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Old 02-24-2010, 07:48 AM   #1
Alfy
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Angry Dear MacMillan...

Today, I got mad enough to take the time to write an email to Mac Millan. I should do this every time I can angry at ebooks pricings, but then, they aren't enough hours in the day...

"Dear Madame, Sir,

It was advertised today that the book “The End of Eternity” by Isaac Asimov was recently made available in ebook format by your publishing company. Alas, I believe you must have made a mistake while pricing it: the best available price, not taking into account rebates towards future purchases, is 17,49$, as opposed to 7.84$ for the paperback version on Amazon.com.

This book was originally edited in 1955. That is, a very long time ago. Considering this is one of Asimov’s most successful standalone novels, I can fairly assume it has been extremely profitable several times over. Your ebook version proposes no additions that could justify a price increase, and one would believe that a more reasonnable pricing policy should be the rule here. This is why I assume some mistake has been made.

Sincerily yours"

Let's wait and see what kind of answer I'll get...
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:53 AM   #2
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"Alas, I believe you must have made a mistake while pricing it" heheh. i'm impressed by your self-control. when i see something like that it makes me so annoyed i am not sure i can hold back to only a little bit of sarcasm. well, i'll be very interested to hear their reply, if they give you any.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:50 AM   #3
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Perhaps Mac Millan think they have found a new author .....
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfy View Post
the best available price, not taking into account rebates towards future purchases, is 17,49$, as opposed to 7.84$ for the paperback version on Amazon.com.
Of course, taking into account the available rebates, and the 25% off code, I bought it for $7.65 a couple of days ago.

But that doesn't make the RRP right - $24.99! And perhaps you should also have pointed out that the hardback is available at $16.49...

There doesn't seem to be an in-print paperback available at the moment. But someone at Macmillan hasn't realised that it is not sensible to issue an ebook of a re-release hardback at hardback prices.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
Alfy
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yeah, I saw the rebate price on Fictionwise. But then, I have almost 150$ in microcredit because I always find it silly to pay full price, and I am having second thoughts about their policy...

Actually, I think I know now what motivates Macmillan: it seems a movie based on the book is in the making. Now, THAT's a sensible reason to overprice a book.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfy View Post
yeah, I saw the rebate price on Fictionwise. But then, I have almost 150$ in microcredit because I always find it silly to pay full price, and I am having second thoughts about their policy...
Ah - but you need to look out for the times they offer good discounts even when paying with micropay. The recent Agatha Christie offer is a case in point - I got 78 Agatha Christie ebooks for about $74 in micropay.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:46 AM   #7
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Well, it took a while to get an answer, but it finally came in. Nothing really interesting, as you can see below, it seems the agency model will be the panacea, the final answer to all our woes. As the model is not yet in place, it is obviously difficult to argue. I find the mention of "greed" quite interesting, as I had certainly not used the word myself and had been very careful in my wording. It would seem McMillan realises it is projecting a certain image these days... Still, I would give them kuddos for taking the time to respond.

"Dear Mr. XXX,

Please forgive the delay in responding to you.

Thank you for taking the time to write to Macmillan to express your concern about our e-book pricing. We appreciate hearing the point of view of our readers.

The change we are making to the pricing of our e-books is being done to enable us to continue to publish the range and quality of the books we offer both in print and as e-books. I assure you that we were not motivated by greed. We will actually be earning less money for each e-book sold under our new terms.

Beginning in mid-March you will find our e-books at a variety of price points with many at or below $9.99 and some above. The e-book market is still evolving and will continue to change over the coming months and years and we will change with it. Our goal is to offer great books at a fair price to our customers for all versions of our publications.

We respect whatever purchasing choices you make in the future and if you do purchase a title published by us, hope you find it enjoyable and feel it is fairly priced.


Sincerely,

Alison M. Lazarus
President, Sales Division
Macmillan"
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Old 03-19-2010, 06:51 AM   #8
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Reads like a generic response composed for the flood of email they must have received regarding the agency model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfy View Post
I find the mention of "greed" quite interesting, as I had certainly not used the word myself and had been very careful in my wording.
Funny thing is, I would be more inclined to buy from Macmillan if they were honest that it is greed/profit seeking that drives their business decisions (nothing wrong with that IMO). John Sargent almost went so far when he said price is determined by consumer demand.

EDIT: By the way, I see End of Eternity is now $9.99 so perhaps your letter had some effect.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:11 AM   #9
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It looks like the person answering your email took a whooping 2 seconds to deal with your email and selected one of pre-fabricated responses.
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Old 03-19-2010, 07:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfy View Post
Today, I got mad enough to take the time to write an email to Mac Millan. I should do this every time I can angry at ebooks pricings, but then, they aren't enough hours in the day...

"Dear Madame, Sir,

It was advertised today that the book “The End of Eternity” by Isaac Asimov was recently made available in ebook format by your publishing company. Alas, I believe you must have made a mistake while pricing it: the best available price, not taking into account rebates towards future purchases, is 17,49$, as opposed to 7.84$ for the paperback version on Amazon.com.

This book was originally edited in 1955. That is, a very long time ago. Considering this is one of Asimov’s most successful standalone novels, I can fairly assume it has been extremely profitable several times over. Your ebook version proposes no additions that could justify a price increase, and one would believe that a more reasonnable pricing policy should be the rule here. This is why I assume some mistake has been made.

Sincerily yours"

Let's wait and see what kind of answer I'll get...
Wonderful!
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
By the way, I see End of Eternity is now $9.99 so perhaps your letter had some effect.

Hmmm... and most of the other Asimov back list titles remain above $9.99.

I wonder if writing/emailing about a pricing issue with a specific title could produce this effect on more titles. From the publisher's standpoint, dropping the price on one title is no big deal, but does produce a happy customer - who will presumably buy the ebook, and tell his friends, or post it for the world to read.

It would be interesting to try this approach again - with Macmillan (who is apparently now sensitive to labels of "greed") - and other publishers - in particular reference to back list titles issued as ebooks priced higher than the paperbook version. Perhaps pointing out the disparity between paperbook and ebook pricing can prompt reductions in other titles as well.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:10 AM   #12
Alfy
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I had not realised my mail had this effect on the price of the book. On one hand, it's very gratifying. On the other: do we need to do that for EVERY overpriced ebook? Man...
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:15 AM   #13
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I had not realised my mail had this effect on the price of the book. On one hand, it's very gratifying. On the other: do we need to do that for EVERY overpriced ebook? Man...
Well .. this *could* be automated ..
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:34 AM   #14
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We will actually be earning less money for each e-book sold under our new terms.



Sincerely,

Alison M. Lazarus
President, Sales Division
Macmillan"
?!?!?!
It won't be Asimov taking the lion pie here, since he's dead for almost 2 decades now...
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:37 AM   #15
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I assure you that we were not motivated by greed. We will actually be earning less money for each e-book sold under our new terms.
They make less and we pay more. Sounds like voodoo math to me. Or just outright dishonesty.

BOb

Last edited by pilotbob; 03-19-2010 at 11:51 AM.
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