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Old 03-01-2011, 09:58 AM   #61
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Thanks, Paul. Now you mention it, it does ring a bell. Aren't they the company which owns Mills and Boon?
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:19 AM   #62
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Another biggish publisher that is not part of the agency model (although I would bet they will also adopt it soon): Workman Publishing. They are known for calendars and cookbooks, but one of their imprints is the "literary" publisher Algonquin Books.

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Old 03-01-2011, 10:30 AM   #63
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Thanks, Paul. Now you mention it, it does ring a bell. Aren't they the company which owns Mills and Boon?
Yes, they bought Mills and Book in the early 1970s. Although Harlequin in turn are owned by Toronto Star Limited.

They run their own ebook website as part of their eHarlequin web site: http://ebooks.eharlequin.com/ and while most of their ebooks use Adobe DRM, at least one of their imprints (Carina Press) is DRM free.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:38 AM   #64
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I believe it is anti-competitive and anti-free-market. I feel the same way about MAP policies from Apple and others. I believe for a free market, the retailer should be able to purchase a product from their supplier at whatever cost they negotiate, and should be able to sell it at whatever price they think helps them make a profit.
OK, but... why?

With paper goods, the retailer purchases the book from the publisher and resells it. As such, they have paid for it, they're taking more risk, so if they want to lose on the deal that's their choice. With ebooks, they're more an aggregator. It's a different process, a different relationship, thus a different pricing method.

The publishers are also getting sales figures in almost real time. As such, while the retailer and publisher won't have the same incentives, the publishers can be almost as responsive to sales fluctuations as the retailers.

Also, as mentioned already, when an author or small publisher works through Smashwords or CreateSpace or a similar service, it is that author/small pub that sets the price. Same for the various App Stores, which allow publishers to set prices. How is this any different than agency pricing? It sounds exactly the same to me, except in terms of scale.


In terms of competition:

A big retailer may order 20,000 copies of a new book and demand a wholesale price of $9.00. An indie shop, on the other hand, may only need 2 copies. That results in either paying the publisher full price ($11 perhaps), or working through a distributor who in turn takes a cut.

As a result, the bigger stores can charge less for the same title -- an advantage which results in the big stores getting bigger, and the indie stores closing shop. (Which is exactly what has been going on for the last few years.) Are you sure this is good for competition?

Similarly, Walmart has enough power to "negotiate" (i.e. dictate) prices to its vendors, including major corporations, and demand excruciatingly efficient and precise delivery schedules. In doing so they can dramatically undercut other stores. Is this beneficial or anti-competitive? Or both? Or neither?

Plus, as mentioned, nothing about this prevents smaller publishers from undercutting agency publishers on price.


I do agree that in some cases prices can be too high for some buyers, but that is not a federal crime.
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:38 AM   #65
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You guys are missing the important thing here: Random House publishes the Discworld books.

Those of us in the 20th+ volumes of approx 40 books already see prices of $7.49 per book. If the go up to $10 each, that series will end up costing $400.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:27 AM   #66
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Harlequin is very digital-reader friendly. Romance readers in general have been quick to adopt digital reading and the romance presses have followed, like Samhain, Harlequin, etc. I am kind of spoiled because when I see an Agency price of $9.99-$12.99 I know I can often buy a Harlequin e-book for less than $4 (sometimes less than $2 on discount). Similar for Baen sf/fantasy.

I've stopped buying as much non-romance for my nook and started borrowing them from the library again.
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:35 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
OK, but... why?

With paper goods, the retailer purchases the book from the publisher and resells it. As such, they have paid for it, they're taking more risk, so if they want to lose on the deal that's their choice. With ebooks, they're more an aggregator. It's a different process, a different relationship, thus a different pricing method.

The publishers are also getting sales figures in almost real time. As such, while the retailer and publisher won't have the same incentives, the publishers can be almost as responsive to sales fluctuations as the retailers.

Also, as mentioned already, when an author or small publisher works through Smashwords or CreateSpace or a similar service, it is that author/small pub that sets the price. Same for the various App Stores, which allow publishers to set prices. How is this any different than agency pricing? It sounds exactly the same to me, except in terms of scale.


In terms of competition:

A big retailer may order 20,000 copies of a new book and demand a wholesale price of $9.00. An indie shop, on the other hand, may only need 2 copies. That results in either paying the publisher full price ($11 perhaps), or working through a distributor who in turn takes a cut.

As a result, the bigger stores can charge less for the same title -- an advantage which results in the big stores getting bigger, and the indie stores closing shop. (Which is exactly what has been going on for the last few years.) Are you sure this is good for competition?

