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Old 02-01-2010, 04:53 AM   #1
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Book prices, Ebook prices - Value

I am getting slightly confused here by a number of opinions.

Firstly that $15 is expensive.
I feel thats a very good price for a NEW Ebook Id expect to pay around $20 for a HB copy.

it may seem expensive because of Amazons discounting but it really imo isnt overly expensive.

Why do we believe an Ebook should be less than a HB?

surely as many on here believe its the content that is important? if a HBs cost of delivery, production etc is less than a couple of dollars, then an Ebook price a couple of dollars under HB seems reasonable to me.

The same should then apply when release as a PB an Ebook price of say a dollar less.

The industry doesnt seem to have 'got'/managed this yet, but i believe they will get there.

But in the meantime why are we unhappy at what seems a reasonable price?
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stustaff View Post
I am getting slightly confused here by a number of opinions.

Firstly that $15 is expensive.
I feel thats a very good price for a NEW Ebook Id expect to pay around $20 for a HB copy.

it may seem expensive because of Amazons discounting but it really imo isnt overly expensive.

Why do we believe an Ebook should be less than a HB?

surely as many on here believe its the content that is important? if a HBs cost of delivery, production etc is less than a couple of dollars, then an Ebook price a couple of dollars under HB seems reasonable to me.

The same should then apply when release as a PB an Ebook price of say a dollar less.

The industry doesnt seem to have 'got'/managed this yet, but i believe they will get there.

But in the meantime why are we unhappy at what seems a reasonable price?
Ebooks are an inferior product. I do not agree with the mantra that it is simply the words inside that matter.
Ebooks are inferior to even the cheapest paperbacks. Paperbacks are much less expensive than hardcovers.
I have no interest or sympathy for the publisher's side of things. Perhaps if I knew their business personally and wanted to support them on principle, I'd be willing to pay more for an inferior product to help them strengthen their ability to provide better products for the same price. Otherwise, I will not opt to pay more for a lesser product.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:18 AM   #3
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Ebooks are an inferior product. I do not agree with the mantra that it is simply the words inside that matter.
Ebooks are inferior to even the cheapest paperbacks. Paperbacks are much less expensive than hardcovers.
I have no interest or sympathy for the publisher's side of things. Perhaps if I knew their business personally and wanted to support them on principle, I'd be willing to pay more for an inferior product to help them strengthen their ability to provide better products for the same price. Otherwise, I will not opt to pay more for a lesser product.
Im no dismissing your opinion, however in my case Ebooks a not an inferior product at all!

In fact i am on mobile read because i prefer Ebooks and value their portability etc higher than a paperback.

An Ebook is worth more to me than a paperback.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:59 AM   #4
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Im no dismissing your opinion, however in my case Ebooks a not an inferior product at all!

In fact i am on mobile read because i prefer Ebooks and value their portability etc higher than a paperback.

An Ebook is worth more to me than a paperback.
DRM makes them inferior. In fact it makes them worthless (Design considerations put to one side for the moment).
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:10 AM   #5
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Hardbacks are more expensive than paperbacks because they have more expensive materials. Ebooks should be cheaper still because there are NO materials. The manufacture and distribution of a physical product is tremendously more expensive than the same for a digital product. Why do you think they are willing to give ebooks free on most every site? When was the last time you walked into a paper book store and they were handing out free copies of a book? They do the free ones in ebook because there is so little cost involved.

Once a book is in ebook format, there is virtually no cost. That is why you can go to many sites (Gutenberg...etc) and download thousands of public domain books free. There is nothing to really manufacture or deliver. It maybe cost a penny for bandwidth to deliver a 200k ebook.

So of course the customer should pay less for the ebook. The company and everyone can still make the profit they are used to (heck, even more) and the consumer gets a savings as well. The only people that really loose out are the paper mills, binding houses and truck drivers and dock workers, retail shop workers... etc, because they do not get the work.

Also with digital there are no overruns, or worry's about unsold inventory.

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Old 02-01-2010, 06:11 AM   #6
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DRM makes them inferior. In fact it makes them worthless (Design considerations put to one side for the moment).
Inferior how?

With DRM on my Sony book I can read it on my sony device and so can my wife on hers, I can read them on my laptop or PC or iPhone and lend them to my mum and dad to read on their coolER readers.

What else am i going to want to do with it?

I know its DRM before I buy it and if I didnt want DRM I wouldnt just buy it and then moan about it.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:15 AM   #7
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Hardbacks are more expensive than paperbacks because they have more expensive materials. Ebooks should be cheaper still because there are NO materials. The manufacture and distribution of a physical product is tremendously more expensive than the same for a digital product. Why do you think they are willing to give ebooks free on most every site? When was the last time you walked into a paper book store and they were handing out free copies of a book? They do the free ones in ebook because there is so little cost involved.

