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Old 03-03-2009, 07:51 AM   #31
pdurrant
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I disagree. I point to the Apple iTunes Store as a counter example. It has been getting money for digital content on a per-copy basis for nearly six years, with continual growth in sales.

Meanwhile, nearly all those music stores based on a subscription model have collapsed.

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Originally Posted by Format C: View Post
A publisher who sells digital goods with a "per copy" pricing model is a loser.
He needs a law to force the market to adapt to his business model - and he has got it -, but he can't last long. Sooner or later he'll collapse.

;-)

It's not a matter of price. A digital copy is nothing, and you can't get money for nothing for a long time.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:48 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I disagree. I point to the Apple iTunes Store as a counter example. It has been getting money for digital content on a per-copy basis for nearly six years, with continual growth in sales.

Meanwhile, nearly all those music stores based on a subscription model have collapsed.
While that's true, it does not show the viability of large scale commercial digital only content.

Apple makes its money on iPods, not on iTunes, so they could afford it as a loss leader for many of those years, and while now it brings a nice profit as far as I know, iTunes is still minuscule as a *direct, sales based* revenue generator for Apple - though absolutely crucial for the company in lots of ways

I am not a fan of paid subscription models for permanent content like music or books, though it all depends on price, selection, convenience, features, so I would not write them off for now.

The razor/blades model is not viable for e-books as it has not been for e-music; there are many reasons, but it ultimately boils to needing *total, 100%, lock in, so no personal, or non-device-store bought content* for it to work and ask the ghost of Librie how that worked; the machine got hacked to allow independent content immediately and Sony wisely opened up the PRS to personal content. Amazon did not even try to lock Kindle down, though they trumpet their store, I would bet most Kindle content is still personal too

I have no idea how it will work out, but I am deeply skeptical of digital only content supporting a large scale business; not even Baen would make it without hardcovers, however *nice* is their profit from e.

Shoe-on-a-string small publishers surviving on e-books only maybe, though even for them I guess POD will be where the true money will be made...
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:50 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
i am just dreaming of the day some publisher finally decides to adopt the "give the razor away for free to sell the blades" model with ebooks.
How would you react to the alternative model where you pay for the device, and for the life of the device you get free content?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Format C: View Post
A publisher who sells digital goods with a "per copy" pricing model is a loser.
He needs a law to force the market to adapt to his business model - and he has got it -, but he can't last long. Sooner or later he'll collapse.

;-)

It's not a matter of price. A digital copy is nothing, and you can't get money for nothing for a long time.
If a publisher cannot charge anything, why would provide any goods?

Alternatively are you saying you would be happy with the sort of model that some music devices are supposed to be (or about to) support: a "flat fee" per month which gives you unlimited access to everything (that they've got the rights to make available)?
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:42 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazyScot View Post
How would you react to the alternative model where you pay for the device, and for the life of the device you get free content?
hm, that's an interesting proposition. given that i've already demonstrated (at least to myself) that i'm willing to pay for a device even though i still have to pay for (some of) the content, and also given that i tend to be careful of my electronic gadgets and keep them for a long time before replacing them, it could be very interesting, however that would largely depend on the content available to me ; the ebookwise is available as part of a bookclub subscription model but the content offered is not the sort that i'm interested in reading, so although it is abstractly a good financial deal, it's not good for me.

and so far the lack of content is a very frustrating stopping block in ebooks (more so in france, although that is changing).

on the other hand, i'm not convinced that could be a viable model for publishers ; while the manufacturers and resellers definitely do make a profit on the devices, is it enough to sustain a whole publishing industry ?

but, i could definitely see that working in specific cases : for example, a newspaper or magazine could sell a device to their subscribers, packaged with a free subscription to the digital edition for the life of the device (they'd probably have to define what they considered a reasonable "lifetime" though, for people like me who could probably manage to make a device last years and years... say, you buy the device, and for X years you get free content), and at least in some cases (vis the recent article about the NY Times which claimes they could actually save money if they gave away kindles to their subscribers and stopped printing / delivering those paper newspapers) it could be a workable model which benefitted everyone.

it seems to me there are a lot of parameters to take into account when we're not talking about a periodical with a fixed publication rate ; what about the really avid readers who read hundreds of books per year ? would they be balanced by the more casual reader who reads only one or two books a month ? would someone who reads only one or two books a month be interested in a model like that ? hard to say... but an interesting proposition.

Quote:
Alternatively are you saying you would be happy with the sort of model that some music devices are supposed to be (or about to) support: a "flat fee" per month which gives you unlimited access to everything (that they've got the rights to make available)?
i'm not sure such a model would be interesting to me, as my budget for books varies wildly from month to month depending on the disposable income i have available (as a freelance, that also varies wildly ) and depending on what books are available that i want to read (and am willing to pay for ; some books i might want to read, but not enough to want to buy them ; then i go to the library. i generally only buy books i'm pretty sure i'll want to re-read). and again it would depend quite a lot on the content available. i'm not necessarily faithful to one publisher where i buy every single book they make available.

but i could imagine that being an excellent model for specific cases : for instance, people who buy all of baen's websciptions might be interested in getting the books for free if they buy the device from baen, and i think that some romance readers (from what i've seen in other threads here) have similar habits where the publisher puts out "packages" of books every month, and they buy all the books published every month. in that case it might work similarly to the ebookwise book club proposed by filament books. but that has specific parameters : get the device for free when you join the club (pay on a monthly or yearly basis, but i think it's one year minimum for the monthly plan, and it's a bit cheaper if you pay for the whole year in advance), then get 2 books free from the book club selection each month.

but really this discussion shows that there *are* various models of this sort which could work and satisfy everyone involved (readers and publishers).
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:08 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazyScot View Post
If a publisher cannot charge anything, why would provide any goods?

