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Old 07-31-2010, 04:08 PM   #1
zetareticuli
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Kindle technical books (expensive)

Guys, I bought Kindle DXG almost exclusively to read my technical PDFs. However, just out of curiosity today, I looked at some Kindle books. The books I looked at are scientific and engineering books and books on computer architecture. There is only a handful of books in Kindle format for these particular subjects. The selection of Kindle books for other subject is quite extensive in comparison. I was extremely surprised (as I had never cared to look before) at the price difference of these scientific/technical books in the Kindle format to the hardcover/softcover paper copy of these books. Only $2 - $3 US!! I was very surprised at this. Why is the difference in price so small? Shouldn't the price difference be much more pronounced? After all, the idea of electronic readers can go a long way such as reducing costs of printing, saving trees, better on the environment overall, and very important, to be able to deliver the same content at a significantly lower cost. I expected the Kindle format books to be cheaper than their paper counterpart by at least 30%. I would say 30% should be an acceptable price difference/savings in favor of the electronic version. I am very disappointed at the price difference. What is going on here?
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:19 PM   #2
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Here is an example of one of the books I have in paper form and that I refer to often for work

http://www.amazon.com/Operational-Qu...607325&sr=1-40

The difference between the Kindle and the paper version is around $30, assuming the paper version is brand new. However, you can obtain a paper copy in very good condition (used) for a very low price. This is what I am referring to. What is the motivation to buy the Kindle version from a financial perspective?
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Old 07-31-2010, 04:55 PM   #3
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This a sore spot among many of us who read ebooks. The situation you describe is not limited to Amazon or to technical books. The other major bookstores also have ebooks of various genres priced at or above paperback, and in some cases, hardback prices. For books that were published in print before ebooks became popular, I can buy into the theory that the books need to be retyped (or scanned) into a document design program and published anew as an ebook. But for books that are currently hitting the bookshelves in brick and mortar stores the electronic files already exist. Someone needs to explain to the publishers a concept called single sourcing wherein the text is stored in a database and can be exported to various formats for printing and/or for creating digital editions. With single sourcing, spell checking, grammar checking, and general content editing need only be done once. Formatting will be required for each different addition.

Ebooks are still in their infancy and I guess it will take a long time before publishers figure out how to economically create both printed and digital editions from the same source files.

You are absolutely correct that ebooks in theory should be cheaper to produce as there are no printing materials to buy, no printing production costs, no shipping costs, etc. The overhead costs should be considerably lower for ebooks. However, I'm sure publishers worry that ebook sales will undermine printed book sales if the prices for ebooks are way below those for their printed counterparts. I'm no economist so I cannot speculate on whether that is a valid concern. But I think if they crunch the numbers and find out how much it costs to produce an ebook and add to that the profit they wish to make, the costs of ebooks could be cheaper than they are.

Another problem that haunts ebooks is that publishers don't seem to edit them very well. You see a lot of typos in ebooks. This is mostly in ebooks that are produced long after the printed editions were released and thus require re-entering or reconstructing the text. Publishers often use OCR programs, but fail to adequately edit the results.

BTW, when I use the term "publishers" I'm not referring to Amazon, Sony, Barnes and Nobles, etc. Those are book sellers. I'm referring to the publishing houses like Penguin, Oxford Press, Harper Collins, etc.

Last edited by jswinden; 07-31-2010 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 07-31-2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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Interesting. Thanks. Your explanation makes perfect sense. However, this is something that must be overcome by the publishing houses. As it stands right now, I will not be buying the Kindle format of these technical books. It doesn't make sense. I can buy a used copy of the book for 15% - 20% of the price, in many cases for 5% of the price and have a perfectly good, perfectly readable book. If I find that I don't need the book after I finish my reference, I can choose to either sell it as a used book again or donate it to public or school libraries. In most cases, I would definitely need to keep the book for future reference. It doesn't make sense for me to buy the Kindle format of the book at these prices.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:33 AM   #5
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It is a neat concept that of Kindle books and wireless delivery, start reading almost immediately, text-to-speech, etc. This does not really do anything for me, however. I have a list of 17 books that I need to buy for work projects and to use for reference material for the items I am currently working on. So I go the Amazon website and select to search the Kindle book store. I enter the names of these books one by one. Nothing. Zero. None of these books are available in Kindle format. One of such books is this one that I currently have checked out from the local university library. It would be very convenient to have this book in Kindle format. The paper copy is heavy and difficult to read comfortably.

http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Lattic...0752097&sr=1-1

I'm realizing more and more that my Kindle DXG would be strictly to read PDFs. I have searched 39 technical books in total and only 2 are available in Kindle format.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #6
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If there can be more technical books in Kindle store and the price can fall down to 60% of the paper edition(I think it is a reasonable prize). I will get a Kindle DX at once.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:47 PM   #7
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I am currently writing a non-fiction guide book with numerous photographs.... to be published as an ebook on Amazon of course.

I can tell you that the formatting of an ebook with graphs or images is much more labor intensive than just taking a word book and reformatting it. Thus to take a technical book with numerous images.... that was published five years ago and turn it into an ebook would take considerable time....... so I THINK that's part of the answer to your question.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:33 AM   #8
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yeah, formatting it specifically for the Kindle would be difficult, since you have to place it correctly. but scripts thru calibre run pretty well if you get the script down right

Formatting it as pdf/html in Safari Online is easy though... but you dont get access to that on the kindle...
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:08 AM   #9
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And I wager part of that labor would be converting graphs to be readable in some cases as well. I mean if you have a line or bar graph you have to make sure that there is enough contrast between shades of grey (on Kindle) to make things understandable and the same with a pie graph. I also imagine that's just a simple example of such formatting problems as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazer View Post
I am currently writing a non-fiction guide book with numerous photographs.... to be published as an ebook on Amazon of course.

I can tell you that the formatting of an ebook with graphs or images is much more labor intensive than just taking a word book and reformatting it. Thus to take a technical book with numerous images.... that was published five years ago and turn it into an ebook would take considerable time....... so I THINK that's part of the answer to your question.
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