thought a major bookseller would really sell a cheap eReader, and I was on the verge of buying a Sony Reader, for example, I might wait to see what Amazon offered. As it is, I can't wait for them because I make trips to the west only once a year, and the Sony was an obvious choice for me.

It is too late for the Kindle now. In the early days of computing, there were many examples of "vaporware". Companies would sometimes even take orders for a product that hadn't been developed, and then use the funds to finance their development effort.

So why would Amazon permit rumors of the Kindle to escape their organization, and then not produce anything? Will the Kindle ever come, or will the only thing it ever kindles be our curiosity? :(

NatCh
06-14-2007, 08:18 PM
Did we first hear of the Kindle as "leaked news" or was there an announcement at a trade show? I don't recall.It was something that the Engadget folks found while trolling the FCC's website.

Here's the original thread on it: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7569

JSWolf
06-14-2007, 09:54 PM
They had at least one at the local store... And was going for 299. Need to check to see if it had a red tage on it. AKA that means end of product...
So do the Sony Readers at Frys have a red tag?

mogui
06-14-2007, 11:21 PM
It was something that the Engadget folks found while trolling the FCC's website.

Here's the original thread on it: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7569

So we have no read whatsoever on Amazon's intentions.

NatCh
06-14-2007, 11:53 PM
Aside from that they evidently weren't ready to go public with it then ... nope, none at all. :shrug:

yvanleterrible
06-15-2007, 08:39 AM
Well! A leak like this one would obviously ire the direction and force them to clamp down. Just try to question an Amazon guy... or his friends. :grin:

The sad thing about this is that it also gets all other companies to shut out.

gingercat
09-05-2007, 12:34 AM
I can see a time coming when any ebook seller will supply readers cheap or free in the same way mobile phone network comnpanies were giving away phones a while ago.

jasonkchapman
09-05-2007, 07:10 AM
I can see a time coming when any ebook seller will supply readers cheap or free in the same way mobile phone network comnpanies were giving away phones a while ago.
If so, it will be done the same way the phones do it. They'll lock the user in to their own content and use the hardware as a loss leader. They'll all offer roughly the same feature set and compete with dodgy marketing and a constant process of reinventing the wheel.

Nate the great
09-05-2007, 08:51 AM
If so, it will be done the same way the phones do it. They'll lock the user in to their own content and use the hardware as a loss leader. They'll all offer roughly the same feature set and compete with dodgy marketing and a constant process of reinventing the wheel.

dodgy marketing... use locked in... This sounds familiar. Oh, wait, SONY! Sony did this. Only they were smart enough to get us to pay for the privilege of being controlled. :)

nekokami
09-05-2007, 09:13 AM
But if Amazon offered their entire content inventory, how "locked in" would you really be? Even the Mobipocket inventory would be pretty good. It would depend on the subscription fee-- one would need to calculate the value of the deal on a personal basis.

I like to re-read my books, so I don't know as this would work for me, but it could work for a lot of other people.

jasonkchapman
09-05-2007, 11:03 AM
But if Amazon offered their entire content inventory, how "locked in" would you really be?
Except it's not Amazon's content to offer. Don't forget, Amazon would still be just an enhanced bookseller, or possibly a combination distributor/seller. They'll still have to make distribution/sales agreements with every one of the publishers. It's not like they can just arbitrarily snarf up the e-rights on their entire inventory. For some of the books they sell, the e-rights are either no available or are otherwise contracted.

nekokami
09-05-2007, 11:36 AM
Amazon has the marketing leverage to be able to lean on a lot of publishers to offer their content. You're right, it wouldn't be the whole Amazon inventory, but I think if Amazon wanted to be able to offer this service, and had a DRM plan that would convince the publishers that the content was going to be suitably protected, they could get a pretty large percentage of their content into the plan.

I'm not saying I think this is good, just that it's plausible.

jasonkchapman
09-05-2007, 11:46 AM
Amazon has the marketing leverage to be able to lean on a lot of publishers to offer their content.
They do indeed, and have successfully used it to get the publishers to budge in the past. However, this time the collective weight of B&N, Borders, et al., will be shoving just as hard in the opposite direction. I have no doubt that there are bookseller FUDsquads on the march already.
You're right, it wouldn't be the whole Amazon inventory, but I think if Amazon wanted to be able to offer this service, and had a DRM plan that would convince the publishers that the content was going to be suitably protected, they could get a pretty large percentage of their content into the plan.
You're probably right. The big question is what will the market look like? Any DRM plan, no matter how flexible, is likely to strip off the absolutist portion of the market.

nekokami
09-05-2007, 12:06 PM
But Amazon has a huge big market of its own. All they have to say is "like iTunes, but all the books you can read" and they'll be able to sit back and count the cash.

B&N, having its own online store, may not want Amazon to get there first, but they have also used their heavyweight status in the industry to force publishers into agreements more in their (B&N's) favor. Borders is still selling through Amazon, so I don't know as they'd fight this.

jasonkchapman
09-05-2007, 12:13 PM
But Amazon has a huge big market of its own. All they have to say is "like iTunes, but all the books you can read" and they'll be able to sit back and count the cash.
There's no guarantee of that, which may be why Amazon's been fairly quiet about the whole thing. I don't know how much more receptive the publishers would be to Amazon than they've been to Sony. After all, Sony is, at least in part, "one of them."

While it's not book-specific, Sony has a huge big market, too. And they did say "like iTunes, but all the books you can read." I don't know how much cash they're counting yet.

nekokami
09-05-2007, 03:08 PM
There's no guarantee of that, which may be why Amazon's been fairly quiet about the whole thing. I don't know how much more receptive the publishers would be to Amazon than they've been to Sony. After all, Sony is, at least in part, "one of them."

While it's not book-specific, Sony has a huge big market, too. And they did say "like iTunes, but all the books you can read." I don't know how much cash they're counting yet.

People aren't used to buying books from Sony. They're used to buying books from Amazon -- lots and lots of books. I think Amazon would have a much better chance of making this viable.

As far as Sony being "one of them," Sony isn't a book publisher, so I don't know as other book publishers would recognize any kinship whatsoever (these are the people who are stealing away our reading public to waste their time on other media!) and even if they did consider Sony to be a "publisher," they'd be a competitor.

But I have no idea if Amazon even wants to be in this business, let alone what hidden obstacles there might be. From where I sit on the back of the second balcony, I can't figure out why the show hasn't started yet. I can't see what's happening in the orchestra pit. ;)

jasonkchapman
09-05-2007, 08:30 PM
As far as Sony being "one of them," Sony isn't a book publisher, so I don't know as other book publishers would recognize any kinship whatsoever (these are the people who are stealing away our reading public to waste their time on other media!) and even if they did consider Sony to be a "publisher," they'd be a competitor.
Sony is partners with Bertelsmann. They don't publish books, so they're not a competitor, but they most assuredly are an insider. That status made it much easier for them to get the agreements they have so far. The "big publishing" attendance at the Reader's launch party looked more like a joint venture than a simple show of support.

silvania
09-07-2007, 02:00 PM
the latest press story (new york times) on kindle says $500, not $50. Looks like the rumor mill lost a zero in there somewhere ;)

so much for believing rumors.

Nightwing
09-07-2007, 05:29 PM
If Amazon drop a book instead of HB edition prices but cheep paper back then that 500 in effects starts dropping in price.

But the same article stating the $500 price. From reports its not that good in some areas...

jasonkchapman
09-07-2007, 07:20 PM
If Amazon drop a book instead of HB edition prices but cheep paper back then that 500 in effects starts dropping in price.
Yes, it would. Except the price isn't up to Amazon, it's up to the publishers. I doubt the publishers are going to give Amazon a significantly better deal than they have everyone else. I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. But we'll see.

