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Old 08-22-2012, 07:54 PM   #16
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I have a price point for books, but I also have a quality point for books too. I buy books that are sold to me DRM free, which means that the rights are MINE as to how, where and when to read the book.

I prefer that the book be substantially lower in price to the physical counterpart, because it still cannot outlast digital obsolescence like a physical book can.

Paper will always be readable except for physical damage. 20 years from now who knows, that drm'ed epub may not work on the new gadget I need to buy. But books I bought 30 years ago are still readable. Books are not something I should have to re-buy to fit the next gizmo that comes along. It's a book.
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by JD Gumby View Post
There are no reasons other than pure greed for the ebook version (ESPECIALLY backlist) to ever cost as much as even the mass-market paperback version ($2-3 less, due to the lack of any physical manufacturing, transfer [well, there's *some*, but it amounts to well under a penny], warehousing costs, or needed space on the shelf at the storefront), nor for it to EVER, under ANY circumstances, be of any lower editing quality.
Why not the opposite? There's no reason other than pure greed for the mass-market price to be higher than that charged the relative elite who are able to pay $100 and more for an eReader.

Now, if the price is higher than I am comfortable with, I just won't buy. This means I mostly use libraries, going through Overdrive if available and paper if not.

I ordered, and just got in the mail today, Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan -- US$5.97 for a like-new paperback shipped from East Sussex. I presume this was remaindered by the publisher with the expectation it would retail at about that price.

The Amazon Kindle US price was 50% higher ($8.85), so I went with paper.

The Amazon UK price is £2.39 (equivalent to US$3.79). I have no moral problem with the US price being more than double the UK price. If Amazon and Quercus (the book's publisher), through some dance, jointly decide that some Americans who own eReaders can pay more than double for this particular book, they are probably right. And, if wrong, there is interlibrary loan.

To give a bit more of the tale: The US$5.97 price I paid is no longer available. I can't now find any paper copy for less then $10. So, if I was buying today, I would pay US Amazon $8.85 for the eBook. This concretely illustrates how buying used books financially helps authors and publishers. By taking the low-priced marketed-as-used copies, I, and a few others, will have pushed subsequent buyers to the higher priced spread. And that's not greed, that's good.

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Old 08-22-2012, 08:16 PM   #18
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Over three years ago, before agency pricing I was paying hardcover prices for new release ebooks. I did not like it then and even far less now.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:19 PM   #19
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Price factors into decisions, but really if I want a new book bad enough, I'll pay what they charge. I just won't buy as many. I'll get more library ebook loans and wait till the price comes down more often.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:24 PM   #20
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If I want a book badly enough to pay the asking price, I'll pay it, but that's not useful, it's a tautology. If the price is more than I want to spend, I have many other books to choose from.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:51 PM   #21
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:17 PM   #22
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The "container" determines how long I expect to retain the experience, so in that respect it matters a lot.
I am still reading printed books I bought 20 years ago at yard sales. The iffiness of whether that will still be so for an e-book I buy determines whether or not I am willing to pay the same price (or close to it) for an e-book (gadget dependent) as I am for a self-contained book in printed form.

I'd hate to pay $15 dollars for "an experience" only to find I am holding a useless piece of garbage in my hands 10 years later.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:48 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by EcanusPublishing View Post
Would you view an e-book with a low book price as being of low quality?
I thought this was the most interesting question you asked, and no I would not view an e-book with a low price as being of low quality.

The best book I read last year was free (Hunger by Knut Hamsen - public domain) and my 2 favourite finds this year so far were bought on sale for $3.41 (Slow Horses by Mick Herron) and $2.99 (Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker). I have also been introduced to a few new series that I plan to continue reading by $0.99 ebooks or $5 audiobooks.

Perhaps the best things in life aren't all free, but in this new digital age some of the best things are cheap.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:16 PM   #24
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Perhaps the best things in life aren't all free, but in this new digital age some of the best things are cheap.
I've had the same experience this year. Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables (and the followups) and the entire Dickens library alone, all my favorite books, being for free were the first e-books I downloaded. There are amazing classics to be had alone from there, many that I have not yet explored, but plan to.

But yes, I discovered that the inexpensive / free reads I had this year were very enjoyable to me. I bought every one of Shayne Parkinson's books from Smashwords, and bought a few romance novels for 99 c from DANL and Carina Press, and I have enjoyed the ones I've read so far.

I occasionally hear the argument that if one can afford an e-reader they should really not complain about expensive e-books, or be picky about how much they'll pay. That doesn't really make sense to me. Some people save up for months to get that e-reader, or get it as a gift. My e-readers were bought entirely with Christmas and Birthday money. So I try to be as practical and frugal as I can.

