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Old 07-30-2008, 03:50 PM   #1
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E-books released after paper books - thoughts?

As of 5:20 p.m. Eastern Time July 29, Stephenie Meyer's publisher advised the eBook industry that the eBook release of Breaking Dawn, her much-anticipated latest novel in the Twilight series, will be delayed a day until August 3rd.

Our countdown for August 2nd will continue, and the Cybook and other prizes will be awarded. As a champion of eBook readers, we're not happy about this delay in release time, but we'll make the best of it for our customers.

The hard copy release will still go forward August 2nd. This lag in release time has to do with concerns about eBooks getting to eBook customers in certain time zones before the hard copy book is available.

We’re interested in hearing what MobileRead members have to say – what do you think about eBooks being released after paperbooks? How can we get publishers to acknowledge that eBook readers are a significant (and growing) segment of the reading public?
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:23 PM   #2
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It depends on how it is handled. I have thought for a long time that ebooks would work best as another step on the hardcover -> paperback ladder. So, a book would come out in hardcover for $18-30, then be released a year or so later in paperback for $7-15, and then another year or so later as an ebook for $3-7.

This would ease concerns about ebooks cannibalizing the pbook purchases, and builds in the discount model that many ebook consumers are expecting.

Otherwise, I am not one of those that must buy/read a book the moment it is released, or at least I have not been for a long time. I was when I was younger, and I would start a series before it was completed, then count the days until the next one arrived, but only with series books. Now, I have been so annoyed by various series where one book is not available as an ebook (or not in the right format), that I do not start a series unless I already know it is complete in a convenient format. In that view, specific release dates become insignificant.

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Old 07-30-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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Oh, I wouldn't want to wait as long as Jack B is willing to wait. But a one day delay wouldn't bother me. I'm not *that* fevered about any book, and probably wouldn't have time to read it for a few days anyway.

But a release within the same week as the paper version doesn't seem unreasonable to expect. We don't want to be second-class citizens.
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BooksOnBoard View Post
The hard copy release will still go forward August 2nd. This lag in release time has to do with concerns about eBooks getting to eBook customers in certain time zones before the hard copy book is available.
I find this to be very odd and a little bewildering.

If you want to ensure that no time zone gets the book first (no matter which format), push the big red "release" button to all time zones at the same time.

3pm Pacific
4pm Mountain
5pm Central
6pm Eastern

Yes, it will probably confuse some booksellers and the online vendors will need to make sure their servers use the correct time for their timezone. Am I just batty or would this really work?

Could there be a legal reason underlying the issue? In the publishing company's contracts, does it state a specific timezone and date?

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Old 07-30-2008, 06:15 PM   #5
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You could write back to the publisher and congratulate them on their summer job. Advise them how impressed you are that they are showing initiative but could they please have their mommy or daddy call you back when they get in the office.

Sorry, sometimes I'm just nasty but maybe they would get the subtle hint.

I think delaying the release date for e-books is just plain petty though. Are they concerned that they'll get a class action lawsuit from p-book buyers for pain and suffering because they saw someone reading the book on a Kindle while they were waiting in line at a bookstore? I'm sorry it's an advantage of the technology that you can get the content delivered to you quicker. They don't have to handicap to get an even playing field.

... although I do think we should put governors on all automobiles so they can't drive any faster then the horse drawn buggies.
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:20 PM   #6
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that' nothing to what happens with Peter F Hamilton ebooks, they get released with the US hardback, which tends to be about 3-4 months after the UK release, the last one I downloaded an unofficial version until the proper vesion came out.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:11 PM   #7
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What really gets me is pricing. Ok, we pay more for a hardcover because it costs more to make a hardcover book then it does to make a paperback. And then we get rediculous eBook pricing based on the hardcover when the container for the eBook will never change. It is as it is. Once it's made, the container never changes. if it's BBeB, Mobipocket, ePub, eReader, etc. So why charge us as thought it cost more to make? Then we move from hardcover to paperback and I find a lot of eBooks don't have the price change or if they do, it's still more costly for the eBook then the paperback.

This is what drives people away from eBooks. First off they have to pay for the device to read them with and then on top of that pay ridiculous prices for the actual eBook. I've recently emailed BooksOnBoard about an eBook that is now more costly then the paperback and was told it was the publisher that sets the price and nothing can be done. This is stupid. All it does is drive people to the Darknet to find these eBooks instead of paying such prices.

Speaking of Breaking Dawn, I see it's available at BooksOnBoard for $17.70 in Mobipocket format only. But I can get it from Borders for $14.48 (including tax). Why is this allowed to happen? Why do publishers thing we who want eBooks are stupid enough to fall for such business practices? We are not stupid. We are just early adopters who without, eBooks would most likely fail. They need us to purchase eBooks. But I won't if we get treated like dirt. The publisher treat us like dirt and think it's ok to charge more then the pBook editions. In fact, given the pBook model, the eBook should start off in price lower then $7.99 given that the eBook container is one that is not going to change. I think ebooks would take off like crazy if for the average book like Breaking Dawn we were charged $5. That's just a little more then 40% off of the paperback price of $7.99. Oh and then there's this other stupid format of taller and thinner so they can have more pages and bigger print just to be able to charge us more. It doesn't even feel natural in the hand to read. Anyway, they charge a lot for it and I bet the eBook price will also be based on this abomination.

