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Old 10-03-2010, 12:24 AM   #1
botrerta
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Ebook Pricing

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I need to vent

Having bought a Sony PRS-650 (my first ereader), I naturally thought about buying some stuff to read. First on the list is Stephen Fry's latest. A quick search of Borders in Australia and, unbelievably, the ebook version is more expensive than a hard back version (only 15c more expensive but as I was expecting it to be quite a bit cheaper this knocked me for six!): http://www.borders.com.au/search/the...mediatype/all/

Hopefully this is a one off - if not I'll have to seriously question the long term business case of spending $300 on a ereader .......

Rant over - thanks for listening
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:43 AM   #2
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Botrerta,

It's something that has cropped up a lot around the place, however you'll find that a lot of other authors are trying to set the trend and releasing eBooks at $2.99~$5.99 which is a lot more realistic.

Hopefully over time the big-six will start to be more sane with more of their book range.

Paul.
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:45 AM   #3
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They can stick those prices up their arse! There will be a cheaper way if you are willing to go overseas. With the Ozzie $ riding high you are bound to find a better bargain than that!
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
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You could try buying it from KoboBooks. There should be a Kobo coupon you can use as well in the Deals forum. The Amazon version is several dollars cheaper, but you'll either have to have a Kindle, read it on the PC, or have the know-how to remove DRM and convert. Generally, look at overseas bookstores first, Borders and their like are only good for the Australian ebooks you can't get anywhere else.

But yeah, for Australians at least, ebook pricing isn't really competitively priced compared to paperback versions. Of course, it does depend on the type of books you like to read. I love my sci-fi and fantasy, and I've found plenty of ebooks (usually sourced overseas) from well-known authors in those genres for more than respectable prices. On the other hand, I've seen more 'mainstream' ebooks sold locally which are up to $10 more than the paperback versions. Either these publishers don't want to commit to ebooks out of fear or ignorance, or maybe they're smoking crack. Perhaps all of the above.

(Which reminds me, I should go look to see if At Home has dropped price yet.)

Last edited by viviena; 10-03-2010 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:09 AM   #5
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Look into public domain books (there's some amazing stuff) and DRM-free ebooks by clueful publishers like Baen, which tend to be at much more reasonable prices.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:31 AM   #6
botrerta
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I emailed borders about the price issue here is their reply:

"Where we are able to get a scoop purchase of books we are able to pass on the savings, which can cause a physical book to cost more (sic) than an eBook. Furthermore investment in infrastructure and in to the creation of processes of creating and managing eBooks is in the formative stages. time will allow more variability in this segment also, and we hope to be able to pass on the savings."

Or translated into pleb speak: "Bad luck, live with it until we work out what we are doing".
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:33 AM   #7
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Maybe you should dob them in to Stephen Fry. I am sure he would prefer that us ereaders were able to purchase his books cheaper!
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Old 10-04-2010, 01:56 PM   #8
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Yes, I agree with MrPld. There are many good ebooks from small publishers and independent authors out there at reasonable prices.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
They can stick those prices up their arse!
Hear, hear!

That response from Borders is exactly why I think they are doomed.

Borders offers the Kobo reader, which I believe is a fine device. I want them to succeed, really. But dang...they just don't seem to get it. I don't see Borders surviving unless they guillotine everybody at the head of the company.

Who in their right mind would formulate such a response as that you cited? It doesn't even sound as if a living person had a hand in writing it!

Rather than obfuscating the issue, Borders should say, "Publishers are still trying to deal with the advent of the ebook, and sometimes strange things happen with the pricing. Hopefully the ebook price will soon be adjusted downwards." Or somesuch. They need to learn that in this day and age, they have to communicate straight with people or they needn't bother.

