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Old 08-16-2018, 08:46 PM   #136
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She'd have to have some awfully good ocr software for the scans to be very useful at all.
Or a lot of time on her hand. Foregoing OCR completely, then typing a book can be done in a week or two if you dedicate enough time on it. I have done it myself, and yes it took longer than 2 weeks. That was due to doing it on top of a 50-60 hour work per week.
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:51 PM   #137
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I wonder how big of a demographic you represent, myself. I would guess it's pretty small, but I freely admit I have little evidence to base that assumption on.

....

Would you expect book sellers to drastically discount the price of new physical books (of old titles) merely because you already own a copy? What if someone stole some of the books you've got sitting on your shelf? Would your $1.99 - $2.99 price-ceiling for the ebook versions increase to be able to replace your lost books? I'm not being a smart-aleck--I'm genuinely curious.
I'm one of those who is slowly acquiring ebook copies of my physical books as they go on sale. I certainly don't think that I have a *right* to cheap replacements but I also don't think that I can justify spending full price for my preferred format when our paper copies are still available for reading.

When I've lost paper books, I've made my purchasing decisions based on how badly I want them replaced. If they were favorites then I've paid full price, if they were second rank books then I waited for a sale or bought a cheap used copy. There have been times when I've waited a few years for a sale and then bought full price because my desire to reread the book overcame my reluctance to spend that much money. [It's amazing how my library can have so many books but not the ones I want to (re)read.]
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:51 PM   #138
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I'm one of those who is slowly acquiring ebook copies of my physical books as they go on sale. I certainly don't think that I have a *right* to cheap replacements but I also don't think that I can justify spending full price for my preferred format when our paper copies are still available for reading.
I have no problem with that. Everyone has their own justification levels and personal expense limits. I just think that some people do tend to see their own expenditure limits (replacement or otherwise) as a reason to believe that ebooks are priced definitively "too high." You don't seem like you have that affliction.

I too, think $12.99 - $16.99 is too high to pay for a book I already own a readable copy of. The difference is: I can't personally justify re-buying a book I already own a readable copy of at ANY price. But at the same time, I don't think $12.99 - $16.99 is too high a price to pay for a book I don't own, haven't read--and want to.

People are looking for sales and promotions to replace their paper libraries with electronic ones. I get that. It's a wise thing to do. I'd do the same thing if I had any interest in replacing my existing paper books. But I don't. And unfortunately for many who do, I think publishers are always going to charge as much for their ebooks as a person who's never owned or read the book (and wants to) is willing pay. Why wouldn't they?

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Old 08-17-2018, 02:26 PM   #139
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I think publishers are always going to charge as much for their ebooks as a person who's never owned or read the book (and wants to) is willing pay. Why wouldn't they?
To increase profits by making sales to people who require lower price points.

One of the main points in dispute is whether reducing prices would result in higher profits. Amazon claims to have evidence that it would.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:40 PM   #140
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To increase profits by making sales to people who require lower price points.

One of the main points in dispute is whether reducing prices would result in higher profits. Amazon claims to have evidence that it would.
Certainly. And Amazon is probably right. But there are many people out there holding on to the idea that ebooks aren't worth more than buck or two.

Even Amazon is probably not going to sell ebooks at price (continuously) that will satisfy people who are looking to replace books they already own readable copies of (outside of promotions and sales). If they (Amazon) could name their own price again, they might be willing to let certain books (best selling NYT books) go for $10-13, but I didn't think we were talking about a couple of bucks here or there. Nobody's ever going to sell trad-pubbed ebooks at their print counterparts' bottom-of-the-box-at-the-fleamarket price. Which is more in keeping with the $2-$3 price the OP of this thread was suggesting ebooks were worth (and the price that those who are looking to convert existing paper libraries suggested they would "bite" on).

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Old 08-17-2018, 05:23 PM   #141
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I'm one of those who is slowly acquiring ebook copies of my physical books as they go on sale. I certainly don't think that I have a *right* to cheap replacements but I also don't think that I can justify spending full price for my preferred format when our paper copies are still available for reading.

When I've lost paper books, I've made my purchasing decisions based on how badly I want them replaced. If they were favorites then I've paid full price, if they were second rank books then I waited for a sale or bought a cheap used copy. There have been times when I've waited a few years for a sale and then bought full price because my desire to reread the book overcame my reluctance to spend that much money. [It's amazing how my library can have so many books but not the ones I want to (re)read.]
Thank you, you expressed this sentiment better than I did. This is exactly right - I don't regard inexpensive ebooks as any kind of 'right'. I just have a price point (depending on the book) where I'm willing to make a purchase.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:11 PM   #142
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To increase profits by making sales to people who require lower price points.

