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Old 10-26-2012, 02:23 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by XrXca View Post
But for the most part eBooks ARE cheaper than paper books (a quick check on 4 of the current best sellers put the hardcovers in the 30-40 range and the ebooks from 15 to 22, so that is a good thing, and to be honest has resulted in me buying some of the eBooks instead of borrowing from the library.
Most? You mean....most "hardback" vs. ebook. Some of us NEVER bought hardback in print, so those price comparisons are wasted on us. We'd be waiting for "the paperback" regardless.

And there are lots of genre books never released in hardback at all.

So I think "most" is...disingenuous...at the very least.
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Old 10-26-2012, 02:51 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by ottdmk View Post
What's impossible to tell is: how many ebook sales are in addition to the number of physical books you would sell, and how many are in place of physical books? While I'm sure some ebook purchases happen where people pick up a book they might not have before due to the ease of purchase, or the ability to read a preview... for the most part people are getting a book they would have earlier bought in physical form.
Usually, yes. But *not* necessarily "a book they would have bought new, from a vendor who feeds into the royalty stream."

Remaindered hardcovers aren't better sales for the publisher than ebooks. Used paperbacks certainly aren't. Books borrowed from friends don't pay the author or publisher at all.

An ebook purchase is almost always a lost pbook *acquisition,* but not at all a lost pbook *sale,* from the publisher's perspective.

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So the publishers are, quite legitimately, worried about ebook sales cannibalizing their other product lines.
This is because publishers have long been oblivious to the millions of voracious readers who rarely bought first-run pbooks, and almost never bought hardcovers, who *are* buying ebooks as fast as they're being released in genres they like. Amanda Hocking didn't lose a million pbook sales.

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When you talk about the ebook costs being already covered by the print run... well, guess what? They're not about to substantially discount the ebook over the print run because ebook sales are rising and it looks strongly like physical book sales will fall at the same time.
Refusal to discount the ebooks plays into that. As long as they cost the same, or close to it, customers buy *one* version. Put the ebook at what much of the market thinks they're worth--at most, 20% less than a paperback--and they fly off the digital shelves, *and* pbooks sell as well. People buy the pbook to keep and loan out, and the ebook to read at leisure... and people who wouldn't have bought either at $12 (but might've borrowed it, or waited for used copies to hit the library sales bins) will buy the ebook at $5 or $6.

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As for backlist books: that would be nice. I know from time to time publishers do discount the backlist. I remember seeing a nicely priced, $3.99 edition of book one of the Belgariad. Even that though was more a promotion, a loss-leader type of thing.
What "loss leader?" If they sell a few dozen copies, they've made their costs for the conversion; after that, it's all gravy. There's no loss; just less profit than they'd like.

Marginal costs for ebooks are, at most, pennies per book. Pbooks are never going to reach that point.

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A simple fact of the publishing world is that publishers almost never lower the prices of their product. Retailers may lower the price on a temporary basis, but publishers for the most part do not.
Large publishers are discovering that whether or not they're willing to cater to the $6-and-under ebook market, indie publishers and authors are, and those sales are skyrocketing. And authors are wondering what a publisher has to offer, if they make $2 per book sold for a $3 self-pub or an $18 traditionally-published volume.

There are answers: editing, marketing, access to stores, awards recognition. But as far as day-to-day income goes, all that can be skipped--self-pub authors have a better chance of making a living at their craft than traditionally-published ones... and a much, much better chance than wannabe trad-published authors who don't yet have a contract.

