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View Poll Results: Boycott?
I won't buy from them at all. Total boycott! 71 16.75%
I won't buy from them at all and I will get their stuff from the darknets. 90 21.23%
I won't buy from them at all and I will get their stuff through other legal means. 22 5.19%
I won't buy at the higher price but I will wait some months for the price drop. 131 30.90%
I'll buy books I'm eagerly anticipating at the higher price but wait for other stuff. 56 13.21%
I'll buy whatever I feel like. The higher price doesn't matter to me. 38 8.96%
Other. (Please explain.) 16 3.77%
Voters: 424. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-04-2010, 03:08 PM   #46
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I chose get it from the darknet, but I realize that is not what I intend to do. I don't like the windowing, and those books I try and get from the darknet. If the cost is $15, I will probably wait for the library. They usually get the most popular books in ebook format, and that is what I read. If it isn't at the library, I will wait for the price to drop. I don't think getting the book from the darknet is appropriate because of price. I know, stealing is stealing, but the windowing is punishing me for preferring ebooks, and I intend to send a message by illegally downloading.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:12 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by rixte View Post
Your 'consistency' argument is missing crucial elements.

First, the in-store factor - new paperback release tables. The physical memory jog of seeing a book that was mentioned.

Right now for ebooks, there's usually fanfare when something new is released (I get email from ebook vendors ranging from Amazon to BoB and Fictionwise) but there's not follow-up 1-2 years later.
No, it's not missing any elements at all.

Stores are perfectly free to improve on their marketing techniques, and once windowing is set in place will probably set up a 'new discount releases' section just as you describe. There's no reason to do so now simply because there is no windowing.

Quote:
But I also think that mandated selling prices and 'no sales price allowed situations' are annoying - it annoys me for physical hardware when Sony does it, it annoys me when Apple does it and it annoys me even more that Macmillan is planning on doing it for non-physical mediums.
I think agency pricing is bad for the industry as well. It's happening because Amazon got too greedy and attempted to take over. I can only hope that in the future Amazon manages to amend its ways and restore the element of trust necessary for the wholesale/retail mechanism.


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Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
I personally think that the windowed pricing is an artifact of physical books sales and is not necessary when selling electronic copies. It made sense to drop the price to get rid of your physical inventory and then introduce cheaper physical copies after you'd recovered costs (in the gravy zone). I don't have a problem with the windowed pricing but I do think it's stupid and will only drive more people to alternatives.
Windowed pricing was never an artifact, it's a crucial sales tool used in many industries. Some people will pay more to get something quickly and others are willing to trade-off a cheaper price for a wait. This has worked for decades. It's got absolutely nothing to do with inventory.

On the contrary, it would be stupid to price the product at the same level throughout its life. Those who were willing to pay more end up paying less and those who wanted to pay less end up having to pay more.

There are no 'alternatives', unless you don't really care about books much and don't mind if authors stop writing.

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Originally Posted by Alisa View Post
What's changed is that out off all the books we tell ourselves we'll get when they come out in paperback, we forget a good deal of them. Or we get them from a friend or the library. More and more libraries have ebooks. The new releases have a waiting list but I'll just put myself on the list at this point. I'll likely get the book before the price drops. We find them used. They could pick up a lot of sales at $10 that they likely would have lost with people waiting for $7. They'd get more money sooner. It maximizes their marketing, too.
Maybe there's scope for a middle segmentation-point at the $10 mark, though I suspect the ebook market is simply too small right now to accommodate it. Once it grows I'm sure the publishers are more than willing to play around with different prices and windows to find the best match.

A flat-price model is just stupid though and leads to complaints as seen here. Publishers lose money from those who would have been willing to pay more to get the book as soon as possible and end up charging more to those who can't pay as much - that's insane.