Once a book is in ebook format, there is virtually no cost. That is why you can go to many sites (Gutenberg...etc) and download thousands of public domain books free. There is nothing to really manufacture or deliver. It maybe cost a penny for bandwidth to deliver a 200k ebook.

So of course the customer should pay less for the ebook. The company and everyone can still make the profit they are used to (heck, even more) and the consumer gets a savings as well. The only people that really loose out are the paper mills, binding houses and truck drivers and dock workers, retail shop workers... etc, because they do not get the work.
What you pay for an item isnt decided by its production cost. It is decided by its perceived value.

Yes production costs can have an impact on what is perceived to be the value but it isnt as clear cut as you make out.

An electronic version is of more value to me hence why I am here on Mobile read. in fact in theory most of us on here should perceive the ebook to be of higher or equal value to a paperback?

if given a choice at the same prices of 10 paperbacks I want for $59 or the 10 ebooks for $59 I would choose the ebooks.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:20 AM   #8
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All printed book prices are set by market will and demand and have almost no basis in actual costs. Like every other retail business, the goal is to get people to spend as much as you can. So you do things to make people think the value is higher, for example, you use a harder cover even though the cost of printing it is negligibly higher than, say, a trade paperback. Even the shipping is not much more, as third parties are used to perform recycling tasks, rather than shipping the books back to the producers.

So here comes eBooks and you have myriad interpretations for their value. The publishers have ignored them for so long that they basically lost their opportunity to tutor the public on how much they should think an eBook is worth. Now you have the pirate camps that think bits are worth nothing, the entitlement morons who think they are somehow owed some special deal because it's easy to make a file copy, or whatever backwards logic they present. You have the "I hate DRM it's always evil" camp which is a bit extreme but not entirely baseless. And then you have the more positive groups like those of us, you and I, who value the benefits beyond any of the negative aspects of what's available currently.

Then you have to take into consideration the difference between people who place value based on the product they hold in hand vs. those who value a product like a book or movie based on their opinion of the creators. I find that too many people have lost their connection to the creative minds behind these works they enjoy and that only complicates the matter further. Consumers feel they are entitled to the opportunity to buy new books, as though they are a commodity that can be produced at will regardless of who is on the other end doing the work. It's pretty insane.

Finally, take into consideration other forms of entertainment that are vastly more transient and still cost nearly as much money as a book. For example, a movie ticket, depending on where you live, will cost $10. That's one viewing, in a large room full of loud smelly rude people, and you might not even like the movie. In the best case scenario you got about 3 hours of entertainment for $10 and that's it, nothing to sell, or trade or lend, or anything. Why, then, is more expected from $10 paid for reading materials? Why should a book be a product that one has ownership of, if it is offered sufficiently cheaply?

Well prior to recent times, there was little choice on part of the publishers of books for the terms of a sale. They basically had to sell their works printed on paper and it was pretty final. Now things have changed, technology makes it more practical to set different terms. This makes people quite angry, as though they have some unwritten guarantee of terms in any contract or offer between themselves and a corporation.

Regardless of how you feel about these changes, they do also complicate the pricing and value perception questions.

So ... how could you ever expect people to agree on what a good price is then? haha, really I think that the consumer and the producer need to be more tightly linked for the market to correctly work out the truly accepted value for eBooks. So this recent hullabaloo between macmillan and amazon will help achieve that connection. The same goes for Apple's business model with the app store and the upcoming iBookstore. They properly place themselves into the role of distribution chain without concern for what is being distributed. By taking a flat predictable fee and letting the producer of the content set the price, the conversation is made between the rights-holders and the consumers more directly. I think over time, as more outlets take on this role and use this pricing structure, a more agreeable eBook market will emerge and all in all, pricing will feel fair, and eventually we'll see a consensus on value.

Of course, the regulars here will still bemoan the fact that they have to pay more than zero dollars for anything, ever, but that's the internet for you.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stustaff View Post
What you pay for an item isnt decided by its production cost. It is decided by its perceived value.

Yes production costs can have an impact on what is perceived to be the value but it isnt as clear cut as you make out.

An electronic version is of more value to me hence why I am here on Mobile read. in fact in theory most of us on here should perceive the ebook to be of higher or equal value to a paperback?

if given a choice at the same prices of 10 paperbacks I want for $59 or the 10 ebooks for $59 I would choose the ebooks.
The same is true for me. I have not bought a paper book in years. But if you pay the same for the ebook, you are giving much more profit to the publisher. That was the point of my post.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:27 AM   #10
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The same is true for me. I have not bought a paper book in years. But if you pay the same for the ebook, you are giving much more profit to the publisher. That was the point of my post.
Ah I see what you mean, yeh fair point. Lucky publisher I guess
i think the publishers need to do whatever they can to build their reserves, as has been pointed out i think soon the Author-Editor-Agent-Retailer model may leave them struggling.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:27 AM   #11
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The same is true for me. I have not bought a paper book in years. But if you pay the same for the ebook, you are giving much more profit to the publisher. That was the point of my post.
I view this as only being a good thing. The only way you have any influence whatsoever on the sort of products that are made, and thus, are available to you in the future, is by coercing dollars into the pockets of those responsible for the production of said things. Also known as "vote by dollar."

