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Old 01-19-2013, 05:41 AM   #31
medard
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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.
There are even more risks than that. There could be malware or spyware in such an ebook (article about this in german) or, even worse, the uploader could have changed the ebook content, which is not very difficult to do.

Since epub is an open format, you can never be sure that a copy of an ebook is similar to the original. You can't archive epub files, even if they're free of DRM, because you have no proof that they are original, unmodified ebooks.

There's only one way for now to make sure that you got a copy of the original ebook: By downloding it directly from the original source yourself. And that does not need to be a store, it can be a public or private library system, too.

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Old 01-19-2013, 05:57 AM   #32
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They did this because of an irrational hatred of Amazon.
There is nothing irrational about their fear (not hatred) of Amazon. I have had the "pleasure" () of working with a publisher trying to negotiate a contract with Amazon and it is impossible. Amazon demanded and wouldn't budge off a discount that would have resulted in the publisher losing money on every sale made through Amazon. Amazon is trying to emulate Walmart when it comes to pushing down its costs, but not necessarily in lowering pricing to consumers. A lot of the backlist is not heavily discounted at Amazon and never has been.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:20 AM   #33
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In Sweden the price of ebooks in Swedish is a sales-tax issue. Books in paper havae a sales tax of 6% but since e-books is consider an internet service the tax is 25%.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:39 AM   #34
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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.
It is not just the dollar amount. It is also the perceived savings. People will drive across town for percentages off also. A store advertises a 70% off sale and people will flock to the store. The store has marked everything up 6 to 8 times cost. At an 8 times mark up the store still makes almost 2.5 times the original cost of the sale items. Department, Jewelery and Furniture Stores are three that do this regularly. When you see large impractical savings off you need to compare the price with other stores around you. Even checking online will give you an idea on whether the sale is legit or not.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:50 AM   #35
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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.
Correct.
The US Justice Dept took note and acted.
Even though all the conspirators got was a wrist-slap in the US and a scolding in Europe, they both frowned upon the blatant price-fix rip-off.
So the big publishers got the message: they need to be more subtle in their rip-offs.
Like raising ebook prices another 10% (above agency) so retailers can "discount" up to 10%.

Yes, publishers are our friends.
Just like the Visitors.

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Old 01-19-2013, 03:57 PM   #36
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There are many excellent self-published books that are professionally edited.
And for every one like that, there's a hundred, or a thousand, that aren't. And unless it's an author you recognize, or a recommendation from someone you know and trust, and it probably won't be, either way, there's no way to tell them apart.

I would much rather buy something through a well established publisher, because the quality is a lot more consistent.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:08 PM   #37
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I must admit that,at this point, I either buy authors I know that I like, or buy books based on recommendations by bloggers that I trust (Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books can be expensive for me to visit), or personal recommendations from friends whom I trust. I may not always agree with the SBTB and DA recommendations, but I can always tell from the review whether I'll like the book or not.

this is true for both traditionally published and self-published authors. i've gotten some real duds from trad publishers, and don't find that they're all that good at gatekeeping, at least for my taste.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:41 PM   #38
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A lot of times I get the books that are being offered free for a limited amount of time or books at sites like Smashwords that are priced free so that I avoid the problem of high prices. Rarely I will buy one that interests me and that is more expensive. Which usually means under $9.00 in most cases.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:58 PM   #39
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this is true for both traditionally published and self-published authors. i've gotten some real duds from trad publishers, and don't find that they're all that good at gatekeeping, at least for my taste.
You might not like the *contents* of those books from regular publishers, but the quality (at least for physical books - editing, proofing, and binding) has most likely been a lot better than most of the self-published ones you've encountered.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:51 AM   #40
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You might not like the *contents* of those books from regular publishers, but the quality (at least for physical books - editing, proofing, and binding) has most likely been a lot better than most of the self-published ones you've encountered.
Oooh, yes, undoubtedly: The BPHs are without doubt a whole lot better at disguising crap behind slick covers and enticing blurbs. They do a great job with the three-chapter specials, too.
And if they actually bother to *promote* a book that *isn''t* from a name author? Run away as fast as you can...