Baen sells ebooks at a $15 window, and what's worse, these ARCs are unproofed and full of errors - will you be organising a boycott of them as well?
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:17 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
I chose get it from the darknet, but I realize that is not what I intend to do. I don't like the windowing, and those books I try and get from the darknet. If the cost is $15, I will probably wait for the library. They usually get the most popular books in ebook format, and that is what I read. If it isn't at the library, I will wait for the price to drop. I don't think getting the book from the darknet is appropriate because of price. I know, stealing is stealing, but the windowing is punishing me for preferring ebooks, and I intend to send a message by illegally downloading.
Windowing is not new: It's why paperbacks are released after hardcover sales start falling off. This isn't punishing you for preferring ebooks, it's rewarding those who are willing to pay more with earlier access.

So many arguments seem to come back to "I buy ebooks so I'm special and shouldn't have to pay as much as everyone else." Why is it ok that people who prefer paper have to wait for the lower prices (when the paperback comes out) but not ok for people who prefer ebooks to have to wait for lower prices?
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:19 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
Windowing is not new: It's why paperbacks are released after hardcover sales start falling off. This isn't punishing you for preferring ebooks, it's rewarding those who are willing to pay more with earlier access.

So many arguments seem to come back to "I buy ebooks so I'm special and shouldn't have to pay as much as everyone else." Why is it ok that people who prefer paper have to wait for the lower prices (when the paperback comes out) but not ok for people who prefer ebooks to have to wait for lower prices?

So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:21 PM   #50
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I've got a combination of things going on here. When I got my reader last year, it wasn't a Kindle. And this was, of course, before Kindle for PC or the B&N ebook store. Last February, I paid $23.00 for the ebook of the (then) new Dana Stabenow title. I was just glad to be able to get it in ebook!
So I'll be happy to pay $15.00 for an ebook of a hardback release. $15.00 for an ebook release of a paperback would be different, but I've seen very few instances of this, even at the higher priced ebookstores. There's been a few in that range for what was released in Trade Paperback.

I did notice yesterday (it almost made me late for work), that all but two of the authors I had on my Amazon wishlist that were exclusive to Amazon, are now available at B&N. I moved everything that wasn't exclusive to Amazon off that wishlist and onto ones at Books on Board or B&N. The ones that ARE exclusive to Amazon, I'll grab as soon as they show up again.

I guess I'm pessimistic. I never expected the $9.99 price point for new releases/bestsellers to be sustainable in the first place, so the fact that it seems to be coming to an end doesn't bother me much. Yeah, I'll miss saving the money, and I may end up waiting on some titles that I wouldn't have had to wait for before, but ... I was used to doing that in the physical book world.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:22 PM   #51
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$10 is the most I'll pay for an e-book--or a paper back for that matter--of a novel for leisure reading.

So not really a boycott as I've just had that limit for years. Not worth more than $10 for something I'll read once. For that price or less I'm game as it's just paying for the experience just like paying $10 for a movie ticket.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:24 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
Baen sells ebooks at a $15 window, and what's worse, these ARCs are unproofed and full of errors - will you be organising a boycott of them as well?
I'm not organizing any boycott. That's quite an assumption. I just made a poll because so many were talking about it. I thought it would be interesting to see what people's opinions are. As you can see, most people are not going to actually boycott but they are going to steer clear of the $15 ebooks. Personally, my answer to the poll was that I would only buy a book at $15 if was eagerly awaiting it. So, as for Baen books, it would depend on how much I wanted it and my other options for getting it legally. I would likely give them bonus points for being DRM-free but poor quality books annoy me.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #53
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So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.
I would. I have even not bought the hardback but would have paid the same amount of money for the paperback. My bookshelves are optimized for paperback books. I do not want to have a special shelf for hardback and would prefer to pay more for a paperback if I got it at the same time as the hardback.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:36 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by mcl View Post
So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.
Part of the reason hardcovers cost more than paperbacks is because they are released first.

I buy books for the content, not the container. If the paperback was released day and date with the hardcover at standard paperback prices it would cannibalize hardcover sales because people could get the same content for less.

