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Old 10-16-2010, 05:13 AM   #31
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Amazon is a dark and mysterious river. With our new US registration, BeWrite Books has started this week to upload the ebook versions of our catalogue to the Kindle Store (about sixty titles so far, another sixty or so to go).

We price our ebooks across the board at all retail outlets at $5.95. For some reason they have not yet explained, Amazon has chosen to ignore our requested cover price and advertise all our titles at $9.14 ... apart from one that shows $4.84. No response to our several emailed objections yet. Neil
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by neilmarr View Post
We price our ebooks across the board at all retail outlets at $5.95. For some reason they have not yet explained, Amazon has chosen to ignore our requested cover price and advertise all our titles at $9.14 ... apart from one that shows $4.84. No response to our several emailed objections yet. Neil
Perhaps they thought that you were in the UK, and that your 5.95 price was Pounds Sterling? A US$ equivalent of $9.14 is about right for that.
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:36 AM   #33
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I take your point, Harry, and that possibility did cross my mind. But it's not the answer.

We're officially registered as a publishing house only in Canada and the USA (USA registration specifically to get into the new ebook stores that disqualify publishers without a US presence) and stipulate price in US dollars title-by-title.

Although we have dealt paperbacks through Amazon for many years, these are our very first dealings with the Kindle store and there is no overlap.

It's an annoying move on their part, but also interesting. I'll update you if we hear back from them and when we have the hitch fixed.

Meanwhile, I'll feel rotten about any sales made at these cover-prices (and we'll do our best to compensate if any buyer contacts us direct). 'Tain't our doing that some BB ebooks are now priced close to, equal to or even greater than the corresponding paperback. It goes directly against house policy and the whole spirit of ebooks.

Cheers. Neil
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:43 PM   #34
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Neil - this title is showing up as $5.95 Kindle Edition for me in Canada:

The Poison Garden of Dorelia Jones [Kindle Edition]
Valentine Williams (Author)

Link here: http://www.amazon.com/Poison-Garden-...7247289&sr=1-1

It's quite a bargain since the paperback is $13.26 + shipping.

Both the paper and e-book are correctly linked together as well.

(Note: List is $6.19 in Canada at kobobooks but selling for $4.89 for those who prefer ePub.)

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Old 10-16-2010, 02:02 PM   #35
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Yep, SensualPoet -- and apologies to Harry T who seems to have got it right after all. It's an Amazon screw-up.

I shouldn't really do this, but I will because I'm so bloody angry ... Here is a note I just sent to my partner, Tony Szmuk in Canada (apologies Tony for not asking your OK first [Tony is also an MR contributor]):

Maybe geography has something to do with it, Tony. But we must object. Strongly. ALL ebook retail contracts demand that we set prices no higher in one store than another (internationally) – Amazon itself set the rule! All others are following suit, as you know. And the big about-to-be-stores we’ve been helping get off the ground are even more sticky on this point as we found with two new retail contracts last week alone.

Quite apart from the fact that this high pricing destroys our competitiveness in the general ebook marketplace, it will cause problems elsewhere with other ebook retailers who now also demand in their signed contracts that we set prices no higher or lower in one store than in the next. We even increased cover prices on ebooks in our own BB store to accommodate these folks. We really must somehow insist that the price on a BB ebook is $5.95 … everywhere. No exceptions, regardless of point of purchase or locally current currency conversion rates.

We have assurances from some shops of DRM-free books (this we must assume – because there is no indication on their sites – is the case with Amazon’s Kindle store). We know that Amazon is enabling text-to-speech on our catalogue as we requested. We do NOT have any assurance of no geographical restriction on sales.

These are all major issues to the ebook reading community and these retail chaps must get their act together and let us know in what shape our titles are being offered by them so that we can withdraw with some dignity if they go against our in-house policy.

To give Amazon a break – though this is equally inexcusable – they will be handling pricing (as everything else) by machine. Perhaps, as an Mr pal pointed out today (that's you, Harry), a glitch has converted $5.95 into $9.14 by mis-reading US dollars as GBP or Euros for buyers outside America. Although I wrongly dismissed this notion at first, I find that the result of experimenting just now with a currency conversion site would strongly suggest this as the root of the problem. Today’s rate, for instance, would turn £5.95 into $9.51 and E5.95 into $8.31. It’s so suspiciously close to those erroneous Kindle prices I’m seeing at this end as to make currency confusion a strong contender as culprit for this huge error.

In other words, they’ve f*cked up again, Tony.

And the fact that one single title in fifty-eight is offered at four bucks-something is gonna keep me puzzling all night.

Whatever; this is an Amazon problem and they must fix it assap to comply with our wishes and their very own rules – not to mention to save our own sales and reputation and to save our skin with contracts with other grubby-fingered shopkeepers.

If you’re seeing different numbers at your end after two days of monitoring this situation (as you just did SensualPoet), it means without a doubt our US Kindle prices are now undermining non-US Kindle prices, thus Amazon is forcing us to break the very contract they imposed on us by having their own outlets compete at wildly different prices, and also to break our contract with others. It is not acceptable – whether it be accident or deliberate (let’s hope for accident).