RWood
09-07-2007, 08:19 PM
Does Amazon want to be in the ebook market? They want to be there because it is the future and they do not want to go out of business.

Can they get the publishers on board? Yes, a few will easily go along with them. As the marketing might of Amazon starts to increase the sales of these publishers the others will fall in line and offer their books through Amazon.

Will it help other ebook formats? Yes, beyond the rising tide raises all boats theory, the greatest benefit will be the increased awareness and utilization of ebooks.

Will Sony Connect Store go away? Even the #2 position behind Amazon will be far more profitable than the #1 position today.

Hadrien
09-07-2007, 08:20 PM
the latest press story (new york times) on kindle says $500, not $50. Looks like the rumor mill lost a zero in there somewhere ;)

so much for believing rumors.

Nothing official yet. I'm still waiting for any kind of official press release from Amazon (should be available pretty soon if they're right about the october release date).

Nightwing
09-07-2007, 10:07 PM
Yes, it would. Except the price isn't up to Amazon, it's up to the publishers. I doubt the publishers are going to give Amazon a significantly better deal than they have everyone else. I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. But we'll see.

The catch is this... They got there start selling book. Just books... The are big enough to force the issue. Like Walmart can dictate major conessions from the supplier. Toyota does the same thing.

ebooks wont go anywhere untill the price is at least the cost of a paperback.

jasonkchapman
09-07-2007, 10:31 PM
From your fingers to the market's ears, RWood.

gingercat
09-10-2007, 07:33 PM
The catch is this... They got there start selling book. Just books... The are big enough to force the issue. Like Walmart can dictate major conessions from the supplier. Toyota does the same thing.

ebooks wont go anywhere untill the price is at least the cost of a paperback.

Do ui mean the rpice of the ebooks or the price of the reader?

For non US residents the ebboks are at least half the price of a paperback now even taking the exchange rate into consideration. It seems to me in the US paperback prices are alredy cheap.

NatCh
09-10-2007, 07:42 PM
I think Nightwing means the price of e-books -- they're generally priced near or higher than p-book prices, when the cost of creation and delivery has to be at least somewhat lower.

gingercat
09-10-2007, 07:49 PM
I think Nightwing means the price of e-books -- they're generally priced near or higher than p-book prices, when the cost of creation and delivery has to be at least somewhat lower.

No way - as I said b4 ebooks are generally at least half the price of pbooks (that's why I'm so keen to use ebooks). I think some of you must have access to some very cheap pbook prices.

NatCh
09-10-2007, 07:53 PM
Um. Where are you buying your e-books, gingercat? I think I'd like to have a look at that store. :nice:

rlauzon
09-10-2007, 08:01 PM
No way - as I said b4 ebooks are generally at least half the price of pbooks (that's why I'm so keen to use ebooks). I think some of you must have access to some very cheap pbook prices.

Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green
$6.99 Fictionwise (DRM eBook)
$6.99 eReader.com (DRM eBook)
$6.99 Amazon.com (paperback)

Actually, these prices are pretty good. Normally, we see things like:
Spook Country by William Gibson
Amazon.com $16 (Hardcover)
Fictionwise $26 (DRMed eBook)

Now, if you compare popular pBooks with "no-name" author eBooks, then you get the half price differential at these places. So the price will vary widely.

gingercat
09-10-2007, 08:02 PM
Um. Where are you buying your e-books, gingercat? I think I'd like to have a look at that store. :nice:

prices from mobipocket and sony connect are way cheaper than I can buy pbooks here (NZ) in any book shop down town.

Remember if I buy a book from Amazon it will probably cost me about $US10-20 in postage. My iliad cost $US51 just for postage

Maybe our pbook prioces here are just a rip-off. I don't know

Aberage pbook price here is $20 - $40. $6.99 with no postage cost looks like a bargain to me.

nekokami
09-10-2007, 08:15 PM
Are those paperback or hardcover prices? For fiction or non-fiction? If you're paying US$20 for mass market paperback fiction, you have my deepest sympathies. New books in this format are usually about US$7.99 here in the States.

NatCh
09-10-2007, 08:15 PM
Okay, I see your point, but it doesn't really apply here in the U.S. where the paperbacks are $6.99 and the e-books are ~$8. :shrug:

JSWolf
09-12-2007, 12:20 PM
Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green
$6.99 Fictionwise (DRM eBook)
$6.99 eReader.com (DRM eBook)
$6.99 Amazon.com (paperback)

Actually, these prices are pretty good. Normally, we see things like:
Spook Country by William Gibson
Amazon.com $16 (Hardcover)
Fictionwise $26 (DRMed eBook)

Now, if you compare popular pBooks with "no-name" author eBooks, then you get the half price differential at these places. So the price will vary widely.
Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green
$5.59 at BooksOnBoard (DRM eBook)

And you forgot one important issue. If you were to purchase the book at Amazon.com and spend less then $25, you would also have to include the cost of shipping/handling.

rlauzon
09-12-2007, 12:35 PM
Agents of Light and Darkness by Simon R. Green
$5.59 at BooksOnBoard (DRM eBook)

And you forgot one important issue. If you were to purchase the book at Amazon.com and spend less then $25, you would also have to include the cost of shipping/handling.

I would also have something that's readable next year, and something that I can pass on to someone else.

You also forget that the cost to create that eBook is less than 1/4 of what it cost to produce that pBook.

JSWolf
09-12-2007, 12:39 PM
I would also have something that's readable next year, and something that I can pass on to someone else.

You also forget that the cost to create that eBook is less than 1/4 of what it cost to produce that pBook.
Explain to us how the cost of an ebook is less then 1/4th the cost of a paper book?

ebook and paper books share exactly the same cost up to the point of formatting it for the various mediums. A paper book does have the cost of the paper and the ink and the cost of shipping to the stores. But the ebooks have the cost of formatting them in the various formats. So how when the costs split from the paper and ebook does that make it less then 1/4th the cost?

rlauzon
09-12-2007, 12:46 PM
Explain to us how the cost of an ebook is less then 1/4th the cost of a paper book?

ebook and paper books share exactly the same cost up to the point of formatting it for the various mediums. A paper book does have the cost of the paper and the ink and the cost of shipping to the stores. But the ebooks have the cost of formatting them in the various formats. So how when the costs split from the paper and ebook does that make it less then 1/4th the cost?

We've been through this time and time again. Do I need to go over it yet again?

The vast majority of the cost of a pBook is the physical-ness of the pBook: paper, ink, printing press, distribution, warehousing, shelf space, etc. None of those costs exist for an eBook.

The people from the publishing industry have told us that out of the $20 you pay for a hardcover, the author gets about $1.

So, saying that the costs of an eBook is 1/4 that of a pBook is a pretty good estimate.

Alisa
09-12-2007, 01:17 PM
I'm not sure about the retail book industry but in most retail you're looking at 50% of the price being the markup from the store itself. Maintaining retail outlets is expensive. Then you have to deal with overages and unsold copies. Plus I don't see how the cost of formatting is much additional. After all I'm sure these text are already in an electronic format for the editing and the printing. I think 1/4 sounds like a generous estimate to me.

silvania
09-14-2007, 08:24 AM
We've been through this time and time again. Do I need to go over it yet again?

The vast majority of the cost of a pBook is the physical-ness of the pBook: paper, ink, printing press, distribution, warehousing, shelf space, etc. None of those costs exist for an eBook.

[SNIP]

So, saying that the costs of an eBook is 1/4 that of a pBook is a pretty good estimate.

You may be going over this "again", but you''re just plain incorrect. You're ignoring costs that ebooks have that pbooks do not, and you're vastly overestimating the physical costs of pbooks. DRM fees consume 10 to 15% on an ebook. That's comparable to the printing costs of a pbook. A mass market paperback, that may list for $5 to $7, costs about 50 cents to print. The same ebook will cost about 50 to 75 cents to DRM. I realize the customers don't want DRM, and by the way neither do the retailers, but the publishers require it, and they require the retailers to eat the entire cost.

