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Old 07-26-2011, 08:26 AM   #76
Randeep
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Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts.

Quote:
To me this is the best explanation so far. Even if I own the paperback, i do not get a second or 3 copy of that paperback free, never mind the hard cover, or audio version. Now any publisher that wanted to could offer that, but thats their right to call, and your right as a customer to call them up and request it (but they can and likely will deny siad request).
I don't see that as being a great explanation at all. There are costs associated with physical media that do not exist with eBooks. Just to put it into perspective, you can get a 2nd or 3rd copy of an Ebook very easily. Or a 100,000th copy (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Repeat).

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I do disagree, though, with the implied sentiment by some that an ebook is somehow of less (or no) value compared to a printed book. I see ebooks as a greater value than printed books, because of their higher portability and flexibility, and lower production and distribution costs.
eBooks are a greater value because of their "lower production and distribution costs"? To a publisher, yes, but to the customer no. All it should mean to the buyer is that actual costs should be lower (we see in some cases, however, that this does not happen). In fact, their production costs approaches $0.00 the more a title is distributed. A few people have been making this point and while it's great that you like eBooks better than pbacks, it does change the fact that the economics on the supplier side are a lot cheaper when you go digital.

BTW: I should also state that I know costs for an eBook are not zero. I don't know too much about the ins and outs of how it works, but as a programmer I know a lot of the text is already coming from the author in digital form, but I understand that there is probably a technical department somewhere paying their IT staff a salary and charging X amount of dollars for the production of this book. I can't imagine it is that much though.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:53 AM   #77
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Fountain soda is cheaper to produce than canned or bottled soda. I wonder why the customer always ends up paying more for it? Oh I remember now... it's because costs aren't always in a 1:1 ratio with value and price.

People can talk about what ebooks should cost until they're blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is... they will always cost exactly what the majority of people are willing to pay for them. They may get a little cheaper, but they're never going to get anywhere near their production costs.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:36 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
People can talk about what ebooks should cost until they're blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is... they will always cost exactly what the majority of people are willing to pay for them. They may get a little cheaper, but they're never going to get anywhere near their production costs.
Exactly.

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Old 07-26-2011, 10:58 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randeep View Post
Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts.

I don't see that as being a great explanation at all. There are costs associated with physical media that do not exist with eBooks. Just to put it into perspective, you can get a 2nd or 3rd copy of an Ebook very easily. Or a 100,000th copy (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Repeat).

eBooks are a greater value because of their "lower production and distribution costs"? To a publisher, yes, but to the customer no. All it should mean to the buyer is that actual costs should be lower (we see in some cases, however, that this does not happen). In fact, their production costs approaches $0.00 the more a title is distributed. A few people have been making this point and while it's great that you like eBooks better than pbacks, it does change the fact that the economics on the supplier side are a lot cheaper when you go digital.

BTW: I should also state that I know costs for an eBook are not zero. I don't know too much about the ins and outs of how it works, but as a programmer I know a lot of the text is already coming from the author in digital form, but I understand that there is probably a technical department somewhere paying their IT staff a salary and charging X amount of dollars for the production of this book. I can't imagine it is that much though.
There are costs associated with ebooks that paperbooks do not have. Paper doesn't have server fees, DRM licensing fees, bandwidth expense, etc. Explain how your argument makes sense. Also, while you claim that ebooks production cost approaches zero, it will never reach zero, even if you factor out the staffing and utility costs. There are still continual expenses with ebooks, that apply for each copy sold (such as the DRM licensing).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Fountain soda is cheaper to produce than canned or bottled soda. I wonder why the customer always ends up paying more for it? Oh I remember now... it's because costs aren't always in a 1:1 ratio with value and price.

People can talk about what ebooks should cost until they're blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is... they will always cost exactly what the majority of people are willing to pay for them. They may get a little cheaper, but they're never going to get anywhere near their production costs.
I dunno about where you are, but fountain soda is cheaper normally. I can goto a gas station, get a 32oz soda for 59 cents, but a 20oz bottle of soda costs $1.60 anymore. That's besides the point though. The idea that the cost to the customer for a product is what ever they can bear is true. If they price something too high, the customer won't buy it, and the price will be lowered to a point at which it will be sold.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:14 AM   #80
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I scanned, proofread & formatted Wilson's The Occult so I could read it on my ereader. It's 800 pages. I've scanned several shorter books.
Elfwreck,
Out of curiosity, did you have to 'dismantle' the physical book to scan it, or is the process akin to copying facing book pages on a regular copy machine?

Thanks!
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:56 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by MJK2111 View Post
Elfwreck,
Out of curiosity, did you have to 'dismantle' the physical book to scan it, or is the process akin to copying facing book pages on a regular copy machine?
I dismantle. I chop the spines off with a huge papercutter that frankly terrifies me. I prefer feeding the pages into the scanner because I am lazy like that it's faster and doesn't wind up with warped text near the center margins.

But there are people who scan them without breaking the original, either by pressing them flat to a copier/scanner, or using the diybookscanner arrangement. (I had the advantage of several years at a job where we were hired to chop & scan books & magazines; I got over my aversions to damaging perfectly good books.)