In short: Publishers are now facing competition that didn't exist 15 years ago. That competition is largely comprised of *the people who create what they sell,* and they'll have to scrabble to find business models that work, when they no longer have the gatekeeper advantage.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:40 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by XrXca View Post
My complaint is with older books, especially when I'm trying to get an older book that is STILL in current production with a recent printing (not a reprint, but a new issue based on the printing line on the copyright page)
Same publishing house as the original so while there has been some work to create the new printing it shouldn't be at the same level of cost as the original.
Now I'd expect the eBook to be reasonable, but much to my annoyance, the eBook is exactly the same price as the paperback (8.99)

Shouldn't there be the same kind of price reduction that is found in most new books, even if it was 8.99 paperback, 6.99 eBook I'd be slightly happier, but the same price ticks me off.
That is my complaint as well. Paperback priced at $8.99, eBook priced at $8.99... with my bookstore membership, I can get a discount off the paperback making it cheaper than the eBook. No thank you to the eBook under those conditions. I think you'll find that those books priced that way are the publishers participating in agency pricing. Hopefully once that goes away, the retailers will be able to offer discounts and club discounts on some of these titles. As you say, for an $8.99 paperback, I'd be willing to pay $6.99 or $7.99 if I really wanted to read it.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:34 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by XrXca View Post
But for the most part eBooks ARE cheaper than paper books (a quick check on 4 of the current best sellers put the hardcovers in the 30-40 range and the ebooks from 15 to 22, so that is a good thing, and to be honest has resulted in me buying some of the eBooks instead of borrowing from the library.
I've also found that ebook editions are usually better priced for the consumer then hardcovers. I think it has to do with the economics of the Agency system. The publishers can charge less for the ebook but as they're getting 70% instead of the 50% they normally get from wholesaling to retailers it all works out for them.

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Originally Posted by XrXca View Post
My complaint is with older books, especially when I'm trying to get an older book that is STILL in current production with a recent printing (not a reprint, but a new issue based on the printing line on the copyright page)
Same publishing house as the original so while there has been some work to create the new printing it shouldn't be at the same level of cost as the original.
Now I'd expect the eBook to be reasonable, but much to my annoyance, the eBook is exactly the same price as the paperback (8.99)

Shouldn't there be the same kind of price reduction that is found in most new books, even if it was 8.99 paperback, 6.99 eBook I'd be slightly happier, but the same price ticks me off.
I hear ya. Fortunately, some publishers seem to be starting to get it. I'm a fan of Terry Brooks, who's published by Random House. Right now, his most recent paperback in the Shannara series is $7.99 on Kobo.com. At Chapters, it's $9.99 for the paperback, $9.49 if you're a member.

(Side rant: Ye gods, do I hate memberships like Chapters. Save 10% off all your books! Cool! But you're paying $20 per year for the privilege. So before you save any money at all you have to spend $200 inside of a year! Oh, and more fun... buy the book online and it's only up to 5% off. Sheesh.)

So anyways, you're saving about 20% off the paperback cost. Which is respectable. Sure, Chapters' "Buy 3 get a 4th free" sale (which is essentially 25% off) beats it, but it's still quite reasonable. Those sales only happen a few times a year after all.

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Usually, yes. But *not* necessarily "a book they would have bought new, from a vendor who feeds into the royalty stream."

Remaindered hardcovers aren't better sales for the publisher than ebooks. Used paperbacks certainly aren't. Books borrowed from friends don't pay the author or publisher at all.

An ebook purchase is almost always a lost pbook *acquisition,* but not at all a lost pbook *sale,* from the publisher's perspective.
Your point is well taken, sir.

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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
This is because publishers have long been oblivious to the millions of voracious readers who rarely bought first-run pbooks, and almost never bought hardcovers, who *are* buying ebooks as fast as they're being released in genres they like. Amanda Hocking didn't lose a million pbook sales.
Amanda Hocking is a great example of success in the self-publishing game. However, she's a poor example here. Up until January of this year she didn't have any pbooks. It was her success in ebooks that got her the publishing deal with St. Martin's in the first place.

It will be interesting to see St. Martin's strategy going forward with her. I believe the first new novel under her deal got released in August.

Also, the "buy used/remaindered only" market is difficult to judge. For example, I doubt that you can justify your "millions" figure with actual statistics. Hence it is difficult to tell if the influx of that market would offset the loss of profit margin caused by a price cut.

