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Old 10-09-2006, 01:01 PM   #1
Morbius
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OK, starting to get a little peeved at the Connect Store pricing...

Having had the Reader for a little over a week now, and having gone through everything it came loaded with, I am now taking a more serious look at the content on the Connect Store. Of course, I'd like to see alot more titles there, but the thing that's becoming the biggest concern for me is what I saw someone else post in another thread...that complaint being that many of the titles there are being sold at just slightly less than the HARD COVER price you'd pay at somewhere like Amazon, rather than being sold at closer to the paperback price!

As I think the other posted said, it seems ludicrous to sell an ebook for near the same price a publisher charges for their most expensive hard back edition. If the only printed version of a book out is hard cover, then yes, I guess I can see charging close to that price for the ebook...if you want it that early on, and the only other alternative is the hard cover version, then it sort of makes sense that they could charge CLOSE to that price for an ebook version, actually a little less. But for anything that also has a paperback version out, then I would think the ebook version should be CLOSE to that, actually a little less.

I really am having a hard time making myself believe I should spend $15-$20 dollars or more for alot of these ebooks, when I could go buy the paperback version for $6-$10 dollars or less! Is this just me being cheap, or shouldn't we expect a better pricing on these ebooks?!?
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Old 10-09-2006, 01:02 PM   #2
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Wait till amazon launches thier service. Until there is major interest and competition pricing will stay at the same as the current most expensive print version.
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Old 10-09-2006, 01:52 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, the publishers are the ones who set the prices on the e-books. Yes, Sony gets a cut, but the pubs basically tell them how much they'll get a cut of.

That being said, it will be interesting to see what happens when Amazon's Kindle comes out. I imagine that the prices will be fairly similar, since the only wiggle room the re-seller gets is their own cut. I don't imagine that the pubs will feel any particular pressure to sell to one retailer any more cheaply than another.

On the other hand, the question we could look at right now is: how much is MobiPocket (which now belongs to Amazon) selling the same book for?

I randomly selected The Lincoln Lawyer, by Michael Connelly ('cause I found it on both sites almost immediately). Mobipocket has it for $6.99, and Connect has it for $14.36, or about twice as much.

For another comparison, McCaffrey's Dragons Fire (presently only available in hardback) is $14.36 at Connect, and $17.95 at Mobipocket .

So I'd say you may have a point about the paperback thing, but you also may get a better deal during hardback stage from Connect.

I say "may," because I don't consider this to be a representative survey/comparison of the two sites.


Some things to consider about pbook pricing. When you look at cover price in a bookstore, that's essentially 50% higher than what the book cost the retailer. It used to be a 40% mark-up when I was in high-school, but apparently that's increased (which says some interesting things about how those cover prices have increased in the same time frame, but I digress).

So when Borders or B&N offer that new hardback at 10% off, they're selling it for 90% of 150% of what they paid for it, or a 35% mark-up over their cost. When Amazon does the same thing for 20% of the cover price, they're basically selling it for 20% over their cost. They can get away with that because they have less overhead, not having to run a retail operation as well as what amounts to a distribution operation.

E-books are a whole different ballgame. We've talked a lot about what differences the non-physical nature of e-books make to that whole process, but we don't really know, and the pubs aren't telling, assuming they've figured it out (a reasonable assumption, I think).

The practical upshot is that the pubs still set the price they'll sell "copies" to a retailer for, and they may not want to "compete" with their well understood paper product, by way of a scary new electronic product that they're still suspicious is going to rob them blind through piracy.

That's all very complicated, and I'm sure that there's much more to it than I've touched on, or would even pretend to grasp. That's actually my point, I guess: that this is a lot more complicated than it appears at first, or even 15th, glance.
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:33 PM   #4
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I'd suggest you send Sony a list of titles that have hardback-esque prices when the title is already out in paperback. Publishers usually lower their eBook prices when the paperback comes out, but Sony might not have been alerted
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:39 PM   #5
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It might be worth a try, but since the pubs tell them what to charge in the first place....

Of course, it could be some lag with the store starting up, I suppose. I've noticed that some titles have been added in the last couple of weeks that weren't there when it opened. That McCaffrey book is one of them
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:46 PM   #6
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Should we take this thread frontpage?
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Old 10-09-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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I'll throw in my two cents worth and probably be flamed for it or at least lightly basted.

I have no intention of ever using the Sony Connect store or any other e-book store that has DRM on a publication I "buy". The word "Buy" when used in relation to DRM publications is one of those cases of redefining a word so people won't have to hear the unpleasant true ones like "rent", "lease" and thigns like that.

When I buy a "book" I have a physical object that belongs to me which I can use in any conceivable place, time circumstance and it belongs to me and I get to decide how I makes use of that object.

I have a Sony Reader and the same rules apply to my use of it.

To have the drastic and rather insane limitations of DRM placed on something and THEN expect me to pay 90% of what a Book costs is something that proves the H.L Mencken dictum "No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the America Public"

Rather than pay for a crippled, hamstrung DRM "virtual book", I'll buy the book at the bookstore and then either download an unprotected copy of that book from the ether out there or cut the spine and scan the darn thing myself in a high speed scanner.