Authors generally get a higher percentage of ebook sales than they do pbook sales. That eats up whatever savings there are on warehousing and transportation. ebooks are a much lower volume business right now than pbooks (by a factor of about 100). Thus they do not enjoy all kinds of economies of scale that pbooks have and overhead becomes a much larger, not smaller, percentage of the business.

And customer support is much, much higher for ebooks than pbooks. Nobody buys a print book and then sends in a trouble ticket asking how to open the book. But that happens commonly with ebooks where there is software to install, file transfers that must take place, interactions with firewalls, new software releases that contain bugs, etc.

Some of these factors will improve with increased volume and technological shake-out. But right now, there is little or no "cost" advantage for ebooks, that's just an urban legend. The advantage might amount to perhaps $1 on a $7 mass market book, at most.

mogui
09-14-2007, 08:42 AM
Thanks for your clarification, but . . .

I do not understand why applying DRM to an ebook would cost anything. The book must be formatted into the desired file format anyway. Isn't DRM just a convert-time option? I could understand it if the DRMed ebook is individualized to the customer's device, but is that any more than additional automation at the time of sale? Is there a royalty to pay to the company that wrote the software?

yvanleterrible
09-14-2007, 08:54 AM
DRM is provided by specialized companies who offer it as a service.

nekokami
09-14-2007, 09:03 AM
I think the point about tech support is particularly significant, and easy to forget. That does add appreciably to cost. While Amazon and other online retailers do need to maintain customer service staff to track orders gone awry, etc., they don't have to help people actually use the books.

On the other hand, without DRM, the support costs would likely go down significantly. So that's another way in which DRM is making ebooks more expensive.

If authors are really getting a higher cut on ebooks than pbooks, though, that's a good reason to buy them. How does it compare to what they get from a hardcover, I wonder?

astra
09-14-2007, 09:20 AM
The advantage might amount to perhaps $1 on a $7 mass market book, at most.

Even though, how do they manage to price ebook in the following fashion:

connect $20 (http://ebooks.connect.com/product/400/000/000/000/000/054/084/400000000000000054084.html)

vs.

amazon $16.5 - HARDBACK not mass market book (http://www.amazon.com/Ysabel-Guy-Gavriel-Kay/dp/0451461290/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5528422-3339009?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189775975&sr=1-1)

silvania
09-14-2007, 09:27 AM
Does Amazon want to be in the ebook market?
Will Sony Connect Store go away? Even the #2 position behind Amazon will be far more profitable than the #1 position today.

Well, first of all, Sony is at best right now #3 in the english language ebook market, and Amazon is at best #4, so not sure where you're getting all that. Neither of them has prospects of reaching #1 within the next 12 months.

Second of all, even being #1 is meaningless to a company like Sony if that means paltry revenues. And Sony (or Amazon) defines "paltry" as "Less than $50 million per year." Remember that Sony was extremely dissappointed because the latest playstation didn't hit $200 million in sales fast enough.

Large corporations live quarter to quarter. The first time Sony (or Amazon) has 2 bad quarters in a row, they ditch every project that isn't clearly profitable and large enough to matter. Ebooks will NOT be in either of those categories for the forseeable future in either one of those companies.

I predict Sony exits the ebook market by late 2009. For exactly the same reason, Amazon exits at least in terms of hardware about one year later, 2010. It tends to take 2 to 4 years before things like this are shut down, the accountants run out of patience after that, and it is the accountants who rule the corporations. Examples: Gemstar, B&N ebooks, Sony Connect Music. All in that magic 2 to 4 year range.

silvania
09-14-2007, 09:56 AM
Even though, how do they manage to price ebook in the following fashion:

connect $20 (http://ebooks.connect.com/product/400/000/000/000/000/054/084/400000000000000054084.html)

vs.

amazon $16.5 - HARDBACK not mass market book (http://www.amazon.com/Ysabel-Guy-Gavriel-Kay/dp/0451461290/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5528422-3339009?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189775975&sr=1-1)

1. Um, "at most" means "at most".

2. My specific example was of a paperback, not a hardcover. The economics of ebooks gets WORSE for hardcover, not better. For hardcovers, there are many cases where the ebook costs the retailer several dollars more than the pbook would, and that's before you consider economies of scale or support costs.

3. But in any case, what of it? I can find pbook retailers who have a higher price than amazon on this title as well. So how does that prove anything about the underlying costs of ebooks vs. pbooks? It only tells you something about each retailer's efficiency of operations and pricing strategy.

nekokami
09-14-2007, 10:34 AM
@silvania,

Your arguments are very compelling, but can you give us some idea of how you know so much about the costs of publishing?

rlauzon
09-14-2007, 12:30 PM
and you're vastly overestimating the physical costs of pbooks.

I don't think so.

Paper costs more than recycled electrons. Ink costs more than recycled electrons. I can send 100K of data over the internet far cheaper than I can send 100 books via UPS.

DRM fees consume 10 to 15% on an ebook. That's comparable to the printing costs of a pbook. A mass market paperback, that may list for $5 to $7, costs about 50 cents to print. The same ebook will cost about 50 to 75 cents to DRM.

Yet another reason why DRM is stupid.

I realize the customers don't want DRM, and by the way neither do the retailers, but the publishers require it, and they require the retailers to eat the entire cost.

That's a problem with the retailers. They should be telling the publishers to eat the cost if they demand it.

Thus they do not enjoy all kinds of economies of scale that pbooks have and overhead becomes a much larger, not smaller, percentage of the business.

Once the eBook is created, the cost of reproducing it is $0. So "economies of scale" don't even factor in. If the publisher is living in the 21th century, they should be doing everything electronically anyway - so creating that first eBook should be nearly free in the first place.

And customer support is much, much higher for ebooks than pbooks. Nobody buys a print book and then sends in a trouble ticket asking how to open the book. But that happens commonly with ebooks where there is software to install, file transfers that must take place, interactions with firewalls, new software releases that contain bugs, etc.

That's due to proprietary formats and DRM. Remove those and the support calls will disappear.

yvanleterrible
09-14-2007, 12:36 PM
@ Sylvania ( I like your moniker, it means something like 'from the woods') :nice:

Your views are pretty interesting.

I'd like to add something to them. If Sony were to remove their proprietary formats and DRM or at least offer more format choices, they might be very close to top.

silvania
09-14-2007, 01:03 PM
Paper costs more than recycled electrons. Ink costs more than recycled electrons. I can send 100K of data over the internet far cheaper than I can send 100 books via UPS.


Again, you're simply ignoring my points. Paper costs 50 cents for a mass market paperback, and DRM costs 50 to 75 cents, which is more. Warehousing and shipping costs are offset by higher royalties to authors. Electrons never figured into my post, you're just making stuff up.



Yet another reason why DRM is stupid.

Well, I agree with you there. But right now, no major publisher will allow their books to be sold as ebooks without it.



That's a problem with the retailers. They should be telling the publishers to eat the cost if they demand it.

Retailers can say that all day long, but then the publishers simply say, "so don't sell my books as ebooks." The publishers dictate the terms and it is quite difficult to get them to budge even a little. So the choice for a retailer is, either sell all small publisher books that don't require encryption, or pay for the DRM.



Once the eBook is created, the cost of reproducing it is $0. So "economies of scale" don't even factor in. If the publisher is living in the 21th century, they should be doing everything electronically anyway - so creating that first eBook should be nearly free in the first place.

Clearly you have never run a business yourself. Overhead is things like: the rent on the office where the workers are. The pay for the software developers and maintence people who keep the web server running, the phone bill, electricity. The publishers create the ebook files, not the retailers. Until you are covering those costs it's hard to cut prices.


