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Old 01-18-2019, 12:30 AM   #481
DNSB
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Originally Posted by darryl View Post
Also, the contract described seems to be outside the norm, or some other relevant terms not discussed. It was as I understand it normal for such contracts to provide for either no royalties or much reduced royalties if books were sold at a discount. Certainly this was the case with deep discounts. I'm sure the contract described would have some provision to ensure that the publisher is not paying royalties in respect of heavily discounted sales.
There were quite a few modifiers in the contract but I am not a lawyer and just took a quick scan. Copies sent out to reviewers, donated to various groups, etc. which were not considered as sales did not pay a royalty. There may have been a clause covering copies which were remaindered but that I don't remember. What I remember looking at was the payment for copies which were shipped to retailers (shipped might not be quite the right term for ebooks ) and sold and that was simply based on the number of sales with no consideration as to the retail pricing.
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Old 01-18-2019, 12:40 AM   #482
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Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
Setting a higher price is often not the way to maximize profits. You need to balance the profits per sale against the number of sales. Takes me back to being forced to sit in on discussions about revenue vs. profits, profit maximization, pretty curves on graphs showing profits vs sales with the later 3D graphs trying to handle multiple variables including one memorable one that I thought looked like an attempt at a 3D Mandelbrot bug.
Of course not. In current Indie publishing, ebooks are the principal format. Where print books are made available, they are ancillary to ebooks. I would suggest to you that when Amazon or their authors are setting prices, the effect of such prices on sales of paper books are simply irrelevant. On the other hand, the Big 5 are focused on paper books, where they have substantial control between them of the publishing and distribution infrastructure. Distribution of ebooks, at least in the US, is dominated by Amazon. The Big 5 lost the advantage it would have had in ebooks long ago, ceding dominance to Amazon, much as the music industry did with Apple and the Movie Industry did with Netflix. It was the so-called innovator's dilemma in action, and like most incumbents they failed the challenge and must now deal with the consequences. In these circumstances it would be remarkably stupid for them now to ignore the likely effect of ebooks on print book sales. And whatever other defects the Big 5 may suffer from, stupidity is not one of them. If they were going to do this the time to do so has long passed. The effect of ebooks on print book sales is arguably the most dominant factor for the Big 5 in setting prices for their ebooks.

Indies try to price to maximise returns on ebook sales. The Big 5 should be pricing to maximise returns on combined print and ebook sales. They are obviously taking the view, rightly or wrongly, that pricing even close to Indies will have a very significant impact on their print book business. Certainly their high pricing of ebooks as compared to Indies is losing them a lot of ebook sales.

Last edited by darryl; 01-18-2019 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:28 AM   #483
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Originally Posted by barryem View Post
Whether you think it's reasonable to compare prices of ebooks and paper books or not, I'm sure you're aware that many people do make this comparison. That's what this discussion and a LOT of earlier discussions are about. People think that way even if you think that's not reasonable.

On Amazon's page for a book someone is looking at if people see the price of the ebook is higher than the price of the paper book, and Amazon, who is supposed to know how their customers think and feel, has the paper book cheaper than the ebook, that's bad marketing. That's what I'm saying. It's dumb.

Again, I realize that in a capitalist society cost doesn't necessarily dictate price. But when a customer does something like this they're giving their customers a bad feeling about them. They aren't generating trust.

I realize that in most cases this is the publishers doing. Amazon doesn't set the prices. But it's happening and it's very foolish marketing.

I'm not saying it's dishonest. I'm saying it gives the impression of dishonesty and that's nearly as bad. I'm not saying publishers don't have the right to do this. They do. But they're hurting themselves when they do it.

Barry

I agree 100%. Yes, there are people who have a strong preference for one format or another, but there are also plenty of people who will read either format happily...I'm one of them. I think this is especially apparent with backlist books. If I discover a series or author that I want to catch up with, the ebook and new book are not only in competition with each other, but they're also competing with used copies both local and online. Why the heck would I spend $8.99 for a 15-20 year old book when I can probably get a used copy for two bucks? But at two bucks (or more likely $1.99) I'll make an impulse purchase for an ebook by an author I enjoy.

Take Watership Down - published in 1972, the Kindle version is $13.99. But I could walk into any used bookstore and probably find a half dozen copies for cheap. It might even be in the quarter bin. It would take a REALLY strong preference for ebooks to make me ignore the difference in price.

Barry is right - it's not immoral or anything, they can price the books they own for whatever they want. But it's really stupid marketing.
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Old 01-18-2019, 06:20 AM   #484
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Originally Posted by GlennD View Post
Barry is right - it's not immoral or anything, they can price the books they own for whatever they want. But it's really stupid marketing.
No, he's not right. It may not work for the minority of customers who are hyper price-sensitive, but it's not stupid. It's just something that doesn't work for you.

Also... if you happily buy/read either format based on price, I have no beef with you comparing their prices. Makes perfect sense. I mainly take issue with those who refuse to buy the paper format who compare them. You only compare the prices of similar items if you're willing to buy either one.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-18-2019 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:14 AM   #485
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barryem View Post
On Amazon's page for a book someone is looking at if people see the price of the ebook is higher than the price of the paper book, and Amazon, who is supposed to know how their customers think and feel, has the paper book cheaper than the ebook, that's bad marketing. That's what I'm saying. It's dumb.
Actually it's very smart to have them side by side. That way those who think the ebook is overpriced, who will buy either format, have the opportunity to buy the paper book right there, and Amazon don't lose a sale.

And as you say yourself often, very often with the higher priced books, it's the publisher setting the prices not Amazon.

It's only bad marketing if Amazon are trying to promote ebooks per se. They're not, they just want to sell stuff.
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Old 01-18-2019, 09:18 AM   #486
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Na I don't like pirating things. If I can't get something at the price I think is reasonable or if it isn't available at all, then I just won't get it! Applies to movies, ebooks, games, music, etc.
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Old 01-18-2019, 11:30 AM   #487
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
Setting a higher price is often not the way to maximize profits. You need to balance the profits per sale against the number of sales. Takes me back to being forced to sit in on discussions about revenue vs. profits, profit maximization, pretty curves on graphs showing profits vs sales with the later 3D graphs trying to handle multiple variables including one memorable one that I thought looked like an attempt at a 3D Mandelbrot bug.
I wasn't talking about maximizing profits. A private company (including Indie, Inc) can optimize total profits all they want and that should be their priority. A public company also needs to make the shareholders happy. Maximizing profit and profit margin at the same time doesn't usually work. And it is obvious that the Big 5 are not interested in maximizing total profits for ebooks. Is that a smart decision? It is definitely a good thing for Indies that happily took over what the Big 5 (for whatever reason) weren't going to occupy.
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:35 PM   #488
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I rarely buy Big 5 agency titles, not now because of any boycott, as was the case when the price fixing conspiracy was in operation. Simply because they can't compete with Indies at the prices they set. Big 5 ebooks should be priced competitively with Indie ebooks. When I see an ebook priced close to the print book price my conclusion is usually that the ebook has been priced so as to protect prospective sales of the print book. Because print books are ancillary to ebooks in the Indie world, and prices are set by the market with little if any regard to prospective print book sales.
[Bold mine]

The Big 5 do have sales. You can list those publisher's books on ereaderiq or luzme and wait until the price drops.

I purchased 17 Big 5 titles last year and the average price was $2.89 which I consider very competitive with indies. Truthfully, I can afford full retail but I have such a large TBR list I can wait until there is a sale. Or if I'm anxious to read something (usually next in series) I buy the ebook without looking at paperback prices since I'm not interested in paper books. Their prices don't factor into my ebook purchases.
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