Originally Posted by xianfox
Instead, they hire out a firm, like Lightning Source, who are charging fees to handle conversion and distribution that are in the same neighborhood as conventional printing and distribution per copy.
So, they are being charged:
Conversion costs equal to printing costs--even though short books cost less to produce than long ones because they use less paper? Where books with fancy covers cost more than plain ones?
Webhosting/marketing costs equivalent to physical distribution--
- size of books affects storage costs,
- size & weight of the books affects the cost of getting it to market,
- inventory clerk has to log the receipt of the books in the store or warehouse,
- cashier has to be on-hand to ring up every sale (or in cases like Amazon, shipper on-hand to package every sale),
- packaging includes a printed receipt and a bag to carry the book,
- poor sellers are returned to be warehoused at additional cost?
What's the digital equivalent of these costs? The digital equivalent of the difference between a hardcover and a paperback and a special collector's edition? Between glue binding and sewn bindings? Between pulp paper and glossy paper?
The high cost of ebooks has very little to do with the cost of arranging ebooks to be sold, and a lot to do with publishers knowing there's a market and not knowing what to do with it or even how to understand it.
They're terrified that offering books "too cheaply" will lose them the opportunity for millions of dollars. They're *not* terrified that offering them too expensively will drive away customers... they don't know how to acknowledge those people as potential customers in the first place.
And their business model doesn't have a slot for what happens when they make the "legit" version so expensive that the potential customers make a bootleg version for themselves, or give up on that line of books and seek out something else to read. Technology has surpassed them--amateur publications of ebooks are no less elegant and useful than professional ones, and their business plans assume that amateur-made "books" are just not as desirable as professional ones.
They don't know how to compete with amateurs. Nothing in their models requires it. They're trying to pretend that the public will *of course* prefer mainstream publishing house versions of ebooks, and therefore will just accept whatever protocols they decide on.