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Old 09-28-2011, 05:45 PM   #16
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As the price of e-books goes up, I've been trying more independent authors at the $1-2 price point. And there's a lot of older content that is discounted much more than the current bestsellers. There are few authors that I'll pay $15+ for.
i've had my kindle for almost 6 months now and my ebook purchases have been exclusively indie/small press because a) theres more i want to read on that side of the spectrum and b)i cant get the stuff in a form other than ebook. if i want a larger publishers works i take advantage of amazon's 4 for 3 offers and get them in print.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:11 PM   #17
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Lord knows I'm no accountant, but I wonder about this. There's the cost of printing and shipping, warehousing, shipping to distributors who then ship to stores, receiving returns of unsold books, pulping, all the related accounting and other steps I'm probably not imagining. Seems like more than $2.50 or whatever per unit.
Give some thought to this: "As much time as the author spent writing it." Think about that. An author spends, literally, months writing a novel. Hundreds of man-hours, possibly thousands.

The editing and publishing - without including print and shipping costs - is as many man-hours as the writing. According to those in the business (and authors, who have a seriously vested interest in the matter), who are remarkably consistent on that factoid.

Print is about 99.99% automated these days, and while warehosue space isn't free, neither are servers or bandwidth to run them. Shipping is more labor intensive, but again, quite automated, and extremely efficient. A truck carries tens of thousands of pounds of freight at a time; loading and unloading is very mechanized.

(I've worked in retail my entire adult life, most of it at management levels and above, and honestly, I find $2.50 per unit entirely reasonable, or even high. Really. If it cost more than that, somebody is doing something seriously wrong.)
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:21 PM   #18
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Give some thought to this: "As much time as the author spent writing it." Think about that. An author spends, literally, months writing a novel. Hundreds of man-hours, possibly thousands.

The editing and publishing - without including print and shipping costs - is as many man-hours as the writing. According to those in the business (and authors, who have a seriously vested interest in the matter), who are remarkably consistent on that factoid.

Print is about 99.99% automated these days, and while warehosue space isn't free, neither are servers or bandwidth to run them. Shipping is more labor intensive, but again, quite automated, and extremely efficient. A truck carries tens of thousands of pounds of freight at a time; loading and unloading is very mechanized.

(I've worked in retail my entire adult life, most of it at management levels and above, and honestly, I find $2.50 per unit entirely reasonable, or even high. Really. If it cost more than that, somebody is doing something seriously wrong.)
Well put +5, saved me some writing...
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:38 PM   #19
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This has been done and redone. The price of books doesn't have much to do with costs: it has to do with time and demand ( like just about every other kind of content). When a book comes out and demand is highest, Publishers charge the highest price. Most of the money a book is ever going to make is in that first year. In the second year, the publisher drops the price and moves to a cheaper format to juice up demand . The book then moves on the back list, remainder sales, and used books-at which point the publisher is, if anything, losing money.
The ebook prices are pegged to those cycles. Printing costs have little, if anything , to do with the pricing cycle.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:48 AM   #20
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They keep shipping costs down by having distribution centers near the printers. The largest distributor Ingram is located in LaVergne, TN where the books are printed. Borders had it's distribution center there. Amazon has two one state over. Books-A-Million is in Alabama, one state south. Only B&N is missing (publicly unless they use a subsidiary) with theirs in NJ and Nevada.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:23 AM   #21
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This has been done and redone. The price of books doesn't have much to do with costs: it has to do with time and demand ( like just about every other kind of content). When a book comes out and demand is highest, Publishers charge the highest price. Most of the money a book is ever going to make is in that first year. In the second year, the publisher drops the price and moves to a cheaper format to juice up demand . The book then moves on the back list, remainder sales, and used books-at which point the publisher is, if anything, losing money.
The ebook prices are pegged to those cycles. Printing costs have little, if anything , to do with the pricing cycle.
That is certainly the publiserhs' view, and the basis of their entire business model. However, there is a disconnect between the publiserhs' view and the publics' view, and I'm not sure how aware of this the publishers are (the public, by and large, isn't).

Namely, the publics' perception[1] is that hard covers cost more to make than paperbacks, and that makes them worth more. Hard covers don't cost more because they're just released, they cost more because they're hard covers. So people are willing to pay more for hard covers. But an ebook that was release last week is identical to the same book released last year, or ten years ago. There's no perceived difference in value to the public, so the public is going to be very, very resistant to a difference in price, even though the publishers see the two as different products entirely.

[1]And this perception isn't very accurate - the printing costs for hard covers is higher than for paperbacks, but not 2-3 times higher.

The publishing industry is facing some major, major changes to how they operate, and so far, nobody has any idea how it's going to work out.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:03 PM   #22
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Use the darknet until they stop trying to rip you off and make decent pricing. Use it or be used by them, your choice.
Wonderful advice. Just steal whatever you want because you don't like the price.

If you want a used book, then buy the $2 used book. Or pay $18 for the new book.

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Old 09-29-2011, 08:08 PM   #23
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Because, as will all things (except Agency priced books) the seller sets the price based on what they need to make over their cost.
Well, it would be hard to stay in business selling below what it costs to make a product. However, pricing is about demand, not cost to manufacture.