One of the main points in dispute is whether reducing prices would result in higher profits. Amazon claims to have evidence that it would.
Yep. The problem here is that Amazon showed that everyone could make a profit when new release, top-tier eBooks sold for $10. So that price kind of became the "norm." Then Apple and the Big Six colluded — Jobs specifically said he would force prices up when he released the iPad. People don't forget that.

So what's the result? Top-tier authors' books sell for more, but folks like me now borrow them from the library rather than buying them. What should be more worrisome for the Big Five is that more and more authors are becoming independent or going to non-traditional publishers. And this is not just new authors, but mid-tier authors as well. I'm guessing this is happening because eBook buyers balk at buying "so-so" authors' books at top dollar and these authors become less valuable to the Big Five. Meanwhile the mid-tier and new authors make more money with the new methods.

I guess we'll see how it all shakes out. Dinosaurs have gone extinct before.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:59 PM   #143
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Keep in mind that Amazon never did sell ALL new-release, top-tier ebooks for $9.99.

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Old 08-17-2018, 08:47 PM   #144
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I never think of Amazon as the loss leader. Whenever I think of the "good old days" for eBook prices, it was Fictionwise's regular deals and rebates that I think of.
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Old 08-17-2018, 08:59 PM   #145
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I never think of Amazon as the loss leader. Whenever I think of the "good old days" for eBook prices, it was Fictionwise's regular deals and rebates that I think of.
Same here. The $9.99 "good old days" for Amazon were usually limited to a subset of the NYT bestseller list anyway. My tastes don't run that way. So I rarely got to enjoy the $9.99 price point. I was typically paying $12-$15 for new release ebooks from Amazon even before agency. Unless you read exclusively from the NYT bestseller list, places like Fictionwise almost always had better deals/rebates.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:09 PM   #146
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And unfortunately for many who do, I think publishers are always going to charge as much for their ebooks as a person who's never owned or read the book (and wants to) is willing pay. Why wouldn't they?
I believe Indie ebook pricing for fiction is an accurate indication of the correct pricing of all fiction ebooks if protecting the market for paper books is not a consideration. Of course it is unrealistic to expect publishers who are heavily invested in the paper book market to price without regard to that market. Effectively we have Indies who don't care very much about anything but the ebook. Where offered paper books are usually printed on demand and are priced the same or even more than traditional paper books. In a sense the paper book to Indies is ancillary to the ebook, whilst the reverse is true of the Big 5 and some other traditional publishers.

And, of course, the back-list is overwhelmingly dominated by traditional publishers. Why wouldn't they is indeed the question. The overall market will eventually decide whether there is a compelling answer.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:32 PM   #147
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I believe Indie ebook pricing for fiction is an accurate indication of the correct pricing of all fiction ebooks if protecting the market for paper books is not a consideration.
I find your terminology a bit odd. There is no "correct" pricing. There is the price enough people will pay. Nor do I place much stock in the notion of "protecting the market for paper books" anymore. The prices (from the Big 5/6) are nearly the same as they always have been since long before "propping up paper" became a thing. Ebooks were expensive before publishers ever became worried that people might actually want to buy them.

There are clearly enough people who value ebooks enough to support the Big 5's current pricing of them in my opinion. It's that simple for me. If there weren't, the prices would change. They may be bullheaded, but they're not stupid. They don't want to NOT make money on ebooks in order to prop up paper. They simply want to continue to make money on both. And it seems the market is allowing them to do so.

There may be a bit of a "centering" of ebook pricing over the years between indie pricing and tradpub pricing, but the current indie pricing of ebooks is never going to be the "norm" (no matter what happens on the paper side of the business) in my opinion. The ebook price is always going to very close to a title's paper counterpart's price (so long as it has a paper counterpart). As it should be, in my opinion.

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Old 08-17-2018, 11:50 PM   #148
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I find your terminology a bit odd. There is no "correct" pricing. There is the price enough people will pay. Nor do I place much stock in the notion of "protecting the market for paper books" anymore. The prices (from the Big 5/6) are nearly the same as they always have been since long before "propping up paper" became a thing. Ebooks were expensive before publishers ever became worried that people might actually want to buy them.

There are clearly enough people who value ebooks enough to support the Big 5's current pricing of them in my opinion. It's that simple for me. If there weren't, the prices would change. They may be bullheaded, but they're not stupid. They don't want to NOT make money on ebooks in order to prop up paper. They simply want to continue to make money on both. And it seems the market is allowing them to do so.

