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Old 07-13-2017, 04:27 AM   #1
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Thumbs down What are some publishers playing at?

Back on July 3rd, 2017 I wrote a review at Amazon.

Now that price I complain about, may have been a mistake, who knows as no response by seller was ever given, So either they reacted to my negative complaint or they fixed an error.

Now just a few days ago, a similar thing has happened with a different author. This time however, Amazon rejected my complaint as inappropriate or something, or maybe just because I linked outside of Amazon to a screenshot.

Now I appreciate, that yes, my response is not an actual review of the novels in question, but a complaint about the seller in regard to those ebooks, but I feel the public has a right to know, and I see nowhere else, especially linked to those ebooks, to discuss things or make a complaint.

In the email sent to me advising refusal of my review, there is a generic response which lists - Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at www.amazon.com/feedback.

Now I guess I kind of did that today, by going to the Author page and giving feedback, but honestly, who is going to read or respond to that? Where is the access to people power and guilt tripping the seller, calling them out for bad behavior? Nowhere it seems. Once upon a time, not long ago, each author had a discussion page at least ... or maybe that is just voluntary?

So here I am, at a more public place, to write my query/complaint/review.
And this time I dig deeper to uncover further bad behavior and unfairness.
I really think this sort of thing should be called out when it happens ... or because one element of it is always happening for us here in AUS.

Quote:
The Sorcerer's Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara
I have been waiting for this ebook to come down to a fair price, but just recently it jumped from $12.92 USD to $25.08 USD for me here in AUS. A price increase of $12.16 USD. Why? What is the publisher playing at?
If you look at another ebook in the same series, it is still at $12.92 USD -
The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara
and then visit Amazon using a VPN, pretending to be American, then the price is $7.99 USD.
The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara
Obviously being here in AUS, I have to pay 10% for GST (tax), but that in no way equates to the almost $5 USD difference in price, just because I am Australian. Then if I add in the Exchange rate difference, the $12.92 USD costs me around $16.83 AUD.
So while that is bad enough (having to pay that ripoff ebook price), having to pay $25.08 USD, which is around $32.71 AUD, for a normal recent release novel in ebook form, is purely ludicrous and very insulting. By comparison, Americans are still being asked to pay just $7.99 USD for the same ebook.
The Sorcerer's Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara

I love Terry Brooks writing and the Shannara series, but I get fed up with the games Publishers play, and the way they tell lies about high ebook prices and the way they use huge ebook profits to bolster up physical book losses, etc, etc.
P.S. For those not in the know, some years ago, I created an Amazon Wishlist program for Kindle ebooks (KindEbook Wishlist). I use it once or twice a day to check on the prices of kindle ebooks I am interested in. So I am well aware of when a price change occurs and by how much.

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Old 07-13-2017, 05:39 AM   #2
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I don't know what caused the strange price change.

Since I'm in the UK, I use uk.ereaderiq.com to track books I'm interested in.
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:47 AM   #3
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Australians should be well used to these gouging tactics by publishers. And, of course, it is Hachette. I checked the listing on QBD. They of course also have the ebook at this ridiculous publisher set price, and two paperback versions, one the same cost as the ebook and one at $A19.99.

People find many different solutions to this type of problem, and not all buy the cheaper print book as the publisher would like. Totally ludicrous.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:42 AM   #4
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I would guess the $32.99 price on Amazon.com.au is a typo in the publisher's metadata and it was supposed to be $12.99 Australian. The same book by the same publisher is $13.99 at New Zealand retailers ($NZ incl. 15% GST).

The best thing is probably to email the publisher direct and ask them to fix it, in my experience Hachette is one of the better of the big publishers in that they do actually reply and fix things if there is a mistake.

Be polite, say that you want to buy the book, but point out the price difference between Australia and New Zealand via one of the retailers that makes this easy (i.e. not Amazon or Google) (e.g. Apple NZ vs. Apple AU).

(Edit: The reason I suggest comparing the NZ and Australian prices is that the UK, US, Canadian prices are often set by different branches of the company. In the case of Hachette, both the NZ and Australian ebook prices seem to be set by Hachette Australia.)