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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
What "loss leader?" If they sell a few dozen copies, they've made their costs for the conversion; after that, it's all gravy. There's no loss; just less profit than they'd like.
There's a reason why I "almost a loss-leader type of thing". I was describing the reduced-cost book as a similar, not identical strategy. I apologize if I was unclear. However, your dismissal of the fact that they would make a little less money is where things fall down. Publishers are for-profit companies. Their entire raison-d'etre is to make money. A slimmer profit margin is, to them, almost as bad as a loss and is to be strenuously avoided.

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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Large publishers are discovering that whether or not they're willing to cater to the $6-and-under ebook market, indie publishers and authors are, and those sales are skyrocketing. And authors are wondering what a publisher has to offer, if they make $2 per book sold for a $3 self-pub or an $18 traditionally-published volume.

There are answers: editing, marketing, access to stores, awards recognition. But as far as day-to-day income goes, all that can be skipped--self-pub authors have a better chance of making a living at their craft than traditionally-published ones... and a much, much better chance than wannabe trad-published authors who don't yet have a contract.

In short: Publishers are now facing competition that didn't exist 15 years ago. That competition is largely comprised of *the people who create what they sell,* and they'll have to scrabble to find business models that work, when they no longer have the gatekeeper advantage.
Here's another place where we can agree. There is more competition. It may indeed force change. However, it's not there yet and it remains to be seen how things will happen.
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:21 PM   #125
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Hmm... WH Smith use kobo, and I couldn't find an ebooks terms and conditions section at Waterstones. It's a bit hard to ask about T&Cs when you can't find them!

So: I've asked Amazon, Kobo and B&N. Anyone else I should ask?
I've written to Smashwords and their response matches Kobo. I was told your spouse must purchase their own copy or you can lend them your ereader.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:29 PM   #126
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I've written to Smashwords and their response matches Kobo. I was told your spouse must purchase their own copy or you can lend them your ereader.
Where are the 'Defence of Marriage' people when you need them?
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:33 AM   #127
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I've written to Smashwords and their response matches Kobo. I was told your spouse must purchase their own copy or you can lend them your ereader.
Actually, that's a little broader than Kobo. Kobo stated that only the account holder was allowed to read it, so lending your spouse your reader would violate that.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:37 AM   #128
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So now, to summarise, I can't lend books, not even to family, and the secondhand/used book market is illegal, even if you give them away.

How did we get here?
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:31 AM   #129
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I've written to Smashwords and their response matches Kobo. I was told your spouse must purchase their own copy or you can lend them your ereader.
That response seems to match Amazon's response, but it would be nice to see their actual words.

Kobo's response is that no-one else may read your ebooks, not even on authorised devices.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:30 AM   #130
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I've written to Smashwords and their response matches Kobo. I was told your spouse must purchase their own copy or you can lend them your ereader.
Smashwords' prices facilitate multiple buyers though. It's easy to throw another $3 on the cart if you plan to give a copy to your friend (like they suggest - and I have done) Try doing that with a $14 bestseller and your 5 closest friends.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:02 AM   #131
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Kobo's response is that no-one else may read your ebooks, not even on authorised devices.
That seems a bit extreme!

Obviously if there had been a way for publishers/sellers to restrict people from swapping, lending, giving away or reselling their paperbacks and hardbacks, they would have done so. They obviously want to maximise their income. E-books just means they now can do so.

I can't see any good argument that e-books shouldn't be significantly cheaper than paperback books, the same way paperbacks are significantly cheaper than hardbacks. As they aren't I think all they are doing is leaving themselves open to piracy, much the same way the music industry did with MP3s and DRM.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:31 PM   #132
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Actually, that's a little broader than Kobo. Kobo stated that only the account holder was allowed to read it, so lending your spouse your reader would violate that.
I know I'll be blamed, but I have to say:

I'LL STEAL THE BOOK IF THEY KEEP SUCH UNFAIR RULES!!

I'LL TRY ME BEST TO BREAK ALL THE PROTECTIONS ON ALL THE BOOKS I CAN DOWNLOAD!!!

I'M PRODE OF BEING A DOWNLOADER AND THE UNFAIR RULES BREAKER !!!!

