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Old 06-15-2010, 06:54 PM   #61
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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?
Not necessarily. If consumers can get digital files easier and cheaper, they may buy in larger quantities, and the profits for the authors/publishers can be higer than they are now (especially when the cost of printing and moving paper product is removed). Prices don't have to go up, if volume goes up.

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At the moment we have choices: hardcover, ebook, paperback, library, used bookseller, garage sales, borrowing from others, etc.
Some of these choices can be salvaged... how many depends on what kind of effective document security can be devised.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:07 PM   #62
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No.

MP3s haven't killed CDs have they?
Not yet.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:17 PM   #63
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We all thought email would kill regular mail it never happened.
Actually, the USPS has been feeling the pinch from reduced mail volume due to e-mail, IM, etc., replacing letters, which is one reason why they have been so actively pursuing the package business and raising rates so much.

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The same is true for mobile phones versus regular phones.
The percentage of people with cell phones and no landline has been rising for several years.

Changes like these don't happen overnight but do so gradually.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:22 PM   #64
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I don't know for sure, but my impression was that, just like in the music business, the author gets only a tiny cut from each unit sold and the publisher and retailer get the lion's share.

Assume that the retail markup is something like 100%, which I understand is normal for retail. So a $10 book yields $5 to the retailer, of the remaining $5 the production and transport cost probably come to $2 and then assume the publisher splits the remained evenly with the author. That's $1.50 each. I don't know, but I strongly suspect the reality is that the author gets less than that per unit sold.

Take away the retailer's split, the production costs and the publishers split and there's $8.50 of costs that aren't in an ebook. Give the on-line vendor the same cut that the publisher was getting before and the author would break even at $3.00 a sale - assuming that you don't sell 3 times as many at 1/3 the price. And at $5 a book, you're still at the same price that most used book stores would sell the book - and the author gets $3.50 a copy.

Of course it costs money to take a book from draft manuscript to final product and market it. I can't even guess how that changes the math.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:27 PM   #65
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As to the Original Post: Of course Ebooks will replace print. It is only a matter of time. If you don't believe me, reply on your typewriter. Or listen to some tunes on your Record-player/8-track/Cassette/CD/MP3 device. =)

Hey, Hamster Rage, great details there. As an author, I can tell you how much you get: My Print books give about 7 to 15% (depends on how big you are) of the cover price. So most authors get about 50 cents from each book they sell in paperback. In Ebooks, the rates are better, Big print authors get 25% of the ebook cover price, so about 2.50 on a normal book. Indies like me get 70% of books over $3 (at least from Amazon) and that is about $2 on a $3 book. Not bad, really. Ebooks cut out hordes of middle-men, but you have to do your own cover and editing.

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Old 06-15-2010, 08:30 PM   #66
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...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.
We have that psychological attachment because we grew up with it. Once following generations come out used to digital media, the psychyological attachment will die out with us.

People used to swear vinyl records were supperior to CDs. You rarely hear that anymore (and when you do, I'll guarantee it will be an older person). The same is becoming true with CDS v.s. downloads. The younger generation prefer mp3 downloads and haven't formed the attachment to CDs that we flatuent geriatrics have.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:49 PM   #67
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Hey, Hamster Rage, great details there. As an author, I can tell you how much you get: My Print books give about 7 to 15% (depends on how big you are) of the cover price. So most authors get about 50 cents from each book they sell in paperback. In Ebooks, the rates are better, Big print authors get 25% of the ebook cover price, so about 2.50 on a normal book. Indies like me get 70% of books over $3 (at least from Amazon) and that is about $2 on a $3 book. Not bad, really. Ebooks cut out hordes of middle-men, but you have to do your own cover and editing.
Holy guacamole! My $3.50 on a $5.00 ebook was bang on!

I figure that a good editor probably costs about $1500 a week, but then I'm stuck since I don't know how long it takes to edit a book. My guess is that you can get a cover designed for $500 or so.

I'm trying to think of what book marketing & advertising I've actually seen. Ads in the books section of the paper sometimes, but most of it has to be in the bookstores themselves. New releases at the front of the store and stuff like that. I'm sure the publishers pay for that placement but I don't know how it translates to on-line stores.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:09 PM   #68
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In the end, when e-books overtake paper books (and they will) will depend on economics. Unless people are voracious readers, it remains cheaper to buy (or borrow from a library) paper books, especially if people buy used or, even cheaper, buy used then trade them in when they are done with them.

The price of e-book readers needs to come down dramatically and quality and durability needs to increase (when's the last time you broke a book, rendering it unreadable, by dropping it?). People will be more likely to buy e-book readers if they are easier to read, cart around, won't break when dropped, are more reliable and are easier to use. Books don't break, have batteries, and are as simple to use as anything will ever be. E-book readers need to come close to that with the difference being offset by being cheaper and taking up less room than a library of paper books.

E-books need to become more available and publishers need to get over their copyright violation paranoia and plain old greed. Copy protection schemes in place now do not work but do drive away potential new adoptors of the new technology. Instead of trying to make e-books uncopiable, both physically and legally, attention needs to be focused on how to catch and prosecute violators. How? I don't know but the present system isn't working and is hurting everyone in the long run.

The claim by publishers that e-books are killing them is just an admission that they do not know how to profit from the new technology. Instead of fighting the eventuallity, they need to just go ahead and plan for it. Instead of bemoaning how e-books are hurting paper books sales, start scaling back paper book production and ramping up the distribution of e-books. The present factories cost money to operate, maintain, and upgrade. As a factory ages, instead of throwing more money at it, phase it out or, even better, repurpose it (Studebaker and Greyhound are still around under different names, they just saw the light and got out the car and bus business). In the long run (and, with wise planning, the short run), they stand to increase their profits.

