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Old 03-26-2019, 08:05 PM   #16
barryem
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Unless you're a person who has to read the lastest books as they come out it's easy to buy ebooks cheaply. I get an email about sale books from Bookbub and Book Gorilla every day. Typically I'll find a book I want to read about every other day and if it's $2 I'll buy it. If it's $3 I'll think about it. Often they're just $1. Prices above $3 are uncommon and most are $2.

A lot of those are older books and that's fine with me. I just began a book published in 1990, and that's probably one of the newer books I've read this year.

We live in a world of choices. We can choose to read expensive books or we can choose to read inexpensive books. It's up to us.

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Old 03-26-2019, 08:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by barryem View Post
Unless you're a person who has to read the lastest books as they come out it's easy to buy ebooks cheaply. I get an email about sale books from Bookbub and Book Gorilla every day. Typically I'll find a book I want to read about every other day and if it's $2 I'll buy it. If it's $3 I'll think about it. Often they're just $1. Prices above $3 are uncommon and most are $2.

A lot of those are older books and that's fine with me. I just began a book published in 1990, and that's probably one of the newer books I've read this year.

We live in a world of choices. We can choose to read expensive books or we can choose to read inexpensive books. It's up to us.

Barry
All of the above only goes for you if you read in English, imo. In most other languages it's much harder or even impossible to get ebooks that cheap.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by GeoffR View Post
I think a good book at $13.99 is a bargain, but a bad book at $0.99 is massively overpriced.
And when the book is very short say at 12 pages I'm thinking it's over priced at $2.99 myself. I mean if it's that short then you are probably getting more cover image, etc. than actual content.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:03 PM   #19
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Unless you're a person who has to read the lastest books as they come out it's easy to buy ebooks cheaply. I get an email about sale books from Bookbub and Book Gorilla every day. Typically I'll find a book I want to read about every other day and if it's $2 I'll buy it. If it's $3 I'll think about it. Often they're just $1. Prices above $3 are uncommon and most are $2.

A lot of those are older books and that's fine with me. I just began a book published in 1990, and that's probably one of the newer books I've read this year.

We live in a world of choices. We can choose to read expensive books or we can choose to read inexpensive books. It's up to us.

Barry
Ah but when I buy an ebook I'm using my ink and my page (i.e. the ereader) so why should I have to pay more for the ebook version than I would if I were to buy a paper and ink version of the same book? That's the main crux of the problem for many of us I think.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:24 PM   #20
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And when the book is very short say at 12 pages I'm thinking it's over priced at $2.99 myself.
I don't normally complain about overpricing, for $2.99 for 12 pages of fiction certainly is!

These discussions rarely mention word count. But I will now.

It's pretty common for a major publisher biography to be in the range of 300,000 words.

If you look here, you'll see that the great majority of fantasy books, even including the thicker Harry Potter books, are shorter:

http://bitlather.com/blog/article/16...-fantasy-novel

Right now I'm reading The Queen Mother by William Shawcross. I can't find a word count for it, but it has to be at least four times longer than the average, or even above average, mystery. If such biographies were padded, that would be something else, but I don't believe this kind of book often is.

And if indie books were, on average, as tightly edited as those from Random House, the price per word might not be as different as is implied by these threads.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:55 PM   #21
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We've had this particular conversation here a lot. In general, consider this, would you write books if you were paid 30 cents per book that you sold?

