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Old 06-04-2011, 05:33 PM   #61
Shadoe
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I think, at the end of the day, it's just greed. When paperbacks came out after hardback, they were cheaper to produce, and so were sold for much less - and that's the model we all got accustomed to. Now ebooks come out and are cheaper to produce so SHOULD be sold for a lot less, right? Of course not! The publishers set the price and tried selling ebooks at the same price as the hardback and the paperback and people still bought them. (Some publishers set the ebook to a price twice as high as the paperback, especially when the book is old or out of print.) So why should the publisher cut back on the price of the ebook when the difference in cost is just extra money in their pocket? Why make $5 when you can make $10?

I've also seen comments from publishers claiming that when you buy an ebook, you're also paying for all the pirated ebooks that the publisher could have sold, but didn't. Again, greed.

It's not that an ebook takes more in the way of servers and employees and computers and internet. The publisher only has to make ONE copy of the book electronically, and that's little more work than adding some links and clicking Save As. Then upload the one copy to multiple sites. It's the work of a day or two, tops, for some hapless clerk that gets paid a pittance.
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Old 06-04-2011, 07:40 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Shadoe View Post
It's not that an ebook takes more in the way of servers and employees and computers and internet. The publisher only has to make ONE copy of the book electronically, and that's little more work than adding some links and clicking Save As. Then upload the one copy to multiple sites. It's the work of a day or two, tops, for some hapless clerk that gets paid a pittance.
To be fair--making an ebook starting from a digital file for a new book is a matter of an hour's work (if there's a streamlined workflow ready for it) or up to about 5 hours work (if there's not, and the publisher is doing each one from scratch).

Making one from an out-of-print pbook is more work. They generally don't have the digital files anymore (once it's out of print, there was no need to keep them, and it's a liability hassle if anyone gets & distributes those files), so they have to scan, OCR, proofread, and reformat from scratch.

Call it 3-5 hours for a slapdash pathetic version--like most public domain Google books. 15-50 hours for a good version, depending on how long the book is and how many words the OCR flubs on. (Romance novels: a few names need checking. Science fiction: confirm that "alien" isn't read as "allen," and check all special-to-this-novel words. Nonfic chemistry text: line-by-line proofing and making sure the italics are all correct.)

Then they have to find/make a new bookcover, because the old one probably isn't authorized for a new edition, format differently for each store it's being submitted to, and arrange for billing info & other accounting details.

Which, admittedly, only gets done once per title, and even if those expenses are above $2,000--once they're paid off by book sales, it's all gravy. There's no $1-$3-per-book cost of printing & delivering; after the initial creation cost is covered, cost-per-book is pennies. (Bandwidth costs something. Accounting & other overhead costs something.) After 500 sales of $4 each, they'd be free to experiment with the price until they find the sweet spot that gets the most profit.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:52 PM   #63
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S
Common sense dictates that they should be half the price or less than a paperbook.
This is a common mis-conception. The price is ideally set to maximize the profit. So it does not seem to me that half the price will maximize profit. A more reasonable guess would be that maybe 90% of the paperback price when a paperback is available would maximize profit.
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:56 PM   #64
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:33 PM   #65
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Statement: I have absolutely no problem with the cost of E-books. End of statement . From the back covers of the DTB I've seen I would think the average price is around $12-$15, So I did an experiment and "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" was seventy percent cheaper in E-book. So I think it's unfair to say that E-books are [bold]WAY[bold]. Some may be, but others aren't.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:47 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Shadoe View Post
When paperbacks came out after hardback, they were cheaper to produce, and so were sold for much less
That's what they'd like you to believe. In reality, it's just market segmentation. They got the crowd that's ready, willing & able to pay top dollar to get the book as soon as it's published, now for the middle market (trade paperback) before the final run for the bottom (mass market pb). The difference in printing cost is so minimal as to be almost negligible (Was it 2$? Something in that vicinity). That model doesn't work nearly as well for ebooks, of course.

Quote:
Why make $5 when you can make $10?
I bet they'd sell more than twice the number of books at 5$, but it's none of my business, really (and they are not getting mine).
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:37 AM   #67
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Maybe it's because I live in a country where most prices are high (Australia), but for me ebooks are around half the price or less than paper books.

I'd expect to pay around $20 or more for a new paperback in a book store. I buy most of my books from Amazon Kindle for around $9 - $12.

Also, the current exchange rate is excellent for buying from US stores. The AUD is usually aroun 80c US, but it's currently a bit over $1.

