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Old 01-07-2010, 11:55 PM   #1
KindleMan
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What is with these Publishers?

I was Barnes and Noble and saw Douglas Preston's new book "Impact" out on display. I had seen it on B&N's website as an ebook, but not available until May. Now, I know some publishers are starting to delay the release of ebooks until the Hardcover paper version has been out for 3 - 4 months but come on! Why not release the ebook version, but at the current Hardbound price? I can buy the book on B&N's website for $15.20, why not let me download it for the same price? I just don't get the thought process here...

Can someone explain it to me?

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:06 AM   #2
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HB are where the publishers make the most of their money, consequently, they don't want anything to interfer with that. They also believe that the people who buy ebooks originally bought hardcovers, so by delaying the ebook release, people will be forced to buy the HB to read the book. Most people will either check it out from the library, wait for it to arrive at the used book stores, or if they really want an ebook version, they'll go to the dark side to get it. The majority of the publishers really don't get what their customers want in regards to ebooks.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:19 AM   #3
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Is that really true? In the UK hardback sales on most books are pitiful, and while the markups are much greater, the vast majority of the money is made on paperbacks.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:59 AM   #4
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Pbacks

Yeah I am skeptical that in the US publishers make the most money on HB's. I would think they would make the most on Pbacks and Trade Pbacks. The materials are fairly cheap and the shipping has to be less.

Of course overhead on ebooks is even less.

I think on of the publishers that has embraced ebooks as a new revenue stream is Harlequin. They sell books bundled, have been releasing back listed books as ebooks and even put out several new books in ebook only format, not even bothering with pback.

I would think that for a pback publisher that testing the waters with a new author by releasing the book in ebook version would be a good idea.

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Old 01-08-2010, 06:30 AM   #5
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@Kindleman

What is with the Publishers? They are living in the past. They (like the movie and music industry) are clinging to their old and tired business model. They are fearful of losing control of the product. They are also fearful of independent publishers/writers.

At this point they are their own worst enemy. I was glancing through a thread the other day, and someone was looking for "The time travelers wife". They said it was not available as an ebook (I think the thread was from 9/09), and they ended up getting the audio book. I simply opened another tap in Firefox, did a quick torrent search and there is was. Free, no DRM and ready to read. As I said, the publishing industry are their own worst enemy. They will continue to make odd and counter productive decisions until they finally realize that it's not 1955 anymore.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:37 AM   #6
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They will continue to make odd and counter productive decisions until they finally realize that it's not 1955 anymore.
Of course by then it probably will be 2055 and they will still be 50 odd years behind the times!
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:47 AM   #7
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The publishers are pretty much treating ebooks the same way they do paperbacks. The concern is that if retailers can push the ebook wholesale cost below its current levels, the publishers will basically lose a major source of their profits.

Publishing, by the way, is not exactly a high-margin business; and pretty much every business that is threatened by a disruptive technology is obviously going to have to try different things in order to just stay in business. While I understand that people want Cheap Stuff, it's also rather short-sighted to presume that companies who try to deal with this ought to just give up and willingly destroy their business model, or are "living in the past" because of a technology change that literally got rolling in the last 6 months, and still constitutes around 5% of total revenues.

Or, to put it another way: If your boss walked up to you, fired you, and explained that your job was going to get outsourced to India or replaced by a computer program, would you shake her hand, say "that's a great idea, I'm so glad you thought of it, thanks!" and blissfully collect your unemployment checks?

By the way, people are pretty much acclimated to waiting if they want the paperback at a lower price; I don't hear too much squealing when the latest hot seller is only available in hardcover for up to 6 months. I'm not really seeing why ebooks should be automatically be treated differently, especially if you want the publishers to lower the price.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ssanik
I am skeptical that in the US publishers make the most money on HB's. I would think they would make the most on Pbacks and Trade Pbacks. The materials are fairly cheap and the shipping has to be less.
It's pretty well understood that the margins on hardcovers are substantially higher; in fact, the "paper" part of the process generally constitutes far less of the costs of publishing a book than most people realize (~12% or so). It probably only costs 50¢ extra per book to make a book in hardcover form.
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:51 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bremen Cole View Post
... I was glancing through a thread the other day, and someone was looking for "The time travelers wife". They said it was not available as an ebook (I think the thread was from 9/09), and they ended up getting the audio book. I simply opened another tap in Firefox, did a quick torrent search and there is was. Free, no DRM and ready to read. As I said, the publishing industry are their own worst enemy. ...
When The Time Traveler's Wife ebooks are outlawed, only outlaws will have The Time Traveler's Wife ebooks.
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bremen Cole View Post
@Kindleman

What is with the Publishers? They are living in the past. They (like the movie and music industry) are clinging to their old and tired business model. They are fearful of losing control of the product. They are also fearful of independent publishers/writers.

