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Old 01-31-2009, 06:32 AM   #1
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Why is the price of eBooks still so high ?

I have worked in publishing in the "bad old days" before eBooks and I know that the most expensive part was paying for the printing and storing of the books.
Nowadays authors submit their books in digital format and after editing it, one would think that selling it in eBook format would cost less than the paper version.
However, I have compared the price of the same book in eBook format on eBook vendor sites and in paper on Amazon. Often the paper version was actually cheaper. Why?
I came across this site that seems to shed some light on the state of affairs in the distribution of eBooks.
http://livrenumerique.blogspot.com/2...tribution.html
Things can't stay like this forever. Especially in this period of economic downturn and diminishing natural resources.
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Old 01-31-2009, 02:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyglot27 View Post
I have worked in publishing in the "bad old days" before eBooks and I know that the most expensive part was paying for the printing and storing of the books.
Nowadays authors submit their books in digital format and after editing it, one would think that selling it in eBook format would cost less than the paper version.
However, I have compared the price of the same book in eBook format on eBook vendor sites and in paper on Amazon. Often the paper version was actually cheaper. Why?
I came across this site that seems to shed some light on the state of affairs in the distribution of eBooks.
http://livrenumerique.blogspot.com/2...tribution.html
Things can't stay like this forever. Especially in this period of economic downturn and diminishing natural resources.

Sure they can. Have you not heard of 'head in sand' syndrome???

And when you think about it, this strategy makes perfect sense in today's economy. If their market collapses because of lagging sales, they can qualify for BILLIONS in government aid, more than enough to keep the executives in perks and luxury whilst they lay off the staff.

Derek
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Old 02-01-2009, 01:27 PM   #3
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Makes no sense for ebooks to be more expensive then paper books. Just an example of price gouging from a newer industry.
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:28 PM   #4
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If you search those forums you will see that we have discussed this topic many, many times.

Many people have interesting theories regarding such high prices:
- because they *can* charge that much
- because they want to find out how much the market (read: us -- suckers buying despite ridiculously high prices) can bear
- because the publishers want to sabotage the entire e-book industry so they can continue with their old and well established business. Preferably using quills, ink, handmade paper and that newfangled thing "movable type"
- because they fear piracy and want paying users to compensate for "loses" caused by "pirates" (the interesting thing is, the pirates do not need e-books, they most often simply scan paper books (in my humble and not well informed opinion))
- because they have no clue about e-books
- because most of the senior management (in publishing industry) are technophobes
- because the licences for DRM technology used are expensive
- because they fail to see parallels with the music industry

Last edited by kacir; 02-01-2009 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacir View Post
If you search those forums you will see that we have discussed this topic many, many times.

Many people have interesting theories regarding such high prices:
- because they *can* charge that much
- because they want to find out how much the market (read: us -- suckers buying despite ridiculously high prices) can bear
- because the publishers want to sabotage the entire e-book industry so they can continue with their old and well established business. Preferably using quills, ink, handmade paper and that newfangled thing "movable type"
- because they fear piracy and want paying users to compensate for "loses" caused by "pirates" (the interesting thing is, the pirates do not need e-books, they most often simply scan paper books (in my humble and not well informed opinion))
- because they have no clue about e-books
- because most of the senior management (in publishing industry) are technophobes
- because the licences for DRM technology used are expensive
- because they fail to see parallels with the music industry
You would prefer a stagnate forums where new people would not be encouraged to address topics of interest? Or perhaps you are cautioning the old hands that they already had their turn?

Help me out here, what difference does it make if a topic has been previously discussed?
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:17 PM   #6
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Going over the same old ground in new threads is boring. Least one can do is dig up old threads and continue them. It's called netiquette.

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Old 02-01-2009, 04:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fake51 View Post
Going over the same old ground in new threads is boring. Least one can do is dig up old threads and continue them. It's called netiquette.

Regards
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More often I encounter that being referred to as thread necromancy, and it is generally considered bad form - especially if the thread was already over ten pages long.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:33 PM   #8
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in this forum there are a few topics that seem to come back over and over ; the ridiculous prices of ebooks is one of them. some people are bored with the topic because they have participated in previous threads about it. but i see no reason why newer members shouldn't discuss it, if they find it interesting ; it's quite pertinent here certainly, and i think at the least we can all agree that ebooks tend to be more expensive than they should be. as to why... well, there are many views on that question.

please feel free to discuss the topic and provide your own ideas. of course, you are also welcome to look at previous threads on the subject in case you find some interesting references there. if no-one dared to launch a topic in case it had been previously mentioned i think this forum would quickly become very quiet and boring. so, go ahead, discuss amongst yourselves ; maybe even some "old-timers" who have already participated in previous threads will join in, if the discussion is lively. carry on !
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:46 PM   #9
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out of curiosity, if the subject bores you then why did you click on this thread? the title is accurate, so you had fair warning...

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Going over the same old ground is boring.
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Old 02-01-2009, 05:28 PM   #10
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Subject doesn't bore me, the reaction from Phogg was just interesting: Kacir didn't state that the OP shouldn't have posted, Kacir merely summed up a lot of posts. Yet, instantly from Phogg a kneejerk reaction. I just pointed out why it's generally frowned upon to post new threads on topics that have been turned over and over.