I still keep them, rubberbanded with the spines, and have considered using plastic comb binding to reassemble them into usable books.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:03 PM   #82
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I just wanted to refloat the 1st post by DiapDealer (i always read Diaper in your name ).

You are paying for what the product costs (the words, creativity?); the paper, the hard covers, the little front photo its just means to an end.
The fact that there is different media to get it, doesn't means you are entitled to get the other media formats for free (silly you!).

But, as has been brought on the topic, it would be amazing to be able to have a package discount for purchasing hard+digital format copies.

Complete economic offtopic:
An economic transaction takes place when someone is willing to exchange his product for the right price, while the buyer is willing to exchange X amount of money (product satisfaction) for the product.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:19 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Fountain soda is cheaper to produce than canned or bottled soda. I wonder why the customer always ends up paying more for it? Oh I remember now... it's because costs aren't always in a 1:1 ratio with value and price.

People can talk about what ebooks should cost until they're blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is... they will always cost exactly what the majority of people are willing to pay for them. They may get a little cheaper, but they're never going to get anywhere near their production costs.
Terrible example. IIRC fountain sodas are more expensive because most places are trying to recoup losses with that. Think I learned that when I worked in a restaurant, they said they break even with the food or barely make it by, the soda is where the profit is. And its not so much that people are willing, moreso they have to or theyre stuck with water. And how many people go to restaurants to drink water? Sure, you may get a complimentary glass but how many purposely order water instead of something else to drink? Id imagine it happens but not very often. Like movie theatres, everyone knows theyre killing people with the prices and most just deal with it and pay complaining the whole time. Others sneak food and drinks in. But I doubt anybody is really willing to pay those crazy prices. Theyre forced to because they either dont want to leave or theres no better option. Luckily, all the ones I can think of have drug stores and dollar stores nearby so I dont have to suffer like that.

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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
I dismantle. I chop the spines off with a huge papercutter that frankly terrifies me. I prefer feeding the pages into the scanner because I am lazy like that it's faster and doesn't wind up with warped text near the center margins.
Sir, I must also ask. Id like to scan some of my own books and tried it once before, it took me forever to get one page done. Then again I had to bend the book in half and scan the same page over and over until it came out right, I have a printer / scanner. Im sure Im doing this wrong. What kind of scanner do you use? What program do you use? Where can I get both? Could you provide any and all information to help me on this? Please, I cant tell you how grateful I would be.

Last edited by NVash; 07-26-2011 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 05:25 PM   #84
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I use an OpticBook 3600 scanner. It scans to within a quarter inch on one side, so you put one page down flat, scan, then flip the book around to get the other page - it's upside down, but the software takes care of that. Then turn the page and repeat. I can do a 250 page book in less than an hour.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:38 PM   #85
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There are costs associated with ebooks that paperbooks do not have. Paper doesn't have server fees, DRM licensing fees, bandwidth expense, etc. Explain how your argument makes sense. Also, while you claim that ebooks production cost approaches zero, it will never reach zero, even if you factor out the staffing and utility costs. There are still continual expenses with ebooks, that apply for each copy sold (such as the DRM licensing).
Exactly. The per-unit cost for eBooks don't approach 0.00$, they approach the cost of bandwidth, licensing, etc. But it gets weird since it isn't the publisher that is footing that cost. The seller is the one required to provide DRM, hosting, and bandwidth. So in the end, the seller is the one carrying the majority of those per unit costs, minus royalties to the author. The royalties alone ensure the book will never approach 0$ per unit. Instead, if there were no other per-unit costs, the per-unit cost would be somewhere in the range of 5-15% of the list price in the form of author's fees.

That said, "fixed" costs can still get expensive quick, and so price can't be based entirely on per-unit costs or you go under quick. The publisher's staff, any marketing they push into the project, the cost of the editor(s) involved, author advance, and so on add up quick. And you have books that don't always earn enough to make back what was spent, due to risks that are inherent in the industry (there is a limit to how much you can predict that a book will sell).

Although what the reduced costs of printing/etc really get the publisher is less up-front risk. If I publish an e-book, I'm out the editing costs/etc same as a printed book. What I do gain is that I don't also have to assume the risk of printing some copies at some cost, and then hoping I can sell all the copies I made. With an e-book, the per unit costs can be paid as the book sells to some extent (as long as your total volume makes the hosting affordable), which is a better arrangement than having to manage stock levels. As long as I handle a large enough total volume, I can reason that books with very limited appeal might be easier to take a chance on, as I don't have to deal with a minimum print run size. This actually is healthier for the publishing industry as a whole, as it means I can take a larger number of smaller risks and more authors get a chance to be published with the help of people who know editing/marketing/etc.

I still have to find a way for these small runs to pay for themselves as much as possible though, and that means higher pricing, offsetting some of the initial printing cost savings I may have had.

Plus, if I'm bleeding red, I need to raise prices, or I offer eBooks at the same price to increase margins a bit. There aren't many business plans where you can cut prices and increase profits without also cutting costs even more deeply than the price.