Have a hard time believing that? How else can you explain the cost of Coke vs. generic Cola? The cost of bottled WATER. It's WATER folks.

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Old 09-30-2011, 07:43 AM   #24
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For me, the main value of a hardback is that you can use it for display on your bookshelf to impress your guests, and it won't fall apart after two years on the shelf. Hardbacks are those books I think I might wish to retain for reference. I purchase very few of them now that I'm retired and I've impressed everyone I might invite into my home.

Paperbacks often have inferior, glued bindings that can dry out, crack and release pages, especially if subjected to thermal cycling in a vehicle. Most are intended to self-destruct for obvious reasons which is why most libraries avoid them.

Then there's the potential obsolescence of electronic books with DRM crippling about which enough has been written.

So it really depends on what I intend for the book and what that intention is worth to me. There is no format that meets all criteria (permanence, price, portability).
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:19 AM   #25
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It's got to do with the nature of the product.

While an author might spend hours and months producing a book, his efforts come to an end when its published (discounting the publicity and book signings which are mere marketing).

A doctor or lawyer might spend hours and months learning their trade, but their efforts do not come to an end when they get licensed. They only make money if they show up to work everyday and apply the knowledge gained in a repeated manner for clients. The moment somebody comes up with a paradigm where, similar to the authors, the doctors and lawyers can make money despite not having to keep working every day, their clients and patients will automatically downgrade the 'value' of their services and expect a deep downgrade to the monetary compensation they receive too.

It's the very nature of humans to think that way. It's why people won't mind paying good money to watch musicians perform live, but they'll certainly resent paying the same prices for a mass produced recording of the same pieces.

People value sustained repetition of effort. It's as simple as that.
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:34 AM   #26
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Hello,

Was recently looking for a book via inkmesh.com, found it was on sale at Amazon and Kobo (plus others), went to Amazon and discovered the Kindle version was at $15, the new paper book at $18, and used paper books started at $2.

I feel the delta between Kindle and new paper is just too small, they must save a fortune in printing, shipping, storing etc so the ebook should be cheaper, say around $10.

Is this common? What are people's thoughts on the subject?
In most cases I prefer ebook, but sometimes the price is an over-riding consideration and I purchase the book used. Also many books I want are still not available as ebooks (poetry, non-fiction, science, technical).
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:35 AM   #27
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That is certainly the publiserhs' view, ...
That's who pays him to say these things.
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Old 09-30-2011, 08:59 AM   #28
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Paperbacks often have inferior, glued bindings that can dry out, crack and release pages, especially if subjected to thermal cycling in a vehicle. Most are intended to self-destruct for obvious reasons which is why most libraries avoid them.
Strange. Admittedly, I don't have a car and thus don't store books in one, but I've got paperbacks that I've bought knew and have lasted me 27 years so far (specifically, Sword of Shannara and the movie tie-in version of Dune, both bought off the rack in '84 and read maybe every other year; they both look to have one more good read in 'em, so they'll probably make the 28 year mark :P). And I've plenty of paperbacks printed in the 60s and 70s that I've bought used and which are still in excellent shape. So, yeah, the arguments for the durability of hardcover versus paperback doesn't really hold true.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:21 AM   #29
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It's got to do with the nature of the product.

While an author might spend hours and months producing a book, his efforts come to an end when its published (discounting the publicity and book signings which are mere marketing).

A doctor or lawyer might spend hours and months learning their trade, but their efforts do not come to an end when they get licensed. They only make money if they show up to work everyday and apply the knowledge gained in a repeated manner for clients. The moment somebody comes up with a paradigm where, similar to the authors, the doctors and lawyers can make money despite not having to keep working every day, their clients and patients will automatically downgrade the 'value' of their services and expect a deep downgrade to the monetary compensation they receive too.

It's the very nature of humans to think that way. It's why people won't mind paying good money to watch musicians perform live, but they'll certainly resent paying the same prices for a mass produced recording of the same pieces.

People value sustained repetition of effort. It's as simple as that.
Of course, there's that whole supply and demand thing, too. Book prices are partially based on "what the market will bear" with a production/distribution/royalties/fixed costs floor beneath.

The author's sustained effort is before the book is printed, distributed, etc. While the payment for her/his effort is dispersed over the years of purchases, it is nevertheless payment for the effort sustained previous to publication.
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:44 AM   #30
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And I've plenty of paperbacks printed in the 60s and 70s that I've bought used and which are still in excellent shape. So, yeah, the arguments for the durability of hardcover versus paperback doesn't really hold true.
Likewise, of course, which is why I said "often" rather than making a blanket statement. I have a set of David Eddings The Belgariad that are falling apart due to cheap bindings, published by DelRay in 1990. The edges of the pages are yellowed, bindings cracked and releasing and even the covers are deteriorating. I bought them new and they've never been in a car. Perhaps modern glues are better, I don't know. On the other hand, perhaps old-time craftsmanship was better than today's rush to profits at the expense of quality. And as I mentioned above, perhaps it's a planned obsolescence.
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