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Old 02-22-2009, 05:26 PM   #1
Bear100
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Great Forum! I was turned on to this by a buddy who showed me his Kindle. I liked the idea and the quality of the print (e-Ink?) so much plus the idea of taking a bunch of books with me without packing that I had to get one.

There appears to be many good devices out there. I guess I like the Sony 505 so far, but I want to get my hands on a few first. I am tech savvy, and have converted my music all to MP3 and have my DVD, and TV show collection all on my PC so the concept of books electronic fits my style!!

Now the question. Why do the books themselves (not the reader, which I don't mind paying the $300 or so for) cost so much? And why are there limited book selection?

I don't mind paying for these to keep the writers in business. I pay for my MP3 and video content. Is there are service with a large content space that works like Netflix, which allows me to have 3 movies at a time for $21 per month? or the various on line music stores at $0.99 per song?

E-Books, since they don't have the cost of physical printing and distribution should be inheriently cheaper, yet I find little discount on the newest releases.

Am I missing something?
Thanks and Thanks for leading the way in this site.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:31 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear100 View Post
Now the question. Why do the books themselves (not the reader, which I don't mind paying the $300 or so for) cost so much? And why are there limited book selection?
This is the topic of numerous thread here.

BOb
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear100 View Post

I don't mind paying for these to keep the writers in business. I pay for my MP3 and video content. Is there are service with a large content space that works like Netflix, which allows me to have 3 movies at a time for $21 per month? or the various on line music stores at $0.99 per song?
I wonder if something like this could be turned into a
workable model for ebooks? like some type of membership
site where you could download so much per month...

hmmm...

Very interesting, I like the idea.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:43 PM   #4
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Hello Bear and welcome to MobileRead.

You're asking some of the same questions that plague those of us who've been reading electronic books for a while. Regarding the price of electronic books -- the general consensus is that publishers are somewhat panicked since they are terrified that an electronic book would be widely distributed through pirate sites (aka the ancient Napster issues). So, it appears that they price the eBooks high either to make sure that they get a decent profit from the ones that they *do* sell or maybe a subconscious (or maybe deliberate) attempt to kill electronic books alltogether. There are a few publishers who appear to "get it". Leading the pack is Baen. They've got 117 books available for free and bring out 10-12 new (for sale) titles every month. The highest price I've seen for a single book is around $6, and when you purchase one of their bundles, the per-book price drops down to $2 or $3.

There are several people who are active on MobileRead who can talk about using the Public Library in conjunction with their electronic book reader. I've not tried that, but it's because my "to be read" stack is so very tall.

I own both a Kindle and a Sony PRS-505. I know that I could be content with either one -- both offer an excellent reading experience and when coupled with supporting software on your PC, you can get an amazing amount of books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs to read. I do have to admit a preference for my Kindle for two reasons:

1 - First is the availability of books through the Amazon store. Most of the time, the price is lower at Amazon than from other online sellers. I suspect that's a factor of Amazon's size. They can absorb a certain amount of "loss leaders" without affecting their bottom line. And, the ability to receive these books via the WhisperNet cellular connection just makes the Amazon store even better.

2 - Second is the ability to highlight text and add notes using the keyboard. Due to the implementation & the e-Ink screen refresh rate, it's not easy to take extensive notes -- or at least not very quickly. But the Kindle stores your highlights and notes in a text file which you can download to your PC. I use the highlighting feature to easily capture quotes for book reviews. Sure beats having to type it in.


So -- whichever device you pick, I'm confident that it's going to positively affect your reading experience. And while none of us are very happy about the prices for new releases, just look at the thousands of classics (and maybe not so classic) that you can download for free! Check out the library right here at MobileRead.
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbFabGab View Post
I wonder if something like this could be turned into a
workable model for ebooks? like some type of membership
site where you could download so much per month...

hmmm...

Very interesting, I like the idea.
There is a free version of this... it's called "The Library".
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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There is a free version of this... it's called "The Library".
THere is a sub-scription version of this called the NY public library. $100 per year, all you can eat basically. If you live in NY the fee is waived.

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Old 02-22-2009, 05:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear100 View Post
I don't mind paying for these to keep the writers in business. I pay for my MP3 and video content. Is there are service with a large content space that works like Netflix, which allows me to have 3 movies at a time for $21 per month? or the various on line music stores at $0.99 per song?
Ask and ye shall receive!

http://www.bookswim.com/
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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Ask and ye shall receive!

http://www.bookswim.com/
But that's for p-books.

Quote:
BookSwim is the first online book rental library service lending you paperbacks, hardcovers and now college textbooks Netflix®...
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Old 02-22-2009, 05:57 PM   #9
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So it is.. Disregard that, sorry :-/
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Old 02-22-2009, 06:32 PM   #10
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Thanks for the quick response! It shows the forum is active and engaged.

My bad, I will check other forum posts on the price, did not want to get too off topic. Sounds like the industry needs a new business model to get content from writers to the audience as efficiently as possible.

The current publisher model is in the way, limiting access by writers to the audience, adding costs and in-efficiency to the process. Having created a successful e-Business model I know this only too well. It will take a new player to change the game. The game is content not publishing.

It seems to me this is an opportunity for a rennisance not unlike the original Gutenburg printing press which allowed ideas to be mass reproduced. We now have the opportunity to have ideas mass shared. Not only that but very targeted. I and everyone else has a typical set of interests. The difficulty for me is in finding those with a talent to write about my interests. I am willling to recognize (pay them for their efforts) if I get the targeted materials that I want.

The current system of publishing seems to cater to the 'lowest demonitor' of the best seller, which pushes circulation of one book to the top. Once there the wirter can demand a premium. We have seen this in music and other areas. But the real key to prosperity is targeting to your audience, and the current mass media approach can never have this targeting - and thus bear the cost of the approach. If we could apply the lack of cost to a more targeted approach we can turn the model on it's head.

Having seen this in too many businesses, it will happen in 'books'. Sorry for the long dialogue, the three glass of a good Cabernet got me going. I will still get my reader and e-Books it is simply the way to go.
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Old 02-23-2009, 12:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbFabGab View Post
I wonder if something like this could be turned into a
workable model for ebooks? like some type of membership
site where you could download so much per month...

hmmm...

Very interesting, I like the idea.
O'Reilly's "Safari Bookshelf" (no relation to the Apple web browser) functions roughly like this. You have a limited number of bookshelf "slots" and you can swap out books so that you can only have so many checked out at a time. It also regulates the frequency of your swapping. I forget the time frames. We used to have a department account at work. It fell into disuse because people kept buying paper versions anyway. Sadly, I was just looking at the Bookshelf earlier today and while you can buy books a la carte in a wide number of ebook formats, the Safari Bookshelf is a little more DRM-dependent, so they only do PDF.

To answer the question about why more books aren't available, my only guess would be Intellectual Property issues. Publishers are very concerned that books are distributed in such a way that reliably improves their bottom lines and doesn't put their works at risk of piracy.

While it might seem easy to make an online store (seems like any high schooler can whip up an AJAX shopping cart in a single evening these days, no?), making one that's very secure, reliable, and can scale with high load and a massive amount of content is exponentially more difficult. Many publishers just aren't equipped to produce a service like that, and they probably have a hard time trusting someone else to do it for them. It was like this in the music industry until Apple rolled along. iTunes' Music Store succeeded partly because Apple made a great platform for music sales (being a top-notch tech company, they had the cahones and means to do this), and partly because they were just great salespeople, and were able to address the music industry's concerns and make them feel comfortable enough to hop onboard.
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