We both detest the Agency 5 model that results in anomalies where ebooks can sometimes carry a cover price higher than even hardback because stores can discount paper but not digital now, but I can understand the big players’ universal mistrust of online stores that seem to screw up at every self-inflicted twist and turn.

I am not absolutely sure, for instance, that Amazon was not informed of contract termination over a year ago of forty-seven ex-BB titles I discovered only today are still on offer for sale on all their sites. These guys listen to customers with ears wide open but tend to turn deaf ears to publishers like us who’ve been stalwarts from Day One.

You realise that if the authors of those forty-seven now unauthorized, uncontracted titles were to claim just $10,000 each, that would land [name of former partner removed] (who held the purse strings over the period) with a bill of about half a million bucks in damages!

That’s how serious these retail errors can be. We can’t afford to allow retail mistakes to continue any more than we can afford to carry a book using ‘their’ rather than ‘they’re’. It makes us look like burks.


The message is ... don't always blame the publisher, folks. And sorry for the rant. But I read so much anti-publisher stuff here in the MR forums and keep my mouth tightly sealed, that it's time to let you know it's not all our fault. Many publishers (especially the smaller indies like my own) really do want to play by the gentlemanly rules of cricket.

Cheers and happy weekend. Neil
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Last edited by neilmarr; 10-16-2010 at 02:13 PM. Reason: trypos ... my current keyboard is on its last legs and letters go missing. N
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:40 PM   #36
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Perhaps, as an Mr pal pointed out today (that's you, Harry), a glitch has converted $5.95 into $9.14 by mis-reading US dollars as GBP or Euros for buyers outside America. Although I wrongly dismissed this notion at first, I find that the result of experimenting just now with a currency conversion site would strongly suggest this as the root of the problem. Today’s rate, for instance, would turn £5.95 into $9.51 and E5.95 into $8.31. It’s so suspiciously close to those erroneous Kindle prices I’m seeing at this end as to make currency confusion a strong contender as culprit for this huge error.
I did exactly the same - I used xe.com to convert £5.95 into US$ and got $9.50 or so. It seems too close to be a coincidence. The £ has been rising against the $ all week, so it probably was $9.14 a few days ago.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #37
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Yep, SensualPoet -- and apologies to Harry T who seems to have got it right after all. It's an Amazon screw-up....<snip, snip, snip>
Well said, Neilmarr. IMHO Amazon is one huge, raging screwup. They're the walmart of online webcentric sales. Now while I do admit that they should not have the majority power they do at this time, I really have only the other companies on the web to blame. It's the same reason that Microsoft became the big, scary, evil monster they are today. In the early days of computing, if one of the other corporations had gotten their act together early and properly, Microsoft would have died early and painfully. But as it was, nobody could compete against them because they had their heads shoved so far up their collective behinds that it looked like an ostrich convention.

The same thing is happening with Amazon and the ebook market. Even though Amazon is uber evil, they got in early and did all the right things to make themselves the majority player while everyone else sat around, and in many respects is still sitting around with their heads rammed firmly up their posteriors. It won't be until someone new comes on the scene and gets it right that Amazon will lose their crown. How long will that be? Well, at the rate things are going, probably another 6-8 years. The only way that'll be quicker is if either the current players get their acts together, or someone new comes in with all the right answers and skyrockets to the top, surpassing Amazon.

But, alas, I doubt that'll happen. Take the PC world for instance. While Microsoft isn't unseated yet in the desktop world, they've been completely crushed by Linux in every other single market, save for console gaming, and that's an area it's not directly involved in. But it took Linux coming up from nothing and doing everything right for darned near 10 years before they really started putting the hurt on Redmond. Much the same thing can be seen in the movie and music worlds as well, and I fear will also repeat itself in the ebook world too. So bend over, grab the lube, and get ready for ten more miserable years until someone finally unseats Amazon and puts the ebook world straight.

Am I being pessimistic? Nah. It's more that I'm being a hard line realist telling a truth that nobody wants to hear. Plus, I have the unnerving feeling that Ebooks are going to very soon hit a stagnation point and stay there until Amazon is knocked out of the market as the majority player. Competition always drives innovation and expansion. Amazon's actions are extremely counter to any form of competition, as they work hard to kill it anywhere it pops up. And without competition, innovation and expansion wither and die on the vine.
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I did exactly the same - I used xe.com to convert £5.95 into US$ and got $9.50 or so. It seems too close to be a coincidence. The £ has been rising against the $ all week, so it probably was $9.14 a few days ago.
Actually, the dollar isn't *rising* against the pound. It's actually falling. The whole rising and falling thing in terms of money is sorta counter intuitive. It's considered as "rising" when less dollars are required to purchase a pound sterling, and "falling" when it takes more dollars to purchase the same amount of pounds.

