My first thought was that it was like a vanity press
too, but after thinking about it, the resemblance is only superficial -- vanity presses don't sell the printed book for
the author, they sell it to
the author, they do charge for the entire print run, they do require a minimum print run, and so on. None of that describes what's going on here.
This sounds more like a contract Editing Company: the $200 goes to the conversion folks for the service of doing the conversion. They probably also do some editing functions such as spell-checking etc. I expect that the 65¢/page over 350 is an indication that they're actually proofreading
each page, as well as converting the file.
Sure, it would be nice if Sony could take just any BBeB file, but as folks have said around here over and over again: you expect a certain level of quality from a big name like Sony. We've also discovered how tough it can be to create a good, clean file.
If they took just any BBeB file, then how would they assure that the text is readable? Should Sony would get into the Copy Editing business? That can't
be a good idea.
They're already catching flack from us for the errors that are in texts from other
suppliers whose QA Sony has no control over. They're gonna get raked-over either way, but it sounds like they're just taking reasonable steps to assure the product's quality. Aren't these requirements fairly reasonable from that
might be sure that I'm turning out a quality BBeB file, and if Sony knows me well enough to know that they can trust me to do so, then great. But the fact is that they don't
know just anybody that approaches them, they can't just take whatever file and assume that it's in good shape. They have to have some
sort of assurance that the file is going to be reasonably good quality. $200 + 65¢/page after the first 350, sounds pretty reasonable for that.
I just don't see that this is so egregious, in fact, I'm a bit surpised that the editing/conversion service can afford to pay people to do the work for so little.