That's due to proprietary formats and DRM. Remove those and the support calls will disappear.
And so will the customers, because the publishers will not let the latest stephen king novel to be published as an ebook, and the big name authors are primarily what brings in the consumers.

Look, if you contend it's so easy for retailers to come online with ebooks and make a killing at these prices, then you should just start your own ebook retail operation and reap the huge profits you assume are being made. Should be simple!

Ravenflight
09-14-2007, 01:06 PM
There is an excellent Salon article detailing why books cost so much titled "Why do books cost so much?" (http://dir.salon.com/story/books/feature/2002/12/03/prices/index.html)
My favorite quote:
"When you're buying a book, you're not only paying for that book, but you're also paying for the book that will be returned and destroyed," explains Jason Epstein, former editorial director at Random House and the author of "Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, Future." "That means you're actually paying for a book-and-a-half, or a book-and-a-quarter."
So explain to me again why I'm paying 'book-and-a-half' prices for ebooks? Not to mention all the other costs mentioned in the article that simply do not exist for ebooks.

silvania
09-14-2007, 01:19 PM
@ Sylvania ( I like your moniker, it means something like 'from the woods') :nice:

Your views are pretty interesting.

I'd like to add something to them. If Sony were to remove their proprietary formats and DRM or at least offer more format choices, they might be very close to top.

Well, I agree that would be great for them, but look at the history of sony and you'll see that's very unlikely.

Yes they would sell more hardware if they opened up formats, or at least allowed other retailers to sell DRM titles onto their device. But that's not the way they think. The way they think is, they want to make all the money on the ebook content as well as the hardware.

They can't get rid of DRM, the publishers will not allow it. At least the big publishers won't. Besides, being a content provider themselves on the DVD side, they love DRM and see nothing wrong with it.

NatCh
09-14-2007, 01:26 PM
DRM fees consume 10 to 15% on an ebook. That's comparable to the printing costs of a pbook. A mass market paperback, that may list for $5 to $7, costs about 50 cents to print. The same ebook will cost about 50 to 75 cents to DRM.
That's a problem with the retailers. They should be telling the publishers to eat the cost if they demand it.Retailers can say that all day long, but then the publishers simply say, "so don't sell my books as ebooks." The publishers dictate the terms and it is quite difficult to get them to budge even a little. So the choice for a retailer is, either sell all small publisher books that don't require encryption, or pay for the DRM.Even if the pubs "payed" for the DRM themselves, the Retailers would just find that the book cost them 12 to 17% more (to cover the pubs' time in actually applying the DRM, you see, as well as the cost of the DRM itself), and the end result would be that end prices would rise about 2% -- in other words, there ain't no DRM fairy (just like there ain't no tax fairy) and the costs get passed to the consumer, regardless of their source. :shrug:

rlauzon
09-14-2007, 04:37 PM
Again, you're simply ignoring my points. Paper costs 50 cents for a mass market paperback, and DRM costs 50 to 75 cents, which is more. Warehousing and shipping costs are offset by higher royalties to authors. Electrons never figured into my post, you're just making stuff up.

No, I'm not ignoring your points. But you are greatly overestimating how much profit comes out of a pBook.

DRM is a publisher CHOICE and not something that brings value to the customer. So the cost of DRM is irrelevant to me, the reader. If the publisher wants it, that's not a reason why I should pay more.

Retailers can say that all day long, but then the publishers simply say, "so don't sell my books as ebooks." The publishers dictate the terms and it is quite difficult to get them to budge even a little. So the choice for a retailer is, either sell all small publisher books that don't require encryption, or pay for the DRM.

Then publishers lose the right to complain about eBook piracy.

Clearly you have never run a business yourself. Overhead is things like: the rent on the office where the workers are. The pay for the software developers and maintence people who keep the web server running, the phone bill, electricity. The publishers create the ebook files, not the retailers. Until you are covering those costs it's hard to cut prices.

And if you go through an existing service, you don't need to set that all up yourself.

So if you CHOOSE to create your own eBookstore, those are costs you have CHOSEN to incur and are not a reason to overprice your eBooks.

Look, if you contend it's so easy for retailers to come online with ebooks and make a killing at these prices, then you should just start your own ebook retail operation and reap the huge profits you assume are being made. Should be simple!

Why? Places like Fictionwise already exist.

Liviu_5
09-14-2007, 05:00 PM
I love these threads about e-book cost vs p-book, about why drm is necessary, why e-books are expensive. :D

Get real; there is a reason commercial ebooks are the butt of jokes right now, and justifications are irrelevant. People DO NOT pay high prices for e-content as a group, people detest drm as a group, so as long as those 2 factors remain dominant, commercial e-books will still be the butt of jokes; if somehow a book reader (maybe Kindle, maybe Sony, maybe eink ETI) captures the imagination of the public and sells in millions, commercial e-books will still go nowhere at high prices and drm.

The bottom line is the current e-book publishing model does not work, is not going to work and we will have the same status quo until something better comes along. The music studios tried the same justifications and so what; the mp3 wave is still crushing them as Mr. Ringo put it so well...

Ravenflight
09-14-2007, 08:14 PM
No it's all an elaborate conspiracy between publishers and bookstores to increase readership and sell more print books. Publishers know that letting people read books for free actually increases demand and thereby sales of print books. Except most of them (with the exception of Baen (www.baen.com/library)) would never admit it. Why do you not see them going after public libraries?

So long as ebook prices remain insanely high then ebook remain a niche. And the majority of that niche read the 'pirated' version, while also building the buzz (and thereby sales) of the print version. Meanwhile a large percentage of the ones who read the book for free, if they really liked the author, will go on to buy a copy of either that book or another of that authors books. This is building an authors following, and arguably the best method to do that is by letting people read for free. If you instill just the right dose of guilt along with it you ensure a loyal fanbase! :D

JSWolf
09-14-2007, 09:18 PM
Even though, how do they manage to price ebook in the following fashion:

connect $20 (http://ebooks.connect.com/product/400/000/000/000/000/054/084/400000000000000054084.html)

vs.

amazon $16.5 - HARDBACK not mass market book (http://www.amazon.com/Ysabel-Guy-Gavriel-Kay/dp/0451461290/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5528422-3339009?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189775975&sr=1-1)
The publisher sets the price. BooksOnBoard has it for the very same $19.96 in all the other various formats they sell. Plus remember that unless you spend at least $25 at Amazon, you pay SHIPPING at about $3.50 for ground. So that makes the ebook and the hardcover from Amazon about the same price. Plus you have to wait for Amazon to send it to you whereas the ebook you can download right away and start reading when you want.

JSWolf
09-14-2007, 09:26 PM
Well, I agree with you there. But right now, no major publisher will allow their books to be sold as ebooks without it.
Baen is sells ebooks with no DRM.

And so will the customers, because the publishers will not let the latest Stephen King novel to be published as an ebook, and the big name authors are primarily what brings in the consumers.
Stephen King's latest Blaze IS available as an ebook at Sony Connect and other ebook online shops.

silvania
09-15-2007, 02:59 PM
Baen is sells ebooks with no DRM.


Stephen King's latest Blaze IS available as an ebook at Sony Connect and other ebook online shops.

1) Baen is not a major publisher.

2) You took my quote out of context, I was answering a question about what would happen without DRM. Stephen King's Blaze is only distributed using DRM.

silvania
09-15-2007, 03:21 PM
So if you CHOOSE to create your own eBookstore, those are costs you have CHOSEN to incur and are not a reason to overprice your eBooks.


You lost me with this argument. If you don't "create" your own ebook store, and you want to sell ebooks, then you have to pay someone else to run the ebookstore for you. They will charge you not only their own overhead costs, but also will want to make a profit, so that will increase, not decrease, your overhead of running a store.

