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Old 07-08-2011, 01:34 AM   #1
kiwipippa
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kobo and agency pricing

I know this topic has been discussed at length before, but I have noticed it getting worse.

The prices of epubs purchased through kobobooks in New Zealand has gone up substantially in the last month. This is because kobo has moved to agency pricing for one of the biggest publishers - Hachette and all its associated labels.

It has made epubs completely uncompetitive with traditional paperback books, or with the Amazon kindle store. How can agency pricing differ between retailers? Is it because Amazon has greater clout than kobo?

Here's some examples from my "wish list" to show how prices compare. Needless to say, I won't be buying these books.

Sea of Poppies-Amitav Ghosh 16.99NZD Kobo 10.16NZD Kindle
More than you can say-Paul Torday 24.99NZD kobo 12.06NZD Kindle
The Irresistible inheritance of Wilberforce-Paul Torday 16.99NZD kobo 10.16NZD Kindle
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party-Alexander McCall Smith 24.99 NZD
kobo 16.20NZD kindle (on sale at my local bookshop for $15)
Bossypants-Tina Fey 24.99NZD kobo 12.10NZD kindle


$24.99 for an ebook - they must be kidding. I feel sorry for kobo who have no control over this, but unfortunately they will wear it because people will not buy.

Agency pricing must be the biggest con in the ebook world - the model is broken, will it ever be fixed?
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:48 AM   #2
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The pricing is little better for customers in Australia. The only thing we as consumers can do is vote with our wallet. Use Inkmesh or the like to find the dealer that's selling at the best price and give them our business instead.
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:18 AM   #3
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When the agency price fixing model started I decided I would not pay beyond 9.99 for an e-book. The exception being technical non-fiction books. While I have not been 100% true to my commitment I'm sure I am probably close to 99%.

Sometimes I have to wait, sometimes I have to give up on an author, but it really has not been a sacrifice. I have discovered many new authors I enjoy as much as the old authors I had to give up.

I'm afraid all business understands is money, so I now chose to vote my dollars as best I can.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwipippa View Post
I know this topic has been discussed at length before, but I have noticed it getting worse.

The prices of epubs purchased through kobobooks in New Zealand has gone up substantially in the last month. This is because kobo has moved to agency pricing for one of the biggest publishers - Hachette and all its associated labels.

It has made epubs completely uncompetitive with traditional paperback books, or with the Amazon kindle store. How can agency pricing differ between retailers? Is it because Amazon has greater clout than kobo?

Here's some examples from my "wish list" to show how prices compare. Needless to say, I won't be buying these books.

Sea of Poppies-Amitav Ghosh 16.99NZD Kobo 10.16NZD Kindle
More than you can say-Paul Torday 24.99NZD kobo 12.06NZD Kindle
The Irresistible inheritance of Wilberforce-Paul Torday 16.99NZD kobo 10.16NZD Kindle
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party-Alexander McCall Smith 24.99 NZD
kobo 16.20NZD kindle (on sale at my local bookshop for $15)
Bossypants-Tina Fey 24.99NZD kobo 12.10NZD kindle


$24.99 for an ebook - they must be kidding. I feel sorry for kobo who have no control over this, but unfortunately they will wear it because people will not buy.

Agency pricing must be the biggest con in the ebook world - the model is broken, will it ever be fixed?
Tell me about it. Several $5.99 paperback books that I purchased around 1998/9 are being hawked for $9.99?! WTF?! That's nearly a doubling in price in c. 12-3y and for a CHEAPER electronic version that has no storage, disposal, transport, etc. costs?! (These are pretty short books too...)

Unfortunately I felt inclined to bite on one with my $10 store credit as it was a 5th book in a 6 book series of which I am only able to find 4 that I acquired about 10 or so years ago. #6 is likely going to sit there for a LONG time at $9.99. I was even shocked when perusing the mystery section at Borders when I went to look at the Touch that even some of the tiny paperbacks were @ $9.99, but I guess this is why the publishing industry is in trouble. This again is nearly a 70% increase in price in less than 10y.

(Amazon had both #5 & #6 but listed pb price @ $18?! PAPERBACK?! These publisher's have lost what few marbles that they ever had.)

Oddly enough some of the MASSIVE tomes in the SF&F section were $6.99 and $7.99, which closer to sane pricing for a paperback. I refuse to pay $10 for a crappy little pb, not even a trade pb at that!

Ebooks pricing: I'm at $3 is a fair value for an ebook that is at the pb stage. Might consider $5 or 6 for a few items, but only rarely.

Last edited by cutterjohn42; 07-08-2011 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:51 AM   #5
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Well, I did break down and buy the GROSSLY overpriced 6th and final book in the series at the ripoff price of $9.99. And you know for $9.99 I expect it to be a exceedingly HIGH value production, however this is not even nearly the case. The book was literally filled with typographical mistakes which grew worse as I neared the end of the book.

It started off with one or two per chapter, yet the last few chapters had no fewer than 10 errors per chapter along with entire lines of errors. While it wasn't quite as bad as some google books, it is nevertheless disgusting for such a seriously overpriced product!
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:10 AM   #6
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Not long ago the typical price of eBooks in the USA was at $9.99 USD. Now it is at $14.99 USD. That is a 50% increase in about a year. Plus we used to get our eBooks without sales tax but now more often than not we have to pay the greedy states their taxes, so I'm now paying $16.19 USD. Many books are much higher of course.

