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Old 08-21-2020, 08:39 AM   #16
pwalker8
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Originally Posted by barryem View Post
I'm not convinced that Amazon's pricing was predatory. They had a maximum price for most books of $9.99 but that was for ebooks, not print books. It costs less to sell ebooks than print books. The warehousing is electronic. The delivery is via the internet, which was already there. And there's the long tail issue.

Of course publishers have been explaining for years why it costs as much to sell ebooks as print books but I'm pretty sure that's just about keeping prices high. The problem for publishers is that they make less on cheaper books even if the costs are correspondingly less. 50% of $100 is less than 50% of $50. Of course 50% is my made up example percentage.

Amazon reduced prices and kept them reduced for years so the new pricing must have been realistic. If they'd done it for a few months or a year to establish themselves and put someone out of business so they could then raise prices again that would be predatory. Selling ebooks by making the price reflect real cost isn't predatory.

If anything, at least in this situation, the publishers pricing is the more predatory. That's not an accusation; just a comparison.

I don't think anyone will question that Amazon plays hardball. That's their job. They're in business to make money and they do. But predatory? I'm not convinced.

Barry
Not exactly. They sold a small selection of best sellers at $10, eating the loss since that was less than they were paying for it. It's called a loss leader. There were plenty of ebooks that cost the normal paper price during that time period.
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Old 08-21-2020, 08:51 AM   #17
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When I got my K2 in 2009, I hung around the old forums on Amazon. It was populated at times with users screeching about Amazon "promising" Kindle books would always be $9.99 or lower.

I don't know what Amazon's wording was, but I'm sure they never promised what users said. Of course, that would be a crazy high price for many books.

I wonder, and this is without any knowledge of publishing etc, if the swing will continue to borrowing programs. I can read 3-5 books in a week in a couple of the genres I like for lite reading. Even at $3-5 a book, I can't afford to buy those books, nor do I want to. KU really suits my reading style.

For books not in KU, my public library fills the bill. I don't need to buy the majority of the books I may read, and when I do want to buy a book, I can handle a $10-12 price, more for non-fiction lengthy stuff that I know took years of research to put together.

I will sometimes like a book so much I want my own copy. But this isn't the norm.

It's like music...why amass a huge library of music/books when I can borrow/stream as part of existing subscriptions? For my way of listening/reading, these options work well.
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Old 08-21-2020, 09:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Deskisamess View Post
When I got my K2 in 2009, I hung around the old forums on Amazon. It was populated at times with users screeching about Amazon "promising" Kindle books would always be $9.99 or lower.

I don't know what Amazon's wording was, but I'm sure they never promised what users said. Of course, that would be a crazy high price for many books.

I wonder, and this is without any knowledge of publishing etc, if the swing will continue to borrowing programs. I can read 3-5 books in a week in a couple of the genres I like for lite reading. Even at $3-5 a book, I can't afford to buy those books, nor do I want to. KU really suits my reading style.

For books not in KU, my public library fills the bill. I don't need to buy the majority of the books I may read, and when I do want to buy a book, I can handle a $10-12 price, more for non-fiction lengthy stuff that I know took years of research to put together.

I will sometimes like a book so much I want my own copy. But this isn't the norm.

It's like music...why amass a huge library of music/books when I can borrow/stream as part of existing subscriptions? For my way of listening/reading, these options work well.
Makes sense to me. I read a lot of library books and if Kobo Plus becomes available in the US I may consider it.
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Old 08-21-2020, 11:48 AM   #19
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Very few Indies come out with hardback books. Indies tend to publish as ebooks, then have print on demand at hardback prices for people who want paper. It can be difficult to tell what's indie and what isn't. Many indies use boutique publishers or even create their own publishing companies.
Sorry. Maybe I misread or misunderstood your meaning. Any responses to you are specifically about ebooks. Many indies don't have paper versions at all and those that do are prohibitively expensive due to smaller scale.

When we both mentioned hardbacks, I figured we were both talking about the equivilent new release window for ebooks.

My point was I don't know of too many indies that can release a new ebook and price it at $15 for the first few months of release.