Regarding DRM, I want to re-iterate that I 100% agree with you that DRM is holding back the entire ebook market. It adds major costs (drm fees, support costs), is not consumer friendly, etc. I've been arguing with publishers about it for longer than I care to recall. They won't budge, because their attorneys will not let them budge. They are afraid of lawsuits from authors and share holders if major piracy did occur.

Without DRM ebooks could be moderately less expensive than print books. But not 1/4 of the price as you say. You're way off with that. Even if expense ratios allowed that, the publishers wouldn't price them that way because they would be afraid of cannabalizing print book sales.

JSWolf
09-15-2007, 04:06 PM
1) Baen is not a major publisher.

2) You took my quote out of context, I was answering a question about what would happen without DRM. Stephen King's Blaze is only distributed using DRM.
Baen may not be a top publisher, but they know how to run a successful business that people who know find very nice. The fact that their ebooks have no DRM is a big step forward.

yeah, I did take the Stephen King reference out of context. Sorry.

rlauzon
09-15-2007, 04:41 PM
You lost me with this argument. If you don't "create" your own ebook store, and you want to sell ebooks, then you have to pay someone else to run the ebookstore for you. They will charge you not only their own overhead costs, but also will want to make a profit, so that will increase, not decrease, your overhead of running a store.

But now those costs are spread out over many authors, costing a single author much less than if he set up his own site.

Without DRM ebooks could be moderately less expensive than print books. But not 1/4 of the price as you say. You're way off with that. Even if expense ratios allowed that, the publishers wouldn't price them that way because they would be afraid of cannabalizing print book sales.

Well, eBooks are coming whether they want them or not. So publishers need to evolve or, like all good dinosaurs, they will become extinct.

People are not going to pay hardcover prices for an eBook. Period.
People aren't even going to pay mass market paperback price for an eBook. We know that the costs simply aren't there to justify the price.

guguy
09-15-2007, 05:27 PM
People are not going to pay hardcover prices for an eBook. Period.
People aren't even going to pay mass market paperback price for an eBook. We know that the costs simply aren't there to justify the price.

You have to understand there are many people here who bought hundreds
ebooks and just don't wan't to admit they paid twice or more the price
they really cost. Look, they are even able to say printing a pbook costs
0.5$...

Ravenflight
09-15-2007, 07:36 PM
I remember a time when many of these same arguments were used to justify why the music industry couldn't survive if music was sold digitally by song. That the only way to sell music over the Internet was by album or rental. There was also a widely held opinion that the music industry was a bunch of thieving lowlifes- reinforced by news reports of record labels refusing to pay their artists, colluding to fix cd prices, and the RIAA suing children for piracy. And how can you feel bad about stealing from a thief? And yet many people still want to compensate an artist for their work. I think this is why itunes is so successful.

It would be a mistake for the publishing industry to follow the same path as the music industry- It is fairly well known that most authors only receive about 10% per volume sold. Are we then to conclude that for, say, a 20.00 hardcover that the publisher and the retailer deserve to mark the book up 1000% over what they paid the author of the book? That a publishers contribution is worth 10 times what the writers contribution is worth? Even when there's no printing, shipping, warehousing, and destroying unsold copies involved? If the major publishers issue a statement that they give three times the royalties ( or 30-40% of the sale price) for ebooks, then I will happily pay the same price for an ebook as a print book. Otherwise my opinion of the matter will be that they are price gouging cretins who are cheating their authors and the public.

guguy
09-15-2007, 08:26 PM
I wonder about something : can an author who is already published (pbooks)
sell ebooks directly via a website ?

nekokami
09-15-2007, 09:01 PM
I wonder about something : can an author who is already published (pbooks)
sell ebooks directly via a website ?
It depends entirely on whether they own the electronic publishing rights to their own work, which would have been part of the original contract. Electronic rights (and other rights) can also revert to the author over time. If a publisher still holds the electronic rights, the author is not entitled to directly sell ebooks-- they have presumably been paid for those rights.

Regarding the cost of publishing, while I wish authors could get a larger slice of the pie, I think there really are a lot of costs we're not taking into account. Right at the top is the retail markup, typically at 40%. In a bricks-and-mortar shop, that markup goes to pay staff, rent, lights, insurance, etc. In an ebook shop, some staff, rent, and lights are still necessary, though not as much as in a pbook shop, probably, but there are server costs. It's less expensive to handle digital goods, but still not free. Try telling Amazon (or Mobipocket) they aren't entitled to a 40% markup, though.

Then there's the distributor. Retail stores usually don't buy directly from the publisher. They buy from a distributor, which is also getting a markup. On physical goods, the distributors I sell my card game to get a 60% discount off the final retail price. This seems to me to be the most likely place to cut costs (besides shipping), because it involves physical inventories and the printing of catalogs.

Then there's the work the publisher does. You can't just write off the effort of editing, proofing, typesetting, marketing (to the extent the publisher actually does any) etc. and say that those costs are associated with p-books. If ebooks are going to drive p-books out of business, those costs will need to be picked up regardless of format.

Really, the only surplus I'm seeing is physical printing, distribution (maybe) and shipping/returns. I'm guessing that's good for at most 20%, even if the printing savings don't get eaten up by DRM.

To cross-check this estimate, take a look at Baen pricing. Mass-market paperbacks in the US are generally US$7.99 these days. Baen is charging about US$5, and can leave out the distributor markup (and maybe part of the retail markup) since as the publisher they're selling direct to consumers. I don't think there's a lot of fat in the Baen model, and they don't have DRM costs, so I'm skeptical that we'll ever see commercially edited/published ebooks at much more of a discount than Baen is able to offer.

astra
09-16-2007, 05:47 AM
Without DRM ebooks could be moderately less expensive than print books. But not 1/4 of the price as you say. You're way off with that.

Hardback editions or paperback editions? (the difference is huge)

astra
09-16-2007, 06:16 AM
Plus remember that unless you spend at least $25 at Amazon, you pay SHIPPING at about $3.50 for ground.
Plus you have to wait for Amazon to send it to you whereas the ebook you can download right away and start reading when you want.

I see your points.
Although they might be important for someone else, it is not an issue for me. I yet have to find myself in a situation when I want to read a book so desperately, that I cannot wait 2-3 days for a free delivery from amazon. It never happened to me so far. Also, I always plan ahead what I would like to purchase and put it on my wish list and I always order 2 hardback books at the same time to make it for a free delivery.

Xenophon
09-16-2007, 01:16 PM
It depends entirely on whether they own the electronic publishing rights to their own work, which would have been part of the original contract. Electronic rights (and other rights) can also revert to the author over time. If a publisher still holds the electronic rights, the author is not entitled to directly sell ebooks-- they have presumably been paid for those rights.


Generally true. Note that some publishers use a different scheme, however. Baen buys non-exclusive electronic rights along with their paper-book contract. On the other hand, I don't think that those non-exclusive rights ever revert to the author -- I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong on this.

The idea behind non-exclusive electronic rights is this: On the one hand, Baen is confident that their low-price, no-DRM approach is the winning sales strategy. On the other hand, some of their authors don't agree. So... to keep everyone happy, they put their money where their mouth is and purchase non-exclusive rights. Baen's authors can (and do!) arrange to sell their books through Fictionwise or whomever. The word so far is that the royalties via Baen outweigh they sum of the other guys by quite a bit.

Xenophon
09-16-2007, 01:22 PM
1) Baen is not a major publisher.


