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View Poll Results: Would you buy an ebook at the same price as the corresponding printed book?
I would even pay more for the ebook! 12 6.90%
Yes. 31 17.82%
No, but I would buy the print book. 11 6.32%
No, I would choose another book to read instead. 22 12.64%
No. But I would consider purchasing the ebook when the price was reduced. 98 56.32%
Voters: 174. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-15-2017, 08:17 PM   #181
DMcCunney
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Originally Posted by nabsltd View Post
So, what you're saying is that publishers never really lose money on any books...they just fudge the accounting to make it look like most authors never earn back their advance.

Because, that's the way it has been for almost all movies, TV shows and musical recordings for the last 50 years.
Nope. I meant exactly what I said. Most new product from movie studios, record companies, and book publishers tanks. It fails to find an audience, and doesn't recover what it cost to produce it. (And you can add comic books and live theater to that list.)

People in the business of producing such things all bet enough of what they make will sell to cover the losses on the stuff that doesn't, and make them enough money to remain in business. Sometimes they lose the bet and go out of business.

It's why folks in film and TV dream of franchise properties, and why publishers are enamored of series. The best bet on whether something will sell is if it already has, and the new entrant is one more of something that already has a market.

Creative accounting certainly exists, but that's a separate issue.
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Old 08-16-2017, 12:53 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by darryl View Post
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney
Just to clarify, do you consider publishing to be an industry without price competition?
Short answer. Not any more.
Okay. A few more questions. I suspect I can guess what your answer to the first few will be. I'll be fascinated to hear the answer to the last.

Question one: When did you think publishing was without price competition?

Question two: When did that change?

Question three: What was responsible for it?

Question four: How do you think price competition normally works in practice when it exists?
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:20 AM   #183
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Dennis. I'm enjoying the discussion. And I openly acknowledge that I do not regard large publisher's favourably. Please forgive me for not answering your first 3 questions directly here as I am a little pushed for time at the moment. I'm sure you probably do know what my answers would be, so please feel free to give your own opinion.

In answer to your last question, I think we are seeing how price competition works in the present situation. I gave my opinion indirectly in this thread some time ago:

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...ht=wheat+chaff

I think in some ways we currently have 2 markets, a higher priced one for the products of traditional publishers, and a much lower priced one for Indies, including Amazon's own imprints and some of the more innovative generally smaller publishers. I think the Big Five particularly are attempting to differentiate their books on the basis of quality so as to avoid having to compete with the lower priced "new market" books. I also think the Big 5 are attempting to slow ebook adoption in favour of print books. What I expect we will see and are already seeing to some extent is the gradual merger of these two markets. Though I think the Big 5 attempt to differentiate their books on the basis of quality is doomed to failure in the longer term, they are succeeding to some extent through their blockbuster authors, who they must of course see are well looked after. But as these authors cease to write, I expect they will have increasing problems replacing them, and will probably need to attract such authors from Indie publishing. This in turn will almost certainly mean that their costs will rise substantially, and survival will likely require drastic cuts in other areas. Nevertheless, I can't see any large publishers going broke any time soon provided they have half-way competent management. Now books basically never go "out of print" their extensive backlist is an extremely valuable asset. Sorry but I'm out of time for the moment.
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Old 08-16-2017, 01:43 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Nope. I meant exactly what I said. Most new product from movie studios, record companies, and book publishers tanks. It fails to find an audience, and doesn't recover what it cost to produce it.
Got any accurate citations for this information?

You likely don't, because at least for movie studios, you are 100% wrong. They make money off nearly every picture they release...only a very few huge budget pictures that absolutely tank (i.e., $100 million budget and $5 million worldwide gross) actually lose the studio money, and even then it's not as bad as it looks, because the studio has already sold the rights to HBO, etc., and they don't count that towards "profit", because it isn't theater tickets.

Part of the reason this happens is that the studio that releases a movie often puts up far less than 50% of the total budget. The rest of the budget comes from venture capitalists, or is completely fictional...created by Hollywood accounting.

