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Old 02-20-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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The Price of Ebooks!

Has anyone done any comparison shopping on ebooks lately. I perused Fictionwise's New Ebooks list and most of those books are just a little less than hardcover. I checked a few other sites and Amazon was continually the cheapest.
For Example: L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s Natural Ordermage (Recluse Series #14)
Fictionwise -- $27.95 $23.76 (Club Price)
MicroPay Rebate $19.56 $16.63 (Club Price)

Amazon -- $16.61

Booksonboard --$22.36

Mobipocket -- $27.95

Sony Connect -- $19.56

B&N (pbook) -- $20.12 (Hardcover Member Price)
$7.19 (Paperback Member Price)

If I have to pay nearly the hardcover price for an ebook, then what's the point. Especially when the novel is already out in paperback. The paperback is $20 cheaper than the Mobipocket bookstore!
The same thing goes for Dune Messiah -- $24.95! When I can get the paperback for $8! At least Fictionwise is offering a 100% Micropay rebate.

What do you guys think? Are the prices getting out of hand for ebooks?

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Old 02-20-2008, 01:20 PM   #2
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The eBook price generally falls when the book is released as a pback, but sometimes the publisher forgets to do it. If you contact the store and point out the discrepency, they're generally very good about putting it right.
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookwormfjl View Post
The same thing goes for Dune Messiah -- $24.95! When I can get the paperback for $8! At least Fictionwise is offering a 100% Micropay rebate.

What do you guys think? Are the prices getting out of hand for ebooks?
Natural Ordermage is a Tor book. With what they've done ebook wise so far it's surprising it's available as an ebook at all. Thankfully it appears that Tor is getting ready to be more serious about ebooks.

In the case of Dune Messiah the ebook was just released at the same time as a new hardcover release. Penguin is therefore basing the list price on the price of said hardcover. It sucks, but they've done the same with other books. Penguin (Ace, Berkley, DAW, etc.) are the worst for pricing problems & also for inconsistency in what they even release (& in what formats). MacMillan/Holtzbrinck (Tor, St. Martins) are the only publisher I can think of that is worse on ebooks than Penguin. For some of them I'm not sure if they aren't aware or if they simply don't care.

For all the poorly priced stuff put out there is also a lot that's put out at more reasonable prices thankfully.

It would be nice if there was an easy avenue of contact to query the ebook departments of the publishers, but unfortunately most publishers are hard to contact (at least hard to contact the right person).



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The eBook price generally falls when the book is released as a pback, but sometimes the publisher forgets to do it. If you contact the store and point out the discrepency, they're generally very good about putting it right.
Lately I either get told that the publisher sets the price & they can do nothing about it or they simply ignore the emails all together.
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Old 02-20-2008, 05:19 PM   #4
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Never order from Mobipocket directly,. They seem to always charge list price.
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:28 AM   #5
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Never order from Mobipocket directly,. They seem to always charge list price.
That's because they are wholesalers as well as retailers, so they don't want to undercut their retailers.
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Old 02-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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I'm an indie author, and I will *never* price any ebook of mine at the same price (or more! egad!) than you'd pay for the paper pulp version. My two Kindle-edition novels are $4.99 and $5.99 respectively, with matching trade paperback editions (due out in a week - 10 days) priced at $14 each, the typical price for books in the same size and format.

For as long as I've been buying and reading ebooks, I've felt very strongly that part of their appeal is in reduced production costs and reduced waste in both raw materials and aged/damaged books. The reduced cost should absolutely be passed on to buyers. The only reason I can think of why major publishers don't sell ebooks at a dramatically reduced price compared to the paper ones is that their price structure has to cover a lot of overhead, regardless of whether a given book is sold in electronic form or paper.


(I won't spam you, but anyone who wants to look at my stuff can search for me by author name on Amazon, or check out my blog - it's the 'Visit My Homepage' link when you click on my username)
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Old 02-29-2008, 09:03 PM   #7
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April, do you have versions of your books available in LRF for the Sony Reader? There are a lot of us and we cannot read Kindle format eBooks.
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Old 02-29-2008, 11:45 PM   #8
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Wolf -

I'm right there with you; *I* can't even read the Kindle editions of my novels, since I don't own a Kindle.

I'm in the process of adding sales links for .pdf versions to my blog page. Can the Sony read .pdf? How about .rtf? My novels aren't heavily formatted, so even .txt would probably do, but I tend to use 1.5 line spacing for easier readability (an even more critical issue on ereaders than on paper, I feel) and I think that would be lost in a .txt file. If you name the format I can probably find a file converter to make it somewhere out there in the ether...
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:45 AM   #9
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I'm right there with you; *I* can't even read the Kindle editions of my novels, since I don't own a Kindle.

I'm in the process of adding sales links for .pdf versions to my blog page. Can the Sony read .pdf? How about .rtf? My novels aren't heavily formatted, so even .txt would probably do, but I tend to use 1.5 line spacing for easier readability (an even more critical issue on ereaders than on paper, I feel) and I think that would be lost in a .txt file. If you name the format I can probably find a file converter to make it somewhere out there in the ether...
PDF doesn't read all that well on a 6" screen if the PDF is made for letter sized paper. You'd have to make the PDF the size of the 6" screen.

RTF can be read on the Sony Reader 500/505 but unless the font is about 16pt it won't be all that easy to read plus you lose the ability to have the cover image and a ToC. so that's not all that wonderful.

