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Old 05-08-2010, 12:50 AM   #1
Blue Tyson
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Lightbulb Australian ebook prices and opportunities

Given there has been a little interest this week :-

A book I am interested in, but don't need to get as such, having the stories already:

is El Borak and Other Desert Adventures by Robert E. Howard

Using Inkmesh and checking some myself, here's a range of prices
  • 11.99 Amazon.com
  • +11.79 Kobo
  • u12.60 Sony eBook Store
  • u13.37 Barnes & Noble
  • 14.98 BooksOnBoard
  • 16.80 Cooler Ebooks
  • 16.90 Waterstone's UK
  • *17.50 Readwithoutpaper.com
  • 18.00 Fictionwise
  • 18.48 eReadable
  • 18.64 Powells.com
  • *18.86 Dymocks.com.au


Note that a year or so ago the Amazon.com price at 9.99 is more than I obtained earlier books in the series for at Fictionwise. So their price is close to double.

* = Australian. Price converted at 0.90 as a rough guide at the moment.
u = Absolutely useless to us, but there for comparison.
+ = Of interest via Border's Australia, perhaps. Not selling currently.

So it would seem that unless something changes, Amazon has good chance to rule here in Australia, too, if they feel like it.

The only other hope for readers to get a decent deal would appear to be Kobo. Borders.com.au is supposed to be doing something on May 19 - presumably selling readers and ebooks.

I thought I'd put this up, as this is a book they would be likely to have I'd imagine.

So if Borders does ebooks, and the prices are down the bottom of the list, Amazon is likely to stay king. As is the darknet, for Australians, given that would indicate no one has any real interest at all in offering Australians some decent deals.

If Kobo and company can be somewhere around the US price (and GST for here of course) then maybe there will be some competition.

As a side note, though, Zima Blue and Other Stories by Alastair Reynolds was $11.99 around xmas time. $Now 16.40, and that is at Amazon.

Last edited by Blue Tyson; 05-08-2010 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:15 AM   #2
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Yeah, its going to be interesting to see how ebook prices develop over the next month or two with Borders Australia opening an ebook store here in a couple of weeks.
I think Random House Australia will also be doing something in the next few months and Harper Collins Australia's ebook store is closed for maintenance at the moment.
Still Macmillan's woeful excuse for an ebook store limps along in beta mode for the last 2 years
Maybe Dymocks ebookstore will actually become competitive now that they had added the "new" ( ) epub format to their offerings
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:04 AM   #3
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I will still source my books overseas as and when I can. I do still believe that even with agency five pricing, the cost still will be cheaper.

Australian consumers really do have a bad history of being short changed or ripped off. Pricing for ebooks probably will be not the exception to that standard.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:56 AM   #4
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G'day

It would be nice to come in out of the dark, wouldn't it?

Since Fictionwise lowered the "geographic limitation" boom on us Australians, they've missed out on a lot of my money, and I've wasted too much time trying to find the ebooks I want. Books On Board has now shut us out as well, as has Diesel ebooks. Apart from a few small publisher shopfronts, I think CyberRead is the only place I've been able to find the occasional title (and O'Reilly books via iTunes). Does anyone here know of any other ebook shops still open to us?

All those book sites, all those intriguing titles, and we're like starving kids with our noses pressed to the bakery window.

It's been maddening: to be part-way through a series and see the rest available on Fictionwise (let alone get "New ebook Alert"s about titles) then not be allowed to purchase them. Worst still, we're barred from Australian authors.

Instead of having my purchases neatly arranged at Fictionwise and Baen, I now have to spend extra time cataloguing them (thankyou Calibre), noting where I bought them and where they might be available to redownload. Fictionwise has already cut off downloads of some of the titles I purchased before the "geographic" shutdown.

I am unable to hold or read paper books, so I'm entirely dependent on etext. Please excuse my frustration: I really don't have the resources to hunt down each title through many search-result pages. In the end, I've found that only the first page (searching for "TITLE AUTHOR ebook buy") will hold shops actually selling the title, but after visiting each one, I will be told that I'm not allowed to buy it. This is a real waste of time and energy.

There seem to be plans for better provision of ebooks to Australians, but what do we do while the publishers/retailers put out press releases and talk enthusiastically about the future? Were we just supposed to stop reading for all those months while we've been cut off from the e-shopfronts? How many readers has this driven to grabbing a "copy" online, after hours of frustration trying to buy the damn thing?

What are our options right now?

Thanks for any advice you can offer. It's actually a relief to talk to other Australian ebook buyers. Running into all those "geographic limitation" barriers, I've felt like an exile from the world of books.

Clytie
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Old 05-09-2010, 12:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
I will still source my books overseas as and when I can. I do still believe that even with agency five pricing, the cost still will be cheaper.

Australian consumers really do have a bad history of being short changed or ripped off. Pricing for ebooks probably will be not the exception to that standard.
Yep. The Australian media have even told us blatantly in many forms they don't care that we pay lots extra, and want that to continue.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
I will still source my books overseas as and when I can. I do still believe that even with agency five pricing, the cost still will be cheaper.

Australian consumers really do have a bad history of being short changed or ripped off. Pricing for ebooks probably will be not the exception to that standard.

