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Old 06-14-2010, 07:14 PM   #46
Steven Lyle Jordan
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From what I've read in the past about Book Expo, those people are way too busy digging holes in the sand to put their heads in. They speak the party line in public and for interviewers, that ebooks are an aberration that will kill them all, and thereby completely ruin western civilization.

But what do you expect from an industry that is devoted solely to the moving of paper products, and who really don't care what is printed on them?
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:46 PM   #47
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As much as I love reading on e-ink and having all my reading in one place, I don't think paper itself will ever go away. There will surely be many converts to e-ink, but in the end, there is a psychological quality about paper that cannot be replaced.

It's the same as if you were to talk about regular mail versus email. People said regular mail would die, yet here it is, years later. The reason is that when you hold a piece of printed ink on a piece of paper, there is an extra weight associated with that you cannot get from "digital ink." It seems more impactful. Compare the feeling of receiving an email with that of receiving a handwritten letter from a friend. There is no comparison.

As for other things, disseminating documents, articles, etc...clearly digital wins in this case as we don't really pride single articles in a newspaper as much as we do a Charles Dickens classic.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:10 PM   #48
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why it is still a long way to go

As an example:
I tried to make roleplayers (on one of the two big german RPG forums) more aware about eink devices and have had really a hard job with it.
on the one hand it is really astonishing because:
  • RPG is already a niche hobby where paper-printing costs (at least before the explosion of web availability) actually WERE the main factor deciding about "will it ever become a professional product"
  • because of that roleplayers are already used to "file-only" available editions of their stuff: apart from checking out how many smaller RPG-companys sell:
    1. core rules as PDF-option
    2. core rules as PDF-only
    3. additional or oop materials as PDF-only

take a look at drivethruRPG http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/ to see a roleplayers supermarket...

POD is btw. not really an option:
if it are not the printing costs what makes you then it ll be the shipping.
plus a binding so lousy that the books fall apart after <10 sessions.
Most players buying PDFs prefer a mix between computer preparation & copyshop or home printout.
on the other hand even these is not enough to convince'em, because:

1.) they need it bigger
as well as every player wouldn't like their SF or Fantasy books in A4 rulebooks smaller than that are not comfortable.
conclusion: you would need a device of variable screensize since different material invokes different needs in ammount of data displayable at a glance so zoom+scroll isn't really an option but an additional hindrance
Since readers are recognised as "portable libraries" rather than "single book replacement" this means the reader should have a somehow resizeable reading space, maybe folding screen or so.

2.) they keep more books than one open and in use. altough todays reader offer to reopen the last closed items on the last place it isn't enough, because of the mexed usage mode: as a read-continously and a lookup-only medium
conclusion: the reader would need a very fast and efficient bookmark method + an equivalent of tabbed switching between multiple books at once.

THEN you have beaten paper. and i say this as an e-ink fan who waited a lot of years from first rumors till nowdays for what i bought. sad but true.

btw. I am of course completely aware of the fact that there are a lot of more "serious" bookusers than roleplayers who actually need to mix continous reading and lookup in different volumes. I've taken the players as example, because, as already shown, they are already somehow used to digitally (only) available material, so the "novelty" factor with all the negative aspects is not an issue as it might be with the "pros".
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:40 PM   #49
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I think you guys are missing the point. eReaders are a complete game changer all the way up the supply chain. It's same as in the music business. Publishing houses exist, and the publishing process is the way it is today simply because printing up thousands or millions of copies of a paper book takes a lot of resources and money.

Distributing ebooks costs almost nothing, and takes very little in the way of resources. Once the number of eReaders out there hits a critical mass, and with the new wave of cheapo devices like the Kobo reader that is going to be sooner rather than later, authors are going to realize that they are better off self-publishing ebooks only than sharing their sales receipts with a publishing house.

And the first time someone like Stephen King or John Grisham kicks their publisher to curb and sells millions of ecopies of a new book for $4.99 and gets to keep $4.00 of each sale for themselves instead of the 50 cents they'd get for each paperback sold, then it's over for the publishing houses.