At this point they are their own worst enemy. I was glancing through a thread the other day, and someone was looking for "The time travelers wife". They said it was not available as an ebook (I think the thread was from 9/09), and they ended up getting the audio book. I simply opened another tap in Firefox, did a quick torrent search and there is was. Free, no DRM and ready to read. As I said, the publishing industry are their own worst enemy. They will continue to make odd and counter productive decisions until they finally realize that it's not 1955 anymore.
That might have been me...I know we were hunting it and ended up with the Audible edition instead because there was no legit ebook version. Still have not listened to it myself but the other one has, I think anyway. But we only grabbed it because we had the credits with Audible. Otherwise we would have waited to find the cd/dvd audiobook edition on ebay or amazon for 80% off the original price.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:02 AM   #10
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It's pretty well understood that the margins on hardcovers are substantially higher; in fact, the "paper" part of the process generally constitutes far less of the costs of publishing a book than most people realize (~12% or so). It probably only costs 50¢ extra per book to make a book in hardcover form.
The margins are higher, but (and I can only really comment on the UK here) the sales are tiny in comparison to paperbacks. Also in the UK the discounts are now very large on hardbacks (up to 50% in some cases), and (going by discount/returns shops) the return rates must be quite high. The UK and the US are obviously very different markets (there's a far bigger demand from commuters). In the UK it often seems counter-productive, as most of the hype from reviews is for hardbacks. By the time a paperback comes out (which is all most people are interested in buying) a year can have passed.

Why don't publishers just charge more on new books? If you can't wait for the latest book then you pay more?
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:09 AM   #11
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Of course by then it probably will be 2055 and they will still be 50 odd years behind the times!
WT Sharpe said "When The Time Traveler's Wife ebooks are outlawed, only outlaws will have The Time Traveler's Wife ebooks."


To both of you ... so true!
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:27 AM   #12
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Just saw on the news last night that Netflix has caved in to this delay model. They have agreed to delay offering movies for 28 days after they are released on DVD - to bolster the DVD sales.
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Old 01-08-2010, 08:49 AM   #13
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Just saw on the news last night that Netflix has caved in to this delay model. They have agreed to delay offering movies for 28 days after they are released on DVD - to bolster the DVD sales.
I do not watch movies or TV (I just don't get into them, okay....rare exceptions) but......... If a movie was out I wanted to see, and they delayed it to boost their profit and take away from my choice as a consumer....... then I would get it from the darkside..... as I just said in another post... The publishers/authors should work to please the customer, not the other way around.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:02 AM   #14
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I'm creating my own blacklist of titles I will never buy. A couple of days ago I too was checking into "Impact" and got ticked off. I contacted Inkmesh and asked about tagging such books so that I make sure I don't buy them. They are going to try to see what they can come up with.

BTW, Inkmesh has a feedback page. This was my suggestion.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:27 AM   #15
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I'm creating my own blacklist of titles I will never buy. A couple of days ago I too was checking into "Impact" and got ticked off. I contacted Inkmesh and asked about tagging such books so that I make sure I don't buy them. They are going to try to see what they can come up with.

BTW, Inkmesh has a feedback page. This was my suggestion.
What a great idea, I wonder if they'll actually implement it though, it seems like a conflict of interests - after all they are trying to sell books not help people not buy them. An even better way I've seen posted here, is whenever you add something to your blacklist, send a note to the publisher and author and let them know they just lost a sale.

I agree that it would be fair for them to follow the pBooks pricing schedule with the eBooks. So that initially the eBook is the same as the hardback, then, when it comes out, the eBook is the same or maybe even lower than the paperback. Personally, I wouldn't buy a hardback anyway so I'd be more than happy to wait for the lower price, but there are a lot of people, like you, who would be willing to pay the higher price, and what stupid sort of business model is it where they tell people they dont want them to pay more for something that they are willing to pay for?
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