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Old 03-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by fugazied View Post
Agree 100%

Publishers will get the message in their quarterly earnings reports for e-books. Just to rub it in, I suggest shooting a quick email to the publisher for every book you skip. Basically the OPs forum post sent to the respective publishers would do it.

If we all did it and they started receiving 100 emails a day from readers 'just sayin', they skipped buying an ebook from the publisher due to pricing, it would have an effect eventually. Sad for the authors, but hey if they want to scam consumers into 'leasing' DRMed e-books at high prices then they will fail. The market will see to that.
I posted a generic email letter that I'm using to notify publishers of ebooks (and books) I'm not buying from them here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...ishers+pricing

Feel free to copy & use it - or develop one of your own. The only real way consumers have of communicating with publishers is through their sales figures. Let them know how much their tactics are costing them!
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #17
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BooksOnBoard has "Lord of Chaos" on sale
They didn't have it last weekend, it wasn't released until today.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:25 PM   #18
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Alright, let me ask this. For a book that normally retails at $16, what would you say is a fair price for the ebook version? Is $9.99 about standard across the board? Or can you justify charging the full $16 for the ebook? Or will ebooks always be about 2/3rds the price of their print cousins?
I've so far gone for the line that e-books should cost less than paperbacks but the more I think about it the more I realize the value of the digital format. I don't want to fill up my rooms with piles of books I want them on my e-reader ready to be transported around at no weight at all except the e-reader itself.

So in the future when people start realizing/appreciating the benefits of the digital format I don't see why books shouldn't be able to sell close to the same price as a paperback.

That being said as things stand today my price limit for an e-book title is around $12 before I opt-out and buy some other title.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:35 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
At any rate, the answer is that it's a question of demand. Plus, many consumers are almost obstinately refusing to include shipping costs, sales tax, or costs of driving to the store (an obscure one of course) in their calculations, when comparing ebooks to paper.
It's clear that those who didn't understand pricing and marketing strategies the first time round still don't understand them, and probably don't want to do so.

I have one question for the OP:
What did you do before ebooks? Did you page through the Sunday Review, see the little sidebar with the $25 pricetag and move on? Why should things be different now?

This is just another example of MobileRead navel-gazing. Why should publishers be worried about losing your precious $9.99 when there are others who value books more and are prepared to pay more?
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
Alright, let me ask this. For a book that normally retails at $16, what would you say is a fair price for the ebook version? Is $9.99 about standard across the board? Or can you justify charging the full $16 for the ebook? Or will ebooks always be about 2/3rds the price of their print cousins?
About 35% of the hardcover price, or about $5.60 based on $16 list price (I'm assuming retail price = list price in your question). If your $16 represents the discounted price, not the list price, then my answer would be 35% of list price of the hardcover. When the paperback version appears at a list price of $9.99, I would increase the percentage to 45% or $4.50.

The real issues for me are these:
  • fiction is read-once-then-throw-away as an ebook because of the DRM restrictions
  • fiction ebooks tend to be poor cousins quality-wise to the pbook version
  • nonfiction (at least of the type I read) has greater future value to me and thus if the ebook is well-formatted and properly edited I might think about paying a bit more than the 35%
but
  • I am unwilling to pay more than $6 for any ebook as long as there is no universal DRM scheme.
The biggest hangup to "fair" ebook pricing is the DRM babel. I cannot justify paying more than the $6 for a book that I might not be able to read next week when I buy a new device. Publishers need to create and enforce a universal DRM scheme so that like a DVD movie, I can buy the ebook and read it on any device of my choosing today or tomorrow.
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:48 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkpadx View Post
So in the future when people start realizing/appreciating the benefits of the digital format I don't see why books shouldn't be able to sell close to the same price as a paperback.
I've probably posted here a few dozen times that this would be perfectly acceptable. But, it shouldn't be MORE. And also... I should OWN it and be able to use it on any device I see fit. Until then... it probably isn't worth the SAME as a paperback.

BOb
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Old 03-16-2010, 12:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkpadx View Post
I've so far gone for the line that e-books should cost less than paperbacks but the more I think about it the more I realize the value of the digital format. I don't want to fill up my rooms with piles of books I want them on my e-reader ready to be transported around at no weight at all except the e-reader itself.

So in the future when people start realizing/appreciating the benefits of the digital format I don't see why books shouldn't be able to sell close to the same price as a paperback.
The piles of books that you fill your room with can be read today, tomorrow, 5 years from now, 25 years from now. The ebooks you buy today can only for certain be read today. When you buy a newer device, it may not be able to read the DRM scheme. Consequently, the "advantage" may well be a "disadvantage."

I buy a lot of books today that I may not get to read for months, if not years, in the future -- my to-read list is more than 100 books that I have bought and grows every month (e.g., I have 7 books on preorder).

