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Old 04-15-2011, 03:25 PM   #1
SageTracey
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How much should I pay for eBooks?

I am happy to pay for eBooks. After all, the author has put as much effort into writing my e-copy as the dead tree copy. Same for the editors and publishers.
However, my e-copy doesn't get printed and isn't subject to the same freight and distribution. There are costs associated with setting up and maintaining the e-book distribution method, but surely by pricing e-books more competitively, sellers will quickly achieve economies of scale by selling higher quantities.

So, what is a fair and reasonable difference to pay between dead tree books and e-books? 10%? 25%?
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Old 04-15-2011, 03:40 PM   #2
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To be honest, as consumers we don't get to decide what we pay for ebooks, so the real question is how much are you willing to spend? I've noticed most new books are between $10 and $15 in eBook format. This is more than a paperback book usually but less than a hardcover. So if you're willing to wait a year for the book to go into paperback, it's less expensive to get the paper version than the eBook. But it's about half the cost of a brand new hardcover, so there's that.

You would think publishers would factor in the cost of printing and distribution and remove that from the cost of the eBook, but they don't really. Same reason an album in iTunes cost $9.99 and a new CD at Best Buy costs $9.99: customers are willing to pay it.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:18 AM   #3
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I, too, find the pricing models maddening. Consider Ken Follet's Fall of Giants. It is $2 cheaper in hardcover from one online bookstore than the e-editions. Sites include messages that the ebook price was set by the publisher. Maddening.

My personal opinion is that ebooks should be 50% of a paperback. With no physical printing costs, no storage costs, no shipping costs, no middlemen costs, and no risk of excess copies, this seems reasonable. However, Apple apparently takes a 30% cut of every book sold on their bookstore. If other retailers have similar cuts, it isn't hard to see why ebooks are so expensive. It is these obnoxious markups by the e-tailers that ends up getting us.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:22 AM   #4
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I pay no more than $6 for leisure-reading ebooks; I've paid up to $30 for reference works. (I'm also in the "won't touch DRM" crowd, so that limits my purchasing interests. I don't care what bestsellers cost; I won't be buying them.)

It's not that $6 is a hard-and-fast rule; it's that I'm pretty sure I can find something I'd enjoy reading just as much for that price or less. I haven't run out of books I'm interested in at Baen, and the constant string of new Smashwords books keeps me supplied with even cheaper entertainment.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecweston View Post
To be honest, as consumers we don't get to decide what we pay for ebooks, so the real question is how much are you willing to spend? I've noticed most new books are between $10 and $15 in eBook format. This is more than a paperback book usually but less than a hardcover. So if you're willing to wait a year for the book to go into paperback, it's less expensive to get the paper version than the eBook. But it's about half the cost of a brand new hardcover, so there's that.

You would think publishers would factor in the cost of printing and distribution and remove that from the cost of the eBook, but they don't really. Same reason an album in iTunes cost $9.99 and a new CD at Best Buy costs $9.99: customers are willing to pay it.
Yeah, that just about sums it up: You should pay whatever you're comfortable paying. I very rarely buy e-books that are over $10. I don't currently have any authors that I have to have as soon as they come out. But if you're a huge fan of some author, and you have to have whatever e-book they put out the moment it's available, it's gonna cost you more than if you'd waited. No way around that.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:28 AM   #6
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As the wife of a writer, I think they should cost as much as the traffic will allow.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:04 AM   #7
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I personally agree with bhartman & elfwreck- I won't pay over $10.00. I can always find interesting books for under that (quite a bit under). I also am using the library more and more.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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I read somewhere that authors who sell their ebooks for 99 cents without the help of one of those big publishers actually make MORE money per book.

Didn't Radiohead release an album for FREE with the option to donate money to the band? Didn't they make a shitload of money off that?
Perhaps writers should try the same scheme.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
As the wife of a writer, I think they should cost as much as the traffic will allow.
They should be priced reasonable and not some silly price like $14.99. For a new eBook that has a hardcover version, I'm all in favor of $10 and when it's in paperback (any format paperback), then $6 for non-MMPB and $5 for MMPB will do fine.
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:06 PM   #10
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i do love the 99 cent offerings that are available out there, and the discounted ones under $5. sometimes though a book is a must have and you have no problem shelling out $10-$15 (i bought 2 right away that were $9.99 each - day of receiving kobo) especially if you would have bought the hardcover regardless, that's pretty much an instant savings of $20 usually.
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:33 PM   #11
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How much you 'should'pay and how much you want to pay are two different questions. You 'should' pay whatever the asking price is minus whatever promo codes apply although you may clearly 'want' to pay less
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Old 04-19-2011, 06:42 PM   #12
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Wait until they have a promotion going, that gives you a free E-book if you purchase more than 25-30 dollars, and then get a package of books as the free one. $80 dollar package means you paid $25 for $105 dollars worth of product.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:53 AM   #13
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I read somewhere that authors who sell their ebooks for 99 cents without the help of one of those big publishers actually make MORE money per book.
True, but a smaller slice of a bigger pie is better than a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Big publishers offer many services (marketing, editing, book design) that are costly to assemble by oneself. And the reality is that many writers aren't good at the business side of things. Every minute spent on technical details is a lost minute of writing.

I don't mind it that Kobo, Amazon, or Apple get a slice of the purchase price. I just think their slice is too high, and ultimately makes ebooks less economical that they should be.

My favorite eBook purchase was the ESV Study Bible for the Kindle. $10, when the cheapest print copy is $30, and it is a whole lot lighter and easier to carry in ebook form. Priced right, it was a no-brainer. But if it had been $25, I would have given serious thought to the dead tree version...
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Old 04-20-2011, 08:58 AM   #14
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When I purchase from the large publishers, I assume I am getting a product that has been properly proofed and edited. I tell myself I'm paying more for quality-control, and I'm OK with that. Too often, I find that less-expensive ebooks have too many spelling and grammar errors for my liking.

So, part of the reason I'm willing to pay more is because I assume I'm getting a product that has been thoroughly tested (editing and proof-reading).
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:15 AM   #15
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I read somewhere that authors who sell their ebooks for 99 cents without the help of one of those big publishers actually make MORE money per book.
I can believe that. I've bought a couple of 99 cent books that I wouldn't have bought if they had been more expensive. They turned out to be crap, so those authors won't be making any more money from me, but at least they got a couple of $$. An I don't get too upset to find out that 99 cent book wasn't even worth that much. For crying out loud, it's about the price of a candy bar, and a lot less unhealthy.

I have bought one book at around $10 because it was a book I really, really wanted. In general I'd say that probably a few $$ more than I want to spend on fiction eBooks.

(I borrow loads from libraries, so I actually buy very few books)
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