The more influence I have over the conglomerates who actually decide which people they will pay to write more books, the better, imho. Even better that through digital sales, the odds that they know how many dollars were caused by which particular items and authors is much greater, and so the results can be more finely grained.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:32 AM   #12
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Inferior how?

With DRM on my Sony book I can read it on my sony device and so can my wife on hers, I can read them on my laptop or PC or iPhone and lend them to my mum and dad to read on their coolER readers.

What else am i going to want to do with it?

I know its DRM before I buy it and if I didnt want DRM I wouldnt just buy it and then moan about it.
Wait till you have a computer crash and have to reinstall/re-enable your DRM purchases. Or maybe when the activation servers go down for good and you're left with a digital library that's no longer accessible. Then you'll start understanding how worthless DRM actually is. But, hey, you're about the first and only person I've ever seen defend DRM, so have at it. You're the perfect customer for these price-hiking morons.

EDIT: ask the people who bought DRM'd PDF's a couple of years ago who can no longer access those files how they feel about DRM. Oh, and all the ones who, as of yet, can't replace their DRM'd LRX files from Sony. I bet they're really chuffed about DRM.

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Old 02-01-2010, 06:33 AM   #13
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DRM makes them inferior. In fact it makes them worthless (Design considerations put to one side for the moment).
I agree. Without DRM you have added value since for example it is possible to index the content of all your books and search all your books. This added value over the paper book makes me think that the same price for the ebook and paper book is not unreasonable. Assuming of course that the formatting of the ebook have the same quality as in the paper book.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:46 AM   #14
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Wait till you have a computer crash and have to reinstall/re-enable your DRM purchases. Or maybe when the activation servers go down for good and you're left with a digital library that's no longer accessible. Then you'll start understanding how worthless DRM actually is. But, hey, you're about the first and only person I've ever seen defend DRM, so have at it. You're the perfect customer for these price-hiking morons.

EDIT: ask the people who bought DRM'd PDF's a couple of years ago who can no longer access those files how they feel about DRM. Oh, and all the ones who, as of yet, can't replace their DRM'd LRX files from Sony. I bet they're really chuffed about DRM.
I dont think you understand how the DRM works. or I dont?

My files are stored on my home PC and backed up on an external drive not on anyone elses serves so thats a non issue.
if i have a computer crash(unlikely I use Macs ) then that wont stop me copying the books onto a reader via drag and drop! as they are already authorised to me.

the computer can be deactivated via the sony software from any computer i log into, so a crashing computer does not cause me to lose '1 of my authorised devices'

So basically non of what you said applies to the DRM system that I am currently happy with and again if I hadnt been happy i wouldnt of bought DRM Ebooks.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:56 AM   #15
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I dont think you understand how the DRM works. or I dont?

My files are stored on my home PC and backed up on an external drive not on anyone elses serves so thats a non issue.
if i have a computer crash(unlikely I use Macs ) then that wont stop me copying the books onto a reader via drag and drop! as they are already authorised to me.

the computer can be deactivated via the sony software from any computer i log into, so a crashing computer does not cause me to lose '1 of my authorised devices'

So basically non of what you said applies to the DRM system that I am currently happy with and again if I hadnt been happy i wouldnt of bought DRM Ebooks.
I always felt the whole threat of loss was a very weak argument against DRM. To me the better argument is unforeseen usage. For example, those DRM'd books you bought from Sony will never, ever work on a non-sony-sanctioned device. That might seem ok, but someday you'll want a nicer reader, and maybe it won't be made by Sony, and so you won't be able to use your library on it.

Also the searching/indexing someone else mentioned is a good example of an unforeseen use. In fact, just managing the books with non-Sony software for any reason, as Sony makes some patently atrocious software for their eReader library management.... oy.

Anyway, there are numerous cases where DRM stops you from doing something that should just be trivial. For example, in another realm (music) I had a few albums purchased with DRM, and it was never a problem because (and this is still the case mostly) all the devices I ever used to listen to that music were sanctioned. But then one day I bought a PS3 and it could play the format of my music collection, AAC, just fine. I thought it would be so nice to have all my cool exciting music on the HDD on the PS3 to use as background music in my favorite PS3 game, Wipeout HD, until I realized that a few of my favorite such albums were DRM encrusted. So despite there being no legally reasonable explanation for why I couldn't do what I wanted to do, the technology made it impossible (Until I stripped the DRM myself, which is illegal to do!)

That said, DRM is just a factor in the offer. As long as the consumer is aware of what it means to them, and they still feel the price is acceptable given the added restrictions, then more power to them. I don't believe one should become a religious zealot over some relatively unimportant technology choices. We're talking about entertainment here, for the most part, and the loss of a book isn't really that big of a deal in the long view.
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