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Old 04-17-2006, 03:33 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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E-books from Sony Connect vs. Amazon

Edit: Find some more comparisons further down this thread.

Details are sketchy at this point, but "librie guy" from the Yahoo! Librie list managed to take a peak at the forthcoming Sony Connect Store (host currently unavailable), and it appears - well, we didn't expect anything else - that Sony's proprietary e-books will cost you extra.

Example: Alan Dean Foster's The Light Years Beneath My Feet
  • Retail hardcover: $23.95
  • Amazon hardcover: $16.16
  • Amazon Mobipocket e-book: $17.95
  • Amazon Adobe Reader e-book: $11.67
  • Amazon Microsoft e-book: $11.67
  • Sony Connect e-book: $16.16 (includes a 10% "CONNECT discount")

Bottom line, Sony Connect charges for the e-book the same price as Amazon charges for the hardcover paper book. Worse, you can get the same e-book in Adobe Reader or Microsoft format for almost 40 percent less if purchased through Amazon.
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:02 PM   #2
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Hmm, not sure of the meaning here. Do they mean to say ALL books will be hardcover priced or just those not yet out in paperback?

If paperback releases will be paperback priced, I don't see the problem....
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:09 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, I couldn't get any more details since the actual site is still not open to the public (it appeared that they were for a short timeframe due to a technical glitch perhaps).

It's true that for some people it's fine when the price of e-books equals the price of paperback (more specifically: hardcover) books. However, I like to argue that the majority of people interested in e-books is not willing to pay the same price for e-books. For one reason, there is a high price of entry when you consider the $300-500 price tag of E Ink-based e-book readers. For another, commercial e-books are usually crippled with DRM which diminishes the actual value of the product (you cannot resell it or lend it as you could do with paperback books).
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Old 04-17-2006, 05:43 PM   #4
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Since the vast majority of the costs of a physical book are avoided by an eBook, there is no excuse whatsoever for the price of an eBook to be even close to the price of the physical book.

If the physical price is $16, the eBook should be no more than $8 (IMHO).

Now, when I buy a book, some of the value of that book is that I can resell that book to someone else when I'm done (or give it to a friend, donate it to the used book sale at the library, etc.) If the book has DRM, that value is eliminated. Plus my rights of fair use are violated and should I change reader, I would probably no longer be able to read the eBook anymore.

So the value of that DRMed eBook falls to less than $1.
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Old 04-17-2006, 05:44 PM   #5
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I completely agree with you, rlauzon. I don't want to pay the hardback/paperback price when the cost to the publisher is minimal.

I checked at Fictionwise and they sell this book for $17.95 with a 20% Micropay rebate, for an actual cost of $14.36. If you belong to their club, which I do, the cost is $15.26, with a 20% rebate taking the actual cost to $12.21. The book is the same price in Secure Mobipocket/Microsoft Reader/eReader format.

Last edited by paulkbiba; 04-17-2006 at 05:46 PM. Reason: mistaken name
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Old 04-17-2006, 05:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulkbiba
I completely agree with you, rlauzon. I don't want to pay the hardback/paperback price when the cost to the publisher is minimal.

I checked at Fictionwise and they sell this book for $17.95 with a 20% Micropay rebate, for an actual cost of $14.36. If you belong to their club, which I do, the cost is $15.26, with a 20% rebate taking the actual cost to $12.21. The book is the same price in Secure Mobipocket/Microsoft Reader/eReader format.
Thanks for the hint, Paul. Fictionwise occasionally has some good offers, especially when you are a "club member".
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:59 AM   #7
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The store is accessible right now. Don't expect to see a lot since it's still a big construction site. Lots of 404 missing page errors and empty pages, search not functional, sparely populated with books. Screenshots attached.

Here're some more comparisons. Judge for yourself:

Scott Wolven, Controlled Burn
List price hardcover: $22.00
Amazon price hardcover: $14.30
Amazon Microsoft Reader e-book: $9.74
Amazon Adobe Reader e-book: $9.74
Sony e-book: $13.49 (includes 10% discount)

Ken Blanchard, Customer Mania!
List price hardcover: $19.95
Amazon price hardcover: $12.97
Amazon Microsoft Reader e-book: $9.74
Amazon Adobe Reader e-book: $9.74
Sony e-book: $13.49 (includes 10% discount)

Colm A. Kelleher, Brain Trust
List price hardcover: $22.00
Amazon price hardcover: $14.30
Amazon Microsoft Reader e-book: $9.74
Sony e-book: $13.49 (includes 10% discount)

