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Old 05-29-2006, 02:12 PM   #1
SerialAeon
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Unhappy Why eBooks are so expensive ?

Hey y'all (southern salutation ;-))
As everybody here I think, I've been very interested by one of the promise of the electronic version of books, i.e. their (supposedly) low price. After all, a great part of a book's price is the cost of the advertisement made and the conception / printing / transport / managment of the unsold copies (maybe an edition professional there could precise this).

In eBooks we're left with advertisement and conception. Why, then, the observed prices are barely inferior to 30% of the price of the physical copy on most of the website I've been in ? I'd expect something like 20% OF the price of the physical copy. So far I've been very disappointed by the prices policy I observed. Any comment, or something I'm not aware of that could explain these high prices ?

Aurelien
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Old 05-29-2006, 03:25 PM   #2
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Simply put, publishers are greedy and they don't want to abandon their existing business model. Hence they keep the price of e-books artificially high to make them less attractive, so nobody will buy them, and consequently they will never pick up momentum.
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Old 05-29-2006, 05:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW
Simply put, publishers are greedy and they don't want to abandon their existing business model. Hence they keep the price of e-books artificially high to make them less attractive, so nobody will buy them, and consequently they will never pick up momentum.
Yup that about sums it up.

When we, the customer, have to pay $300+ for the reader, we expect to make that up with lower-than-paper prices for eBooks. If they aren't cheaper, it's not worth getting the reader and, therefore, eBooks don't sell.

That's why I believe that eBook readers will take off using public domain content gleaned from places like Blackmask and Project Gutenberg, rather than "new" content (i.e. current titles in the bookstores).

Of course, the Publishers will have the same problem as the RIAA:
+ They won't satisify the market.
+ So the market satisifies itself, unfortunately, with pirated content.
+ The publishers point to all that pirated content and claim that the reason people are buying less books is because of all the pirated content - when the real reason is that they refuse to offer what the customers want.
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Old 05-30-2006, 04:42 AM   #4
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Yes but unlike the RIAA we can happily point the the existing facts that sales have been dropping year on year for some time.

IMO books are far to expensive. They have gone from an affordable everyday product to an overpriced treat within my lifetime. And they continue to get more expensive.

Yes the products have improved (nicer paper, better printing) but this doesn't justify the cost.

Last edited by Riocaz; 05-30-2006 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:33 AM   #5
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Control...

Its about control. Publishers control the publishing of books and want to keep it that way. Earnings wise if you are a well known author you may end up with 10% of a paper books retail price per sale.

eBooks however can be published by anyone, for next to nothing and distributed for cents. They could be sold for half the price of a paper book, but the author could get four times the royalty and there would still be profit margin left for the retailer. And that explains why ebooks sold by the traditional book distribution businesses are so pricy. Amazon forced the game with the Kindle and now book sellers are involved – but because they have to be not because they want to be. If you owned Waterstones would you want push a format which could spell the end for your business?

Until authors start breaking away from the traditional publishers eBooks will be artificially expensive and restricted. All readers can do to help change things is to support the few authors who choose to publish eBooks independently.
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:43 AM   #6
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There's really no point in reviving a three year old thread. Especially on a subject which has been "done to death" as often as this one has.
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:58 AM   #7
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Why so it is..

I didnt notice! Still, Im sorry my replying to it seems to have caused you offense though I cant quite see why.
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:57 AM   #8
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No offence at all, but there's not a great deal of point in replying to someone who hasn't visited the board for two years .
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:45 PM   #9
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Tell that to Microsoft

Quote:
Originally Posted by SerialAeon View Post
Hey y'all (southern salutation ;-))
As everybody here I think, I've been very interested by one of the promise of the electronic version of books, i.e. their (supposedly) low price. After all, a great part of a book's price is the cost of the advertisement made and the conception / printing / transport / managment of the unsold copies (maybe an edition professional there could precise this).

In eBooks we're left with advertisement and conception. Why, then, the observed prices are barely inferior to 30% of the price of the physical copy on most of the website I've been in ? I'd expect something like 20% OF the price of the physical copy. So far I've been very disappointed by the prices policy I observed. Any comment, or something I'm not aware of that could explain these high prices ?

Aurelien
_________

I remember when Windows, other operating systems, and software came with thick printed manuals.

Now these manuals are included on the installation disks. Wow! Microsoft doesn't have the expense of millions of printed pages. So Microsoft, and the software industry, has passed on the savings to us. I mean, we're only talking about the cost of a DVD disk.

Hey, tell that to Microsoft and the others.

The response would be that the product is priced according to its value, not its manufacturing cost.

What is being left out of the ebook price discussion is the author. Traditional hardback publishers pay an author 10 to 15 % of the cover price. Ebooks have become a different game, largely because of the distributor (Amazon, et al). Authors are looking at a & of the SELLING price (not cover price). Bottom line is that authors, who create the work you want, make less than the distributor. Despite the fact that the distributor no longer has storage expense.