There may be a bit of a "centering" of ebook pricing over the years between indie pricing and tradpub pricing, but the current indie pricing of ebooks is never going to be the "norm" (no matter what happens on the paper side of the business) in my opinion. The ebook price is always going to very close to a title's paper counterpart's price (so long as it has a paper counterpart). As it should be, in my opinion.
By correct pricing I mean the price at which overall profit is maximised. If you publish only an ebook edition you need be concerned only in finding the correct price point to maximise the overall profits on the sale of that ebook. Adding a pod edition as ancillary makes little if any difference in this scenario. It is just icing on the cake so to speak. However, when you publish various editions of a paper book plus an ebook the price considerations are far more complex. The Big 5 and their predecessors had a wonderful business model where they effectively controlled the entire distribution system unhampered by retail competition. They maximised their profit by way of a beautifully tailored system of distribution with an initial super-profitable hard cover edition first followed by successive releases usually ending in a mass market paperback. EBooks were not of any initial concern since the demand was low and the prices set very high.

It is uncontroversial that there are many people who are very content with Big 5 ebook prices and believe them to be good value. I don't share that opinion but there are very many who do. It's something which quite surprised me in the Mobileread Poll conducted on the issue, but it is nevertheless a fact. There are also people who don't think those prices are good value but are prepared to pay them anyway. I don't expect this to change in the short term. But it does seem clear that Big 5 ebook prices are at a sufficiently high level for their market share of a still growing ebook market to be declining. It is a problem that they will increasingly need to address as time passes. Another major issue for the Big 5 which I expect will cause them increasing problems is attracting new authors as their old mega-sellers cease to write. They will need to pay more for their books and I suspect fewer authors will be prepared to effectively assign copyright for the whole of its duration.

Big 5 prices will adjust, but not overnight. It is probably fair to say that they are experimenting at the moment. They are sacrificing sales of very profitable ebooks with their present pricing. Their present policy remains profitable but to what extent could it be more profitable? Is it worth losing some ebook market share to preserve and profit from paper sales? Publishers are relatively new to agency and setting retail prices, and I think some experimentation is going on. They are also relatively new to retail competition.

I don't agree that ebook prices should be very close to print book prices. Whilst the cost of printing and distributing a traditional print book is probably much less than many people believe, it does exist. And, unlike a print book, the marginal cost of producing ebooks is negligible. People know this. To some extent it is intuitive. I too value an ebook more and am not really any longer interested in buying print books. Translating this to terms of price, I value a print book at close to zero. But this doesn't mean that I am prepared to pay what I consider to be an unreasonably high price for an ebook. Since I value reading so highly if there was no alternative I may reluctantly pay the higher price, as I used to do as a child (with my parents money). This is what often happens with a monopoly (or in this case an oligopoly). Fortunately the Indie market now represents an alternative which I take advantage of. As well as libraries and sales and simply waiting for prices to come down.

Unfortunately my crystal ball is somewhat cloudy. The Big 5 must ultimately adjust to this new world of competition. Their current pricing may well not be optimal, but it remains profitable. It's continuing profitability depends on a number of factors, a major one being the level of continuing demand for print books. Contrary to the predictions of some, the ebook has not killed the print book and I don't see it doing so any time soon and probably never completely. But will ebook market share ever reach a level where print book sales are irrelevant to setting prices?

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Old 08-18-2018, 01:44 AM   #149
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Same here. The $9.99 "good old days" for Amazon were usually limited to a subset of the NYT bestseller list anyway. My tastes don't run that way. So I rarely got to enjoy the $9.99 price point. I was typically paying $12-$15 for new release ebooks from Amazon even before agency. Unless you read exclusively from the NYT bestseller list, places like Fictionwise almost always had better deals/rebates.
And eight years later prices are still generally in the $12-$15 range. If we factor inflation (and we must), prices for such books would be $13.94-$17.43 today. This means the Big 5 list prices have actually decreased when the US CPI is considered.

I used DiapDealer's join date of January 2010 as a starting point. If we go back to 2007 the prices would be $14.93-$18.66.
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Old 08-18-2018, 04:04 AM   #150
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And eight years later prices are still generally in the $12-$15 range. If we factor inflation (and we must), prices for such books would be $13.94-$17.43 today. This means the Big 5 list prices have actually decreased when the US CPI is considered.

I used DiapDealer's join date of January 2010 as a starting point. If we go back to 2007 the prices would be $14.93-$18.66.
It's amazing what even a little bit of competition can do. When it is introduced to a market dominated by an oligopoly where there has been no competition at all it is like a breath or fresh air. And it's early days yet!
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