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Old 01-08-2007, 06:24 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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E-book prices need to come, says Technical Review

Wade Roush of MIT Technology Review has updated his review of the Sony Reader. Although he is still mesmerized by the sparkling beauty of the Reader's screen and its comfortable feel, he worries that the success of the hardware alone is not enough for Sony to succeed in the e-book biz.

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In fact, I doubt that e-books will be seen as a viable alternative to commercial print books until they're so cheap that their ephemerality doesn't matter to buyers. With iTunes, Apple has demonstrated that for downloadable songs and TV shows, this magic price point is $1 to $2. Because reading an e-book is so different from reading a print book, e-books aren't directly comparable to downloadable songs, which can sound just as good as CDs. Still, I'd guess the magic price point is quite low; personally, I wouldn't pay much more than $5 or $6, or about the price of a low-end paperback.
Related: Sony Reader reviewed by MIT Technology Review (11/08/2006)
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Old 01-08-2007, 12:37 PM   #2
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Hmm... this sounds quite familiar...

...although, based on his suggestion, I may be overpricing. I'm not sure where he gets $5-6 as the price of a low-end paperback (whatever that is, exactly), I'd say "low-end" is cheaper than that. Either way, I'm not sure $5 is the price point at which consumers are no longer concerned about the ephemerality of e-books.
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Old 01-08-2007, 01:01 PM   #3
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He maybe means Mass Market Paperback?
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Old 01-08-2007, 01:48 PM   #4
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I'd be happier with US$3-4, but I guess you can't even get print magazines for that anymore.
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:09 PM   #5
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Well, the point is that right now, Sony is charging too much money for these books.
No paper, almost no retail cost, this is simple math, e-books should be cheaper than books made out of dead trees.
I know that it might take some time for publishers to understand this, but they'd better get it right quickly, or else we'll end up with a WHOLE LOT of unhappy e-ink users, looking for books on p2p instead of some expensive, full of DRM books that you can't read anywhere else because of proprietary formats.
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:32 PM   #6
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$3 to $5 is the price point that did it for me.
I wouldn't think of reading an eBook until I found that Baen had them at a reasonable price (and DRM free).
It was actually the free library that hooked me. I'd downloaded a few titles into my Clie to pass the time and ran into a few authors that I liked enough to purchase the rest of a few series. it's nice to be able to get the entirety of a series now and not have to wait for shipping or drive all over town to find the one copy of book three in series x.

If I'm going to pay more than $5 I'd also like a hard copy to go with my soft copy. I read from my Clie at work and hard copies at home. It wouldn't be too much trouble to give someone access to a soft copy right away while they are waiting for their shipment to arrive.
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Old 01-08-2007, 05:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
Hmm... this sounds quite familiar...

...although, based on his suggestion, I may be overpricing. I'm not sure where he gets $5-6 as the price of a low-end paperback (whatever that is, exactly), I'd say "low-end" is cheaper than that. Either way, I'm not sure $5 is the price point at which consumers are no longer concerned about the ephemerality of e-books.
Steve...you write directly to an e-readership. It's not like an added market for an already published paper book! You don't deal in big numbers like they do so you're entitled to the prices you ask for. It's the same with me when I do cabinets. I can't compete with big outfits, I'm always overpriced. Don't worry about it they're talking of a different market, not an artisan's.
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