And then it's over for the publishing houses, and then it's over for paper because there won't be anyone left who can print books any more.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:42 AM   #50
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I would never buy another novel in paper format again if I could get it as an ebook. However I don't think I'd want to buy my embroidery books and knitting books in eversion even if colour was available.

Yes, small b/w ereaders are getting cheaper and more available but for complex texts you something more more expensive. I get a Xstitch magazine in eformat every month ....but if I want to use a pattern I print it out.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:58 AM   #51
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At the moment, this is only a question because both media are being sold. But as ebooks become more widespread, you will see more publishers opting for e-only publication, if for no other reason than that they can't afford the paper process.

So... when the book you want is available in e, but not on paper... will you refuse to buy it? This is a question which, in reverse, is already being answered by ebook readers: Given the choice of a book on paper, or none at all, many readers are putting their wallets back into their pockets, and saying, "Call me when the ebook comes out." (I have been doing this... I haven't bought a paper book in at least 3 years.)
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:07 AM   #52
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Also, those same statistics show that eBooks are about $6.25 less expensive on average then pBooks.
I think this is a bogus stat.
I'm guess what it actually says is that the eBook of a new release is $6.25 less than the hardback.
Not $6.25 cheaper than the paperback version, and certainly not cheaper than picking up books in second-hand shops, which is where most of the books I buy come from, and which is a non-existent market for eBooks.
What proportion of peoples' book purchases are full-price hardbacks? For me it is zero.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:20 AM   #53
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I think this is a bogus stat.
I wonder, myself, if this statistic may be skewed by the fact that not all print books are made into ebooks, whether ebooks are being compared to hardbacks or paperback versions of the same book, etc. At any rate, it's a figure that essentially means little. And we won't even go into the "statistic" based on peoples' claims that they will buy p or e books... only actual sales matter.

Like I said... smoke and mirrors from Book Expo.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:22 PM   #54
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Staistics from BISG's Survey of Consumer Attitudes towards eBooks

Quote:
Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
I think this is a bogus stat.
I'm guess what it actually says is that the eBook of a new release is $6.25 less than the hardback.
Not $6.25 cheaper than the paperback version, and certainly not cheaper than picking up books in second-hand shops, which is where most of the books I buy come from, and which is a non-existent market for eBooks.
What proportion of peoples' book purchases are full-price hardbacks? For me it is zero.
Dear murraypaul:

I am not arguing. Sometimes I do not see this difference either. The statistics are from BISG's Survey of Consumer Attitudes Toward eBook Reading in 2009. The sample size was 40,000 people and the confidence level was 95%.

I published every statistic they gave out at Book Expo America on my blog: www.robertbEZ.blogspot.com.

I agree that sometimes I also do not see such a difference. However, I know that in my eBook Store we have a ton of novels by Independent Authors and Publishers (in addition to 400,000 "pay" titles and 1 MILLION Google Free eBooks) and a lot of their novels in eBook format (EPUB) run $1.99-$4.99. In paperback they would be $9.99.

Also, I have done some studying on Paper Mill Sludge (which comes from bleaching paper pulp white) and its 32 known carcinogens. The inevitable outcome is far stricter standards now and that means white paper prices are going up!
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:27 PM   #55
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At the moment, this is only a question because both media are being sold. But as ebooks become more widespread, you will see more publishers opting for e-only publication, if for no other reason than that they can't afford the paper process.
But then what's the publisher's role in the process? What do they bring to the table that couldn't be done by an author alone (or by an author and some people that he hires to do things like edit and artwork)?
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:29 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamsterRage View Post
But then what's the publisher's role in the process? What do they bring to the table that couldn't be done by an author alone (or by an author and some people that he hires to do things like edit and artwork)?
Any publisher whose only role is paper-wrangling needs to find another business. Pubs can still evaluate texts, provide editing services, and broker distribution and costs with vendors.