Yep. At the moment with the book depository and the strength of the dollar, it can even be cheaper to get new books than used - give US postage is so high now, and no surface mail there.

Which is amusing. Publishers lobby to keep parallel import restrictions so that books cost double - so people import them individually because it will always be cheaper. Unless the dollar slumps badly again. In that case though, they'll put books up again. Note that a strong dollar for a long time has not seen any price reductions I have noticed, anyway.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clytie View Post
It's been maddening: to be part-way through a series and see the rest available on Fictionwise (let alone get "New ebook Alert"s about titles) then not be allowed to purchase them. Worst still, we're barred from Australian authors.

-- Yes, absolutely crazy that. The first one that affected me was an author that live IN THE SAME CITY. I could actually walk to his house (a long walk) and buy a book from him. At a shop? No.


There seem to be plans for better provision of ebooks to Australians, but what do we do while the publishers/retailers put out press releases and talk enthusiastically about the future? Were we just supposed to stop reading for all those months while we've been cut off from the e-shopfronts? How many readers has this driven to grabbing a "copy" online, after hours of frustration trying to buy the damn thing?

-- Plans, possibly. Think the most advanced plan is by someone not Australian. This is most definitely not a surprise.

--How many will download because it is not available? Ever increasing numbers, when they don't sell to people. Such self-inflicted results are generally well-deserved too.

What are our options right now?

Thanks for any advice you can offer. It's actually a relief to talk to other Australian ebook buyers. Running into all those "geographic limitation" barriers, I've felt like an exile from the world of books.

-- My only advice would be do what you want for you to get it. Especially if print books are not possible for you. The local industry does not deserve our money in general. The local library does, though for those of us that can. So will get stuff from there, read it, and never buy it.

The occasional small outfit may sell sensibly, as we have seen mentioned here. Not even many selling only to Australian market in general have done it either, though - which would give them export opportunities, so very, very strange.

Clytie
Or, there's another possibility. Watch more tv!
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:02 PM   #8
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http://www.itnews.com.au/News/174179...amazoncom.aspx

Seems the competition is hotting up.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:14 PM   #9
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The article says print books will be lower than Amazon. Hopefully that will extend to ebooks too for you guys.


Quote:
Importantly, this electronic content will be able to be read on a variety of devices including smartphones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android-based phones, the recently announced iPad tablet as well as on personal computers, rather than being locked into a single device such as the Kindle.
Other than Kobo having a reader for a few more devices at this time this is wrong. Kindle also has various apps.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:21 PM   #10
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I did notice that as well. But they are offering formats other that the one format Amazon currently offer (AZW/MOBI) and are not locked to that one format.

So that is a bit more attractive for ebook purchasers.
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:56 AM   #11
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G'day Clytie

What ebook format do you read/prefer? Have you tried:

Read Without Paper -- Adobe EPUB & Adobe PDF formats

Direct eBooks -- multiple formats (I've bought quite a few from here that I haven't been able to get elsewhere)

Smashwords -- multiple formats, many free (if you're willing to try new authors)

Cheers
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
The article says print books will be lower than Amazon. Hopefully that will extend to ebooks too for you guys.



Other than Kobo having a reader for a few more devices at this time this is wrong. Kindle also has various apps.

What I presume the 'always cheaper' will mean is - we will be cheaper if you order online one book at a time at the most expensive shipping price.

Not, here's what this 5 books will cost me, beat that Borders.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:49 AM   #13
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Thanks to Blue and Alvico for their helpful suggestions. I've also discovered Inkmesh, thanks to the OP. I'll keep looking (Alvico, thanks for the new bookshops!) and hope someone with actual commercial sense does surprise the "publishing" industry.

It amazes me that publishers in general have been so slow to catch on to changes in media. The music industry had to be dragged kicking and screaming into iTunes, the book industry still seems to have its head in the sand, and the TV/movie industry is even further behind. "Media" means the "way" we access things. Access has changed. Even the artificial boundaries between these kinds of information/entertainment have to go. I always thought consumers drove the market, but this market has just dug its heels in and refused to move. :S
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:30 AM   #14
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Hmm... a bit puzzled here. Using Inkmesh, I looked up the first book of a series of which I have volumes 2-4 (I hadn't previously seen it available in ebook), so it's not a recent book. Inkmesh gave me a list of retailers who had the ebook, with Amazon at the top at $6.39 (~ AUD $7.20).

However, Amazon shows a price of $8.29. Is this disparity the cost of getting the ebook "wirelessly delivered to your Kindle", which in my case would be an app on my Mac or iPhone?

I'm actually considering using the Kindle app., despite my objections to Amazon killing the Mobipocket reader, but I'm not sure about the price disparity and nebulousness of the book file. I can't find anything in the Kindle Help which tells me why the book might cost more than the conversion, and where the book file exists on my filesystem.

Thanks for any light you might shed on my confusion.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:43 AM   #15
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Sorry, bought the book as an experiment, and finally found the .azw file in ~/Documents/My Kindle Content. Silly me, I was looking in ~/Library/Application Support and its elder sibling, where applications normally store data on a Mac. <sigh>
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