I have heard that the readers of ebooks are threatening to boycott certain writers whose ebooks cost too much (say, more than 2 cups of Starbucks coffee).

What if the authors boycotted ebooks?
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Old 08-21-2010, 02:25 PM   #10
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Burn the customer...for now.

If the publishers and authors think that they are setting "new" prices for all books they are fooling themselves. Ereaders are just the new novelty and that is the only reason they can charge more for books than at a book store. When the market reaches saturation with kindles and nooks and ipads the publishing companies will have a rude awakening. Any gain of convenience of an ereader is offset by the ability to share or gift a book to someone; they may not know that it's in their interest for people to share books, how did you learn about some of your favorite authors. Obviously book companies are taking the stance of software companies, one purchase, one use. Why would anyone join a book club that cost $200 to join to get higher prices? Not to mention do you get that new book feeling with that download? Give it 5 years and ebook sales will surely dry up and they will scrap their $13 price point. Most likely they are taking the stance of "get it while you can." Ebook readers are you missing that clearance bin at borders? Time to buy paper books.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TadW View Post
Simply put, publishers are greedy and they don't want to abandon their existing business model. Hence they keep the price of e-books artificially high to make them less attractive, so nobody will buy them, and consequently they will never pick up momentum.
That just about says it all. The pubs do not want ebooks to pick up anymore momentum than they already have because the more they do the more the existing business model becomes obsolete. If not for nationwide distribution, what does an author need a publisher for? Editing? Cover art? There are plenty of credible freelancers out there that authors can hire and pay them much less than 92-96% of the price of a single book sold. Publishers know that and that's why they want to stop the progression.

Sandy
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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Hello everyone. I like the idea of this old thread being re-opened once in a while. It's like a testimonial, an open-ended archive of opinions and facts.

I was recently given my Sony Reader as a gift, so ebook prices were a shock to me. I have been searching the web for reasons, explanations, but Google keeps sending me back here. So I've decided to add my two cents' worth.

Of all the posts here, only one is traditionalist, defending printed books against "the new novelty" of Ereaders, but the author doesn't mention the irresistible advantages of ebooks, like being able to carry 1000 books at once, or the lovely feature of being able to search whole libraries for keywords. Yes, I think the digital book is here to stay. The only question is who is going to make money out of it.

Everyone else seems to agree that the publishers are the ones causing an artificial and irrational hike in ebook prices, discouraging ebook sales, holding on to their antiquated "material distribution" business model. It is a question of control, everyone says.

But if that were the case, why are the publishers not branching out and taking control of the new market? If there is no longer a reason to pay a middle man, then why don't HarperCollin, Penguin or the Oxford Univ Press, for example, start becoming their own retailers? They have the budget to invest in a web site, some bandwidth, and to sell their own epublications directly. It would be a simple matter to arrange DRM with Sony etc. to maintain control in that sense too.

So, I guess my question is: is it really about control or is it more about a lack of corporate imagination/adaptability?

Thanks very much for taking the time to hear me out. Happy reading!
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:55 PM   #13
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No offence at all, but there's not a great deal of point in replying to someone who hasn't visited the board for two years .
Actually, Harry, the POINT in replying to an old thread is that people like ME go searching for answers and appreciate seeing everyone's input! Plus, I don't usually pay attention to the dates, so I wouldn't noticed if someone posted three years ago or yesterday.
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:03 AM   #14
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Hi

My first post - don't usually care much about my ebooks but do others agree that they are getting more expensive and poorer in quality. The number that I have purchased lately without proper cover drawings or photos and huge internal mistakes just lead me to believe that this is turning into a big buck machine and the book companies don't care and are basically told to go ...... Shouldn't we want quality for what we buy! Would you buy a paperback with no cover or pages missing?
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Old 06-06-2011, 08:15 AM   #15
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Everything that has been said is possibly so how ever I would like to suggest a different explination. Most publishers have been doing the same thing for centuries in the same general order and have the model rather set. When you add an electronic book to the mix they have been caught rather uncomfortable with the new technology and have attempted to add the production of the electronic book into their model as an after thought. When producing a book then go through the motions of creating, printing and distributing the book then they produce the electronic version as a last step thus the electronic book represents an extra step in the publication process hence the extra dollars for them. Some publishing companies, such as Amazon, have based their entire business around 21st century technology and do not have the centuries of baggage to deal with. When Amazon creates the new book they create the printed and electronic versions in parallel in other words at the same time thus the electronic version does not cost them more and if at all costs them less to produce thus its not an extra step in the process but a shortened version of the same process hence the lower cost to Amazon and the lower cost to the consumer.

Thus if you want to pay less for books look for publishers that have managed to integrate the electronic books into their production model not as an after thought.

I simply will not pay over $8 for a book, I don't care who wrote it or who publishes it. I have found many great authors who are willing to sell for less then that, I know these authors are all unknowns but they are all great authors, here are some of the authors that I recommend:

Andy Mc Dermott
Drew Berquist
David Wood
Daniel Leston
Rod Pennington

All are Amazon authors.
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