Similarly, Walmart has enough power to "negotiate" (i.e. dictate) prices to its vendors, including major corporations, and demand excruciatingly efficient and precise delivery schedules. In doing so they can dramatically undercut other stores. Is this beneficial or anti-competitive? Or both? Or neither?

Plus, as mentioned, nothing about this prevents smaller publishers from undercutting agency publishers on price.


I do agree that in some cases prices can be too high for some buyers, but that is not a federal crime.
I agree, If what we want is a direct to reader market, and we all want that right? Who do we expect to be setting the prices in the future?? A global AI that determines the best value to be had for the best Discworld novel? Perhaps, but for the foreseeable future the rights holder should be setting their own prices.

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Old 03-01-2011, 11:48 AM   #68
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This kind of amuses me. Look at the "Special Price" on the cover picture they choose and then look at the Kindle price.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:18 PM   #69
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You guys are missing the important thing here: Random House publishes the Discworld books.

Those of us in the 20th+ volumes of approx 40 books already see prices of $7.49 per book. If the go up to $10 each, that series will end up costing $400.
I just checked. Fortunately my eLibrary carries the whole series.

Last edited by Angst; 03-01-2011 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:07 PM   #70
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Who on Earth are they? I've never heard of them, I'm afraid.
They are the publishers of romance books and they bought Mills and Boon.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:17 PM   #71
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Then buy the paper back. There are advantages to paper books, when you need or desire those advantages, just by the book.
Feel free to go tell them that over at the Amazon Discussion boards for Kindle and take joy in their inevitable response. I'm just paraphrasing the sentiments I see them express every time I visit.

Myself, I do buy plenty of paper books. But they're almost all stuff that's unavailable or would look rather bad as e-editions (I ♥ deluxe coffee table specialty reference art books). Otherwise I have a library card and I'm not afraid to use it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:19 PM   #72
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You guys are missing the important thing here: Random House publishes the Discworld books.

Those of us in the 20th+ volumes of approx 40 books already see prices of $7.49 per book. If the go up to $10 each, that series will end up costing $400.
Luckily I bought most of them from fictionwise during various sales... I think I paid (net) about $150 for 39 books - almost all his output. I'm only missing "The Last Hero", "Unseen Academicals", "I Shall Wear Midnight" and the Bromeliad Trilogy.

"The Last Hero" isn't available in ebook formats. I just can't bring myself to pay £6.39 for "Unseen Academicals" when the paperback is £4.18. "I Shall Wear Midnight" isn't in paperback yet, but even when it is, I fear that the Kindle price will be too high for me. For some unknown reason, only the middle volume of the Bromeliad is available as an ebook, although the trilogy is available in an omnibus paperback for £6.19 (which also means that £5.99 is the most I'm willing to pay for an omnibus ebook).

Sigh... publishers leaving money on the table.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:08 PM   #73
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This kind of amuses me. Look at the "Special Price" on the cover picture they choose and then look at the Kindle price.
- too too too too funny!
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:19 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
With paper goods, the retailer purchases the book from the publisher and resells it. As such, they have paid for it, they're taking more risk, so if they want to lose on the deal that's their choice. With ebooks, they're more an aggregator. It's a different process, a different relationship, thus a different pricing method.
Not justified. It's really the same thing, dealer buys stuff for resale. In this case it's licenses instead of paper, but that's it.

Quote:
... while the retailer and publisher won't have the same incentives, the publishers can be almost as responsive to sales fluctuations as the retailers.
You mean, make more ebooks, stock is running low?

Quote:
Also, as mentioned already, when an author or small publisher works through Smashwords or CreateSpace or a similar service, it is that author/small pub that sets the price. Same for the various App Stores, which allow publishers to set prices. How is this any different than agency pricing?
Of course the publisher (or author) gets to set the price, it's their book after all. It's always been that way. What's new is that not only does the publisher get to set the price, they also get to decide the retail price the customer needs to pay, which really is none of their business. For the sale from publisher to first buyer, they can ask any price they want, but they are also dictating what price they need to charge upon resale.

Can you imagine that for regular consumer goods? I can't. It's anti-competitive, and, like all monopolies, bad for the customer.

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I do agree that in some cases prices can be too high for some buyers, but that is not a federal crime.
Nobody said as much.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:33 PM   #75
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The publishers are also getting sales figures in almost real time. As such, while the retailer and publisher won't have the same incentives, the publishers can be almost as responsive to sales fluctuations as the retailers.
In theory. However, the world works on facts. The publishers have already publicly stated that they want to save paper sales as much as possible. So they are actively trying to slow down ebook adoption (and according to an Amazon statement, it seems to be working for them).
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