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Old 06-02-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
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Another rant about Sony ebook pricing

Hi gang. I've been out of touch with MobileRead for a while, but wouldn't ya know it I'm back with a rant.

I got an email this morning from the Sony eBook Store letting me know there was a new title available from an author I'm interested in. I really like that they do that and was excited about the news until I clicked the link and saw their pricing. Sigh.

Here's the Sony ebook for $18.86:
http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/ala...00000000162933

We all know that Kindle ebooks are generally less expensive than Sony ebooks and sure enough that's the case here for $11.16:
http://www.amazon.com/House-of-Suns/...CW/ref=ed_oe_k

What gets me is that the actual hardcover from Amazon is less expensive than the ebook from Sony!?!

Amazon hardcover copy for $17.79:
http://www.amazon.com/House-Suns-Ala...3955792&sr=1-1

Maybe it's just that I haven't bothered to look at Sony's ebook pricing in a while, but this really got me worked up this morning. I realize most people here are well aware of the pricing discrepancies between Amazon and Sony. I just wanted to vent to people who would understand what the heck I was talking about. Sorry if I've opened old wounds for any of you.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
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You know, a lot of the times I think it's the publishers, not Sony. I've seen times when the publisher has given false data on a book.

I kind of look at the hardcover situation as, if it's under $12, I'm suprised and will buy it. If it's higher, I pout a little, and check it out from the library or wait.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:10 PM   #3
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Yeah, not really Sony's fault, but the publishers. If you look elsewhere (FictionWise, BooksOnBoard), the other formats (.LIT, ADE .PDF, etc) probably cost around the same. Amazon is subsidizing the cost of the books, iirc. Probably to drive the sales of the Kindle up.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:25 PM   #4
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I just wait until the price goes down.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:38 PM   #5
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Amazon does subsidize the cost of the books - at this time, Amazon is taking a loss on NYT bestsellers and other 'hardcover' ebooks.

But since Kindle customers are pretty much locked in to the Amazon store, the lower ebook prices for the Kindle are a major selling point. (Until sometime down the road when Amazon has enough customers locked in and raises the prices. Mwahaha)

The Sony offers more freedom of choice. Since Sony doesn't lock you in to any one retailer for DRMed books, that's your trade off.

I'd rather pay a bit more for the freedom of choice myself. YMMV.
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Old 06-02-2009, 01:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies and you're right - looking at fictionwise and other such sites shows the same pricing as the Sony store, down to the penny actually. That makes me feel better about Sony and much more frustrated with the publishers in general.

It'll be interesting to see if the recent announcement that Google is going to create an ebook distribution service will have any impact on how publishers approach to ebook pricing. The more widespread and "mainstream" digital distribution becomes the more likely we are to see better pricing I would think.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:27 PM   #7
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But this suggests that Sony didn't think this through as well as Amazon. If they had, they would have worked out some deal with publishers to get many more ebooks sold for a lower price. Sony is big enough to have gotten such a deal if they were willing to subsidize it, especially since DRM LRF books are locked to the Sony readers anyway. If ebook success has to be predicated on people paying more for an ebook than a hardcover from Amazon, well then....

So far Sony seems to be handling the software end of the deal as well as they handled SACD.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
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So far Sony seems to be handling the software end of the deal as well as they handled SACD.
Tell me about it. I still have a minidisc player *cough*.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khalleron View Post

The Sony offers more freedom of choice. Since Sony doesn't lock you in to any one retailer for DRMed books, that's your trade off.
I can probably purchase books at all the same retailers you are using. I may have to format shift but my choices are wider than you believe.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:00 PM   #10
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Yeah, but it's important not to think about it as some virtue of Sony's. Sony would absolutely lock you into everything they could, IF they could.

It's just that as a company they have such a hard time getting their crap together when it isn't just a piece of hardware that they couldn't pull something like that off successfully.

Such wonderful hardware... such bad everything else.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:32 PM   #11
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Yeah, but it's important not to think about it as some virtue of Sony's. Sony would absolutely lock you into everything they could, IF they could.

It's just that as a company they have such a hard time getting their crap together when it isn't just a piece of hardware that they couldn't pull something like that off successfully.

Such wonderful hardware... such bad everything else.
I certainly don't think Sony is virtuous (remember the rootkit debacle?), but they support more formats (ePub!) than Amazon, and their business model, as far as ereaders go, is certainly more open-market than Amazon.

I buy lots of stuff at Amazon, I'm not a basher, but I won't buy a Kindle until they change their business model.

I have format-shifted ebooks, but I don't like to, would rather not, would rather have more options than Amazon offers without flirting with breaking the law. Even if it is a bad law (which it is).
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:57 PM   #12
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I have format-shifted ebooks, but I don't like to, would rather not, would rather have more options than Amazon offers without flirting with breaking the law. Even if it is a bad law (which it is).
But that's the thing. I rarely have to format shift because nearly every book I want is at a price that is agreeable to me through Amazon. Less muss and fuss for my reading style (which may not be the same as yours).

I really would just like people to stop using the word "locked" because it's not completely true. The Sony Readers have more ease of use when it comes to other formats but Kindle owners are not "locked-out" of purchasing elsewhere (neither are most if not all of the ebook readers on the market). If Amazon had made the Kindle so that it *only* read .azw files then it would be seriously "locked". .azw is the Kindle's preferred file type but not the only type.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:31 PM   #13
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I have format-shifted ebooks, but I don't like to, would rather not, would rather have more options than Amazon offers without flirting with breaking the law. Even if it is a bad law (which it is).
YES! This is exactly why I chose the Sony over the Kindle. I don't know how to convert, shift, de-drm, etc and I do not want to learn. I want to buy a book, load it on, and be ready to read. I don't want to do all that extra stuff in between..

A few times I have been looking for books, and Sony has come out to be the cheapest. I like that they have MOST new hardcovers for $11.99. Do I care that it's $2 more than a Kindle book would be?? Uh, no. Just MY opinion. I've also had good luck with BooksOnBoard, especially now that they offer epub, and have gotten a couple from fictionwise. I, too, like having these OPTIONS.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:47 PM   #14
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YES! This is exactly why I chose the Sony over the Kindle. I don't know how to convert, shift, de-drm, etc and I do not want to learn. I want to buy a book, load it on, and be ready to read. I don't want to do all that extra stuff in between..
That's exactly how many Kindle owners feel and they don't *need* to know how to do any of that. Same goals but just different ways of getting there.
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:23 PM   #15
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That's exactly how many Kindle owners feel and they don't *need* to know how to do any of that. Same goals but just different ways of getting there.
Until 2-3 years down the road when there's some better device, that probably reads ePub, and they find they can't read their old books on it.

For people who only read new stuff, or aren't re-readers, that may not be a problem. For me, that's a BIG no-no.

FWIW, I don't buy from the Sony Store either, for the same reason. I don't want to be locked into a format when things are still in such flux. The ebook format wars have been going on a loooooong time with no clear winner. I still want long-term availability, which I'm more likely to have with the ePub format.
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