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Old 01-27-2010, 12:23 AM   #1
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Why Are Ebooks Prices Ever Higher Than The Pbooks

This whole thing came about because I was messing around with http://inkmesh.com/ and seeing how accurate it was.

So why is an ebook ever more expensive than the pbook. This makes zero sense to me as a consumer. And it should make zero sense to the Author's and Publisher's as well.

Example: The pbook is 7.99 but the ebook is 9.99
http://www.amazon.com/Gardens-Moon-M.../dp/0765348780
Who thought that up? I mean you have Author's and Publisher's complaining about revenue, I see that all the time.

I don't have a Kindle so it doesn't really effect me. But I am just curious does this inspire piracy. It doesn't for me but its got to for some out there, especially the fence sitters. The guys that think piracy is what it is and this is good enough reason to jump in as any. And even if it doesn't inspire piracy, does it inspire someone going to the library instead of buying the kindle version?

This really isn't a piracy post (though I mention piracy) but more of a consumer post. If I had a Kindle and I was wanting this book this would sure make me pause and actually get a bit pissy. And I would probably step back from buying this book.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guns4Hire View Post
So why is an ebook ever more expensive than the pbook. This makes zero sense to me as a consumer. And it should make zero sense to the Author's and Publisher's as well.
Here's the basic model.

1) Reduce cost
2) Increase price
3) Find gullible customers
4) Profit!!!

You're right, it doesn't make any sense. I don't think the Publishers are really interested in a model that makes sense though.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:55 AM   #3
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Without DRM? A digital book is much more valuable to me than a paper book. And I don't have a problem paying more for something that is more valuable to me-regardless of "what it cost" someone to produce/ship/manufacture/store.
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
Here's the basic model.

1) Reduce cost
2) Increase price
3) Find gullible customers
4) Profit!!!

You're right, it doesn't make any sense. I don't think the Publishers are really interested in a model that makes sense though.
I agree 100%
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kjk View Post
Without DRM? A digital book is much more valuable to me than a paper book. And I don't have a problem paying more for something that is more valuable to me-regardless of "what it cost" someone to produce/ship/manufacture/store.
While I agree with you and look at things in a very similar fashion. Its just so annoying to see this type of thing. Its everything that is wrong with Corporations and how they view us (the consumer). It doesn't matter thats it Amazon, you could change the name, Comcast, AT&T, Coca Cola, McDonald's and it would be the same.

Just annoying.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:08 PM   #6
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Publishers like most American corporations at this point, are not trying to build a long term business, or take less money now for more in the future. They want results this quarter.

Pricing an Ebook at zero, they have lots of sales and no profit. Pricing an EBook at $100, they have no sales and the same no profit.

The happy spot is somewhere in between.

I am sure some publisher is running Monte Carlo simulations as we speak, saying at $9.99 we sell so many units for this much profit. If we lower the price to 9.50, we sell this many more, for this much total profit. If we raise the price to $10.25, we lose this many sales but make this much profit. (plug in the numbers as appropriate.)

The publishers will set their price at the point where their profit - this quarter - is maximized. That way they keep their jobs and their stock goes up.

Robert
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:27 PM   #7
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Simply? Crappy publishers. That's all it is.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:33 PM   #8
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OK, so basically you found just about the only ebook where the paper copy is cheaper. Release the hounds, pass the torches, etcetera etcetera.

If you look a little further, you'll notice that the newer trade paper has a list of $15 and the same cover as the Kindle edition. I.e. Tor is setting the wholesale price based on the trade edition, and Amazon apparently doesn't feel like losing $3 per copy on this particular book.

BTW I find it somewhat unlikely that Tor is blinded by money and short-term profits. Although they are owned by MacMillan, and like every other for-profit company don't want to be in the red, they're a small genre publisher, and clearly more interested in selling works they like than just "whatever they think will sell."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Guns4Hire
I am just curious does this inspire piracy.
IMO, pirates don't have "inspirations" as much as they do "rationalizations."

If Bookstore #1 charges $3 more for the same exact book as Bookstore #2, does that "inspire," let alone justify, shoplifting? Anyone who's going to use this as an excuse to pirate the ebook was going to find some excuse anyway.
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:42 PM   #9
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If you've got an excess number of pbooks sitting around taking up valuable warehouse or shelf space, what are you going to do? Reduce them, right?