Well... sort-of yes and sort-of no. Baen is an independent business, and as such they aren't 'major.' On the other hand, in practice Baen is the SF/Fantasy line for Simon&Schuster. In that context, they are the 2nd largest player in the SF/Fantasy market (after Tor). Other publishers certainly notice their success in the eBook world. Especially since Baen is the ONLY fiction publisher with a substantial fraction of their sales coming from eBooks. (Caveat: I'm not familiar with recent results from the Romance novel market. This may have changed...)

guguy
09-16-2007, 02:47 PM
Look at this e-store : www.eons.fr

It's in french but just check the price they ask for their pbooks and ebooks,
they sell both and their ebooks (with DRM) are about 1/3 the price of pbooks.
So most of their ebooks are only 2-4 (with a few exceptions).

The truth is that currently publishers don't believe in ebooks and don't care
asking such a crazy price. Servers are NOT expensive, including DRM is
not so expensive and creating an ebook is not difficult since the publisher
already has an electronic version of every books.

brecklundin
09-16-2007, 10:49 PM
I read the whole thread and learned a bunch about players & content so THANKS. I also have found the debate over the DRM and costs of printing the pbooks is interesting.

From my reading it seems that the digital era pretty much renders the current publisher business models obsolete. Their current business models also inhibit or outright destroy the very market that should have existed almost since day one of the internet business. Recording industry is the same deal. Neither industry is going to back off and reduce their profits (read growth) for any quarter. That is something which is wrong with the idea of corporations vs. privately held companies. But that is a whole other topic.

Something I see missing from the arguments on both sides is the issue of used book sales. I cannot remember the last time I bought a new pback. I see no reason to spend 2x-5x more for a pback when in in a few weeks or a month I can find the same book for 1/2 the price. On sale or at a thrift thrift store is even a bigger savings.

When done with these books I sell them back to the used book store who then sells them over and over as others repeat the same cycle. So while the original publisher gets a huge profit on each book sold under the 1st sale doctrine, they get zilch outta my pocket...ever.

If ebooks are priced between say $4.00 - $5.00US each I will pretty much be willing to spend the extra $1-$2 for them over the used editions I currently buy. This will create an entire new profit center that publishers and retailers have no income from currently. And if my circle of friends is representative then I know there are LOTS of folks like myself that would be happy to switch to ebooks on a decent reader. Thus creating an entire new revenue stream where NOTHING existed before. This should easily offset any debate over production costs affecting the price of ebooks enough to require an increase in price not a reduction. If they were not selling to me before then the extra 50+ books I, and others like me, buy every year creates MORE INCOME they never had a shot at before.

I would consider a reader with a monthly fee for a specified period only if it supported pretty much any format around. I am sure this analogy has been made but my Audible sub is about $23/mo with two books. We got a free iPod 1gb player for a one year pay up front deal. But the player can play other formats too. I would never consider paying anything for a player that was in any fashion proprietary.

DRM is a fact of life and is what it is...don't like it if they do not allow portability of my content to other devices I register with the content provider. To me the biggest problem with DRM is that it ultimately costs the consumer MORE in an effort to subsidise an outdated and faulty business model used by the publishing industry. It is a model the industry has had almost 2 DECADES to change. The only change they came up with was to pass their own problems on to the consumer. So now we are forced to pay an "ineptness" fee to enjoy our entertainment.

Baen "get's it" none of the big publishers do because they are all publicly traded corporations who worship at the alter of the "quarterly report". And this is where our own "free market" system bytes us in the rear. I can live with a buck-a-book for the DRM tax (and it is a tax), but am not willing to pay more for the privilege of buying online over the cost of of a pbook. It is that simple to me. An industry's internal issues matter not to me...the power of the free market is that I can continue to buy used and not support the industry in any fashion. So, until the industry fixes itself I doubt I will be willing to spend my few pennies with them.

For those reasons I am following this idea of a reader from Amazon with great interest. But ultimately price is the whole thing. A $500 reader and they can forget it, a free-$150 priced reader and we can look closer.

HarryT
09-17-2007, 07:10 AM
If ebooks are priced between say $4.00 - $5.00US each I will pretty much be willing to spend the extra $1-$2 for them over the used editions I currently buy. This will create an entire new profit center that publishers and retailers have no income from currently. And if my circle of friends is representative then I know there are LOTS of folks like myself that would be happy to switch to ebooks on a decent reader.

Take a look at Fictionwise - they have lots of books in that price range.

Ravenflight
09-17-2007, 01:02 PM
Something I see missing from the arguments on both sides is the issue of used book sales. I cannot remember the last time I bought a new pback. I see no reason to spend 2x-5x more for a pback when in in a few weeks or a month I can find the same book for 1/2 the price. On sale or at a thrift thrift store is even a bigger savings.

If ebooks are priced between say $4.00 - $5.00US each I will pretty much be willing to spend the extra $1-$2 for them over the used editions I currently buy. This will create an entire new profit center that publishers and retailers have no income from currently. never had a shot at before.

A very good observation. I would also like to add that publishers would be able to sell and make a profit off of books that are out of print. I cannot tell you how many times I go to a bookstore, browse through one of my favorite authors- say Piers Anthony- find a title that looks interesting, only to find it's volume 5 in a series where volume 1 is no longer in print. Now I can go to Amazon and buy a 2nd hand copy for a few dollars- but does the publisher and the author make a profit from that? No.

Right now I am trying to find several Heinlein books that I loved as a child so I can read them to my children- ie The Star Beast. It is no longer in print- I was able to pick up an ex-library copy through Amazon, but did the publisher profit? They could have if they released it as an ebook priced for say 3.00. Some will say that publishers won't make enough money off ebooks priced at the same price as used books- but how much do they make off books that aren't even in print? NOTHING! Next time I see volume 5 of an interesting Piers Anthony series I could buy it knowing that I could find volumes 1-4 cheaply and instantly available- If the publisher had any sense.

Nate the great
09-17-2007, 01:07 PM
Right now I am trying to find several Heinlein books that I loved as a child so I can read them to my children- ie The Star Beast. It is no longer in print- I was able to pick up an ex-library copy through Amazon, but did the publisher profit? They could have if they released it as an ebook priced for say 3.00. Some will say that publishers won't make enough money off ebooks priced at the same price as used books- but how much do they make off books that aren't even in print? NOTHING! Next time I see volume 5 of an interesting Piers Anthony series I could buy it knowing that I could find volumes 1-4 cheaply and instantly available- If the publisher had any sense.

FYI: Heinlein's work is in the process of being republished right now (in ridiculously overpriced hardbacks). I don't know who the publisher is.

Ravenflight
09-17-2007, 01:11 PM
FYI: Heinlein's work is in the process of being republished right now (in ridiculously overpriced hardbacks). I don't know who the publisher is.
LOL! The irony is that for Heinlein, I would actually be willing to buy them- but only if they were available as even more ridiculously overpriced Easton Press leatherbound heirloom editions!

igorsk
09-18-2007, 04:44 AM
Meisha Merlin was going to publish the complete Heinlein. After their closure there were some arrangements made to continue it but I'm rather doubtful of the outcome...
http://www.meishamerlin.com/RobertHeinleinTheVirginiaEdition.html

nekokami
09-18-2007, 10:34 AM
While I regret the fate of Meisha Merlin, I'm inclined to think this doesn't really count as getting Heinlein's work back into print. These would have been intentionally limited editions at very high prices.

We're starting to see a few Heinlein books as legal ebooks. I'm hoping that trend continues.

Ravenflight
09-18-2007, 12:34 PM
Meisha Merlin was going to publish the complete Heinlein. After their closure there were some arrangements made to continue it but I'm rather doubtful of the outcome...
http://www.meishamerlin.com/RobertHeinleinTheVirginiaEdition.html
I know what you mean- I'm not sure if I feel entirely comfortable paying 3500.00 for 46 volumes to a company that has already announced they are going out of business- especially when almost all the volumes haven't even been printed yet. I really wish they had gone with Easton Press for this project.

nekokami
09-18-2007, 12:36 PM
I couldn't pay this much in any case. I love Heinlein, but I have very nearly all his works anyway. There's a little bit of new content on offer (letters, etc.) that would be nice to have, but the price is way out of reach for me.