Having one expensive thing does not mean that suddenly I can afford hundreds of expensive things. It's like our family buying a nice tv, but not buying cable. etc...

Last edited by spindlegirl; 08-22-2012 at 10:22 PM. Reason: tried to make my post a bit shorter. I hate tl:dr
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:52 PM   #25
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I occasionally hear the argument that if one can afford an e-reader they should really not complain about expensive e-books, or be picky about how much they'll pay. That doesn't really make sense to me.
Nope. It doesn't hold water.
Just because one can (theoretically) afford to be ripped off daily doesn't mean you enjoy it or should tolerate it.
As I said above, the question is *value*.

eBook readers have a usable, active lifetime measured in years. Books have an active lifetime measured (at most) in days. One is a tangible electronic tool whereas the other is an intangible "experience" which is purely subjective; thus its value is personal and subjective. Enjoyable and convenient as they are, ebooks have no residual value beyond the experience as they can't be (easily or often) loaned nor legally resold. So comparing their value to ebook readers or even hardcovers isn't easily defensible.
Even paperbacks are a stretch...
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:32 AM   #26
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I thought this was the most interesting question you asked, and no I would not view an e-book with a low price as being of low quality.

The best book I read last year was free (Hunger by Knut Hamsen - public domain) and my 2 favourite finds this year so far were bought on sale for $3.41 (Slow Horses by Mick Herron) and $2.99 (Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker). I have also been introduced to a few new series that I plan to continue reading by $0.99 ebooks or $5 audiobooks.

Perhaps the best things in life aren't all free, but in this new digital age some of the best things are cheap.
I too bought Bruno Chief of Police on sale. I liked it so much I bought the rest of the series
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:29 AM   #27
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Nope. It doesn't hold water.
Just because one can (theoretically) afford to be ripped off daily doesn't mean you enjoy it or should tolerate it.
As I said above, the question is *value*.

eBook readers have a usable, active lifetime measured in years. Books have an active lifetime measured (at most) in days. One is a tangible electronic tool whereas the other is an intangible "experience" which is purely subjective; thus its value is personal and subjective. Enjoyable and convenient as they are, ebooks have no residual value beyond the experience as they can't be (easily or often) loaned nor legally resold. So comparing their value to ebook readers or even hardcovers isn't easily defensible.
Even paperbacks are a stretch...
I agree. This is why format and the objective of the seller makes me critical of the prices.

Our lovely apprentice aside. The objective of the seller for DRM'ed material is that is only readable on their devices. Selling me a real book that outlasts faddish technology? Sure, I'll pay over $10 because I get to keep it even if my Kindle breaks and someone, taking pity on my plight, looks for a "replacement e-reader" to give me as a gift, and buys me a Kobo, without violating the TOS. So the limits and expected longevity determine how much I am willing to pay.

I have blue Jeans that I expect will outlast some e-books, and yes, I am a tightwad on how much I shell out for clothing, too.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:22 AM   #28
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I have a ceiling price that I won't exceed unless it's an omnibus. This is just high enough to include most agency-priced books, but in practice I hardly ever buy any because there's no urgency. They go on my wish list and languish there indefinitely. (A couple of them have gone up in price, which is quite annoying.)

I would buy them when I want to read them, but I have hundreds of other books to choose from and never quite want to read them that much.

I am suspicious of very low prices, if it's not a time-limited sale. I think there is a sweet spot at about two-thirds of the agency rate where I feel something is high quality and good value. Below that I'll want to verify the quality.
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:37 AM   #29
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I'm trying to think back to when I first started hearing about e-readers. It seems like one of the arguments for getting them was that ebooks were cheaper. Am I remembering that wrong?

Oh, I wanted to add something else. Someone wrote in the thread that the package doesn't matter, it's the experience that counts, so it shouldn't matter whether it's an e-book or physical book. I disagree with that because before e-books, part of the experience for me was passing on books I'd enjoyed to friends and family and then discussing the books with them after they'd read them. I do miss that, and that was a part of the value of physical books.

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Old 08-23-2012, 10:31 AM   #30
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If there is one book and one book only that you want and no other will do then I can see price (within reasonable limits) as not being a factor when you buy. If you have, like I do, over 500 books on your wishlist all of which you want to buy it makes sense to buy by price group hoping by the time you've read all the lower priced books some of the higher priced ones will be lower. I read a book a day. I'm not going to be spending $15/day to fill my reading needs. That would be about half my rent expences. Can't afford that.
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