Not only is the price not competitive with pBooks in many cases, but neither is the quality. Publishers still have no darn clue as to how to format eBooks, so you get a lot of eBooks with no TOCs, broken links, huge margins, et cetera. Without competition there is no consumer recourse of action. If I want to by a particular copyrighted book I have only one choice of publisher as the publisher almost always has exclusive rights to a book. If we could chose between several publishers they would have to be competitive to make the sales, but instead we are stuck with monopolies who don't care about quality and can charge whatever they want to.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:24 PM   #7
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We need a publisher that is strictly electronic, catering to different ereaders.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:51 PM   #8
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And you know the sad thing? If we refuse to pay these over-inflated prices then the publishers will simply say that the sales figures for ebooks are low and that there's no demand for them!
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:11 AM   #9
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And you know the sad thing? If we refuse to pay these over-inflated prices then the publishers will simply say that the sales figures for ebooks are low and that there's no demand for them!
Direct them to the nearest torrent index... the demand is there. The willingness to pay the exorbitant prices they're asking is not.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:28 AM   #10
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I'm curious, has anyone just flicked their address to a US/CA one to get the local pricing? I know this isn't uncommon for people to do with other digital goods, especially with pricing that fails to reflect current exchange rates or has silly regional prices (or maybe doesn't even offer the ebook for your location).

I do also agree that the high pricing is silly when the alternative isn't even a physical book but free (as found in torrents and other corners of the internet).
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:04 AM   #11
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If you're into sci-fi fantasy visit Baen Books. Some great deals there especially if there monthly bundles have at least one book by a favourite author.

I'm told that of the standard dead tree book, hard or soft cover that at most about $5 goes to the author and publisher. The rest goes to the distributor, printer which includes, of course paper and trucking.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:09 AM   #12
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ya, i'm not impressed to be honest with the online price of the epubs. 14.99 for a digital edition book when the paperback costs 7.99? Not to mention it seems there's a margin for Canadian purchases making it a lil more expensive (or i'm missing something).

I know this isn't Kobo's fault itself. But there's a huge discrepancy on the kobobooks website and the kobo reader's webstore. I just looked up "a Dance with Dragons". yes, i'm one of those nuts, And the kobobooks site lists it at 9.99. the webstore has it listed for 14.99. Thats a big and significant difference!

but as to prices. Why are the average book so expensive in epub format? the overhead for distribution of an epub is significantly lower than actual book. there's no paper to procure. no printing needed, no shipping of heavy items, no warehousing or stocking, no store shelves to stock. its purely a matter of server space and bandwith. Yet these books are barely cheaper, and sometimes more expensive!
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
I know this isn't Kobo's fault itself. But there's a huge discrepancy on the kobobooks website and the kobo reader's webstore. I just looked up "a Dance with Dragons". yes, i'm one of those nuts, And the kobobooks site lists it at 9.99. the webstore has it listed for 14.99. Thats a big and significant difference!
Your example was an intriguing one, so I checked. As of this morning, the book you cited has the same price of $9.99 when the store is accessed through the Desktop and through the reader.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:41 AM   #14
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Your example was an intriguing one, so I checked. As of this morning, the book you cited has the same price of $9.99 when the store is accessed through the Desktop and through the reader.
looks like a discrepancy in regions. In Canadian region, we're linked to the Chapters / Indigo.ca bookstore.

I just pulled it up now, and sure enough. Price is 14.99. With the Canadian dollar being on par, if not higher than US slightly, it's cheaper for me to buy it right off kobo's / chapters.com website and sideload it than through kobo's online book store.

i'm still under the impression that 9.99 for an ebook is still overpriced.
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:03 AM   #15
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If you're into sci-fi fantasy visit Baen Books. Some great deals there especially if there monthly bundles have at least one book by a favourite author.

I'm told that of the standard dead tree book, hard or soft cover that at most about $5 goes to the author and publisher. The rest goes to the distributor, printer which includes, of course paper and trucking.
The monthly bundles have also gotten quite steep, esp. considering it is EXTREMELY rare for me to see more than one book in the monthly bundle that I'd like to read so it's effectively cheaper for me to pay the $6 for a single copy, and realistically at that price I'd have to see 3 books that I knew for sure that I wanted in the monthly bundle before realizing any sort of discount. i.e. I'm pretty sure that the ones that don't interest me might as well be in the bundle...

[EDIT]
Er... Baen IS the publisher...
[/EDIT]

Geez this reminds me of years ago when we used to bitch at fictionwise's prices which IIRC were about $3 or...

Also you know what kills me about the sh!t quality of that ebook is that I seem to recall YEARS ago an author mentioning that they submitted an electronic copy as that's what the actual manufacturer NEEDED to be able to PRODUCE the actual print pages. Seems to me that unless the publisher's are idiots(which they appear to be) that they should have a perfectly good electronic copy of most book from the last 20ish or so years available and coercible into epub(or other) format...

[EDIT2]
I'll believe the $5 for pbooks goes to the publisher but only a few $0.01 to the author dependent upon contract and royalty rate. Pretty expensive still as they like to moan and maunder about publicity yet I can count on less than one hand exactly how much publicizing that I've seen for ANY book that I've read. (And usually that happens when they get made into movies... so it's pretty much riding the movie industry's coattails...) Usually I find them kind of by accident and tend to read some series by some authors once I find some that I like but often it comes down to a quick look at the synopsis, and reading a few pages and grabbing a number of books but at $10/pb they've lost me entirely, crap it was even already expensive at $6-7/pb doing that. I'd easily spend $30 or so every time that I went to a bookstore although I do limit my max spending/visit to about that much.
[/EDIT2]

Last edited by cutterjohn42; 07-12-2011 at 11:10 AM.
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