1.5 line spacing also is not needed on the eink screens. That sort of formatting started by eReader was because of small PDA/cell phones screens back when they created the format and reading software. The best thing is to use the native format of each device and not have any excess line spacing other then as needed for section breaks. By using the native formats, you can have proper graphics and a ToC.

For LRF, you can download eBook Library from Sony and use it to view the LRF on screen. The emulation is quite good. And you could use Book Designer or one of the converters in Libprs500.

To make the conversion easiest overall, you might want to create an HTML version and then you can use html2lrf to convert to LRF and Mobipocket Publisher to convert to Mobipocket for the Gen3 and iLiad users.

If you need any help in converting, I can give you a hand.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:01 PM   #10
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Jon -

Thanks for the offer, I may take you up on it. Right now, I'm working on how to get the necessary code added to my webpage. I have considerable experience as a web applications developer, but haven't done any development of shopping cart-type stuff.

I've used PayPal tools on another site of mine for mail-order stuff, but I'm struggling when it comes to instant-fulfillment download purchases. PayPal tools can be used for this if you put a download link on the order confirmation page, but then there's nothing stopping an unscrupulous buyer from copying down the link to that page and sending it to all his friends or posting it online in one of those awful 'ebooks should all be free' sites.

I tried buying some page widget code that was supposed to generate a unique, one-time only URL for the confirmation page of each paid order, but I could never get it to work right. That was a couple of years back, tho...maybe there's a more elegant solution I'm unware of, because I know lots of people have this functionality on their pages. I just don't know how the heck they do it!
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:40 AM   #11
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What you could do maybe is to email the eBook to the buyer upon receipt of payment.
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Old 03-02-2008, 11:52 AM   #12
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Jon -

Yeah, that's how things work on another website I have for mail-order stuff. I get an email notification of payment receipt from PayPal and then I send out the order.

I haven't given up on an instant-fulfillment system, but maybe email-response will have to do in the meantime. If I'm gonna go that route, I should probably get a wireless card for my Pocket PC so I can keep on top of email even when I'm away from my computer for a few days.

BTW Jon - what is that little book-reading guy in your sig line eating? Pizza? A bagel with cream cheese, watercress and lox? Caprese salad on melba toast? Inquiring minds want to know!
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:21 PM   #13
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Could you set up an automated email that also mails out the attachment for when you aren't at the computer?

Another idea I've come up with is a username/password setup so when someone buys a book, you then have the person put in a UN/PW to be able to get in and that UN/PW would give access to whatever books are purchased.

I've always thought he was eating pizza.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by April Hamilton View Post
PayPal tools can be used for this if you put a download link on the order confirmation page, but then there's nothing stopping an unscrupulous buyer from copying down the link to that page and sending it to all his friends or posting it online in one of those awful 'ebooks should all be free' sites.
Hmm, googling for "unique download url" gave me this:
http://www.earlyimpact.com/productca...l-products.asp
I know nothing more about it than you see here, but there are products out there.

This article might be useful:
http://www.wilsonweb.com/ecommerce/w...ital-sales.htm

rant

As far as file sharing goes, don't worry about it. Focus on making it easy for us to give you money. You can't stop sharing, even if you only sell physical books printed in purple ink on green paper with red hashing to make them hard to scan. Giving someone a digital file just makes it easier to share. What I think you need to aim for is making it easy for people that are willing to pay. So you need to balance any obstacle you put up against the benefit you get from it. That means (ie) if you only accept Paypal, people who don't have PayPal accounts will be much more likely to steal the book (you've just said you don't want their money).

To use the music example, since I buy a lot of music, I only buy physical CDs when I have to, and I always try to buy the "right to rip" as well. Artists who won't sell that right have to accept that I'm going to rip the CD anyway, then dump the plastic rubbish they forced on me as soon as I can. So artists that sell what I want get to pay 1 cent or so for the download that I actually want in return for the full retail CD price, those who will let me rip the CD get paid extra, the rest get a CD sale and their CD is resold second hand within a week. Some artists are surprisingly stupid about this - Ani Difranco will not accept money for the rip, and gets quite upset at the idea that some of her fans do not treasure cheap plastic trash with her name on it. Penelope Swales is the opposite - she sold me a data DVD with her whole discography on it because she's not set up to sell that much download from her website (to me, that's 12 albums for $120 which I think is a bargain).

Compare this to physical books - I buy them, read them once or twice, then give them away. With an ebook, I'm not going to give them away, so they have less value to me in that sense - they're hard to share. What I do want is to be able to tell people your URL and know that they can get a free book or two direct from you. At that point you stand to make more money - instead of my friends reading the physical book without paying you anything, they might buy your ebook instead. That alone says to me that you probably want to price the ebook lower than the pbook, possibly even at something silly like "twice the return I normally get". To us book buyers that's a silly price - we're paying $2 for a book instead of $10. Or, as likely, we're paying $10 for 5 books instead of 1.

Last edited by moz; 03-02-2008 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:16 PM   #15
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Natural Ordermage

It's not actually available in paperback now. The paperback won't be available until April 29th. Barnes and Noble is allowing you to preorder it. I have found that when the paperback edition actually comes out, the price comes down on Amazon. You might not even have to wait that long for the Kindle price to come down.

Last edited by dkb; 03-02-2008 at 05:18 PM. Reason: deleted a word.
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