Originally Posted by DrNefario
That chart essentially shows that the key difference in costs between the hardback and the ebook is a little over $3 - the printing, storage and distribution at the bottom of the right-hand column. The ebook is way more than $3 cheaper, so where are the grounds for complaint? All of the cost savings and more are being passed on to the consumer.
What "cost savings?" This was after publishers insisted on stores not being allowed to sell ebooks for $10. That was "devaluing books"--even though a lot of us never pay more than $8 for a book because we buy paperbacks. So a lot of customers saw prices rise, not fall, with agency pricing. The distributor got squeezed, and customers got squeezed; no "savings" were passed along anywhere.
Why should consumers pay extra money that's not supporting the author--if $4 is enough profit for a hardcover, why isn't it enough for an ebook?
The print cost shows an equity between author and publisher: after development and retail costs, the author and publisher make about the same amount of money. For the ebook model, the publisher makes almost three times as much as the author. Setting aside "why would authors tolerate this?" (more of them are deciding not to), why should I, as a consumer, pay that?
Of course, the other option is "don't buy that book." Shrug. I don't. I don't like supporting scam artists, and I don't see what publishers offer that I should pay them more than twice as much as the author gets. Especially when they've gone out of their way to kill the ability of retailers to offer bargains... the agency model's a big part of what killed Fictionwise.
The chart is also flawed, as it doesn't show per-unit costs; the print costs exist per-book no matter how many books get sold; the editing costs are eventually paid off and stop being an expense. And it definitely doesn't work when applied to paperbacks.