JSWolf
09-18-2007, 12:41 PM
I think the Heinlein books might sell at $200 for all 46 in ebook form. I'd consider it.

nekokami
09-18-2007, 12:43 PM
At that price, I'd consider it IF the extra content was there. Heinlein ebooks have been available on the darknet for a long time now, so something extra would be needed to get enough people interested, I think.

bowerbird
09-21-2007, 04:10 PM
the argument that e-books cost publishers
as much to create as p-books makes me smile.

it might be true -- d.r.m. is costly to inject, and
then causes all kinds of tech-support nightmares.
but hey, that's the way of the dinosaur life, isn't it?

because i can assure you that all kinds of people
out here in the wild world of the internet have
absolutely no problem at all making _our_ content
available to the world at a cost that approaches zero.

that would make us the mammals, i guess...

-bowerbird

HarryT
09-22-2007, 06:31 AM
because i can assure you that all kinds of people
out here in the wild world of the internet have
absolutely no problem at all making _our_ content
available to the world at a cost that approaches zero.


Obviously criminal scum can upload material at "zero cost" simply because they don't have the costs that honest publishers have. It's not exactly a fair comparison.

Nate the great
09-22-2007, 08:45 AM
Obviously criminal scum can upload material at "zero cost" simply because they don't have the costs that honest publishers have. It's not exactly a fair comparison.

Harry, when you have a stroke, you will be sorely missed. :wink:

nekokami
09-22-2007, 02:19 PM
Um, HarryT, I think bowerbird is talking about self-publishing. (I think.) Which is usually also self-edited, self illustrated (if cover art is provided), self-typeset, self-marketed, etc. Sure, it's cheaper, because people usually don't track their own labor, and often more labor goes into commercial works.

brecklundin
09-25-2007, 12:20 AM
Take a look at Fictionwise - they have lots of books in that price range.

Howdy Harry,

Thanks for the tip. I spent some time over there are their content seems nice. I find the Baen site is also decent. I am still reading on my laptop...now I just need to get off the fence so to speak.

;)

bowerbird
09-28-2007, 03:31 AM
nekokami said:
> Um, HarryT, I think bowerbird is talking about self-publishing. (I think.)

of course i was. but some people see a criminal behind every corner.
it's an interesting rorschach-blot that tells you a lot about those people.


> Which is usually also self-edited, self illustrated (if cover art is provided),
> self-typeset, self-marketed, etc.

let's start with the last-point -- self-marketing. marketing will be _unnecessary_
in a world where people use collaborative filtering to find needles in the haystack.
in fact, it will be a sign of weakness, something only a truly bad author would do.

next, self-illustrated. lots and lots of stories work just fine without illustrations.
(indeed, some people think stories work _better_ without illustrations, since that
allows each reader to use their own imagination to picture the story as they wish.)
but if a person does want illustrations, it's simple as pie -- in the age of flickr and
photobucket and creative commons licenses -- to find free pictures for your story.

self-typeset: the right tools can now turn a plain-text file into a nicely-typeset book.
> http://z-m-l.com/go/vl3.pl

self-edited: any writer worth their salt knows they need to have their work reviewed
by someone who has editorial skills, from the overview down to the fine copy-editing.
maybe you hire an editor, maybe you find a friend with the skills to do it for nothing,
maybe you put stuff up on a blog and let your earliest readers help you fine-tune it...
however you get the job done is fine. it's not as if the publishers own all the editors.
just like writers will write for free, because that's what they do, _editors_must_edit_.

heck, i did a bunch of copy-editing on a book before it was put into project gutenberg,
for free, just because i thought it was neat that an 80-year-old man (mike moldeven)
wanted to share his story with the world before he passed over into the next plane...
he was willing to give away his book for free, and i was willing to copy-edit it for free.

-bowerbird

hello
10-06-2007, 06:25 AM
would be great to slash prices of the other brands. they'll die pretty soon if they don't and the whole world gets kindelized.

HarryT
10-06-2007, 07:04 AM
Why should anyone "slash prices"? All these 6" screen bookreaders seem to be coming in at around the same price, $300-400 depending on specific features. That price reflects the manufacturing costs and seems perfectly reasonable to me.

If I recall correctly, the Kindle is rumoured to be sold at around $400-ish.

HarryT
10-06-2007, 07:26 AM
of course i was. but some people see a criminal behind every corner.
it's an interesting rorschach-blot that tells you a lot about those people.


Perhaps, bowerbird, you have not shared my experience of seeing something which you've spent 20 years of your life creating, and are trying your damndest to make an honest living from selling, casually being posted to internet news groups, duplicated and sold on eBay, etc. I'm afraid that the experience does rather tend to make one cynical when it comes to the "morals" of many people out there. If I see criminal intent lurking behind every post, it's because my own experience has shown me that there are many such people out there.

Luckily, one has the occasional triumph. I've recently successfully prosecuted a joker who was selling my software on eBay through the English civil courts, and last year got a kid expelled from university in Thailand for attempting (ineptly) to do the same thing. Sadly, these minor "triumphs" are eclipsed by those who succeed in profiting from other peoples' hard work unpunished.

Perhaps you understand now why I am loath piracy so very much. One's attitudes are inevitably coloured by one's own experiences. If one has been personally hurt by piracy, as I have, the result is inevitably a rather extreme aversion to it in all its forms.

delphidb96
10-06-2007, 11:19 AM
Perhaps, bowerbird, you have not shared my experience of seeing something which you've spent 20 years of your life creating, and are trying your damndest to make an honest living from selling, casually being posted to internet news groups, duplicated and sold on eBay, etc. I'm afraid that the experience does rather tend to make one cynical when it comes to the "morals" of many people out there. If I see criminal intent lurking behind every post, it's because my own experience has shown me that there are many such people out there.

Luckily, one has the occasional triumph. I've recently successfully prosecuted a joker who was selling my software on eBay through the English civil courts, and last year got a kid expelled from university in Thailand for attempting (ineptly) to do the same thing. Sadly, these minor "triumphs" are eclipsed by those who succeed in profiting from other peoples' hard work unpunished.

Perhaps you understand now why I am loath piracy so very much. One's attitudes are inevitably coloured by one's own experiences. If one has been personally hurt by piracy, as I have, the result is inevitably a rather extreme aversion to it in all its forms.

Harry, might I ask what is the software you've worked twenty years to create? I'd like to buy it if it's available.

Derek

HarryT
10-06-2007, 12:08 PM
It's astronomy software. I'll send you a PM.

MikeF74
10-06-2007, 07:37 PM
Why should anyone "slash prices"? All these 6" screen bookreaders seem to be coming in at around the same price, $300-400 depending on specific features. That price reflects the manufacturing costs and seems perfectly reasonable to me.

If I recall correctly, the Kindle is rumoured to be sold at around $400-ish.I guess it all depends on what Amazon's business model is. Maybe they will sell it at cost to jumpstart the market and become the dominant player. If that's the case, they what could they sell it for? $199?

They could try being a loss leader and sell it for even less, though to do that I think they would have to lock the device down to their format and that wouldn't fly with many people.

Selling the device for profit, or at cost? They could really go either way.

mogui
10-06-2007, 11:47 PM
I understand, Harry. I was bitten too. In my case it was long ago. The feeling I was left with was that the current laws just don't work well enough.

RalphTrickey
10-07-2007, 12:21 AM
I guess it all depends on what Amazon's business model is. Maybe they will sell it at cost to jumpstart the market and become the dominant player. If that's the case, they what could they sell it for? $199?