Honestly, though it saddens me, I think that Borders is on the downward spiral, and that current management is constitutionally unable to save this sinking ship.
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:54 AM   #10
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Not being one to let go easily, I had another go at Borders on this issue. After receiving another polite but vague response from their customer service team, I thought I'd check if the price of Stephen Fry's latest had come down. It appears it has and it hasn't: I can now buy the book here http://www.borders.com.au/ebook/the-...cles/13492209/ for $26.11 or here http://www.borders.com.au/ebook/the-...cles/13858353/ for $22.25 (which is cheaper than the paper version!). It is fair to say that Borders pricing strategy remains a mystery to me

I don't want to sound too harsh though - all in all Borders/REDgroup are doing a great job of establishing an ebook store here in Australia. I wish them the best!
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Old 10-15-2010, 05:48 AM   #11
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Stores can discount hardback and paperbacks of a title, but because of the new Agency 5 Model (where publisher sets e-cover price and stores act as sales agent on a fixed 30% commission) stores cannot discount ebooks. This is why you see the anomalies. When you find treebook cover price equal or even lower than ebook, it's because the hardback/paperback has been heavily discounted in store -- often, especially on new releases, as a loss-leader. The ebook is being sold at regular publisher RRP. Cheers. Neil
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:11 AM   #12
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I am not sure which book you are discussing, but Stephen Fry's 2010 Stephen Fry in America is $11-12 cheaper (17.59 ) as a Kobobooks eBook than it is on the (related) Chapters-Indigo tree book site.
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:16 AM   #13
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Correct me if I'm wrong ... but publishers use desktop publishing packages to produce the book. Gone are the days of needing "film" and laying these things out by hand.

That said ... producing an ebook from desktop publishing files has to be almost as simple as producing physical books from desktop publishing files. What's more ... there are no paper costs or printing costs associated with the ebook.

I can understand a publisher wanting to have a hard cover copy of a book out first at more money, and to release a paperback copy a year later. However, I can't equate the production of an ebook ending up costing MORE than a hard cover book. It's just not reasonable.

Now, I generally borrow books from the library ... but I do purchase books from time to time. I simply won't pay upwards of $20 for a "just released" book, preferring to wait until the price has dropped ...

Mary
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:02 AM   #14
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Ok guys, I've got a question for everyone since we're on the topic of ebook pricing. When I first asked earlier this year what price I should sell my ebooks at, the vast majority of people quoted me the 2/3rds rule. IE, ebook price = 2/3rds of print copy shelf price. So for example a $12 print book would have an $8 ebook price. Now I'm hearing a lot of negative kickback from people stating that anything above $5, regardless of the print cover price, is too high, and that $1.99-$2.99 is the "sweet" spot that most books should be priced at. So what do you guys say? What should be the ebook price for a $12 book, or even an $8 print book? If the acceptable market price for ebooks has changed, I want to know what prices I should charge (or what formula I should use to determine prices) so I can make the changes on my end rather than being left in the cold because my books are priced too high.

Last edited by Steven Lake; 10-15-2010 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
Ok guys, I've got a question for everyone since we're on the topic of ebook pricing. When I first asked earlier this year what price I should sell my ebooks at, the vast majority of people quoted me the 2/3rds rule. IE, ebook price = 2/3rds of print copy shelf price. So for example a $12 print book would have an $8 ebook price. Now I'm hearing a lot of negative kickback from people stating that anything above $5, regardless of the print cover price, is too high, and that $1.99-$2.99 is the "sweet" spot that most books should be priced at. So what do you guys say? What should be the ebook price for a $12 book, or even an $8 print book? If the acceptable market price for ebooks has changed, I want to know what prices I should charge (or what formula I should use to determine prices) so I can make the changes on my end rather than being left in the cold because my books are priced too high.
As a consumer I wouldn't be comparing the price to the pBook, but evaluating it in its own right. For a book I'm reasonably confident in (eg have read other books by the same author), I'd buy at $5, go away and think for a bit over that. For a risky book, where I don't have personal confidence in it, but where something (eg summary or recommendation) has pointed me towards it, that figure goes to about $2.
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