Alternatively are you saying you would be happy with the sort of model that some music devices are supposed to be (or about to) support: a "flat fee" per month which gives you unlimited access to everything (that they've got the rights to make available)?
Publishers are just the third man between creator and public. It's not that they're needed by definition...



I'd rather say that I'd pay the author a certain amount for the access to his content, whatever the medium and for an unlimited number of personal copies.
I give an example:

I pay Tom Clancy 20€ for his latest novel. From now on, I've got access to that content.
After that, i pay 1 cent for the connection, 100€ for an hard disk, 1000€ for a computer and 600€ for an iLiad. And I download that book in the iLiad in mobipocket, without extra fees. But i don't like mobi so much, so I have also a pdf, an epub, an HTML and a txt copy. All of them without extra fees.
But I also want a paper book for my library: I pay for paper, ink, glue and printer's handwork and I've got another copy. Without having to pay again Tom, I already paid him for his work!
And, if I pay Daniel Craig to read it aloud for me (not cheap, I suppose), I find unfair if Tom Clancy claims money for Daniel's work also.

What I'm trying to say is that anybody have to be paid for his work. But once, and not with those funny laws that make legal to ask for money even afterlife...



But there are people, out there, with big guns and lots of bullets who make me pay more than I owe.
I'm sure they won't last long. Capitalism will survive to their corporate Bolshevism...

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Old 03-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LazyScot View Post
How would you react to the alternative model where you pay for the device, and for the life of the device you get free content?
It all depends on price/features/content availabilty/device specs

I am not averse to such, but not a big fan either.

I used to subscribe to Rhapsody for several years until they raised their price and I realized I did not use it enough to justify that considering the harder times, and I love public libraries though here I am forced to pay for my local one by law.

But I would still pay for my library if it was a choice, though it's clear that such is not sustainable considering the relatively low percentage of property taxes payers that use it heavily to be worth the cost. So my neighbors pay for my library access and for my son's education whatever their preferences are - the way I pay for the immediate neighbor 3 kids versus mine only one - because that's what society thinks it's worth...

So ultimately I believe that any subscription model is doomed unless the fee is forced on a big pool of people by law (say like an ISP music fee, property tax, city income tax..). How do I feel about that - hard to say, again it depends on specifics and how they stack up for me, but I have no objection of principle, nor I would support it in principle either...

I know the N800 has this model for music (pay for device, get music for free for a while at least if not lifetime of device), and I will be curious how it works, but again I just do not think the economics to sustain it is there...
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:05 PM   #37
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While that's true, it does not show the viability of large scale commercial digital only content.

Apple makes its money on iPods, not on iTunes, so they could afford it as a loss leader for many of those years, and while now it brings a nice profit as far as I know, iTunes is still minuscule as a *direct, sales based* revenue generator for Apple - though absolutely crucial for the company in lots of ways
That's news to me. I consider half a billion dollars a fair profit.

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/03/...apparentl.html
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:36 PM   #38
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That's news to me. I consider half a billion dollars a fair profit.

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/03/...apparentl.html
Nice work if you can get it.

BOb
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:01 PM   #39
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Apple does not make much money on iTunes. The total sum may sound like a lot but from each $0.99 song they give over $0.90 to the label. Apple's cost of running iTunes has to be a large fraction of the net income. The benefit to Apple is clear though. iTunes is one of the big reasons they dominate the portable media hardware market.

As a counter-example, it is also one of the reasons Microsoft's Zune struggles to capture share. Their original "Plays for Sure" media campaign was brilliant as a foil to iTunes. And then they crashed and burned when their own hardware devices would not support it!
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Old 03-03-2009, 04:51 PM   #40
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That's news to me. I consider half a billion dollars a fair profit.

http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/03/...apparentl.html
Actually the article quoted is just silly; they use the 29c per song Apple used to get from each 99c track sold and ramp up from there (the pricing of iTunes is different today, but I doubt it favors Apple much more); the comments to it reflect more the actual facts.

Still iTunes is essential to Apple so you can argue - correctly imho - that the actual numbers (which are probably a very low percentage from the total Net) are not relevant, and you gotta take iTunes+iPods as a unit when you look at profitability.

We will see but for now all experience shows that it's hard to make *lots* of money on online digital content - it's not that people do not pay for online content if it adds value, it's just that they do not pay that much...
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:04 AM   #41
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but, i could definitely see that working in specific cases : for example, a newspaper or magazine could sell a device to their subscribers, packaged with a free subscription to the digital edition for the life of the device (they'd probably have to define what they considered a reasonable "lifetime" though, for people like me who could probably manage to make a device last years and years... say, you buy the device, and for X years you get free content), and at least in some cases (vis the recent article about the NY Times which claimes they could actually save money if they gave away kindles to their subscribers and stopped printing / delivering those paper newspapers) it could be a workable model which benefitted everyone.

I have read that too and I think they have had a pretty good idea taken from the cellphone company`s business plan. you give away a million devices to subscribers fror free charge them regular subsription fees and you pay for all those devices in 6 months and after that you make pure profit, minus editing and marketing a some other minor things. One thing a consumer has to be afraid of in this model - possible higher subscription fees, newspapers can charge as much as they want, almost, knowing you have their device and you have to buy said paper from them, ( on totally unrelated subject - would it be called ``paper`` anymore?).
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:05 AM   #42
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