They could try being a loss leader and sell it for even less, though to do that I think they would have to lock the device down to their format and that wouldn't fly with many people.

Selling the device for profit, or at cost? They could really go either way.
I'd think that cost would be closer to $249, and that they'd be losing money at $199. Given the current state of the market and piracy, I'd be surprised if they would be that bold. I'm not sure what percent of people would actually buy Amazon DRM'd books and how many, that's the big question.

If it were 100% and 5/year, we'd probably see the Kindle at $99. Since I'm not that naive, I'm expecting it at $299-$399 depending on how agressive they want to be, and how many publishers have signed on.

MikeF74
10-07-2007, 07:38 AM
One thing to remember though, Amazon doesn't have to deal with middlemen resellers out to make a buck. That can certainly help drive down the cost. What is the traditional reseller markup on electronics? Let's say for the sake of argument that its 20%. That means that resellers of the Sony PRS-505 make $60 on every one they sell at MSRP. Since Amazon doesn't need to go through the retail market, they could sell a self-manufactured device of the same manufacturing cost for $240 and still make a profit (because I haven't removed Sony's margin yet).

Who knows which direction Amazon will decide to take things. But one thing is for sure, they have the ability to undercut the competition due to both its dominance as an online bookseller and its significant ability to sell its own device exclusively.

RalphTrickey
10-07-2007, 11:35 AM
I think that people also are understimating what EV-DO can do. They have the opportunity to provide internal memory that is only accessible by EV-DO, and absolutely (for a while) lock down the DRM, that may allow them to attract publishers that wouldn't look at it otherwise, while leaving the rest of the device 'open.' There are a lot of other potentials for EV-DO, it all depends on the software, and what philosophy they take. I could even see them setting up a 'second-hand' store that takes a 25% cut of every resale, or being able to 'loan' books to friends<g>.

I don't know why there aren't more publishers publishing electronically, if it's because of a lack of DRM or a lack of market, or both.

As well as the question about pricing, I'm also curious to see how 'open' the device is. They could even go both ways a 'Closed' kindle for $199, and an 'Open' kindle for $399 or something like that. The hardware could be identical, only the software is necessarily different.

Hopefully, we'll get an answer this week. I've got the money set aside, but I am waiting to see if they've shot themselves in the foot, or done something brilliant, or if it's in-between.

yvanleterrible
10-07-2007, 12:05 PM
I think that people also are understimating what EV-DO can do. They have the opportunity to provide internal memory that is only accessible by EV-DO, and absolutely (for a while) lock down the DRM, that may allow them to attract publishers that wouldn't look at it otherwise, while leaving the rest of the device 'open.' There are a lot of other potentials for EV-DO, it all depends on the software, and what philosophy they take. I could even see them setting up a 'second-hand' store that takes a 25% cut of every resale, or being able to 'loan' books to friends<g>.

I don't know why there aren't more publishers publishing electronically, if it's because of a lack of DRM or a lack of market, or both.

As well as the question about pricing, I'm also curious to see how 'open' the device is. They could even go both ways a 'Closed' kindle for $199, and an 'Open' kindle for $399 or something like that. The hardware could be identical, only the software is necessarily different.

Hopefully, we'll get an answer this week. I've got the money set aside, but I am waiting to see if they've shot themselves in the foot, or done something brilliant, or if it's in-between.
Hmm! Interesting, especially the part about jumping over DRM. But publishers they do business with won't like that, will it not be a drawback for them or will it only be used for non DRM'd material sales?

As I've said elsewhere, although we cringe at the price, I'm pretty sure this device will have a high one. Ebook readers are considered to be luxury items for now. That is final for the next two years! No matter how we rant about it.

guguy
10-07-2007, 08:44 PM
It won't be EV-DO but Wifi.

Nate the great
10-07-2007, 09:28 PM
It won't be EV-DO but Wifi.

We all hope so, but "Auto-delivered wirelessly to Kindle via Amazon Whispernet" suggests otherwise. This would work much better over EVDO than Wifi.

Also, the FCC pictures show an EVDO/CDMA module, not Wifi. And the manual talks about EVDO, not Wifi.

Everyone needs to go read the Manual. It is beginning to make more sense now.


Here is a copy:

NatCh
10-07-2007, 09:52 PM
True, but that manual's about a year old and we've heard barely a whisper since then (pun fully intended). Also, there was a recent French newspaper article that mentioned WiFi -- it could be an error, or it could be so. :shrug:

nekokami
10-07-2007, 10:13 PM
I could even see them setting up a 'second-hand' store that takes a 25% cut of every resale, or being able to 'loan' books to friends<g>.
That's a very interesting idea. It would undercut one of the most common objections to DRM (at least in many people's minds). I'm not sure I like a solution that favors one vendor (Amazon) so heavily, but I could see something like this working for many people.

I'd want to see much better guarantees about long-term access to content before they'd get my money, though. Especially after hearing about the expiring access to PDF files. :rolleyes:

mogui
10-08-2007, 12:03 AM
In the US EVDO is confined to urban areas, while WiFi is ubiquitous.

JSWolf
10-08-2007, 05:35 AM
PDF DRM expires?

Nate the great
10-08-2007, 07:11 AM
PDF DRM expires?

Not quite. DRMed PDFs can be set to stop functioning after a certain amount of time.

Liviu_5
10-08-2007, 09:14 AM
PDF DRM expires?

If you change pc's or you update Adobe on your pc, you most likely need to re download the drm pdf.

So if you bought it from a site that does not exist anymore or where your download expired (Think Amazon digital) that's that...

ischeriad
10-08-2007, 10:39 AM
I really hope the kindle will be under 250. Maybe they sell it for less, with some kind of book club/monthly subscription, I would consider the Kindle then.

As I buy most books from amazon anyhow at the moment, it would be ok for me if amazon was the only source for DRM material for the kindle, although common mibipocket would be even better.

I really hope, that the Kindle will not be restricted to DRM content only.

PS: Am I the only one who finds the rumored design of the Kindle quite atrractive? I know, I have no taste...:tired:

Nate the great
10-08-2007, 10:56 AM
I really hope the kindle will be under 250. Maybe they sell it for less, with some kind of book club/monthly subscription, I would consider the Kindle then.

As I buy most books from amazon anyhow at the moment, it would be ok for me if amazon was the only source for DRM material for the kindle, although common mibipocket would be even better.

I really hope, that the Kindle will not be restricted to DRM content only.

PS: Am I the only one who finds the rumored design of the Kindle quite atrractive? I know, I have no taste...:tired:

You and I are the only two who have spoken up in appreciation of the design. Welcome to the club.

DaleDe
10-08-2007, 12:11 PM
Not quite. DRMed PDFs can be set to stop functioning after a certain amount of time.

Many formats can be set to expire. It is generally a requirement if they are going to be used by Libraries.

Dale

yvanleterrible
10-08-2007, 01:08 PM
You and I are the only two who have spoken up in appreciation of the design. Welcome to the club.

I know someone who has a Gremlin for sale... Kidding! :laugh4:

Nate the great
10-08-2007, 01:31 PM
I know someone who has a Gremlin for sale... Kidding! :laugh4:

I don't know why this rumor keeps going around, but Mowgli is NOT for sale.:)

RalphTrickey
10-08-2007, 04:52 PM
In the US EVDO is confined to urban areas, while WiFi is ubiquitous.
I suspect that the module will also handle the slower sppeds, so it's probably going to be almost anywhere that you can get Cell Phone coverage, you'll be able to download. That's urban and the transportation corridors, or probably 90% of the population.

WiFi is definitely NOT ubiquitous. I don't know of anywhere outside of my house that I've been able to get WiFi, while I've been able to get EV-DO to work in 90% of the places I've been lately. The places where I couldn't get EV-DO, I couldn 't get wifi either.