EDIT: Fun fact... printing accounts for ~10% of list price. So on a book that lists for about 10$, the eBook savings are ~1$ on printing (- cost of a formatter/etc to put manuscript into ePub/etc). Distribution is another 10% (and bandwidth/etc offsets those savings).

In reality, the savings from going to eBooks are less than 20-30% of the list price (note that many retailers already cut off that much from the list price on printed books). How much less, I'm not sure. And the agency model prevents companies like Amazon from effectively cutting into their 30% of the pricing to offer loss-leader deals and the like.

Last edited by Kolenka; 07-26-2011 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:24 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NVash View Post
Sir, I must also ask. Id like to scan some of my own books and tried it once before, it took me forever to get one page done. Then again I had to bend the book in half and scan the same page over and over until it came out right, I have a printer / scanner. I'm sure I'm doing this wrong. What kind of scanner do you use? What program do you use? Where can I get both? Could you provide any and all information to help me on this? Please, I cant tell you how grateful I would be.
I cut the bindings with an industrial paper-cutter like this one: http://www.officezone.com/intelli-cu...per-cutter.htm
Many copy shops have one; they're not recommended for the home office unless you chop up a *lot* of stacks of paper. For profit, because they're really not worth having for occasional home use.

Other people use a razor or exacto blade and a ruler and cut through books page-by-page.

Home all-in-one print/scan/copy machines are awful for scanning. The software tends to be very limited, and assumes you want to scan one page at a time--like a letter and envelope; it's not designed to scan hundreds of pages one after the other. (Doesn't mean it won't work but there's often no shortcuts built in for bulk scanning.)

I usually scan with Acrobat Pro; sometimes I use Photoshop. Sometimes I scan straight to Abbyy Finereader. (Those probably aren't helpful.) Irfanview has scan settings, and scan-batch settings, and it's free & open source.

I use two scanners at home: a Canon LIDE 30 for flatbed things (it's out of production, but I'm sure there's some obviously similar newer scanner); it's USB powered and tiny. I have a Fujitsu duplex scanner for everything else; I don't remember the model number but it's the predecessor to the ScanSnap, which is better. (And available. And comes with a version of FineReader if you buy it new, which is great.)

Scanning flatbed without chopping the spines off is time-consuming and takes practice to learn the tricks. (Or you can go the diyscanner route, and set up a v-shaped "platform" with two digital cameras aiming at the pages.) For flatbed, you have to be able to press the book down firmly enough to have all the text clearly against the glass; some print/scan machines are too fragile to do that with all books.

The Opticbook is a good option; it's got an edge designed for putting half a book over so it doesn't have to lie completely flat. I haven't had access to one so I can't speak to its abilities directly, but it seems to fix exactly the problems with most flatbed scanners.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:40 PM   #87
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pholy and Elfwreck, I appreciate it. Would you mind if I PMed either of you for help or advice once I get a scanner together? No cash to do it right now but Im sure Ill have more questions later on down the road.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:00 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by NVash
Terrible example. IIRC fountain sodas are more expensive because most places are trying to recoup losses with that. Think I learned that when I worked in a restaurant, they said they break even with the food or barely make it by, the soda is where the profit is.
Sorry it didn't meet with your approval. But I stand by the analogy. It costs a restaurant less than buying the same volume canned or bottled, so they should be willing to pass those savings on to their clientele, right? But they don't and people still pay for it (willing is willing, whether they're happy about it or not)--huge markup and all. It furthers the notion that what something costs to produce isn't the end-all, be-all criteria for how it gets priced for the consumer.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:26 PM   #89
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I am just looking at my Logic textbook now and wondering how soon I can get to a decent scanner and get some of it on my laptop! I have no moral outrage at doing this - the book is huge and is not available in ebook format. Why should I further wreck my my already weak and damaged shoulder lugging it around? But I would have paid a few dollars more to get a digital copy to go with the textbook ((just to cover the CD cost and packaging). A tiered pricing structure would help here - one price for a p book, slightly more for p and e book combined, a lot less for only ebook (especially if it is DRM'd) .
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:36 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Sorry it didn't meet with your approval. But I stand by the analogy. It costs a restaurant less than buying the same volume canned or bottled, so they should be willing to pass those savings on to their clientele, right? But they don't and people still pay for it (willing is willing, whether they're happy about it or not)--huge markup and all. It furthers the notion that what something costs to produce isn't the end-all, be-all criteria for how it gets priced for the consumer.
No need for an apology. I can see what youre saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CazMar View Post
I am just looking at my Logic textbook now and wondering how soon I can get to a decent scanner and get some of it on my laptop! I have no moral outrage at doing this - the book is huge and is not available in ebook format. Why should I further wreck my my already weak and damaged shoulder lugging it around? But I would have paid a few dollars more to get a digital copy to go with the textbook ((just to cover the CD cost and packaging). A tiered pricing structure would help here - one price for a p book, slightly more for p and e book combined, a lot less for only ebook (especially if it is DRM'd) .
Why the heck arent most college textbooks ebooks? Oh, thats right, too busy ripping off students with new editions every year. Im sure that has nothing to do with it, that just annoys me to no end.
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