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Old 01-18-2013, 06:41 PM   #16
DrNefario
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If ebooks really cost about as much as paperbacks, the publishers would be releasing info showing the cost-of-production broken into fixed and variable costs, not charts that combine all the costs together for a title... that still shows them making 60% more profit on ebooks--after they pay the author.
That chart essentially shows that the key difference in costs between the hardback and the ebook is a little over $3 - the printing, storage and distribution at the bottom of the right-hand column. The ebook is way more than $3 cheaper, so where are the grounds for complaint? All of the cost savings and more are being passed on to the consumer.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:10 PM   #17
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If there is a rise in eBook piracy, the blame is to be laid at the feet of the price fix six (and Apple).
Rationalize piracy as you will, the blame rests strictly with the pirates. Theft is theft, even accompanied by a victim mentality. I dislike DRM as much as anyone and balk at paying some especially high prices. However, I have the option of resorting to the library or buying a used print book or even making choices about what to read or not based upon the current irritant.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:38 PM   #18
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Rationalize piracy as you will, the blame rests strictly with the pirates. Theft is theft, even accompanied by a victim mentality. I dislike DRM as much as anyone and balk at paying some especially high prices. However, I have the option of resorting to the library or buying a used print book or even making choices about what to read or not based upon the current irritant.
If increased prices result in more people pirating the books, then the publishers will have to take that into account. This doesn't absolve the pirates, of course.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:52 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BelleZora View Post
Rationalize piracy as you will, the blame rests strictly with the pirates. Theft is theft, even accompanied by a victim mentality. I dislike DRM as much as anyone and balk at paying some especially high prices. However, I have the option of resorting to the library or buying a used print book or even making choices about what to read or not based upon the current irritant.
Do you remember back in the days when computer software was so laden with DRM that you blinked wrong and it would not work? Because of this, it was much more convenient to get the cracked versions from the net then to to buy it. Lotus 1-2-3 was notorious for their floppy disk based DRM that caused untold loss of the use of the software that was paid for. And you had to buy it again to get it back.

There there was the DRM based on a defect on the CD or DVD and that meant that if your optical drive could not properly read the defect or the disc became lost or damaged, say goodbye to playing the game.

Right now we have issues that we should not have. Let's say Amazon has a sale on some eBooks and you own a Sony, nook, or Kobo. If these eBooks have DRM, most people won't be able to do a think to get them moved over.

Now let's say you have a Kindle. BooksOnBoard recently had a sale on Simon & Shuster titles (sale is over now). But because you have a Kindle, touch luck. They have DRM. So you have to pay a higher price because you don't have an ADE based reader.

Go onto S&S's website and you can usually see the pBook version discounted and the final price being less then the price for the eBook.

Let's say you have a Kindle and want the latest Sony. So you gave your Kindle to someone and bought the Sony. Wait, you've lost access to all of your DRM laden eBooks. Now if someone with a Kobo got fed up with all the firmware bugs and wanted to move to a Kindle. Same issue, DRM eBooks are gone.

This is why people turn to the net to try to find the eBooks. They can get the help they need getting them in the format they need without the issue of DRM getting in the way. It's just easier in a lot of cases then it is to try to jump though the hoops the publishes are making customer jump through and the hoops keep getting smaller each time they make a change that "good for the customer" and we have a harder time fitting through the hoops.

The publishers don't get it that reasonable prices and no DRM are the key to success. We used to have BAEN as the one we could point to for a business model that was very good. Well, it's not very good now. It sucks in fact. The changes they've made are no good for the customer. They've raised prices. They've made monthly bundles available for a very short period of time. They've removed a lot of eBooks from the free library. basically, they are losing what made them different.

None of this is good for the consumer.

Last edited by JSWolf; 01-18-2013 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:09 PM   #20
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I think you meant Baen not Bean JSWolf. lol. Point taken though. I have that problem with books I bought from Mobipocket.com. They are owned by Amazon, but since they are books I paid for (rather than the free ebooks on site) they won't open on the Kindle even though they are mobi books. So I either have to find a way to break the DRM for such or buy new copies from Amazon although I already bought them over at Mobipocket. I don't think that's fair myself.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
That chart essentially shows that the key difference in costs between the hardback and the ebook is a little over $3 - the printing, storage and distribution at the bottom of the right-hand column. The ebook is way more than $3 cheaper, so where are the grounds for complaint? All of the cost savings and more are being passed on to the consumer.
What "cost savings?" This was after publishers insisted on stores not being allowed to sell ebooks for $10. That was "devaluing books"--even though a lot of us never pay more than $8 for a book because we buy paperbacks. So a lot of customers saw prices rise, not fall, with agency pricing. The distributor got squeezed, and customers got squeezed; no "savings" were passed along anywhere.

Why should consumers pay extra money that's not supporting the author--if $4 is enough profit for a hardcover, why isn't it enough for an ebook?

The print cost shows an equity between author and publisher: after development and retail costs, the author and publisher make about the same amount of money. For the ebook model, the publisher makes almost three times as much as the author. Setting aside "why would authors tolerate this?" (more of them are deciding not to), why should I, as a consumer, pay that?

Of course, the other option is "don't buy that book." Shrug. I don't. I don't like supporting scam artists, and I don't see what publishers offer that I should pay them more than twice as much as the author gets. Especially when they've gone out of their way to kill the ability of retailers to offer bargains... the agency model's a big part of what killed Fictionwise.