(Don't know if that applies in this specific case, but it's the reason there's absolutely no contradiction in a pbook price being lower than the ebook.)
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
OK, so basically you found just about the only ebook where the paper copy is cheaper. Release the hounds, pass the torches, etcetera etcetera.

If you look a little further, you'll notice that the newer trade paper has a list of $15 and the same cover as the Kindle edition. I.e. Tor is setting the wholesale price based on the trade edition, and Amazon apparently doesn't feel like losing $3 per copy on this particular book.

BTW I find it somewhat unlikely that Tor is blinded by money and short-term profits. Although they are owned by MacMillan, and like every other for-profit company don't want to be in the red, they're a small genre publisher, and clearly more interested in selling works they like than just "whatever they think will sell."
FYI I have seen several times where a book is straight to paperback for 7.99 (as in no hardcover or trade published before) and a publisher will sell the ebook for 9.99. So it does happen. I saw the price points that the OP posted and assumed it was the same. I'm a little more lenient when a book has gone from hardcover to paperback and the ebook price doesn't reflect that, although that has gotten better in the past year.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:02 PM   #11
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I was having this conversation with some friends who didn't even know ebooks even existed before our conversation, and the answer was pretty simple:

"Because they can."

Last edited by eGeezer; 01-27-2010 at 11:03 PM. Reason: removed redundant explanation
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
BTW I find it somewhat unlikely that Tor is blinded by money and short-term profits. Although they are owned by MacMillan, and like every other for-profit company don't want to be in the red, they're a small genre publisher, and clearly more interested in selling works they like than just "whatever they think will sell."
While I'm sure most of the people in the Tor division are fans of the genre and genuinely care about quality, they do have a strong business reason for not just publishing any old book that they think will sell enough to be profitable. They have a brand that has actual meaning to their customers in a way that most other publishers do not. People have an expectation of them, and not meeting it would dilute that successful brand. Maybe I'm jaded but I'm betting that's why MacMillan lets them keep functioning as they do.
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:45 PM   #13
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I find my own experience mirrors that of Kali Yuga's. Most of my ebooks are cheaper by a few dollars to as much as 80% cheaper than the nearest printed version. Plus with coupons and rewards, I save even more than I would have buying from Amazon or shopping at Borders/B&N/bookstores.

The savings is especially notable if you buy from Print-On-Demand sites like Lulu (which I do). Most bound paperbacks cost $12 and $4 or more for shipping whereas the ebook version only costs a few dollars.

Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 01-27-2010 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
OK, so basically you found just about the only ebook where the paper copy is cheaper. Release the hounds, pass the torches, etcetera etcetera.

If you look a little further, you'll notice that the newer trade paper has a list of $15 and the same cover as the Kindle edition. I.e. Tor is setting the wholesale price based on the trade edition, and Amazon apparently doesn't feel like losing $3 per copy on this particular book.

BTW I find it somewhat unlikely that Tor is blinded by money and short-term profits. Although they are owned by MacMillan, and like every other for-profit company don't want to be in the red, they're a small genre publisher, and clearly more interested in selling works they like than just "whatever they think will sell."



IMO, pirates don't have "inspirations" as much as they do "rationalizations."

If Bookstore #1 charges $3 more for the same exact book as Bookstore #2, does that "inspire," let alone justify, shoplifting? Anyone who's going to use this as an excuse to pirate the ebook was going to find some excuse anyway.

Actually I found quite a few ebooks that were more expensive than pbooks. But I just used the one I posted as an example. What would be the point of me posting 3 or 5 or 7? Then I would of heard that well so you only found X blah blah blah. But thanks for adding the drama of the torches and hounds.

I would assume everyone has inspirations. And you are probably right that the majority only rationalize. But my point that I was trying to make though wasn't about pirates it was about fence sitters (I made the pretty clear in my post). The ones that aren't pirates but don't have a strong opinions against it.

Oh and no it wouldn't inspire someone to shoplift because the person would just buy it at bookstore #2. Kind of an odd example.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:47 AM   #15
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Greed.

Next.
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