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Old 11-06-2010, 12:27 AM   #1
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Hachette raises prices on Harry Bosch collections

The back list is an increasingly important revenue source in the age of ebooks because a) new readers can easily buy all the books in a series, and b) owners of paper books may buy again in ebook form.

A common way for publishers to mine the backlist back in the paper book era was to reprint omnibus editions, collecting several novels into one book. This gave readers a bargain price overall, and presumably was profitable for the publishers (otherwise why do it).

As an example, there are now three Harry Bosch collections each containing three novels. When only two were available, Hachette set the ebook price an $9.99 in the US and $11.29 CA (see Three Harry Bosch Novels Shortcovers). This was an good deal, and I bought both even though I had read all of them in paperback. The third is now available, but the price of all three collections has been raised to $17.99-$19.99 each. The third collection has a 1 star rating in the Kindle Store because of price.

This is still cheaper than buying the three ebooks separately, but is $19.99 the right price for three back list tiles in one ebook?

The Harry Bosch volumes clearly started out as paper books. However, it is very easy to combine ebooks into collections. Is this something that publishers should do more often?
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:33 PM   #2
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This is interesting. I snatched up the first two collections (not read previously) for $9.99 earlier this year. I'm still working my way through the first one.

I'll purchase the third collection at the inflated price. It's still a great value -- 3 books in 1 for $6 and change a piece.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:48 PM   #3
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No, I think that $19.99 would be on the high side for a hardback. I think that the $9.99 price is not unfair for a living author.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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I'll purchase the third collection at the inflated price. It's still a great value -- 3 books in 1 for $6 and change a piece.
That's what the publisher thinks too.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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I'd gladly have bought at the original price, but won't at the new one. They moved it out of my comfort zone of ~$5 a book. Sad thing was, I really was wanting to buy it. I was just waiting till pay day. Had planned on getting the whole set.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:03 AM   #6
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No.

By the time something hits omnibus editions it's into a later phase of its life cycle and the publisher is just trying to mop up the last bits of profit to be found from a series. Fair enough.

My assumption has alway been that an omnibus doesn't really cost much more to make per unit than a single book, and all of the editing other costs have already been recouped out of the individual book sales. So an omnibus should cost a little more than regular book, but not a whole lot.

What's the point of an omnibus ebook? Really, by the time they're selling a 3 novel omnibus in paperback for $9.99, then the individual ebooks should be selling for about $3 each. Anything more is just gouging.

Personally, I think gouging on e-content is really dangerous in this day and age. It is so easy for people to get the content for free, and if they're pissed off enough they'll start to tell themselves that they almost have an obligation to do so in order to punish the gouging publishers.

You can't unring the bell on this. eBook sales are starting to become something that publishers can't just turn their backs on, and all it takes is one person to buy the content at full price, strip the DRM and upload it and it's over. So they'll need to keep public opinion on their side. Gouging isn't the way to do that.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:39 AM   #7
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I used to like Harry Bosch but now they are charging too much for the books. I simply won't pay that.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #8
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What's the point of an omnibus ebook? Really, by the time they're selling a 3 novel omnibus in paperback for $9.99, then the individual ebooks should be selling for about $3 each. Anything more is just gouging.
You're saying that an 3-book omnibus should be more expensive than buying the 3 books individually? I'm afraid I don't understand that at all.
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Old 11-12-2010, 08:55 AM   #9
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You're saying that an 3-book omnibus should be more expensive than buying the 3 books individually? I'm afraid I don't understand that at all.
Of course it should, when the individual books are ebooks. But just a little bit.

Omnibuses are just away to bundle up the content and ship it out cheaper. eBooks already do that, so ebook omnibuses don't make any sense. They certainly don't make any pricing sense.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:08 AM   #10
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Omnibuses are just away to bundle up the content and ship it out cheaper. eBooks already do that, so ebook omnibuses don't make any sense.
I must respectfully disagree - I've created (and uploaded here to MR) numerous eBook omnibuses. They are a much more convenient way to "package up" a series than having individual books. And, of course, they don't suffer from the size limitations that paper books do.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:44 AM   #11
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There's probably something to that, although zip files do the same thing.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:49 AM   #12
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There's probably something to that, although zip files do the same thing.
I was thinking more of organisation on the reading device - most don't offer any means of correctly sorting a series in order, so I find it convenient to simply have a single omnibus, with all the books in the right order. Plus, I'm a sucker for very, very long eBooks .
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Old 11-12-2010, 12:14 PM   #13
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Now that is just a failing in most ebooks. Calibre has fields for series name and sequence and I wish that the my eReader had the same. It seems quite easy, actually.

I was also thinking that an omnibus would be an easy way for publishers to give discounts when someone buys a whole series at once without having to rely on the bookseller websites to provide the functionality. But I'd bet that stuff like that is just a reflection of the immaturity of the ebook marketplace.
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