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Old 02-01-2009, 06:35 PM   #11
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The reason is actually quite simple. Book readers have a finite amount of time to read and they have a limited amount of money to spend on books each month.

Let's say for example that $50 is the most you will spend on books every month because this is what you can afford. Let's also say that the quickest you can read books, given your busy schedule, is 10 per month. At $10 per book on average, you'll only be able to read 5 books a month because you just don't have the money to buy more. Then at $3 a book you could only hope to read 10 books anyways so this translates to $30 per month for the retailer. However, you might decide to spend your budget on books anyways since books are cheap and you'll read them next month. Either way, the maximum you'll spend is $50.

Giant retailers like Amazon have amazing databases with exact figures on how many books their customers buy in a given time period. One way or another they'll get their $50/month from you but given a choice, they would much rather maximize profits on that $50. Even with low costs, it's more profitable to sell 5 books for $50 than it is to sell 10 for the same price.

So in the end they have no good reason to lower their price on ebooks. Not yet anyways. Even if they did lower their price to say, $0.50 a book, you might splurge and buy 100 books but after that you probably wouldn't buy anything for quite some time.

Now the question: what would be a good reason for them to lower their prices?
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tectonic View Post
The reason is actually quite simple. Book readers have a finite amount of time to read and they have a limited amount of money to spend on books each month.

Let's say for example that $50 is the most you will spend on books every month because this is what you can afford. Let's also say that the quickest you can read books, given your busy schedule, is 10 per month. At $10 per book on average, you'll only be able to read 5 books a month because you just don't have the money to buy more. Then at $3 a book you could only hope to read 10 books anyways so this translates to $30 per month for the retailer. However, you might decide to spend your budget on books anyways since books are cheap and you'll read them next month. Either way, the maximum you'll spend is $50.

Giant retailers like Amazon have amazing databases with exact figures on how many books their customers buy in a given time period. One way or another they'll get their $50/month from you but given a choice, they would much rather maximize profits on that $50. Even with low costs, it's more profitable to sell 5 books for $50 than it is to sell 10 for the same price.

So in the end they have no good reason to lower their price on ebooks. Not yet anyways. Even if they did lower their price to say, $0.50 a book, you might splurge and buy 100 books but after that you probably wouldn't buy anything for quite some time.

Now the question: what would be a good reason for them to lower their prices?
Your post requires price fixing of some sort to make sense for sellers.
As soon as there is a source for quality books people enjoy in their genre outside that price range, then your point collapses in its totality.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:02 PM   #13
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Harlequin sells cheap books They seem to be one of the few ebook publishers who get it. They are releasing books that are only available as ebooks, doing a good job finding new authors, bundling books (great for those who buy them all anyway), and have ebooks available at many different price points. Not to mention the great promos they run.
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:50 PM   #14
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One way or another they'll get their $50/month from you but given a choice, they would much rather maximize profits on that $50. Even with low costs, it's more profitable to sell 5 books for $50 than it is to sell 10 for the same price.

Now the question: what would be a good reason for them to lower their prices?
1) Customer goodwill is worth something. Customers happy with what they're paying continue to do so; customers who think they're being overcharged will put that product on the top of the list to stop paying when they hit financial difficulties.

2) Recommendations: customers who feel they are paying "too much" may continue to buy, but not bother recommending the product to people who aren't already interested. Why turn your friends on to an expensive, annoying, technologically-complex hobby if they're not already involved? It's a lot easier to convince friends to "try ebooks" if they have an incentive--like, it costs less than paper.

3) Customers who feel they're being cheated*, not just "charged more than it's worth," are more likely to turn to "cheating" alternatives, like darknet downloads. More ethical customers just switch to cheaper alternatives--public domain, creative commons, and promo giveaways.

(Cheated: Bought a book that won't download, or won't transfer to new reading device. Spent $150 in time on $9 book. Book is riddled with OCR errors. Website error downloads wrong book. Being called "frauds" for using features available on the site. And so on. Customers are more likely to forgive errors if they didn't feel they were being charged a premium price; they assume that comes with good product & premium service.)

4) Competition. Right now, the number of large ebook publishers is small... but the number of small publishers, including non-DRM publishers, is growing, especially for various types of genre fiction. While textbook buyers may be a captive audience, sci-fi fans and romance fans are not, and there's no shortage of cheap, good fiction that isn't sold through BoB or Diesel.

5) First-time buyer purchases. People are more willing to take a chance on something new if they think the price is good.

6) One-time purchases. Not the the perfect desired customer of any business, but impulse, one-time buyers can be a substantial part of the sales demographic--and there'll be more of them if prices are low.
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:00 AM   #15
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You would prefer a stagnate forums where new people would not be encouraged to address topics of interest? Or perhaps you are cautioning the old hands that they already had their turn?
I was trying to make the original poster aware that there is material in archives that he/she might find interesting.
I would not have answered the question (with a long rant, no less!) if I thought that yet another thread about the high prices of e-books was a bad thing.
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