It generally will take me 5 or 6 hours non stop reading to read a normal sized novel. Even at $15, books are a bargain from the stand point of dollars per hour of entertainment. It really doesn't matter if it's an ebook, a paperback book or a hardback book, it all takes the same amount of time to read.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:39 PM   #22
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Ah but when I buy an ebook I'm using my ink and my page (i.e. the ereader) so why should I have to pay more for the ebook version than I would if I were to buy a paper and ink version of the same book? That's the main crux of the problem for many of us I think.
The crux of many peoples' problem is their continued insistence on comparing the price of the format they want to the price of the format they don't want. Why? I don't know. If they prefer to buy/read ebooks, then it naturally follows that they might just value them more than physical books (even if they won't admit this to themselves and others). Why should anyone sell someone what they want most, for less than the price of something very similar that they don't want at all? It makes no sense to me.
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:14 AM   #23
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The crux of many peoples' problem is their continued insistence on comparing the price of the format they want to the price of the format they don't want. Why? I don't know. If they prefer to buy/read ebooks, then it naturally follows that they might just value them more than physical books (even if they won't admit this to themselves and others). Why should anyone sell someone what they want most, for less than the price of something very similar that they don't want at all? It makes no sense to me.
Why not? We do it for other things.
The price of my Nisan Leaf vs Tesla.
Rent House vs Apartment.
Hamburger vs Steak
New vs Used/refurbished
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Old 03-27-2019, 12:18 AM   #24
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I think readers like you and I, that buy books when they are on sale rather than when we are ready to read them (and therefore buy many books and have towering TBR piles) wind up with a skewed view of eBook prices.
I think you must have misunderstood me. While I certainly buy a book that sounds interesting enough when on sale or if on my list to buy when a fair price, I often buy ebooks on release ... so long as they are a fair price.

I don't see a fair price as a sale price, though sometimes they are ... when previously they have been over-priced.

In fact, for a good number of authors who have fair priced ebooks, I buy on pre-order.

I certainly don't believe I have a skewed view. People can talk about value all they want, but it is also about costs, and ebooks cost far less to produce and provide than physical ones, and I'm not on this world to feed the fat cats.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:08 AM   #25
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I don't base my book purchases on price.
That's a weird thing to say. Are you rolling in the money or something?

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I don't care what the print book price may be if I'm shopping for a digital book. I don't expect publishers to price Kindle books at a lower price than the same print books. I think that actually encourages the idea that e-books are a fad, or are somehow inferior to print books.
When I purchase something, I have to weigh up the cost, as I am sure most people do. In the case of ebooks, how do you best determine that cost? As someone who has been buying books for many decades, and who has transitioned from physical books to ebooks, it is only natural to compare the difference in cost between the two.

At the end of the day, what do you get out of a book? A story and an experience. Is that significantly different between formats? Hardly. Sure there are pros and cons to each format, but at the end of the day, it can be hard to say which is definitively better, as that is very subjective. I personally believe ebooks are better and even more importantly, the way of the future.

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Digital books offer more benefits. IMO they are worth more than paper books. I can't read paperbacks anymore, and I have trouble even with hardbound books. E-books made it possible for me to read for pleasure again.
To you it seems they are, but you are not everyone else. It can be down to a whole range of factors, including aspects of your health.

It is not just about the cost of an ebook either. There is the cost of the ereader device, and in reality that is kind of ongoing, as you cannot read without such a device (or PC if they let you), complicated by DRM in many cases. Let's not forget the cost of charging and maybe even replacing the battery etc at some point.

There are many who only read a dozen or less books a year. When you factor the cost of an ereader plus ebooks over a few years, they are not exactly cheap compared to physical books.

Sure you get benefits like adjusting font size (great if it means you can avoid wearing glasses) and lighting when dark (not as disturbing to your partner as a bedlamp etc). You also gain the benefit of saving on shelf space (though I like to see my books on display ... reminds me of a library ... now my own), so that is quite subjective, unless space is very limited (which could just be a choice). Then you get the benefit of being able to take a vast library with you wherever you go, and even access others via the web if a good possibility. I can list a bunch of other benefits, but I think I have covered the main ones.