And yes, an indie author can do all of that if they want to. The question is, are they as good as the publisher, and do they have the time to do all those things? Publishers should be selling themselves as sources of convenience, quality and access to distributors. This just means they get out of the pulp-handling part of their job.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:45 PM   #57
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Pubs can still evaluate texts, provide editing services, and broker distribution and costs with vendors.
I see most of those as aspects of paper publishing:

Evaluate texts? Why? Because getting form raw manuscript to thousands of shipped paper books on store shelves is expense, and shelf space is limited. So they need a gatekeeper to prevent them from wasting money on books they predict will not make a profit.

Provide editing services? Yes you still need this with ebooks. The difference is that the publishers provide this service on spec, assuming that they'll recover the cost from the sales. But at the end of day, it's still one person reading the manuscript and recommending changes and does not require the resources of a giant corporation to get the job done.

Broker distribution and costs with vendors? Technically, there's no distribution as such. I'd imagine that in a few years every ebook seller on the web will have established procedures that make it trivial for any author to get their books available for purchase.

I'm surprised you didn't mention artwork, marketing and advertising. Those are things I that giant corporations are good at, and might be a struggle for authors to go alone. On the other hand, in the world of ebooks the role of artwork is probably going to shrink.

The question that I have is whether any publisher is going to be able to take a big enough cut to stay in business when their monopoly on production of the final product is removed? I can see a new kind of business cropping up, an author services company that contracts to the author to handle editing, artwork and advertising - probably for a fee up front and maybe with a small percentage on the sales.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:06 PM   #58
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1.) they need it bigger
as well as every player wouldn't like their SF or Fantasy books in A4 rulebooks smaller than that are not comfortable.

2.) they keep more books than one open and in use. altough todays reader offer to reopen the last closed items on the last place it isn't enough, because of the mexed usage mode: as a read-continously and a lookup-only medium
conclusion: the reader would need a very fast and efficient bookmark method + an equivalent of tabbed switching between multiple books at once.
The second issue is probably the bigger one. Gamers can deal with odd size problems, and gaming publishing companies, if there were demand, would make ~A5-sized ebooks, which would look okay on 6" e-ink screens.

The ability to flip back & forth quickly is more important, and is what makes gaming ebooks novelties rather than active resources in most games. Can't keep three different books open to certain pages; can't flip back and forth between "the skills chart" and "the damage-from-falling chart" unless these are permanently bookmarked, and next game, you need different charts.

It'll be a while before ebooks work well for reference books; almost all the tech development has been aimed at linear reading ability. (And this is reasonable; tabbed multi-page accessibility didn't come quickly to the internet, either.) But until ebooks can work for RPG players, mechanics looking up car parts & assembly instructions, cooks, and grad students who need academic references, they'll remain a niche entertainment market instead of a replacement for paper books.

I think they'll get there, but it'll take longer than some proponents think. That they excellently fill the niche for novels doesn't make them any competition for magazines, encyclopedia, hobby books, or professional reference works.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:49 PM   #59
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Quote:
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I'm surprised you didn't mention artwork, marketing and advertising. Those are things I that giant corporations are good at, and might be a struggle for authors to go alone. On the other hand, in the world of ebooks the role of artwork is probably going to shrink.
An oversight on my part, but yes, it would be included in a publisher's services.

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The question that I have is whether any publisher is going to be able to take a big enough cut to stay in business when their monopoly on production of the final product is removed? I can see a new kind of business cropping up, an author services company that contracts to the author to handle editing, artwork and advertising - probably for a fee up front and maybe with a small percentage on the sales.
Publishers clearly have their jobs cut out for them to handle this sea-change in the way they do business. It's up to them whether they want to make the effort, or take down their shingles and go home.
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:56 PM   #60
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If all printed books disappeared with just e-books available, wont the prices for e-books just increase since it will be the only option available?

At the moment we have choices: hardcover, ebook, paperback, library, used bookseller, garage sales, borrowing from others, etc.
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