The chart is also flawed, as it doesn't show per-unit costs; the print costs exist per-book no matter how many books get sold; the editing costs are eventually paid off and stop being an expense. And it definitely doesn't work when applied to paperbacks.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:14 PM   #22
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I think you meant Baen not Bean JSWolf. lol. Point taken though. I have that problem with books I bought from Mobipocket.com. They are owned by Amazon, but since they are books I paid for (rather than the free ebooks on site) they won't open on the Kindle even though they are mobi books. So I either have to find a way to break the DRM for such or buy new copies from Amazon although I already bought them over at Mobipocket. I don't think that's fair myself.
Yes, I meant BAEN and I edited the mistake. Thanks.

It isn't fair that your Mobipocket eBooks might be worthless unless you can strip the DRM. All of the Mobipocket eBooks I bought before I upgraded my computer would all be worthless as the PID is tied to the computer's hardware. Most were bought from Paperback Digital (because they had some really good discount codes) and give that PD is out of business, there's no way to go back and update the DRM. If I did not have the ability to remove the DRM, they'd be wasting hard drive space right now.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:16 PM   #23
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If increased prices result in more people pirating the books, then the publishers will have to take that into account.
Only if there is solid evidence for the relationship. Internet assertions don't really count.

As a ratio, the price difference between a a 99 cent book and a pirated book is the same as the price difference between a 99 dollar book and a pirated book -- infinity. So what's more important, the ratio or the absolute difference? And how's the publisher to know?

It's a little more complicated than that, I know, because convenience and risk factors mean nothing is totally free. You could assign a price to the risk of getting a computer virus from a cyberlocker site. And, in the other direction, you could assign a price to the risk of identify theft when you give your credit card information to a on-line bookseller. I'd personally rate the cyberlocker malware risk higher, but there surely are cyberlocker fans who think differently.

A really big publisher can experimentally approximate the most profitable price points. I can't think of ways the publisher can know why that price works best.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:00 PM   #24
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I'm not saying that publishers are your enemy, only that they have their own interests which aren't always the same as yours.
The same is true of authors, however. And retailers.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:01 PM   #25
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"Eliminate the fattest fingers in the pie – the publisher’s. "
And get used to even more poorly written, badly edited, typo-ridden, badly formatted crap books.

No thanks.

Turn a manuscript involves as many man-hours of work as writing the manuscript in the first place. Without publishers, you don't get books, you get unedited manuscripts.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:44 PM   #26
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Turn a manuscript involves as many man-hours of work as writing the manuscript in the first place. Without publishers, you don't get books, you get unedited manuscripts.
Depends on the author. Courtney Milan, for example, self-publishes and her books are essentially error-free, well edited as well as well-proofed, plus they're a reasonable price.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:47 PM   #27
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And get used to even more poorly written, badly edited, typo-ridden, badly formatted crap books.

No thanks.

Turn a manuscript involves as many man-hours of work as writing the manuscript in the first place. Without publishers, you don't get books, you get unedited manuscripts.
There are many excellent self-published books that are professionally edited.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:54 PM   #28
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Only if there is solid evidence for the relationship.
Yes, that's why I said "if". I don't claim to know what effect pricing has on piracy.

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As a ratio, the price difference between a a 99 cent book and a pirated book is the same as the price difference between a 99 dollar book and a pirated book -- infinity. So what's more important, the ratio or the absolute difference? And how's the publisher to know?
How many people won't bend over to pick up a penny? If they pick up the penny, they gain infinitely more money than they do if they do not. But many people don't bother, because it is only a penny. A quarter, nearly everyone will stop to pick it up. Ratios don't seem to matter when we are talking about something very small.

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A really big publisher can experimentally approximate the most profitable price points. I can't think of ways the publisher can know why that price works best.
They have marketing people who do research to set the right price. That doesn't mean they are always right. If increasing price leads to an increase in piracy sufficient to lower their overall revenue, then they might want to consider lowering the price. It might be that there's an increase in piracy, but not enough to lower the revenues. None of this justifies the pirates of course.
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:51 PM   #29
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But many people don't bother, because it is only a penny. A quarter, nearly everyone will stop to pick it up. Ratios don't seem to matter when we are talking about something very small.
I doubt you intended this inference, but your statement is consistent with the idea that publishers would have to charge less than US$0.25 to put a big dent in piracy.

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They have marketing people who do research to set the right price. That doesn't mean they are always right.
True, but with such a large number of separate products (titles), they can get much more statistically valid data than can companies with just a handful, like, say, Apple. Also, continuing the Apple comparison, Apple would risk cheapening its brand if it experimentally lowered prices, whereas publishers, if worried about that, can stand up a new imprint. Another reason publishers can get good data is that, according to the OP article, authors have no say in book pricing. So while publishers aren't always right, there's little reason to think they systematically overprice or underprice.

While not knowing the best price for a book, I admit to liking the idea that they start out high, and go down. It is quite rare I read a book that wouldn't be just as good five years from now. I get the same great reading experience as a billionaire, just later, and maybe not even that if I go for paper from the library. Is there any more perfect an example of social justice?

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Old 01-18-2013, 11:43 PM   #30
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I doubt you intended this inference, but your statement is consistent with the idea that publishers would have to charge less than US$0.25 to put a big dent in piracy.
I was simply pointing out that it isn't the ratio that was important. If it was, people would be as likely to pick up a penny as they would a quarter. People will drive across town to save $50 in a TV, when that might be less a 5% difference. They probably wouldn't drive across town to save a much larger percentage on a much cheaper item. They aren't that concerned about the percentage, they just care about $50 extra in their pockets. The higher the price, the more motivated people are. Whether raising the price actually translates into higher rates of piracy, and how much of an impact that has is uncertain.
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