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Old 02-05-2010, 05:38 AM   #1
Guns4Hire
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Digital Perception (Joe Konrath)

Another great piece by Konrath. He has a real grasp on the situation.


http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/0...erception.html


Quote:
Now publishers want the price of ebooks to be high, for several obvious reasons.

First, they don't want ebooks to cannibalize print sales.

Second, because they make a larger profit on high priced ebooks.

Third, because if ebooks fully take over, their role in the publishing process could become greatly diminished.

But ebooks aren't subject to the rules of supply and demand, because they can be copied and shared by pressing a button. And because the consumers have a lower perception of an ebook's value, but still want the experience, I predict they won't pay what the publishers are asking.

The consumers will go elsewhere.

One growing option is piracy.

Downloading a 4.7 gigabite DVD movie, at 1mb per second, takes over an hour.

Downloading 30 ebooks in .txt format takes 8 seconds.

Downloading 1300 ebooks in various formats (epub, mobi, pdf, doc) takes 13 minutes.

Is it really in publishers' best interest to price ebooks at $14.99?

Is it in authors' best interests?

Is it in readers' best interests?

One of the headlines in Publisher's Weekly today was "Agent Community Happy With Macmillan Move."

Well-known and respected agent Richard Curtis called it a "terrific thing." Curtis said the move “restores control of book pricing—on both e-books and print—to the publishers,” and that this is the healthiest thing for the industry.

You're free to draw your own conclusions. I've drawn mine. I believe that people won't pay $14.99 for ebooks. It will lead to fewer sales and more piracy. I believe the way to fight piracy is with cost and convenience. I believe a cheap, or free, ebook model is coming in the future, no matter how much the entire industry seems to be hoping otherwise.

But then, who am I?

I'm a writer.

The reason the publishing industry even exists is because of writers.

We create the content. And in most cases, we get paid very little for this.

Now Amazon and Apple are offering writers 70% royalty rates on ebooks, and the ability to set our own prices.

"A terrific thing"?

Indeed it may be. For the writers

But not for the publishers and the agents.

Last edited by Guns4Hire; 02-05-2010 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
Now publishers want the price of ebooks to be high, for several obvious reasons.
[...]
Second, because they make a larger profit on high priced ebooks.
Oh, but that's not what MacMillan wants us to believe!

Quote:
We will make less money on the sale of e books, but we will have a stable and rational market.
from here
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:28 AM   #3
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That should be required reading for publishers. The marketplace will decide how much ebooks cost, give it a year or two. There may be enough "just do as they tell us" folks out there to keep prices high. But there may not be, as always.... time will tell.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:35 AM   #4
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Here is a poll from Lifehacker. Just under 10k votes. Lifehacker is a technical productivity website. So this is a more leading edge market that would probably have e-Readers.

How Much Would You Pay for an E-Book?
Quote:
$1 to $5 25% (2,513 votes)
$5 to $10 45% (4,429 votes)
$10 to $15 5% (489 votes)
$15 and up <1% (33 votes)
Like dead-tree books, it completely depends on the book. 15% (1,498 votes)
I never plan to buy e-books to begin with. 7% (739 votes)
Other: 2% (216 votes)
Total Votes: 9,917
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guns4Hire View Post
Here is a poll from Lifehacker. Just under 10k votes. Lifehacker is a technical productivity website. So this is a more leading edge market that would probably have e-Readers.

How Much Would You Pay for an E-Book?
If we assume those figures are reasonably accurate then from a business and income per book the current modsel looks sensible

Release at $15 and sell t 5% of the market
after 2 montyhs drop down to $10 and get 45%
and after 6 months or a year drop to $5 to get a further 25%

That maximises income and would seemingly make the acreage book buyer happy.

However it's the 'free' market that impacts on this for me. if its easier to get for free and has better lay out and less errors, then those % will start to drop way down.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:35 AM   #6
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If I know that I can get an ebook price down to a reasonable level for me, say below 5$ then I'll be patient and wait for it. And when I can afford to buy it I will if I want the book.

But if I have doubts if the publisher is going to drop the price in a reasonable period of time. (1 - 2 years) Or if I feel that the publisher is just holding the price as high as they can for as long as they can. Then I'll go out and find that book for free.

The first publisher who puts into place a time based price scale. That lets me choose what books I want at what price, without DRM, in my choice of format will get ALL of my business. And I'll sing their praises to all my friends.

Publishers like MacMillian that are getting into big battles with Amazon so they can retain control, or set the price higher, will see none of my money. And no, I won't forget.

Its really that simple.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:06 AM   #7
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Meh

I concur that "ownership" is a bit confusing in an intangible world, and clearly people place less value on ebooks than paper books.

But IMO it's an illusion to think that all the principles of economics go out the window in the digital realm, or that in the New Intarnet World, the only beneficiary is the Long Tail. Things are definitely changing, but "zomg no more publishers" is the type of pie-in-the-sky talk that largely went out in 1999 with all the tech IPO's (with good reason IMO).

For example, digital music has been a fixture for years now; the cost to make an album can be a fraction of what it was 20 or 10 years ago; and anyone can shoot a video for $1000 (or $100), upload it to YouTube, and in theory have international distribution. However, this has yet to produce anything more substantial in terms of popularity than "Chocolate Rain."

Similarly, the never-published self-published-on-Amazon-and-Scribd author-gets-70% gets thrown into the morass of the biggest slush-pile ever, the undifferentiated Internet, with little or no resources to get noticed.

Now, if becomes common for a totally unknown writer (or musician) to rise to prominence on their own aptitudes and abilities, and maintain a career without agents and publishers and the like, I will gladly change my tune. But until then, I'm skeptical of the late 90s rhetoric about an allegedly wonderful and decentralized new world of media.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:43 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link. Good to see an author with a different perspective than those applauding Macmillan.

I've just picked up his first few books for my Kindle.
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stustaff View Post
If we assume those figures are reasonably accurate then from a business and income per book the current modsel looks sensible

Release at $15 and sell t 5% of the market
after 2 montyhs drop down to $10 and get 45%
and after 6 months or a year drop to $5 to get a further 25%

That maximises income and would seemingly make the acreage book buyer happy.

However it's the 'free' market that impacts on this for me. if its easier to get for free and has better lay out and less errors, then those % will start to drop way down.
Problem with that is they have done studies that show that the majority of sales comes in the first 4 months (something like that). And then after that the book dips quite hard in sales. I will have to track down that info if possible.

Why not maximize the amount of people with books in hand. The more people that read it the more people advertise it. The more the book gets bought. I would rather have 40k people read a book at 10 rather than 25k at 15 (yes just random numbers). Yeah its only 25k difference. But more people have laid hands and eyes on the book. Which means more word of mouth which means more sales are generated.

And as far as the time table you mention. Nothing I have seen has said that within 2 months they would be dropping the price down to something reasonable. Everything Ive seen and heard mentions around 8 months. I will never buy at over 10 dollars. Even at 10 dollars thats stretching it for me. If I read a novel that is in a series and then I patiently wait for the 2nd novel in that series to come out. And then have to wait 8 months on top of that. I guarantee no one, not the author or the publisher will end up getting my money. I am just no interested in the nonsense that publishers want to put its customers through. I will give my money to someone that wants it.
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