The $15 price for ebooks is based on the idea that getting the content before the mass market paperback is released is worth a premium over the price of a mass market paperback.

It's more than I am often willing to pay - but it's $10 less than the standard price of a new hardcover, and $7 more than mass market. At the very least it sounds like a possible place to start, even if it doesn't work out.

A lot of the these complaints over price are beginning to sound really petty to me. It's like people are saying "Ebooks have no production costs so all we should pay for is the content and that's not worth very much either, so they need to be very cheap."

As someone who's written novels, I find that cheapening of the value of my time, effort, and creativity very disheartening.

In the meantime, I have a book I need to be ghostwriting, so I will try to bow out, but I doubt I'll be able to.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:38 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
Windowing is not new: It's why paperbacks are released after hardcover sales start falling off. This isn't punishing you for preferring ebooks, it's rewarding those who are willing to pay more with earlier access.

So many arguments seem to come back to "I buy ebooks so I'm special and shouldn't have to pay as much as everyone else." Why is it ok that people who prefer paper have to wait for the lower prices (when the paperback comes out) but not ok for people who prefer ebooks to have to wait for lower prices?
I'm not adverse to paying more for early release; what I object to is the inability to buy at all. Set the hardcover and ebook price the same on release date - then I have a choice. A lower price point for ebooks had absolutely no part in my decision to buy a kindle. As a matter of fact, I went from getting books at the library, to buying books. But with windowing, I don't have a choice. And it isn't the same as the hardback/paperback. That is the same format. I hope we end up with the same pricing structure as pbooks- early release of the ebook at one price, becoming lower over time.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:38 PM   #56
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So, as for Baen books, it would depend on how much I wanted it and my other options for getting it legally. I would likely give them bonus points for being DRM-free but poor quality books annoy me.
Well, Baen's eARCs have a good excuse for having typos and poor editing. They haven't been proofed or properly edited yet. And that's because they're available MONTHS before the final copy gets sent to the printers for the paper books.

They're also refreshingly honest about it. Here's a quote from an advertising email from Jun 2005:
Quote:
SPECIAL OFFER from Baen WebScriptions

$15. NO WAITING!

You can do better ($6.00) by waiting, but if you are a true Ringo addict we want to take advantage of you. Order Ghost, the first book in the new Ringo Techno-thriller Kildar series now instead of when it debuts as a WebScription title
(emphasis added)
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:39 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by mcl View Post
So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.
Well, I can't really see myself paying hardback prices, full stop. Of course, there are exceptions ( I think I have a hardback copy of Jerry Mander's "In The Absence of the Sacred"). For the same price, I would buy a paperback, because hardbacks are too heavy and awkward. I would buy an ebook before either, even for the same price (as long as it was a price I was willing to pay). The only disadvantages for me are that you can't get it signed and it is harder to lend. Ebooks have a ton of advantages (I'm reading Moby Dick now, along with some articles, and I doubt I would ever lug that sucker around on the bus).

Opportunity pricing is real. The hard/paper format shift has some value that some people appreciate, but it certainly doesn't justify the price delta.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:44 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney's Mom View Post
I'm not adverse to paying more for early release; what I object to is the inability to buy at all. Set the hardcover and ebook price the same on release date - then I have a choice. A lower price point for ebooks had absolutely no part in my decision to buy a kindle. As a matter of fact, I went from getting books at the library, to buying books. But with windowing, I don't have a choice. And it isn't the same as the hardback/paperback. That is the same format. I hope we end up with the same pricing structure as pbooks- early release of the ebook at one price, becoming lower over time.
This is what Macmillan is aiming for. They were only going to window new releases if Amazon wasn't willing to go along with that model.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:46 PM   #59
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I'm not adverse to paying more for early release; what I object to is the inability to buy at all. Set the hardcover and ebook price the same on release date - then I have a choice. A lower price point for ebooks had absolutely no part in my decision to buy a kindle. As a matter of fact, I went from getting books at the library, to buying books. But with windowing, I don't have a choice. And it isn't the same as the hardback/paperback. That is the same format. I hope we end up with the same pricing structure as pbooks- early release of the ebook at one price, becoming lower over time.
I also don't object to paying more to have it sooner but I don't think many people will find it fair to pay the same as they do for a hardcover, especially if the ebook has DRM. While the suggested retail on hardcovers is usually more than $15, they are frequently sold for $15 at retail because shops are allowed to discount them. I think windowing is a sound marketing practice but I'm betting the price differences are going to have to flatten a bit on the digital side if they want ebooks to be at all successful.