I don't have a problem paying Kindle prices for ebooks. I would prefer if the authors were getting a better share of the profits, and I'd prefer it if the quality of ebooks justified the price. I'm getting sick of lazy formatting. These publishers appear to be using only automatic conversions.
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:06 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_librarian View Post
That's what they'd like you to believe. In reality, it's just market segmentation. They got the crowd that's ready, willing & able to pay top dollar to get the book as soon as it's published, now for the middle market (trade paperback) before the final run for the bottom (mass market pb). The difference in printing cost is so minimal as to be almost negligible (Was it 2$? Something in that vicinity). That model doesn't work nearly as well for ebooks, of course.
~$2 for printing--and then there's shipping costs (hardcovers are bigger & heavier; less fit in a box so they cost more to ship), storage (same issue), inventory issues, and shelf space costs. While the publisher doesn't pay to have someone unpack them, load them onto one shelf, move them to another shelf when the initial rush of sales is over, and reshelve them after they've been looked at, those costs are part of the bookstore's cut, which is part of why the price is so high.

Overhead for internet bookstore space is much, much tinier, and not dependent on the size of the book. The difference in bandwidth between a 250 kb book and a 1.4 mb book is negligible; even going up to 45mb PDFs like DriveThruRPG does is negligible.

During Shane Jiraiya Cumming's "Grand Conversation," an Australian publisher broke down the costs for a hardcover book--they came to over 30% of the cover price.

Retail: AU$34.95
Author's cut: $8.50 (straight fee, not royalty, but works out to ~25%.)
Printing costs: $7.70
Postage: $2

And that's before editing, formatting, etc.

In this case, perhaps it had a small enough print run that the print costs were high. Maybe Australian printing is more expensive than in the US. Maybe he just doesn't command the small prices that Harper Collins can negotiate because they promise to print x million books/year. I'd love to see more publishers willing to state what individual books actually costs to produce; all the estimates by the "big 6" have included both one-time and per-unit costs, without mentioning the print run so we could figure out what the one-time costs are supposed to cover.
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:31 PM   #69
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The proper reply to the question, " Why ebooks are so expensive" are is that, "They are not expensive at all."
Some anecdata: In the last three weeks, there have some excellent ebook sales and promotions. As a result, I have been on a downloading binge: I have downloaded some 40 ebooks from various sources( mostly Amazon and B& N). The most expensive was $3.99, but the majority were free. I spent some $20-22, which works out to around 55 cents per ebook.
Now if you can't afford less than a buck a book, it strikes me that your question should not be " Why are ebooks so expensive?" but " How can I earn enough so that I can pay a reasonable amount for my entertainment? "
More to the point, we have been over this quite a lot, and it appears that about 85 per cent of the cost of a new hardcover is the cost of writing, editing and proof-reading, or as I call it, the human element. Its hard to scrimp on the cost of the human element without it cutting into talent and quality , and I for one do not think it worth it to make that bargain.
There are a lot of complaints about agency pricing , etc, etc, etc, and many attempts to estimate the costs of printing vs uploading to a server, etc, etc, but in the end, it really comes down to whether the final price of an ebook is affordable to folks who can buy a computing device and afford Internet service.In addition, we should estimate what's the price of an ebook to say, renting a movie, going to a concert or other forms of entertainment. When you make that comparison , even a $14.99 ebook stacks up pretty well.

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Old 06-05-2011, 03:36 PM   #70
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I don't think ebooks are expensive at all. In fact I believe that ebooks are one of the best value for money purchases available to the discerning modern day consumer. The true value of a good ebook is far more than the few £/$'s it actually costs.
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:43 PM   #71
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You call ebooks cheap:

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

Towers of Midnight: Wheel of Time Series, Book 13 by Robert Jordan

Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson

?

I think people who would call these ebooks cheap don't spend their time on the Internet or forums.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:07 PM   #72
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If everything is to be free, what incentive would there be to create new works?
If a copyright can be milked for 70 years after the death of the author, what incentive is there to create new works?
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:11 PM   #73
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You call ebooks cheap:

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

Towers of Midnight: Wheel of Time Series, Book 13 by Robert Jordan

Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson
Not cheap, but I'd call those pretty reasonable. If I was a fan of either author I would have gobbled them up immediately.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:15 PM   #74
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Chicken. It seems to be in the void at the moment. I'm guessing its last known server is inactive or it's in limbo until it gets a new one. I really just pulled it out of my... er, hat earlier.
It might be parked in the hope that someone will buy it.

The last time the archive.org wayback machine shows for it is May 2005.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:15 PM   #75
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You call ebooks cheap:

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

Towers of Midnight: Wheel of Time Series, Book 13 by Robert Jordan

Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson

?

I think people who would call these ebooks cheap don't spend their time on the Internet or forums.
Or it just depends where you are. While I wouldn't call those books "cheap" in the US they aren't horrible.

The Crippled God $9.99

Towers of Midnight $12.99

Dust of Dreams $9.99
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