The "advantage" of ebooks is only a certain advantage as long as you only plan to read a book once and immediately on purchase. Future reading becomes iffy.
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:51 PM   #23
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I agree DRM solutions of today is far from optimal. Elib a swedish e-book distributor started watermarking their books instead of the regular DRM schemes, one would think this would be a very welcome change but it turned out they had put the watermarking on every other page taking the attention away from the actual reading. After massive critic they change it to be less frequent for everyones benefit.

So far the best solution is actually the watermarking because it doesn't lock you to a certain device and the company has still gotten a form of protection against piracy and you should be safe for years to come to still be able to read your books on any device you see fit.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:07 PM   #24
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I think you guys just hit it on the head bigtime right there by mentioning DRM. I'm a proponent of open formats (I'm a huge FOSS zealot), so all I will ever support is epub and pdf, and both will be offered WITHOUT DRM for as long as I absolutely can. The only way I'd lock down an ebook under DRM would be if I was not allowed to sell my books unless they had DRM, and even then I'd probably pitch a bloody fit until they dropped the requirement. Same goes for proprietary formats, such as Kindle.

The only place I know of right now that it's either go proprietary or deny your book to a customer base in the hundreds of millions is on Amazon. And despite being forced to go with the Kindle format on Amazon, it will be offered 100% without DRM. I will not support a technology that is inherently anti-consumer, as that's an insult to all my readers. And I'm hoping that very soon the couple of lawsuits working their way through the courts will force Amazon to also offer their books in epub and pdf formats as well. Because, if they do, I will be all over it and will drop my offering of the kindle format like a hot potato.

So with that said, if a book normally retailed for $16 in paperback, if it were offered in an open format such as epub or pdf, would it still be worth $9.99 as an ebook? Or are you guys dead set on only ever paying $5 a copy for an ebook? As I've said before, I'm digging for input all over the place in order to finally decide my pricing strategy for my books when I finally release them in ebook format.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:54 PM   #25
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Can't help but chime in.

Reason's to pay less for an eBook
  1. Rights restrictions and the DRM used to enforce them reduce resale value.
  2. Often (but not always), quality is low for eBooks (OCR errors, less attention to detail, poor TOC handling).
  3. Additional Equipment is required to view it (a book only requires eyeballs, an ebook requires a computer, phone, or other device).
  4. Not having something to hold in my hand

So, let's put a number on those:
  1. For DRM books, I'd say 20% off. This is about the resale value of a book.
  2. Varies. On average, say 5% off, but often 0% off and sometimes the eBook is of such quality as to make it worth more than the physical book.
  3. Negligible, as most people have equipment to do this, so let's say 5% off.
  4. Luddite. No points for you.

So, for a $28 Hardback book, if you apply these one at a time:
  1. $22.40
  2. $21.28
  3. $20.22

I would consider that a fair MSRP then for a new release eHard Back. Not that I ever pay MSRP...

Last edited by riemann42; 03-16-2010 at 11:57 PM. Reason: Changed Hard back to eHard Back to be more clear and more cheeky.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:03 AM   #26
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One more thought: If you want publishers to take eBooks seriously, then they can't be worth less than physical books. As long as they are perceived as less valuable, they will be.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:14 PM   #27
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So, let's put a number on those:
  1. For DRM books, I'd say 20% off. This is about the resale value of a book.

Personally I never re-sell books and don't care about that. I don't want DRM on my books so I know that I will be able to use them 20 years from now... or perhaps allow my wife or kids to read them (as they would with a paper book) on some other device than I used.

I feel with DRM I am renting the book. When I rent a DVD it cost about $3 for a few nights. I watch it once and return it. If I want to own it I pay $12-$20 and can watch it whenever.

So, if you want to rent me the book if should be about 10% of the purchase cost of a paper book.

BOb

Last edited by pilotbob; 03-17-2010 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:35 PM   #28
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I still think the easiest answer is: Purchase a paper copy of the book you want (the cheapest you can find, used is best) so now you have a "license" for the book. Now just download the eBook from your favorite torrent site and read it on your reader of choice. No DRM, no waiting, no restrictions...
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:55 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by pilotbob View Post
[/LIST]
Personally I never re-sell books and don't care about that. I don't want DRM on my books so I know that I will be able to use them 20 years from now... or perhaps allow my wife or kids to read them (as they would with a paper book) on some other device than I used.

I feel with DRM and I am renting the book. When I rent a DEV it cost about $3 for a few nights. I watch it once and return it. If I want to own it I pay $12-$20 and can watch it whenever.

So, if you want to rent me the book if should be about 10% of the purchase cost of a paper book.

BOb

I'm with you there!
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:43 PM   #30
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I still think the easiest answer is: Purchase a paper copy of the book you want (the cheapest you can find, used is best) so now you have a "license" for the book. Now just download the eBook from your favorite torrent site and read it on your reader of choice. No DRM, no waiting, no restrictions...
Keep in mind that, at least in the US, Copyright means that YOU don't have the RIGHT to COPY. This includes, as far as I know, personnel use. So this would be a violation of copyright law.
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