With self-pubs a crappy story is more often than not given away by a bad cover or a poor blurb. Or both. Critical reading skills pay off when shopping.

Of course, the BPHs also have their share of bad covers and bad copy but that tells you the story was orphaned and even the publisher doesn't believe in it. Worth knowing, too.

Experienced consumers can tell "dubious" material a mile away.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:07 AM   #41
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I'm thinking of an infamous Lora Leigh romance, where whole scenes were omitted, and the hero changed names a couple of times through the book.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:25 AM   #42
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I'm thinking of an infamous Lora Leigh romance, where whole scenes were omitted, and the hero changed names a couple of times through the book.
I could see a hero chaging names...
...if he's on the lam.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #43
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I don't encounter books at random. Word of mouth is one of the most important ways - in my opinion - of discovering new books and new authors. The really terrible stuff isn't going to have people praising it. A bad cover or blurb eliminates a lot of books from consideration. Reviews can eliminate a lot of books. If a book has no reviews, I can wait until someone else has reviewed it, I don't have to take one for the team. If book has a lot of lot of bad reviews, that's a bad sign, as is a suspiciously high rating. If I see a book that has 15 reviews and all of the are 5-stars, that's suspicious.

This takes just a glance to eliminate the really terrible stuff. If I'm still interested, I can look at the sample.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:26 PM   #44
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You might not like the *contents* of those books from regular publishers, but the quality (at least for physical books - editing, proofing, and binding) has most likely been a lot better than most of the self-published ones you've encountered.
Books from mainstream publishers are indeed usually better-quality, in both content and formatting, than self-pub books. This is in part because "self-pub" doesn't have any boundaries at all; anyone can throw their awful rambling wish-fulfillment self-insert dreck into a word processing program and upload it to Smashwords or compile their last year of blog posts (or worse, tweets) into a single document and call it an "ebook."

Even among actual writers who are working at real craft, mainstream publishing tends to have more quality. There are some *awesome* self-published authors; they are far outnumbered by earnest-but-less-skilled cohorts.

However... mainstream publishing doesn't publish in some genres I like. Random House doesn't have a "sci-fi m/m erotica" line. They don't do genre crossovers like "high fantasy/mystery" except as occasional experiments. They almost never publish anything that's overtly polytheistic except in high fantasy, and especially not in science fiction. Recently, I've been reading original superhero stories... mainstream houses won't do those, either.

And mainstream hasn't figured out how to capitalize on manuscript lengths that are truly only marketable as ebooks. The 20k-word novella has to be included in an anthology. 20k-word nonfic has to be bundled with a set of other articles on similar topics. 6k-word pieces are never offered as solos; mainstream publishers don't consider it's worth their production time to create & market short works.

Maybe they're right... but it's worth my reading time, and my reading dollars, to acquire them. And it's worth my time to wade through the endless slush to find the pieces I'll enjoy. If I have to read the previews of a lot of duds on the way to the ones I like, that's fine; I read fast.

I do, however, ruthlessly cull my reading. If the blurb has typos or grammar errors that bother me, I don't bother even reading the preview; if the author/publisher couldn't be bothered to proof the blurb, I don't trust the quality of the story, no matter how interesting int sounds. I read the first few pages at Smashwords; if I'm not hooked, I skip it, and am likely to never see it again.

Oh, it also matters that, for the price of one mainstream bestseller novel, I can get four or five novels of the same length and similar quality on Smashwords. Spending an extra hour or two to find them is worth it; I wind up with a lot more to read.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:56 PM   #45
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I read the first few pages at Smashwords; if I'm not hooked, I skip it, and am likely to never see it again.
Avoid Kobo, then, if that's your preferred method of weeding out the chaff - so many of their previews consist of the title pages, copyright notice, acknowledgements/dedications, and end at the TOCs. Might occasionally get forewords, if the book has any, but that's iffy. :/
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