The final stumbling block to e-books replacing is people still being attached to paper books. Part of this is the need for something tangible to hold and own. Something physically intangible as a digital file is uncomfortable. Younger people tend to be quicker to adopt new technology so that discomfort will start dying out with us flatuent geriatrics.

The time will come. How soon depends on the variables I've mentioned.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:52 PM   #69
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Not necessarily. If consumers can get digital files easier and cheaper, they may buy in larger quantities, and the profits for the authors/publishers can be higher than they are now (especially when the cost of printing and moving paper product is removed). Prices don't have to go up, if volume goes up.
I hope you're right. I see two current examples.

ATM fees. We know .. the banks know .. and studies show that it costs pennies for a cash withdrawal at a "foreign" bank's ATM. And yet they charge (at least they charge me) $2.75 per withdrawal. They can do this because I/we have limited choices to get our necessary cash.

Cell phone plans. Specifically the unlimited everything plans. I remember them cost over $100/mos. Then we had $99 then $69 now I see $50. Perhaps, even less. Lots of competition despite limited infrastructure. Profits may be squeezed but consumers benefit at least temporarily.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:52 PM   #70
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ATM fees. We know .. the banks know .. and studies show that it costs pennies for a cash withdrawal at a "foreign" bank's ATM. And yet they charge (at least they charge me) $2.75 per withdrawal. They can do this because I/we have limited choices to get our necessary cash.
They may be limited, but we do have choices. I can't remember the last time I used an ATM. I just get cash back with purchases I'm making anyway (such as groceries). Doesn't cost me a cent. If I need a larger amount, I'll go to my Credit Union and make a withdrawal, again, free. I mostly use my debit card so I don't need a lot of cash but I like to keep some on hand for just in case (and for delivered pizza; I don't like the delivery person making a rubbing of my card).
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Old 06-16-2010, 03:05 AM   #71
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They may be limited, but we do have choices. I can't remember the last time I used an ATM. I just get cash back with purchases I'm making anyway (such as groceries). Doesn't cost me a cent. If I need a larger amount, I'll go to my Credit Union and make a withdrawal, again, free. I mostly use my debit card so I don't need a lot of cash but I like to keep some on hand for just in case (and for delivered pizza; I don't like the delivery person making a rubbing of my card).
My credit union is some distance away and would cost me more in gas plus one hour of my time for the "free" withdrawal. I started using a cash back credit card wherever I go to cut down on my cash needs but sometimes as you say it cant be avoided.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:46 AM   #72
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I just don't think e-books can beat paperbacks. The smell of paper while flipping pages just feels so authentic than clicking the mouse.

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Care to elaborate on how I click the mouse on my Sony Reader PRS-505?

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Old 06-16-2010, 08:24 AM   #73
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In the end, when e-books overtake paper books (and they will) will depend on economics. Unless people are voracious readers, it remains cheaper to buy (or borrow from a library) paper books, especially if people buy used or, even cheaper, buy used then trade them in when they are done with them.

The price of e-book readers needs to come down dramatically and quality and durability needs to increase (when's the last time you broke a book, rendering it unreadable, by dropping it?). People will be more likely to buy e-book readers if they are easier to read, cart around, won't break when dropped, are more reliable and are easier to use.
The very definition of a cellphone. (With a protective case, probably). If you have one of those, you don't need a dedicated reader... something millions of people have already discovered, especially in Asia. And even if you did break it, cellphones are (usually) easily replaced, and hopefully you were smart enough to keep file backups.

Dedicated readers are, let's face it, luxury items right now, and for simply reading text, barely worth the cost and trouble. Multi-use devices are more economical, and preferred by most of the world for their utility. If you already have a multi-use device that is ebook capable, you've just removed the cost of a dedicated reader from your budget.

Point is, ebooks are already cheap to buy... especially when you consider the real costs of paper books that you will pay for later, for instance, your taxes that will go to managing landfills and cleaning the polluted air and streams from pulp manufacturing and transportation. Add convenience to the low cost, and you have a win-win that will steadily convert more readers to digital.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:43 AM   #74
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I don't think eBooks are going to replace paper books for awhile. I was looking to buy a book for the wife yesterday. The paper version was $15.95, while the ebook was $14.99. Why should I buy something for a $1 less when DRM prevents me from reading that book on anything except her Kindle 2. I have a Sony Pocket Reader and would like to read it when she finishes. Right now you can't. So far I have 117 FREE ebooks on my reader. I'm not about to pay for something I can't transfer, give to a friend or sell. Thanks, but no thanks!
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:18 AM   #75
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I just don't think e-books can beat paperbacks. The smell of paper while flipping pages just feels so authentic than clicking the mouse.

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That is a psychological conditioning from doing so when young. Younger generations won't have that problem because they will be used to "clicking the mouse."

That said, I also prefer "flipping pages" (heck, I'm 61 and have probably been doing it a lot longer than you) but I'm still cognizant that e-books just make a whole lot more sense than paper books. I'm in the process of scanning my collection of 1100 or more books so I won't have to store or physically handle the darned things. Once done, I'll probably continue to buy books (mostly used) then scan them because it still makes more economic sense (and many of the books I read aren't available in e-book form) but I'll probably read them first because I have been conditioned to having pages I can manually flip in my hot little hands.

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