What you lose though, is also important. If I read an ebook and I don't care much for it or just wouldn't bother to read again, I can no longer flog it off. In fact, I can not even give it away to the benefit of another, even a charity. So if that ebook cost the same or more than a paperback etc, then I have made a bigger loss compared to how it used to be. After a while that can add up to a significant sum, and it is one area in particular, where Publishers and Authors are laughing all the way to the bank ... not to forget providers like Amazon etc also benefiting. I have to treat my device with kid gloves, especially the screen, so I cannot afford to be relaxed with it, but need to stay alert ... even falling asleep in bed while reading, could be devastating. You also have to be far more careful when transporting and how you pack in a bag etc. You also need to be on the ball with batteries being charged, as how terrible if out somewhere and deep into your story and it goes flat. It is wise to have more than one device, even if it is just an ebook capable phone as backup. Extra devices cost more money, and sometimes you need to factor that in, especially if you paid an extra portion for that backup ability.

Loaning your ebook to another, while not impossible if you don't mind breaking some rules you shouldn't have to, is problematic, especially where DRM is concerned. I often shared my books with my mother and father. To do that now, they need a device and I must be a so called bad boy, and they also willing to be naughty. I am sure, that in many instances, another copy is just bought, and once again the providers etc are laughing all the way to the bank.

It is not all that uncommon for things to go wrong with both ereader or ebook. That adds a level of complexity or frustration especially for those who are not tech savvy. But even for those of us who are at times.

Unless you are using a Tablet, Phone or PC etc, you rarely see the cover in color, and once engaged in reading a story you don't see the cover at all without mucking around. I and others enjoy many of the covers.

If you lose or get your reader stolen, it is not a low cost affair.

There are many other things I could say, but I have created enough of a word wall for now, that hopefully addresses what you and some others have said.

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We all have things we buy that some find extravagant. That doesn't mean their price points are out of line. We happily pay $20+ per pound for sockeye salmon when it is available. Not everyone would "get" that.
I don't see how that is really a factor. Books are just books, not some exotic item that we need to pay more for due to rarity or high cost of production.

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Old 03-27-2019, 01:09 AM   #26
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I certainly don't believe I have a skewed view. People can talk about value all they want, but it is also about costs, and ebooks cost far less to produce and provide than physical ones, and I'm not on this world to feed the fat cats.

My understanding of the data is that an ebook, on average, costs slightly less to produce than a pbook. Not "far less". The vast majority of book production costs are not printing.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:10 AM   #27
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The book price in AU compared to that in USA.

If I buy the print version I get to own it. If I buy the ebook I get to borrow it, I don't actually 'own' it. Unless I misunderstand the whole legal thingy of ebook buying.

I have paid for an academic press book that had the ebook priced at $AU61 and the print at $AU69. I bought the print version. I now own it, I can sell it, give it away. No drm.
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Old 03-27-2019, 01:36 AM   #28
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These discussions rarely mention word count. But I will now.
The problem with word count and bang for buck, is very subjective, and publishers have been playing games with that well before ebooks came on the scene.

I am not adverse to paying more for more content. However, it can be hard to determine value based purely on word count.

How do you compare a 300 page novel compared to a 900 page one, especially where the 300 is a cracking read and the 900 a slow one?

We really have very little idea into the effort put into creating either book. Of course, some will say you can judge on quality, but is it that easy? I don't think so. Sure some books are pretty poor quality for all sorts of reasons, and you can judge them as hardly worth a cent.

The target audience is often an important factor, because it is about what you expect or want from the author or genre. It is also subjective, about how much you want things fleshed out. People are all over the place in this regard.

Take the wonderful Robert Jordan, who has sadly left us way too soon. I love his books and the complexity and level of detail and all the different threads. I lapped that up, but many hated or disliked that and their complaints are all over the web.

The creative process is such a variable thing. There is the manual labor in many instances, both in writing and researching .... sometimes the cost of travel or interrogating others. Then there are the thought processes, that are even harder to quantify.