Of course I sometimes doubt the publishers really do want that, at least not at the current time. When I see stuff like this, it makes me wonder if one of the goals of publishers like MacMillan is to make ebook reading less attractive until they can figure out how to work that market better and get their business in line with new ways of doing things. I'm sure they realize that ebooks are the way things are going but it's a rough transition for them and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they're aiming to slow it down a little.
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Old 02-04-2010, 03:48 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
Part of the reason hardcovers cost more than paperbacks is because they are released first.

I buy books for the content, not the container. If the paperback was released day and date with the hardcover at standard paperback prices it would cannibalize hardcover sales because people could get the same content for less.
That's not what I asked. I asked if you would pay the same HC price for a MMPB. And you wouldn't. Because it's not the same thing. Just as we're unwilling to pay HC price for an ebook. Because it's not the same thing.

Quote:
The $15 price for ebooks is based on the idea that getting the content before the mass market paperback is released is worth a premium over the price of a mass market paperback.
And yet it's roughly the same price as the HC at any store that hasn't buckled under the pressure and become a publisher's agent.

Quote:
A lot of the these complaints over price are beginning to sound really petty to me. It's like people are saying "Ebooks have no production costs so all we should pay for is the content and that's not worth very much either, so they need to be very cheap."
And yet a lot of these complaints over ebooks from the publishers are starting to sound really petty to /me/. Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and all that.

Quote:
As someone who's written novels, I find that cheapening of the value of my time, effort, and creativity very disheartening.
As someone who's purchased novels, I find that gross inflation of the price of ebooks just to make a quick buck very disheartening.


I'm sorry, but there are 4 perspectives here:

1) The writer, who's looking after his paycheck
2) The publisher, who's looking to increase his profits
3) The retailer, who's looking to gain market share, and
4) The customer, who's looking after his paycheck.


The problem here is that the authors are up in arms against the retailer and the consumer, because how dare we take issue with an entire publisher and harm all those innocent authors! We the customers must spend money to support the authors! (See Scalzi's blog for a particularly abhorrent, yet almost verbatim reiteration of this position).

Meanwhile, the publishers are up in arms against the retailer and the consumer, because they're afraid the retailer will unilaterally lower the wholesale price, and they think the evil ebook consumer is devaluing the hardcover prices.

The retailer's being screwed in several ways:
1) by selling ebooks at a loss
2) by losing all revenue for a publisher's works over the period they remain off the shelves,
and ultimately, 3) being forced into an agency model, while
4) losing the goodwill of the ebook customers, the reader base as a whole, and the author base

And with all of this, we have the authors demanding the customers spend more money (to support the poor, suffering authors, don't'chaknow!), the publishers demanding the customers spend more money (by raising ebook prices), and the customers being railed against publicly for daring to suggest that we might just be tired of being viewed as nothing but money vending machines.

You can feel indignant all you want as an author. But as a customer, I'll continue to feel used and, currently, abused by the publishers and, to a lesser extent, the authors. Particularly when you've got people like Scalzi insisting that Amazon is evil for making a stark point about refusing to become a publisher's agent, and insisting that consumers somehow OWE you people a living, just because you produce content.
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