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There are a number of business models out there. You have to be careful to make apples to apples comparisons. You see different pricing strategies based on the genre as well.
I was attempting that with my Joe Konrath/Peter Straub comparison. Both are popular authors with many fans. Yet neither is the level of Stephen King.

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It's not just what you want to charge, it's also what people will pay. In general, if you see a pricing model that has been consistent over a period of time, it's pretty solid evidence that the pricing model works, otherwise they would change it.
That is what happens with the indies, no doubt. But I do think you are ignoring the fact that traditional publishers have another factor they consider: supporting paperback sales.
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Old 08-21-2020, 11:51 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Deskisamess View Post
When I got my K2 in 2009, I hung around the old forums on Amazon. It was populated at times with users screeching about Amazon "promising" Kindle books would always be $9.99 or lower.

I don't know what Amazon's wording was, but I'm sure they never promised what users said. Of course, that would be a crazy high price for many books.
I seem to remember they said you could get the New York Times bestsellers for $9.99.

Only a fool would think a promise is forever.

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I can read 3-5 books in a week in a couple of the genres I like for lite reading.
I am jealous.
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Old 08-21-2020, 06:27 PM   #21
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Many indies don't have paper versions at all and those that do are prohibitively expensive due to smaller scale.

.
The first part of that is (mostly) true.
There's a variety of reasons for that. Mostly because the ex-tradpubs still have pbooks floating around the used pbook market and newcomers understand they need a bigger fanbase for pbooks to be worth jumping through the necessary hoops (And the returns requirement is too risky, even for POD.)

The second isn't, though. Sorry.

Try a flyby INGRAM'S LIGHTNING SOURCE pricing calculator.
Most any indie willing to invest a few thousand $$$ can get reasonable prices on pbooks, even *hardcover*.

https://myaccount.lightningsource.co...pingCalculator

Indie POD books don't have to be expensive, even at low volumes. But it's a harder market for unknowns to play in.

That isn't the cheapest way to go, though, merely the easiest.

DWS did a column years ago (circa 2011,) part of his THINK LIKE A PUBLISHER series, explaining how indies can do pbooks affordably. The trick is to deal with chinese (or canadian) printing shops directly. Not hard in the age of internet.

Doing that and being willing to order up a few thousand copies upfront results in per unit prices under $3 and often under $2. (Ages ago, John Grisham did that.)

The issue with pbook pricing for Indies isn't sales volume or costs prices; it's the margins inherent in print.

Getting listed on Ingram is easy, but B&M stores need to see a 40-50% discount vs list price on Ingram. And they want to see the books as returnable. That means setting a reasonable sale price (via POD or batch print) is less profitable than ebooks. The same is true for tradpub: print margins, regardless of pricing, are lower than for digital. But when they ship 10,000-15,000 titles a year all they need is for 1% to do well to break even.

Generally, indies need the fabled "thousand true fans" for print to be profitable. That is no different from tradpub that since the last decade has been dropping authors for *only* selling 30,000 copies. Indies doing that much business make a nice profit even on print. But they can make similar profits on digital only with much lower sales. So many don't boter.

Print doesn't make much sense to lower selling authors, except as one indie I saw put it: "Christmas Gift Edition".

(Some of us are curious about "how sausage is made".
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Old 08-22-2020, 05:44 PM   #22
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Sorry. Maybe I misread or misunderstood your meaning. Any responses to you are specifically about ebooks. Many indies don't have paper versions at all and those that do are prohibitively expensive due to smaller scale.

When we both mentioned hardbacks, I figured we were both talking about the equivilent new release window for ebooks.

My point was I don't know of too many indies that can release a new ebook and price it at $15 for the first few months of release.



I was attempting that with my Joe Konrath/Peter Straub comparison. Both are popular authors with many fans. Yet neither is the level of Stephen King.