Do some author put in more effort than others, be more diligent, take their time to be better, etc?
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:18 AM   #29
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My understanding of the data is that an ebook, on average, costs slightly less to produce than a pbook. Not "far less". The vast majority of book production costs are not printing.
Publishers are very fond of saying that is so, but it is definitely untrue, especially if you consider other factors outside of just the production ones, as you must, as they also factor in cost. You must also look at overall profit and other factors that apply ... I've already mentioned some of them.

It is true however, to say the first stage of production is no different ... the writing and editing. I guess you can say there is some extra cost for formatting concerns for different ebook formats, but that is to some degree a choice, as we are talking flowing text. If an editor or publisher decides to go fancy, that is a choice. As a fair comparison though, a physical book also takes a lot of work, when you factor in paperback, large trade and hardcover formatting. And if authors use different publishers in different countries or have multiple deals, then there can be size differences between paperbacks for instance, so I don't really buy that argument most of the time. To me they are roughly on par.

Printing costs are also part of production, and not negligible, as I am sure anyone who has ever published a book can tell you. Sure publishers get special deals for big runs, and so can reduce the cost quite a bit sometimes. But ink, glue and paper etc still account for a good portion of a book's cost. Then there is also storage and transport, and not just locally. Then there is misprints and damages and losses. Then there is the pride of place costs at stores when being displayed or shelved. Ebooks don't really have any of that, and something like a misprint can be fixed very quickly and cheaply, often using readers as the free proofreaders. Let us not forget the cost of insurance, especially for transport, but also for storage.

What about sales for unsold stock?
Profits can seriously dwindle when physical books aren't sold in a timely fashion. Staying on store shelves costs money, and transport back to the publisher is too costly and storage as well. So these sorts of books are sold, often very cheaply, which means profit for them takes a big hit, and going by the prices I have often seen, they are either making a loss or their books were making a lot of profit.

I have already mentioned that ebooks cannot be sold on or lent, but that bears looking at in detail, because it means a lot of profit to author and publisher etc ... profit they mostly missed out on previously.

I could buy a physical book, then sell it to someone, then they sell it after they have read, and that could occur a number of times. I know in AUS, that secondhand sellers (businesses) have to pay a levy to publishers and presumably authors, to cover the fact they don't make any money after the first sale. I doubt that levy gives them anywhere near the profit they now make due to more copies being sold, because people cannot resell ebooks or lend them very easily. Lending they never got any compensation for.

There are just so many advantages to the seller when selling ebooks.

I also don't buy the false argument that ebooks are devaluing books. I care about the books I read just as much as ever. What has happened though, is that Indie books are very prolific and cheap, and people who have always been suspicious of many physical book prices, are now voting with their wallets and purses. It is more about competition, than undervaluing something. It is always going to be about perceived value.

Many publishers it seems are deliberately trying to avoid competition with Indie books, by maintaining high prices and jumping on their high horse, whether it is warranted or not, about quality ... be that story telling skill or editing. People by and large are not dumb. Most of us I am sure, are prepared to pay a bit more for higher quality, providing we can afford it and it is indeed such the case.

How much extra is the question, and comparison between formats and production/providing costs for each is inevitable.

There are many other factors at play, but I think I have covered the main ones.

P.S. If there is any undervaluing going on, it is for books in general, as other forms of entertainment and media vie for our money and time. That and ease of use, which an ebook makes even better. Ease of use can be attention span related. The ebook format allows authors to produce more shorter stories or segment longer ones. Many are starting to realize this, some have realized for quite a while, the benefits.

P.S.S. Another cost that must be considered, is the time from Author to Reader. That cost can be quite significant. Printing run costs and waiting times can be considerable, as can transport times and related.

Last edited by Timboli; 03-27-2019 at 02:47 AM.
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Old 03-27-2019, 03:00 AM   #30
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When it comes to printing costs, one must also factor in artwork, especially the cover and especially color pictures on pages within.

You have the initial cost for artwork, shared by whatever format.

But color printing is a more expensive production cost than black & white.
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