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Old 01-18-2013, 12:33 PM   #1
afv011
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Why do ebooks cost so much?

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The lion’s share of the retail price of a book, whether in digital or physical form, is going to the publisher. And what’s good news for him is bad news for you. Want cheaper books? Eliminate the fattest fingers in the pie – the publisher’s.
Interesting read.

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Old 01-18-2013, 01:48 PM   #2
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Because you'll pay. There are plenty of cheaper books out there, and if more of us read those, the publishers would be under a lot of pressure to lower prices. Yet... I have a couple "must have" authors: C.J. Cherryh and Terry Pratchett. I do however refuse to pay more for the e-book than for paper.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:07 PM   #3
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The article is hogwash. I'm really tired of these silly diatribes against the evil, greedy publishers.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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What about the article was objectionable? I didn't see anything that portrayed publishers as evil. But publishers aren't our friends, they have their own interests that may not be in alignment with our interests. What's wrong with cutting out the middleman?
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:47 PM   #5
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Publishers are my friends, because they read 1'000 manuscripts untill they find the one they think is good enough for readers. That is really nice, so I don't have to do this.

I don't think that english ebooks are too expensive. You can find much higer pricing for ebooks in central europe.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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This is the first time that I've seen someone in one of the articles actually come up with a proper example.

Life or Debt (Kindle) costs $9.73
Life or Debt (Paperback) costs $6.00.

The thing to notice with this example is that this is a "Bargain Price" book. As far as I can tell, that's Amazon code for "remaindered". The paperback is cheaper because it's unwanted stock that the publisher has sold off, and won't be paying any royalties to the author for them. The Kindle copies will be earning the author royalties.

And look who the author of the article is: It's the author. And the rest of the article is puffing a new book and publishing project.


Although if there are non-remaindered paper books costing more than the kindle version, it's probably the publishers fault. Or just possibly it's Amazon doing a near-loss-leader on the paper book, but not on the kindle book.


Ebooks (in the absence of things like VAT on ebooks and not pbooks) cost less than the paper books. And I mean less than the discounted Amazon price, not retail price. If they don't, something strange has happened.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:09 PM   #7
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They're remaindered, and once they run out the non-remaindered version costs more than the eBook...
http://www.amazon.com/Life-Debt-2010...mm_pap_title_1
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:14 PM   #8
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I'm not saying that publishers are your enemy, only that they have their own interests which aren't always the same as yours.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:22 PM   #9
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I can see what some are saying as far as some books being remaindered i.e. books sold at a loss in order to clear space for new stock, but I imagine the average publisher doesn't make that clear in their advertisement of the product. That might be part of the problem too. That the average buyer doesn't know that fact and just sees that the ebook is selling for more than the paper copy. And sometimes you see books sold in stores (like Wal-Mart) for say $15.00 and then you see an ebook copy of the same book for$25.00 and you are left wondering why they are trying to get so much more for the ebook copy. Part of that is psychological I think too. We don't mind the $15.00 for a hard copy edition of a book because we can feel the weight of the book and the texture of the paper, but all that is missing with an ebook. The only weight is that of the reader and likewise the only texture is the feel of the casing of said reader. So on an unconscious level we feel the book is worth less and should be at a lower price.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:34 PM   #10
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I look at look Amazon.com at the New York Times Best Seller list for 2012. Most of the books cost less in Kindle format than in paperback. However, three of the top ten best sellers cost more in Kindle format than in paperback. #3, #4 and #6 cost more. After the top ten, only four of the next 40 sold for more than the Kindle version: #14, #34, #42 and #44. From #50 to #100, only #85 cost more. It does seem that less and less e-books are selling for more than the paperback version, although perhaps the publishers feel that for the most popular books, customers will pay more for the e-book.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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I think it's also good to keep in mind that ebook publishing is a new business when compared to 'traditional' publishing. The 1st movies were set up like stage plays and no doubt the publishers don't quite understand that though the product is the same (books) that the media is sufficiently different that there are some problems with the business as usual frame of mind.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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The reason eBooks cost so much is because of the publisher's hate for Amazon's discounting of eBooks. The BPHs and Apple ganged up against Amazon to prevent them from discounting new popular best selling eBooks and taking away from the hardcover sales. The publishers went agency in order to raise prices and no longer allow discounts. They did this because of an irrational hatred of Amazon. The BPHs never actually thought this out properly. They just raised prices close to or in some case more than the pBook edition. Also, the BPHs in order to keep eBook prices high have come out with new higher priced paperback editions (tryng to do away with the old favorite MMPB). This war with Amazon has hit the consumer at a time when the consumer can least afford it.

The way to do it is not to raise prices. Raising prices drives customers to the net to get it for free. If there is a rise in eBook piracy, the blame is to be laid at the feet of the price fix six (and Apple).
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:59 PM   #13
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The pricing of ebooks is not only a deal between Amazon and other stores.

At least in Central Europe, some publishers sell the most ebooks to libraries. And that makes ebooks expensive, because they're paid by the library. But on the other hand you can get them for free through a library system.

The question is: Is a digital manuscript of a book something you should actually "buy" or is it something you should better get through a library for free (paid by the library).
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:01 PM   #14
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The previous article he links to shows an interesting view of publishers' perspectives on ebooks:
Quote:
As you are probably aware, Amazon is selling most eBooks for $9.99. That is already roughly half the price (depending on the format) of the typical physical book.
No, that's roughly half the price of the typical hardcover-or-trade book, averaged out. Not half the price of the typical paperback, which is how most avid readers consume books. (Some because of price, and some because of portability; carrying three novels for a weekend trip is a lot easier if they're not hardcovers.)

And as this article noted,
Quote:
Anyone who produces anything digital that was formerly physical knows digital is cheaper. A website is cheaper than a newspaper. A digital version of a video costs less to deliver than a tape. An e-book costs less than a physical book. Anyone suggesting otherwise, like this publishing executive, probably has a dog in the fight.
Ebooks are cheaper to produce. A lot cheaper. Even allowing for all the extra hassles of digital QC and multiple formats. If they weren't, the handful of authors who've had runaway success with self-published ebooks would be eking out pennies, not paying off mortgages.

The cost difference between producing 10 copies of a paperback and 10 in ebook format may not be substantial. The difference between producing 1000 of each is tremendous. And big publishers, unlike special-interest publishers and individual authors, don't produce books that they think might only sell 150 copies.

If ebooks really cost about as much as paperbacks, the publishers would be releasing info showing the cost-of-production broken into fixed and variable costs, not charts that combine all the costs together for a title... that still shows them making 60% more profit on ebooks--after they pay the author.

If publishers want us to believe ebooks cost "almost as much" as pbooks, they can say what percentage the author royalties are for a sale run of 5000 vs 20000 ebooks, OR they can list the price breakdown for mass-market paperbacks. Funny how they don't want to pretend those exist when they do cost evaluations.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
If there is a rise in eBook piracy, the blame is to be laid at the feet of the price fix six (and Apple).
Exactly. When will any of these industries--music, publishing, film, etc.--ever get it: 'Piracy' is about service not price as such. Crippling ebooks with DRM; making people jump through hoops with acsm files and the like; walled gardens and incompatible formats; archaic geographical restrictions; all topped off with ebooks often costing more than the paper version -- this all adds up to woeful service at an unattractive price.

Insanity, and a perfect recipie for promoting illegitimate downloads. Make the legitimate channel so convenient and reasonably priced that no-one would ever bother looking elsewhere.
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