Those want to blame on me, please answer this qustion first:

"Can I read a book to my son?"!!!!

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Old 04-09-2013, 04:03 AM   #133
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That seems a bit extreme!

Obviously if there had been a way for publishers/sellers to restrict people from swapping, lending, giving away or reselling their paperbacks and hardbacks, they would have done so. They obviously want to maximise their income. E-books just means they now can do so.

The thing that prevents publishers/sellers from restricting people from swapping or reselling their paperbacks is... the law. In Commonlaw jurisdictions, the first-sale doctrine allows the reselling of copyrighted works that have been previously purchased.

How the gov't is letting the e-publishers get away with violating this is beyond me. Instead of setting up DRM to prevent lending/selling/giving away, it would be much more in compliance with the doctrine if the DRM was set to ensure that if you did lend or sell your copy, you no longer had access to it - if the libraries can manage that, I don't see why the publishers cannot.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:19 AM   #134
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The thing that prevents publishers/sellers from restricting people from swapping or reselling their paperbacks is... the law. In Commonlaw jurisdictions, the first-sale doctrine allows the reselling of copyrighted works that have been previously purchased.

How the gov't is letting the e-publishers get away with violating this is beyond me. Instead of setting up DRM to prevent lending/selling/giving away, it would be much more in compliance with the doctrine if the DRM was set to ensure that if you did lend or sell your copy, you no longer had access to it - if the libraries can manage that, I don't see why the publishers cannot.
I don't think that people would be happy only being able to keep a purchased book for a certain length of time and AFAIK that is the only difference between library DRM and regular DRM.

Eventually there might be a foolproof method of DRM but this will not make it real easy to sell an ebook.

1. the book would have to be removed from all of a person's registered devices by the vender or publisher. If a device was lost, stolen, broken or not internet enabled the book could not be removed.

2. There would probably be a fee for the DRM transfer.

3. It would not be easy for people to sell ebooks
a. To sell to an unknown individual, a cash transfer method such as paypal would have to be used or either the buyer or seller would have to travel to the person's house spending time and money on transport, so for a 9.99 ebook assuming transport was $5.00 the price would have to be well under $4.99 to make it worth the buyers time. If you are paying close to the regular price, most would just buy it through regular channels. Selling on Ebay or Amazon might be easier but still a fee involved.

b. The market would be saturated within a few days for best sellers. Fast readers would benefit, slower readers would be looking at selling for 99 cents less any fees.

The only benefit would be to buyers who waited till the second hand price hit bottom or those who wanted to trade/lend books to people they know and there would still be a fee and a process to go through which many would resent.

Helen
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Old 04-09-2013, 02:08 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Parataxis View Post
The thing that prevents publishers/sellers from restricting people from swapping or reselling their paperbacks is... the law. In Commonlaw jurisdictions, the first-sale doctrine allows the reselling of copyrighted works that have been previously purchased.
First sale doctrine works because the information (the bits) are premanently fixed in form (i.e. printed, recorded) on something made up of atoms. This way, the bits can't be seperated from the atoms. So, having bought the atoms, you can transfer them to someone else. The bits naturally follow.

however, your right to the bits is limited eventhough you own the atoms. for instance, you can't photocopy the book (buying the paper and toner, thus owning the atoms) and sell your paper and toner you have assembled which now happens to contain the bits. This would violate copyright.

You do not gain a copyright when you purchase the atoms, you gain a single license to the bits to use in the fixed form.

Quote:
How the gov't is letting the e-publishers get away with violating this is beyond me. Instead of setting up DRM to prevent lending/selling/giving away, it would be much more in compliance with the doctrine if the DRM was set to ensure that if you did lend or sell your copy, you no longer had access to it - if the libraries can manage that, I don't see why the publishers cannot.
In selling oly the bits, you are in fact making a copy. To transfer the work, you would make a new copy, then erase the first copy.

Looking to the first sale doctrine, when you buy a book, you do not get the right to photocopy the book, destroy the original then sell the photocopy. You can only sell the atoms; the license to the bits transfers with the atoms.

IANAL
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