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Old 12-11-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
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USAToday on publishers' backlash

Quite an interesting article looking at publishers' reactions to the dominance of Amazon. The guy appears to have done his homework - unusual, I know - and spoken to many of the major players. It looks as if late publication of ebooks is going to be the next major skirmish.

Tension grows as publishers target Amazon Kindle pricing
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:43 AM   #2
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It is all about controlling the prices
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"We've objected to that ($10 per e-book) pricing for quite some time," says Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy. "We have begun to see some cannibalization of hardcover sales as a result of that pricing. We have no control over it. We believe we're at a point where there's going to be an explosion of e-book reading. And if we didn't try to do something about it now, it may get to be too late."
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rcuadro View Post
It is all about controlling the prices
Isn't it always?
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:58 AM   #4
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Definitely one of the more informed articles I've seen on the subject. Thanks for the link, I would otherwise never have read an article on USA Today about ebooks...
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Old 12-11-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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"We've objected to that ($10 per e-book) pricing for quite some time," says Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy. "We have begun to see some cannibalization of hardcover sales as a result of that pricing. We have no control over it. We believe we're at a point where there's going to be an explosion of e-book reading. And if we didn't try to do something about it now, it may get to be too late."
I think its refreshingly honest of her to admit that this decision is purely about the money and trying to screw over their customers, normally such sentiments are hidden away behind much more weasely phrasing.

I wonder how they will blame ebooks if hardcover sales continue to fall after they introduce this stupid idea.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:00 AM   #6
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Actually, I think it's all about controlling perceived value. Publishers need the marketplace to perceive the value of their works to be at a level that still brings in profits. I suspect they'd be far happier if Kindle prices were advertised as <strike>$20</strike> $9.99 (You save $10.01!).*

The problem is consumers developing a mindset in which they think that hot new titles are only worth $10. If you don't think they're worth that, then wait for the paperback.

*[Edit]Bah, having said that I just checked and see that this is exactly how Amazon is advertising Kindle books now. Not having a Kindle I rarely look at them, though don't remember seeing that before.

Last edited by charleski; 12-11-2009 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkchapman View Post
Isn't it always?
Yes, but at least they are actually coming out and saying it
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:36 AM   #8
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I don't know how they realized the following statistic, but *I* certainly didn't make much of a dent in decreased hardback sales. My physical bookcase is about 95% paperback and 5% hardback and I don't buy either anymore.
Quote:
What's more, "As e-books grow as a category, there will be cannibalization," Epps says. "The early adopter buying an e-reader device happens to be the same customer who would have bought a hardcover book."
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:44 AM   #9
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library

In the past I would simply check out a hardcover book from the library or be a really bad girl and go and read the hardback in the bookstore and then buy the paperbacks that I was planning on getting that day. Thus I hardly ever bought a hardback book unless it was on the $4.00 area because it had been out too long.


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Old 12-11-2009, 12:35 PM   #10
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there were plenty of hardback books I could not wait for. all of The Wheel of Time, the Potter books and so on. I think if Jordan were still alive he would be pushing for ebooks. at this point if Rowling writes anything else I might be interested in I might just go darknet on her to spite her attitude. and let her know about it to boot!
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:54 PM   #11
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What's more, "As e-books grow as a category, there will be cannibalization," Epps says. "The early adopter buying an e-reader device happens to be the same customer who would have bought a hardcover book."


Judging from the reaction on this (and other forums), and IMHO, this is bass ackwards reasoning. I bought an ereader to STOP buying physical books - esp. hardcover books. So my response is:

1. I can wait - my reader has enough books for the rest of my life. (I plan to be buried with mine, with a drop cord for power & light).
2. I know how to troll the darker sections of the web for timely digital editions of much-wanted books.
3. If I have to wait 4-6 months, I'll either probably forget about the book or spend my money on a book I can buy instantly in ebook form.
4. I will never buy a hardcover again from any publisher that tries to blackmail/extort money out of me.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:56 PM   #12
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4. I will never buy a hardcover again from any publisher that tries to blackmail/extort money out of me.
we should have banners and t-shirts made up!
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:29 PM   #13
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I used to buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, but I'm entirely buying e-books now. If it's not available as an e-book, I'm not purchasing it.

As someone else said, I've got enough on my e-reader to keep me busy while the publishers figure out the market - therefore I'm NOT a cannibalized sale because I wouldn't have bought the hardback anyway. The sales they seem to be worried about are people who buy the hardcover now and the e-book later for portability. I really don't think there are very many of those types of people around - most of them would go to the library to get the hardcover and buy the e-book later. Or just forget about the e-book when it is available and there is no sale again.

Who do these guys hire to figure out the market habits for them?

Michael
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:33 PM   #14
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Who do these guys hire to figure out the market habits for them?

Michael
Relatives, usually. You know, the cousin of the aunt of the brother of the CEO gets made the head of marketing and business strategy. Publishing is an incestuous business and as with all incest the end result is stupid offspring
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:45 PM   #15
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We've objected to that ($10 per e-book) pricing for quite some time," says Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy. "We have begun to see some cannibalization of hardcover sales as a result of that pricing.
This really does show their entrenched thinking on the issue. Cannibalization isn't in itself a bad thing. (For example, Apple cannibalized sales of its iPhone with the iPod Touch-Steve Jobs responded that if anyone was going to cannibalize Apple, it would be Apple)

Rather than trying to protect an outmoded sales model by trying to stop "cannibalization", they should be finding innovative ways to encourage it on their terms. Because in the end, a sale is a sale. Or isn't, if you alienate your market.
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