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Old 04-05-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
pdurrant
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Average Ebook Cost

I've been keeping track of the books I've read this year, along with the price I've paid. Most of my purchases are at fictionwise.com and webscription.net.

So far this year, I've read 52 books at an average cost of $2.99

These are mostly modern SF/Fantasy, with an occasional classic, although only three have been free (promotional or out of copyright) books.

My most expensive book so far this year was The Girl Who Married a Lion by Alexander McCall Smith at $7.61. Oddly, also one of my lowest rated (although I loved his No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency books). Two were just $0.95 - my lowest non-free price this year: Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie.

I fear that with publishers starting to control retail prices directly ("agency model"), my average ebook price will rise once I start buying again. But since I have over 400 ebooks in my TBR folder, I don't anticipate buying many more ebooks in the near future!
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:07 PM   #2
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*yawn*

Sorry, but the prophecies of a horrendous hike in ebook prices seems overblown.

The publishers are going to use dynamic pricing, so most ebooks will still stay in the $10 or less range. Of course, that doesn't fit the hysterical stereotype of publishers as blood-sucking demons, and the handful of current ebook buyers are used to the flat $10 rate, so people tend to ignore the full implications of the upcoming changes.

I.e. it's pretty much just the new ebooks that are going to cost more. If the average price you're paying is $3, you're probably not buying new books anyway, unless they are direct from the authors, or from small genre publishers that pay squat to the authors and staff.

Ergo I doubt your buying habits will change that much, or that your TBR folder is going to drastically shrink any time soon.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:43 PM   #3
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*yawn*

Sorry, but the prophecies of a horrendous hike in ebook prices seems overblown.
I know this is still early in the disaster, but from what I'm seeing, you are not correct. Maybe the publishers will later correct the prices as they had promised, but for the whole, I'm seeing some rather large price increases in places. It just depends on where you look, and who the publisher is. And it seems that some books that where available before are not available now. If this were any other business, heads would be rolling, but the cartel has become unaccountable to anyone but themselves.
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:48 PM   #4
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My cost per book, when you add in the device costs AND the book costs and divide by number of books read (i.e. including the freebies but excluding bought books I haven't read yet) is about $9. My cost per bought book, when you add up money spent just on books and divide by how many books I got with that money regardless of read or unread, is about $3.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:03 PM   #5
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My cost per book, when you add in the device costs AND the book costs and divide by number of books read (i.e. including the freebies but excluding bought books I haven't read yet) is about $9.
Now that's an interesting way of looking at book cost. I don't have the figures to hand, but I see what I can dig up.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:17 PM   #6
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Going by the wishlists I (fortunately) saved to my own computer before the mess started, and then comparing them with prices now, the most increase I have seen on a previously released title is $1.00. However, prices on four books that have been on my wishlist forever, simply because I thought they were priced too high, have come down in price considerably.
What will be increasing is new releases, from $9.99 to $12.99 or $14.99. That is, once they're available again anyway (don't get me started, there's a ton of stuff being released tomorrow that is now no longer available in ebook due to this crap). And that is for books being released in hardback, not those being released in paperback. I see new releases in paperback going from six and seven dollars up to $9.99, though, and that one does hurt a bit.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:18 PM   #7
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To break it down a little

Cost Per Book Read

Devices: $600
Books: $1480
Total Books Read: 231
Cost Per Book: $9 or (600+1480)/231

Note: This is a lifetime cost so far. Typically when I buy a new device, I sell an old one, so this keeps the cost manageable. $50 each on two Palm PDAs (one to replace one that broke), $200 on misc stuff and losses from devices I sold and did not get the full amount I paid and $300 for the Kindle.

Cost Per Purchased Book

Total Spent on Books: $1480
Total Books Purchased: 479
Cost Per Book: $3.08

Note: Again, these are lifetime costs. It's very easy to track with a simple spreadsheet. I used to play the Fictionwise promo game hard, so often I would buy a book and get a rebate, then spend the rebate on several others. I don't count free downloads from the Sony store, but I do count the Fictionwise freebies I got with micropay and stuff like that.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:13 PM   #8
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The cost of the books I read is nowhere near the costs you are showing.

The books I want to read in hardback are around £19, the paperback drops a few quid - £9/15. and the ebook is often about £2 less than the paperback and ditto for the hardback.

It's a red herring to include the price of the eReader into the total cost of the procuct because that is as long as a piece of string.

