Hi guys from a new arrival...
I too am astonished at the short term attitude of these publishers and this is what I posted on this topic to Teleread last week:
I am the new owner of an iPhone and have been searching for ebooks over the last two weeks to read on it. I am completely flummoxed at the pricing of ebooks and to add to that I am repeatedly coming across current newly published books where the ebook is significantly MORE EXPENSIVE than the paperback version !
What on earth is going on ? I am a capitalist and a commercial director of a hitec business. I believe in profit and as a wanna-be writer I also believe that writers must earn a fair shake.
Let’s get real guys. The retail price of a book includes a significant percentage that goes to the shop owner, to cover his profits, his staff wages, his light and heat and his rent, and also to the distributor(s) in the chain between publisher and seller. This percentage is usually in excess of 60%.
I see parallels here with the ‘head in the sand’ music industry that has been and will, deservedly, continue to bleed income to copiers. I see the same blind effort to screw as much money out of the readers before the inevitable explosion of e-reading occurs and before the parallel explosion of hackers who will start distributing these books free on torrent sites happens.
Is there no one in the publishing industry who can lift their head up and see the big picture ? High prices are suppressing the whole development of market. One might almost think that the publishers are PURPOSELY trying to suppress the ebook market because they feel they are making bigger profits from paper books - and it is supporting the millions of corners books shops. This would be fine - if it were not for the fact that there is an inevitable momentum in the progression from paper to ebooks. It is as strong a momentum as from Vinyl to CDs to MP3s. It cannot be stopped. It CANNOT be stopped.
Whether is be reading on the Kindle, the Sony ebook reader or on mobile phones such as my iPhone. This is the future (no not 100%, there will always be a market for paper books, but I see an 80:20 mix 20 years down the road). So the sooner the publishers get their head around this future marketing model the better.
Average decent people do not want to waste their precious and valuable time searching for illegal copies of books any more than they want to do it for their music. They have a natural tendency to want to pay a fair price. The music industry are still driving ordinary people in their millions to illegal download sites because of their crazy prices and complete lack of awareness of the ‘added value’ principle.
If the publishing business goes the same route then they will find that the same thing will happen to them. Ordinary people are not stupid and if the publishers fail to wake up in time they discover a huge portion of their readers will be subscribing to torrent sites, and they will be fighting a rear guard action they will inevitably lose.
Publishers need to start now - drop prices to a sensible level, promote their writers and their own names. If they do this and pay attention to the principles of added value - they will develop a solid readership base that is happy and willing to pay reasonable prices. If they do this they will keep the torrent sites and the hackers in the shallows and will generate the maximum earnings for themselves and their writers.
I don’t mind one bit paying a FAIR price. But I am not a complete fool and willing to pay 20 dollars for a book that is available on the high street for 10 dollars.
Most ebooks of leading ‘quality’ writers should in my view be priced at between 5 to 7 dollars, with recent publishings of best sellers at 10 dollars. That is my absolutely upper limit and I believe it is MORE than fair considering there is NO PRINTING, NO DISTRIBUTING ! and very limited web based distribution. Only marketing remains and that is quite small spread over a decent readership. Non best sellers should be prices at approx. 5 dollars. Of course this is only my broad-brush view. Specialty sectors must be priced differently.
Am I holding my breath ? nope . . .