An Accidental Greek Wedding
List price paperback: $6.99
Amazon price paperpack: $6.99
Amazon Microsoft Reader e-book: $5.99
Sony e-book: $3.59 (includes 40% discount)
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
I don't want to pay the hardback/paperback price when the cost to the publisher is minimal.
That would be nice and would be fair but it sure as heck is not realistic. This, like all pricing, is a matter of competition. Right now the only real mass competition for ebooks is mass print books so that is where ebooks will be priced until more competition appears. It is an economic no-brainer.
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:15 PM   #9
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This would actually also have dependency on whether the publisher actually wanted the system to work,... in which case the price will lower until a balance between cost and consumer appreciation of product is reached. Ie: When they don't sell at the high cost, and considering Amazon already has feet in the e-book market, I would expect these prices to fall ... to some degree.
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Old 04-18-2006, 03:01 PM   #10
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CCDMan, I'd agree with you if there weren't already competitors (e.g. Amazon) who offer e-books for considerably less than Sony.
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCDMan
That would be nice and would be fair but it sure as heck is not realistic. This, like all pricing, is a matter of competition. Right now the only real mass competition for ebooks is mass print books so that is where ebooks will be priced until more competition appears. It is an economic no-brainer.
Like Project Gutenberg - Free.
Like Blackmask Online - Free.

Yes, there is plenty of competition out there for low cost eBooks.

I think that derekweb hit it on the head:
Quote:
Originally Posted by derekweb
This would actually also have dependency on whether the publisher actually wanted the system to work
In the eBook world publishers are obsolete.
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander
Edit: Find some more comparisons further down this thread.

Details are sketchy at this point, but "librie guy" from the Yahoo! Librie list managed to take a peak at the forthcoming Sony Connect Store (host currently unavailable), and it appears - well, we didn't expect anything else - that Sony's proprietary e-books will cost you extra.

Example: Alan Dean Foster's The Light Years Beneath My Feet
  • Retail hardcover: $23.95
  • Amazon hardcover: $16.16
  • Amazon Mobipocket e-book: $17.95
  • Amazon Adobe Reader e-book: $11.67
  • Amazon Microsoft e-book: $11.67
  • Sony Connect e-book: $16.16 (includes a 10% "CONNECT discount")
Actually, it was I (Gameboy70) who posted this on the Yahoo Group, not Librie Guy. I pointed out on a follow-up post that Connect prices seem to be in flux. Crime and Punishment was listed for $5.95 last week when the site when live for a split second and was cached by an astute YG member. This week, the same title listed for $3.00. Sony and their respective content providers may be trying to gauge public reaction to different price points. Fluctuating the prices from the outset also allows them to reach an acceptable price without losing face.

Bear in mind, however, that the lower limit of what Sony can charge is really in the hands of publishers, not Sony. Typical publisher discounts to booksellers are 30-45% -- most often 40%. Megastores like B&N may be able to get over 50% in some cases by purchasing in volume. A small independent bookstore can only stock a few copies of an average title at one time. A chain can buy dozens in a single order, then ship a few to each of their individual stores. While here, we don't have the same issues with physical inventory, and Sony's probably getting a "click-through" commission, I doubt it's more than 50%. If Random House sells a hardcover-only book for $30, they're unlikely to settle for a $10 click-through on a $23 eBook sale price. Notice that Crime and Punishment is public domain, so Sony has the lattitude to experimentally cut the price in half. They wouldn't be able to do that with Alan Dean Foster's book. So yes, the margins on Connect are artifically high, unreasonably so, but not inexplicably.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:10 AM   #13
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In the eBook world publishers are obsolete.
Not by a long shot. Blogs and self-published authors immediately show why: lack of good editors.

Publishers also promote, at least in theory.

The publisher is not necessarily going to be disintermediated automatically, though their role is certainly going to change.
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:35 PM   #14
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Subscription based books

You know what I want with my ebook is a subscription based plan ala Netflix or Real Rhapsody. I want to pay $20 a month and have access to whatever books I want to read.
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Old 04-19-2006, 04:31 PM   #15
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no way unregistered...I pay only for what I use!

It's bad enough that you have to pay for phone and cell, internet and stuff...

Sometimes I buy many books, sometimes none at all, sometimes I buy them here, sometimes there..I don't want a subsription because I like to be free to select my source, my content and my time and place.
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