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Old 10-16-2010, 04:14 PM   #38
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Actually, the dollar isn't *rising* against the pound. It's actually falling.
If you read my post again, you'll see that I actually said that the pound is rising against the dollar, not vice versa .
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:36 AM   #39
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[rant]$33.28 for "Guantanamo: My Journey Bookmark and Share Guantanamo: My Journey by David Hicks" at borders.com.au ????

You've got to be kidding !

Yes, it's a new release, yes the hardcover is even more expensive, but more than $30 for an ebook ? Not going to happen.

Overseas prices aren't any better either unfortunately

[/rant]
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:53 AM   #40
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Yeah, that's quite nuts for an eBook... matches the content I guess
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:14 AM   #41
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If you read my post again, you'll see that I actually said that the pound is rising against the dollar, not vice versa .
Yeah, brain wasn't quite in gear apparently. ^_^;;
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:25 AM   #42
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Ouch, Neil! I didn't mean to upset your weekend. I was trying to be helpful in pointing out a title correctly priced ... from a consumer's point of view, too.

The $6.19 Kobo price in Canada is likely the US$5.95 list ... so both booksellers have it for the same list. But Kobo has a 20% sale ... isn't that ok? Amazon has the opportunity to put the titles on sale if it wants to, doesn't it?

The general consumer expectation is books (and ebooks) are bought at a discount from list. If your intention is to sell everything at $5.95 all the time ... it will never "feel" like a deal and the sense of urgency to buy this today is lost. It seems to me a much better strategy to price all the books at $7.50 list but always sell them at $5.95 if that's the margin you are looking for.

A second issue in the pricing to consider is whether the consumer is willing to pay a premium from one vendor or another. I'm a great supporter of Kobo and have bought several titles. But the formatting isn't always as good as the Kindle (I have some dual purchases to prove it) and, well, I prefer reading on my Kindle. I buy Kobobooks because there is content I can't get elsewhere, and sometimes I get a bargain -- like the recent Man Booker winner, The Finkler Question, which I bought at Kobobooks.

So, streamline the list prices, control the sale prices if you must, but consider a built-in discount, too.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:29 PM   #43
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I am hoping that we are coming to a time when there will be no "Out Of Print" backlist
for Authors (not publishers) and that older works that would no longer rate a distribution
house's attention and support could be offered by the Authors at the equivalent to
today's $2.50. A simple reference at the end of current works to the author's web site
would be all the advertisement needed to support the author's works that are no longer
being supported by a publisher or distribution company.

Authors could be looking to adding such clauses to their contracts. It could be better
than an IRA plan.

Luck;
Ken
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:21 AM   #44
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***The $6.19 Kobo price in Canada is likely the US$5.95 list ... so both booksellers have it for the same list. But Kobo has a 20% sale ... isn't that ok? Amazon has the opportunity to put the titles on sale if it wants to, doesn't it?***

Hya SP: It's this kind of unsanctioned messing with cover prices, I'm afraid, that forced the Agency 5 model on stores.

You see if Kobo discounts our books by 20%, retail agreements with all other stores mean that we must immediately discount 20% there as we'll or be in breach because ebook prices in one shop must not be lower than the cover price anywhere else.

So where does it stop when stores use our work in their price wars? Our prices are very, very carefully calculated alongside our paperback prices so that they are a fair deal and we at least break even. We cannot afford to offer ebooks at prices any lower than those we set. Neither can our authors. These stores are already taking a huge slice in sales commissions.

But what I'm ranting about here, Suzie, (because stores discounting is a risk we take by refusing Agency 5) is pricing up.

In another thread here today, you can read an open letter from Amazon blaming high Kindle ebook prices entirely on publishers who insist upon it. At the same time, Amazon is, willy-nilly, increasing the prices of titles by those publishers who don't.

Is it any wonder publishers go Agency 5?

And think about ebook prices a little: When you see an anomaly like a hardback costing $8 and the ebook version $9, what you must remember is that the ebook is fairly priced (Agency won't allow Kindle to discount) whereas the paper price has been arbitrarily slashed by a huge percentage because publishers have no control over cover price.

Is this policy (often meaning that Amazon loses on every treebook sale) a deliberate ploy to undermine the stance of the big publishers who insist on Agency 5, or is it sheer coincidence because Amazon is altruistic and likes to lose money on paper sales?

Neil

PS: You didn't upset me, SP. Sorry if I gave that impression. Your comment, as always, is invaluable and is received in the generous good spirit in which it was offered. Thanks. N
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:24 AM   #45
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And think about ebook prices a little: When you see an anomaly like a hardback costing $8 and the ebook version $9, what you must remember is that the ebook is fairly priced (Agency won't allow Kindle to discount) whereas the paper price has been arbitrarily slashed by a huge percentage because publishers have no control over cover price.
Um, what?
A price set by the publisher is automatically fair?
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We need to stand up to ebook pricing NOW. P.X. Fort News 52 02-12-2010 06:18 PM
Ebook pricing from someone who knows starrigger News 41 03-05-2009 05:05 AM


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