That is what happens with the indies, no doubt. But I do think you are ignoring the fact that traditional publishers have another factor they consider: supporting paperback sales.
eBooks and paperbook prices are tied together in the traditional publishing world. They sell a lot more dead tree books than eBooks. So in the tradition publishing, if a book is currently out as a hard back book, then the eBook price tends to be close to that. When a book is currently out as a paper back book, then the eBook price tends to be close to that price. Indies tend to be close to the paperback price. The thing to remember is that not all traditional publisher books are first released as hardback.
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Old 08-22-2020, 10:20 PM   #23
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eBooks and paperbook prices are tied together in the traditional publishing world. They sell a lot more dead tree books than eBooks. So in the tradition publishing, if a book is currently out as a hard back book, then the eBook price tends to be close to that. When a book is currently out as a paper back book, then the eBook price tends to be close to that price. Indies tend to be close to the paperback price. The thing to remember is that not all traditional publisher books are first released as hardback.
Sounds to me like we agree that indie books are (in general) cheaper than traditional books. That ebooks published by traditional publishers cost more because the price is set to match their paperbooks.

So it seems like it would be obvious to say:
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Ah yes, the assertion that if only publishers knew how to price books, they could be selling X times what they are selling.
Yes, they probably could, if the publisher's goal was to sell as many ebooks as they could, rather than constricting ebooks sales to protect paper books.
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The fact that the indies price point for authors who write on the same basic writing schedule have drifted up to the publishers price point ...
I just haven't seen that. There might be rare examples, but it doesn't appear to be the norm.
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Old 08-23-2020, 08:13 AM   #24
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Sounds to me like we agree that indie books are (in general) cheaper than traditional books. That ebooks published by traditional publishers cost more because the price is set to match their paperbooks.

So it seems like it would be obvious to say:

Yes, they probably could, if the publisher's goal was to sell as many ebooks as they could, rather than constricting ebooks sales to protect paper books.

I just haven't seen that. There might be rare examples, but it doesn't appear to be the norm.
Mostly in agreement, but I'm saying that indies tend to come close to traditional publisher's ebooks that are priced for books that are out in paper. In general, that's a dollar or so lower than the paperback.

The publishers goal is not to sell as many books as possible and never will be, it's to make as much money as possible, just like any other business. Econ 101. Find the price point that maximizes your profits. If you set it too low, then you might sell more books, but you won't make as much money. Set it too high and you won't sell enough books.

Let me give an example, these are real prices rounded to the nearest dollar, actual sales figures are made up. A name author releases a book as a hardback at $21, after a year it is released in paper at $14. 20K people buy it as a hardback bringing in $420,000. 70K people buy it at paperback price bringing in $980,000. They could have released it at the paper price and sold 90K, but then they leave $140,000 on the table that they could have made. Of course, that money gets divided between the book seller and the publisher. The author gets his or her share from the publisher's share.

Interestingly, for this author, the hardback kindle price is $15, $6 less than the hard back book price and the paperback kindle price is $9, $5 less than the paperback book price. Looking at the backlist for this author, a book published in 2006 has a paperback price ranging from $12 to $20 on Amazon depending on the seller and a kindle price of $8. So, there is enough demand for her backlisted books to keep the price up. Backlist books from other authors by the same publisher are quite a bit less, so rather obviously, the publsher is pricing based on demand, at least with backlist books. Publishers aren't nearly as idiotic as some here assume they are. If you pay attention, you see that they can experiment quite a bit with prices.
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Old 08-23-2020, 11:37 AM   #25
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The publishers goal is not to sell as many books as possible and never will be, it's to make as much money as possible, just like any other business.
Except that it is not only that. Even you will off and on acknowledge they let the ebook side of things languish to prop up the paper side of things. They want to make as money as possible, without shaking up their business model too much.

Considering the dominance Amazon has in the ebook world, maybe that's rational. But of course, Amazon got where they are partly due to agency which was put in place to attempt to insure publisher's controlled pricing.

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Let me give an example, these are real prices rounded to the nearest dollar, actual sales figures are made up. A name author releases a book as a hardback at $21, after a year it is released in paper at $14...

Interestingly, for this author, the hardback kindle price is $15, $6 less than the hard back book price and the paperback kindle price is $9, $5 less than the paperback book price. Looking at the backlist for this author, a book published in 2006 has a paperback price ranging from $12 to $20 on Amazon depending on the seller and a kindle price of $8.
That's all well and good, but you can find unnamed examples to prop up whatever argument you wish to make.

Stephen King's latest two hardback released are Let It Bleed and The Institute.

Each is priced at $15 for the ebook. The hardcovers are priced at $30. But of course, hardcovers aren't subject to agency and each sells for $15.

