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Old 12-26-2007, 02:51 PM   #7
delphidb96
Wizard
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Posts: 2,999
Karma: 300001
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Citrus Heights, California
Device: TWO Kindle 2s, one each Bookeen Cybook Gen3, Sony PRS-500, Axim X51V
Quote:
Originally Posted by hogleg View Post
Thats 30 hours of work, an average of one a night for a month. Writing is really less than half the work. Revisions, publishing prep, maps, research, and whatnot take at least that long.

I really dont see where you disagree. I think the fault lies squarely in the publishers treating eBooks as if they are printed books. They require a completely different sales and distribution model. Paper books have to be formatted, type setting, press setup, and a minimum initial run that will cover, or almost cover, the costs of production. They have to be distributed and stored, and they need store front. They do require physical resources too. For the most part, A publisher doesn't give a shit about author's rights, because the make the money off a real product. Unless you are Stephen King and they are losing a load of money. Someone borrowing arun book has been accounted for. The print run has already accounted for that. By the time you buy it, that first print run is bought and paid for, and they have the books on inventory. They buy what they are sure they will sell, and if someone steals or borrows or checks out a book, that doesn't take food out of their mouths...they will just sell the book they have to someone else.

On the contrary, look at the kind of model you'd have with digital distribution, its more of a distribution on demand. If people steel the book, that's one more you will not sell. You have some of the human costs but nothing related to publishing, you only have to cover the original human cost and data center dis. costs. Books can be sold on demand, without the the investment up front. publishers will make up the money, they have many different fingers in many different pies, authors are at the mercy of the distribution network. Its not a justification to say that the publishers have enough different cash sources to cover the piracy, but that's the fact. As we shift more to digital mediums a rely less on print runs (printed books will never be unwanted) they will rely more on the distribution on demand models. they will have to start compensating for piracy, as with software, and the price will encourage more people to steal the books, with justifications for theft based solely on price. The ones who get hurt, the ones who rely on the sales of THAT book, are the authors.

Thats assuming they could get DRM working in an acceptable way. A lot of people like to say the wouldn't pirate it if it was otherwise available...reality shows us otherwise. They steal it because it's there.
Two things. First, if the ebook prices are low enough - and charging more than the cost of a mass-market paperback for a regular-release ebook novel is *ALWAYS* too HIGH - then there's little need for most people to 'steal' ebooks. And it isn't stealing if a person has already purchased a dead-tree version and the publisher refuses to release an ebook version. After all, it is legal to scan a book one owns into one's own computer, and downloading a copy from a free download site when one already owns a dead-tree version is morally the same thing - the person is just letting someone else make the scanning effort. (I make an exception to this in the scenario where a person 'creates' an ebook version and then sells it to others - that is clearly stealing.) And the one scenario where charging MORE than mmpb prices would make sense is where, as Baen does it, it 'pre'-releases an 'electronic' Advanced Reader Copy (eARC) of the book before the dead-tree version hits the shelves. (Having the privilege of reading several Baen editions months before the average customer can find them in the local bookstores is a thrill well-worth, in my opinion, spending $15 for the eARC. )

Second, ebooks are an excellent 'buzz' generator. Even were the publishers to break even on ebook sales due to 'pirated' copies, the word-of-mouth advertising far outweighs any 'piracy' revenue loss.

Derek
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