Either way, what goes on my reader will be able to go on my computers, my E-bookwise, my Cybook, or any other devide I own and choose to use to read from.

Books that touch DRM will never touch my Sony Reader.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelancholyTea
I'd suggest you send Sony a list of titles that have hardback-esque prices when the title is already out in paperback. Publishers usually lower their eBook prices when the paperback comes out, but Sony might not have been alerted
I think that you are right on here, MT. Sony has indicated that they will be keeping an eye on prices, and if things are out of line they will often be adjusting them. So for books that look like they are priced at hardback prices, when maybe they would be more in line with other stores like eReader/MobiPocket/etc, I wouldn't be surprised if they are adjusted.

On the other hand, as NatCh says, it is the publishers are the ones that set prices, so if the publisher really did intend that price to be higher for some reason, it will probably stay that way.

But from my own brief browsing, I think the Sony store ebook prices are generally in line for the majority, so it's encouraging that the store will be a place you can buy and not feel too much like you were ripped off. (Of course, we all think e-books are overpriced on the whole anyway, but that's a different matter altogether. Here, we are just hoping that Sony store prices will stay in line with ebook pricing as it exists today so customers don't end up going to exclusively PD books, or even reading less or on other platforms because of ebook prices.)

Like a lot of things, we'll learn a lot over time.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:21 PM   #9
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I don't think that sentiment will get you flamed around here, Fitzwaryn, nor even slightly basted -- it's too widely shared for that.
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Old 10-09-2006, 03:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzwaryn
Books that touch DRM will never touch my Sony Reader.
You are definitely not alone.

There is growing sentiment against the kind of DRM schemes that we are seeing these days. People want to buy a book and feel like it's theirs to read permanently on whatever platform they choose, and current DRM doesn't do that. Many other issues as well, of course. I respect your choices.

But DRM is a bigger issue than just Sony, and some people will still end up taking current DRM as a necessary evil for now. On the one hand, there is the desire to "take a stand" and create change. On the other hand is the reality that copyrighted materials are, for the most part, going to involve DRM, and the Sony store is the logical and easy place to get content for the Sony Reader. For example, I think the masses of regular readers, that hopefully buy the Reader, will most likely only read books from the Sony store.

That doesn't change the fact, though, that the DRM system is broken right now from a consumer's point of view. It's definitely a hot topic and emotional issue.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelancholyTea
I'd suggest you send Sony a list of titles that have hardback-esque prices when the title is already out in paperback. Publishers usually lower their eBook prices when the paperback comes out, but Sony might not have been alerted
OK, is there some way to ask everyone here to contribute to such a list, that's kept on this site? I'm pretty new to this group, and not as familiar with how things work here. But I'm pretty sure I alone couldn't find every instance where the Connect store is charging near-hard cover prices for books out in paperback. I assume that most everyone here will probably find out what a "printed" price is for the books they plan on purchasing from Connect, so if we could somehow compile that list here, we'd probably get a pretty good idea of how things are going.

Then if someone (Bob Russell?) actually has a contact at Sony we could provide the list to, say after a month, maybe they'd be willing to take a look? I suppose I could just try emailing it to the Connect store Help folks if no one has a better destination.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
the pubs tell them what to charge in the first place....
Today I wanted to buy Anansi Boys from the Connect Store. Well, first I wanted to check out the price before my Reader gets out of Customs. The paperback in Amazon.com is $8, while the ebook in Connect it's $16, and Fictionwise it's $20 (or $17 club, whatever that means). Now, if you check out Mobipocket... $8. The same exact price scheme applies to Pratchett's Thud!

Pratchett's Wintersmith (just out in hback) is $12 in Amazon.com, $14 in Fictionwise and Mobipocket, and $12 in Connect.

Comparing this with NatCh's results, it looks like Mobipocket is better for pback prices, BUT they already have Gaiman's Fragile Things, which is not available from neither Fictionwise nor Connect. Anyway, this is stupid: ebooks already out in pback should be way cheaper than the pback price.

My personal choice: buy pbooks to keep & own, then Connect (hahah) to IRC. Otherwise, scan them yourself.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:21 PM   #13
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I'm pretty sure that Sony has people watching MobileRead, though I think they're on the Reader side, rather than the Connect side (the different divisions are pretty insular).

As for making a list, we could start a new thread just for that purpose. I think there will be more than a few interested in helping catalog the price discrepancies.
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:24 PM   #14
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The main problem I can see is that connect will bomb because a) its not very well done and b) the prices are outrageous. Then Sony will kill off the reader claiming there "is no market for it".

I have faith that someone will do it right, just not that Sony will be the one
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Old 10-09-2006, 04:34 PM   #15
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If they were going to kill off the Reader due to lack of market, I don't think we'd have the Reader, as the Librie' only sold about 5,000 units ....

That's not a garuantee, of course, but I think it is a point.
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