Why are we treated like we don't matter? We do matter and publishers need to realize this.
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Old 07-30-2008, 10:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BooksOnBoard View Post
The hard copy release will still go forward August 2nd. This lag in release time has to do with concerns about eBooks getting to eBook customers in certain time zones before the hard copy book is available.

We’re interested in hearing what MobileRead members have to say – what do you think about eBooks being released after paperbooks? How can we get publishers to acknowledge that eBook readers are a significant (and growing) segment of the reading public?
The question is why the publisher made this call. I can think of two possible reasons: fear that the buyers would buy the ebook version instead of the hardcover, or fear the the customers might get a pirated version of the ebook, and buy no version at all.

I'd call the first fear absurd, and the second not much better. I don't see folks who are enthusiastic enough about the series to buy the hardcover release buying the ebook instead. The majority of the market still likes paper books, If anything, hard core fans might buy both versions. And while piracy is possible, I don't see it as significant. The majority of the book reading public won't be aware of pirated electronic editions, and likely won't have what is needed to read them if they are.

Meyer is published by the Young Readers division of Little, Brown, a Hachette imprint. Interested parties might query them and say "WTF?"
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:51 PM   #9
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A one-day delay in the release of an eBook is fine. I'd even be content with a delay of a couple of months. If a publisher wanted to release an eBook at the same time as the paperback, I could be content. What I want is consistency. I already expect the paperback to be issued roughly one year after the hardback.

So, for eBooks, I want the publishers to fill in the earlier volumes in a series, letting me then read from beginning to end. And, I want to know when to expect the next book in the series to be available.

There are very few books that I will buy in hardback -- and when I do, I donate the book to the local public library that has a very small budget. I then write off the purchase price of the book on my taxes. My perspective is that I just happened to be the first patron of the library who read its book -- even though the library didn't yet know it owned the book! I buy a LOT of used paperbacks and I swap paperback books. The publishing industry will certainly make more profits off of *me* by selling eBook editions.
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Old 07-30-2008, 11:52 PM   #10
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Hurmph. The first six chapters are available online already - because a bookstore released the book early. Trust me, the darknet will have the entire book on or before the official release, so what was the point?
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:25 AM   #11
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I would not quibble about a day or two, but why wait for the paperback release?

This is the Way It Should Be (tm)

* eBook should be released when the hardcover is, and at a lower price (but higher than the eventual paperback release)

* When the paperback is released, the ebook should be repriced lower than the paperback price.

This is the Way It Should Be (TM)

(TM) Donnageddon Enterprises 2008

Last edited by Donnageddon; 07-31-2008 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack B Nimble View Post
It depends on how it is handled. I have thought for a long time that ebooks would work best as another step on the hardcover -> paperback ladder. So, a book would come out in hardcover for $18-30, then be released a year or so later in paperback for $7-15, and then another year or so later as an ebook for $3-7.
.

Jack
I believe you are the only person in the entire site to hold this view. Most of us think that we shouldn't get the leftovers after buying a state of the art reader. I believe eBooks should be released with the hardcopy books if at all possible. If necessary they can be repriced when the paperback is released.

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Old 07-31-2008, 01:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jack B Nimble View Post
It depends on how it is handled. I have thought for a long time that ebooks would work best as another step on the hardcover -> paperback ladder. So, a book would come out in hardcover for $18-30, then be released a year or so later in paperback for $7-15, and then another year or so later as an ebook for $3-7.


Jack
Yeah, this is a horrifying idea in my opinion. Way to totally kill the ebook market for people who want to buy ebooks legally.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:59 AM   #14
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Actually Gorge Soros set the stage with his approach to releasing eBook vs pBooks. He release his eBook version "New Paradigm of the Financial Markets" months before the pBook was released.

But I would be just fine with either ebooks should be released on the Easter time or pacific time. While waiting one day would not kill me, I think it says a lot about what they think of eBook customers

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Old 07-31-2008, 02:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
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So, a book would come out in hardcover for $18-30, then be released a year or so later in paperback for $7-15, and then another year or so later as an ebook for $3-7.

This would ease concerns about ebooks cannibalizing the pbook purchases, and builds in the discount model that many ebook consumers are expecting.

Jack
I am wondering if Jack is using the Canadian dollar here? While the Canadian dollar is on par with the yankee dollar (and often more valuable) Canadian's still tend to get screwed on book prices.

Even still, I think Jack's prices do not include enough of the "discount model that many ebook consumers are expecting."

I think publishers need to do much better in discounting ebooks.
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