When the book is now encapsulated in its digital/electronic form from author to production point the handling costs of any book is virtually nil until it comes to plate and printing. And when it comes to ebooks the download is almost its total cost. There is more effort required in producing the Bible/Shakespierre than there ever is in producing a modern auther for ebook
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:56 PM   #9
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Oh, no, I think we need to add the cost of the device to the total. Amortized cost, based on a life of, what, three years? five years?

By my reckoning, a five-year life on a $300 machine is not unrealistic, resulting in a cost of $60 per year, or a cost per day of $0.16. Since I read an ebook in two or three days, a generous estimate would be $0.50 per book. Added to an average cost of $8.35 for an ebook, come up with maybe $8.85 per book.

Since I read approximately 150 books per year, my cost would be $1327 roughly. Say, $130 per month. If I bought hardbacks and paperbacks, my cost would approximately double to $260 per month. So, my readers make it possible for me to half the cost of my reading, have more convenience and portability, and avoid the dusts and moulds and chemicals that bother me when I read old books.

Sounds like a good deal to me.
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:14 AM   #10
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Five years for an e-reader? I'd be satisfied with two and delighted with three.

I also like Ficbot's "Total Ownership Cost" because it does help put in perspective the tradeoffs we can make in our discretionary "entertainment" spend.

I've only had a Kindle for six months, bought relatively few books, and consumed a few dozen. Currently my TOC would be around $15 per book read.

On the other hand, an HDTV plus 40 or 50 Blu-ray discs ... ouch. I'd hate to calculate that TOC! Oh, and if you factor in the cost of cable and HBO ...

Last edited by SensualPoet; 05-01-2010 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:20 AM   #11
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If you look at some of the Academic titles such as from Routledge they can be in £80.00 to download an ebook. Even Paying £10.00 I think is far too much . I know one or two publishers are trying for the £5.00 mark which is a reasonable price considering you dont actually own the book only a licence .
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:06 PM   #12
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Five years for an e-reader? I'd be satisfied with two and delighted with three.

I also like Ficbot's "Total Ownership Cost" because it does help put in perspective the tradeoffs we can make in our discretionary "entertainment" spend.

I've only had a Kindle for six months, bought relatively few books, and consumed a few dozen. Currently my TOC would be around $15 per book read.

On the other hand, an HDTV plus 40 or 50 Blu-ray discs ... ouch. I'd hate to calculate that TOC! Oh, and if you factor in the cost of cable and HBO ...
Yep, I do see your point. For past costs, TOC makes some sense. But, for a realistic assessment of ongoing cost, have always used estimated amortization cost. Seems more realistic, even though one can only use a guesstimate for amortized cost.

I guesstimated five years because I have three eBookwise 1150's (belonging to self, wife and daughter) that have been around for at least five years each. But, even using an amortized cost based on two-and-a-half years for each ereader, still figure save $0.50 on each ebook over cost of paperback, more for hardcover. Still feel ereader is cheaper by a significant amount than hard-copy books and will pay for itself over it's lifetime. Which is the main point I was trying to make.

As far as DVD's, cable, HBO, and DVD players -- I'm afraid to figure my cost. It's kinda like owning a car -- almost a monopoly, you just GOTTA have it.

Enjoy,
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:17 AM   #13
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Im cheap, I stay under $5. I have a feeling that the normal $1.99 price books may jump to $2.99 soon
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Old 05-04-2010, 11:19 AM   #14
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Im cheap, I stay under $5. I have a feeling that the normal $1.99 price books may jump to $2.99 soon
I agree that many prices on Amazon will jump to $2.99 soon*. The reason being that if you price your book at $2.99, Amazon will (soon*) pay you about $1.99 on each sale, whilst if you price it as $2.95, Amazon will only pay $1.03.

This is because the new pricing model they're shortly* introducing only applies to books between $2.99 to $9.99 inclusive.

There's a lot of confusion about this option at the moment, because Amazon don't seem to have said a word about it since their press release in January.



*June 30th.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:33 AM   #15
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Oh, no, I think we need to add the cost of the device to the total. Amortized cost, based on a life of, what, three years? five years?
Then surely we need to add in the cost of storing the print books. My wife and I would certainly have needed to buy at least one more bookshelf until I converted to ebooks. And if we ever move again we'll be paying less removal costs.

Regards, Alex
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