Quote:
And you can add comic books and live theater to that list.

Creative accounting certainly exists, but that's a separate issue
Nope, it's often the only issue. Comic book "failures" are a great example of this. In many cases, the people who worked on the title were on staff and would have been paid regardless of whether that particular title was created or not. But, their time (likely inflated, like lawyers with minimum billing units) still gets charged against that title, and thus it "lost money".

It's just like a publisher that assigns fixed overhead (either $X/copy, or a percentage) to a book instead of actually calculating what the specific cost for that title was. It turns out that true overhead really is shared among all work requests (i.e., individual titles at a publisher, individual websites at a web design company, etc.), and the more work you have, the less overhead per item. So, if a publisher releases 20% more books in a year than previously, they should adjust the overhead down on all the books that year, but instead they go with the contract as written, which favors them.

There are literally hundreds of tricks that all "publishers" (movie, music, books, etc.) use to make sure that they almost never pay anything more than the advance to the people that actually created the content. It's so widespread that most publishers don't even consider it unethical...it's just the way it has been for nearly 100 years.
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Old 08-16-2017, 03:24 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by nabsltd View Post
Part of the reason this happens is that the studio that releases a movie often puts up far less than 50% of the total budget. The rest of the budget comes from venture capitalists, or is completely fictional...created by Hollywood accounting.
But that's not the case with books. "Venture capitalists" don't - generally speaking, at least - fund the publication of books.
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:37 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by nabsltd View Post
Got any accurate citations for this information?

<Snip/>

Part of the reason this happens is that the studio that releases a movie often puts up far less than 50% of the total budget. The rest of the budget comes from venture capitalists, or is completely fictional...created by Hollywood accounting.
Even if it's venture capitalists losing money instead of the studio the film as a whole has lot money though.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:38 AM   #187
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I think all eBooks should be considerably cheaper, since there are no printing, distribution, and shop profit costs.
I'm often shocked to see eBooks costing more than the books.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:37 PM   #188
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But that's not the case with books. "Venture capitalists" don't - generally speaking, at least - fund the publication of books.
Correct.

Venture capitalists place big bets, in the hope of getting big returns.

An old friend, years back, was looking for money to expand his business. He had an established operation that was profitable, and wanted to grow it. He talked to VCs asking for $500,000. He got yawns. I said "You should have asked for $5 million! Half a million isn't worth their time and trouble." (Ironically, his business was an early attempt at selling eBooks.)

VCs fund speculative ventures, where the founders are looking for money to grow their business. The dream is that the business establishes itself, gains traction in the marketplace, and will be able to IPO with a high valuation. The VC can then sell their stake, bought low, for a much higher price. The money they make can then be used to fund other ventures.

But like movies, most VC investments don't pan out. The firm either never reaches the point of being able to IPO, or when they do, they don't get the valuation everyone hoped for. In some cases, the VC may tell the founders "You cannot continue as an independent. You need to put yourself on the block to be acquired by a big outfit that wants to be in the business you are in, and it will be cheaper and easier to just buy you than to start from scratch themselves."

And getting VC funding is a devil's bargain. Give enough control to the VC in exchange for funding, and you may find yourself pushed out and replaced by someone the VC thinks can manage the business the way they think it should be run.

I can't think of any VC getting involved in publishing at all. There simply aren't sufficient potential rewards to make them interested.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:42 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by pastelraven View Post
I think all eBooks should be considerably cheaper, since there are no printing, distribution, and shop profit costs.
I'm often shocked to see eBooks costing more than the books.
You shouldn't be. As mentioned up thread, the print/bind/warehouse/distribute steps account for about %10-%15 percent of the average book's budget. 80% or more of the costs of publication are incurred before he book reaches the stage of being published in any form.

If you dropped the printed book entirely, the cost saving would not be enough to permit the pricing you would like to see from traditional publishers.
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