When it comes to backlist, Carrie is $8 for ebook. Paperback is $8, but discounted to $6.50.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is $10 ebook, $10 paperbck, discounted to $7.50.

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Old 08-23-2020, 07:05 PM   #26
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Except that it is not only that. Even you will off and on acknowledge they let the ebook side of things languish to prop up the paper side of things. They want to make as money as possible, without shaking up their business model too much.

Considering the dominance Amazon has in the ebook world, maybe that's rational. But of course, Amazon got where they are partly due to agency which was put in place to attempt to insure publisher's controlled pricing.



That's all well and good, but you can find unnamed examples to prop up whatever argument you wish to make.

Stephen King's latest two hardback released are Let It Bleed and The Institute.

Each is priced at $15 for the ebook. The hardcovers are priced at $30. But of course, hardcovers aren't subject to agency and each sells for $15.

When it comes to backlist, Carrie is $8 for ebook. Paperback is $8, but discounted to $6.50.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is $10 ebook, $10 paperbck, discounted to $7.50.

So, pricing an ebook $4 to $5 below the price of the paper version is evidence that publishers are using ebooks to prop up paper prices? Hum. Can't say that I agree with that in the slightest.

Do you also believe that the fact that audiobooks cost more than paper books is evidence that the publishers are using paper books to prop up the price of audio books?

Econ 101, you price what the market will pay. As long as enough people buy at a particular price point, there is no reason to reduce it. As far as I know, there is no agency pricing for audio books. Peace Talks costs $35 on audible (the member price is $24) and $20 on Apple, so I think that's a no.
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Old 08-23-2020, 08:51 PM   #27
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So, pricing an ebook $4 to $5 below the price of the paper version is evidence that publishers are using ebooks to prop up paper prices? Hum. Can't say that I agree with that in the slightest.
I have yet to see evidence of ebooks from traditional publisher's being $4 to $5 cheaper.

But hey, we can have a difference of opinion on it.

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Econ 101, you price what the market will pay. As long as enough people buy at a particular price point, there is no reason to reduce it. As far as I know, there is no agency pricing for audio books. Peace Talks costs $35 on audible (the member price is $24) and $20 on Apple, so I think that's a no.
I mean, as long as you are convincing yourself. I remain unconvinced by any evidence you have shown.

Your own arguments seem to occasionally disagree with what you are saying. But what matters most is you get to stick to your guns.
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Old 08-24-2020, 04:24 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Deskisamess View Post
I wonder, and this is without any knowledge of publishing etc, if the swing will continue to borrowing programs. I can read 3-5 books in a week in a couple of the genres I like for lite reading. Even at $3-5 a book, I can't afford to buy those books, nor do I want to. KU really suits my reading style.
If KU included the major publishers, I'd be with you.

As it is, although I also get through around 3 books a week, I have enough of a backlog that I can wait for special offers for new buys. This year so far, my modal cost of a book is £0.99, my mean cost is £1.88, and my monthly spend is averaging £9.93.
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:01 AM   #29
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I have yet to see evidence of ebooks from traditional publisher's being $4 to $5 cheaper.

But hey, we can have a difference of opinion on it.



I mean, as long as you are convincing yourself. I remain unconvinced by any evidence you have shown.

Your own arguments seem to occasionally disagree with what you are saying. But what matters most is you get to stick to your guns.
If you haven't seen any evidence, then you apparently haven't been reading the posts you have been replying to, because I gave you such an example.

All I can say is that with the books that I buy, this pattern is true. I've given examples with actual prices. If you don't want to accept that, then that's your choice.

On the other hand, if you actually are interested in what is true, then perhaps you should start tracking your purchases and books you consider purchasing. What is the price for the dead tree edition, the ebook edition and the audiobook edition. Genres matter. Target audiences matter. It can also be interesting to see what the prices for that same book is in a year. You might be surprised.
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Old 08-24-2020, 07:38 AM   #30
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If you haven't seen any evidence, then you apparently haven't been reading the posts you have been replying to, because I gave you such an example.
Please give examples of eBooks released in the last month from the big 5 publishers where the prices are $4-$5 cheaper then the pBook version. I'd like to see 10 examples that are not a temporary sale but are the actual price.
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