Last edited by GeoffR; 07-16-2017 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Hachette Australia; spelling
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffR View Post
I would guess the $32.99 price on Amazon.com.au is a typo in the publisher's metadata and it was supposed to be $12.99 Australian....The best thing is probably to email the publisher direct and ask them to fix it........
It could be an error, and I am not discounting that, and it was part of the reason I would have preferred Amazon publish my review. It may have prompted a fix, like happened for the first book, and so I later amended my review to make it less accusing. I was even going to remove the review altogether in a few days. I may even still do so, but Amazon's response is annoying.

I have no interest in buying the book at its previous price either, as it was still a ripoff at that, as the rest of my post showed. So I won't ask them to fix it, as I was gonna wait until they lowered the price sufficiently anyway before buying.

And to respond to another reply above ... REMOVED BY SELF .... As much as I can, I take steps to future proof my collections.

P.S. With any luck, if it was an error, they will notice within weeks, and think ... "Crap, no wonder no-one from AUS has been buying. Maybe we should give it a good discount for a bit." That could be my moment of purchase.

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Old 07-13-2017, 09:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Since I'm in the UK, I use uk.ereaderiq.com to track books I'm interested in.
Handy to know, but probably UK concentric.

My program has lots of handy features, like price history, so you can study the ups and downs and see patterns, giving yourself confidence to wait etc. It also checks the prices quite quickly compared to visiting every item on your wishlist, so minutes rather than hours ... depending on your wishlist count. It can be used by multiple users, and even has a way of keeping a purchased (bought) record for each user. You can assign favorites and only check those, etc, etc. All sorts of useful features.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darryl View Post
Australians should be well used to these gouging tactics by publishers.
Can one ever really get used to such unfairness?

I know they have been doing such greedy things for years. Perhaps the worst example is with Games. Most movies are also shocking prices for us in AUS when first released.

Thank Dog for the likes of GOG and JB Hifi, who eventually, before too long, provide at some kind of decent price.

More of us should be calling these buggers out.

But alas, too many Aussies are lazy complainers or wasters.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:25 AM   #8
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I've always found the authors themselves to be very responsive to issues with their ebooks (provided I don't come across as confrontational). Blog, email, Twitter, Facebook--most authors have SOME way of contacting them in this day and age. I've hit many of them up with questions of availability, formatting, pricing, ... etc. Some take an active interest, and some put me in contact with other individuals who can help.

When it comes to Terry Brooks, Shawn Speakman has been his online surrogate (and friend) for many, many years. He's fairly easy to get in touch with.

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Old 07-13-2017, 12:38 PM   #9
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Hi. Reviews are for things that don't change like the content of a book or how a product works or doesn't work.
Seller feedback is for prices and how the seller reacted.

As to your price complaint, I kind of sympathize with you.
I don't think unfair is the correct word in this case. I think the word I would use is way overpriced compared to others in the same category.

Leads me to ask who is it being unfair too. Is it unfair to the author who gets a bigger royalty? Unfair to the publisher? Unfair to those that would pay that price and not bat an eye? Unfair to those that don't want to spend that much on that particular book?

If I wanted to file a complaint I would ask if they accidentally set the wrong price because the rest of the books are much cheaper and provide links to the other books.

I would not use the word unfair. I will tell you the why. "It's not fair. I can't use the saw but my little brother can." "It's not fair, Henry gets it for half the price I pay, just because he lives in a lower cost of living area than I do." Note: both of those sound like whining. Therefore, if I was a seller or even someone looking at the feedback and saw unfair, I would think oh another Cinisajoy that wants books at a super cheap price. I probably would not finish reading the feedback.

Yes, I have been known to put back used (and new) books because for my budget they were way overpriced. Note: The last time I did that on used books, the prices ranged from $1 to $3. I thought maybe they were discounted. I did buy several other books.

The way I look at it on prices is "Is that price worth it to me or do I want to find something else?"
Only a couple of exceptions to that rule and one of the items I stock up on when it goes on sale. The other I am hoping body decides soon it doesn't need them anymore. (Never goes on sale.)
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinisajoy View Post

Leads me to ask who is it being unfair too. Is it unfair to the author who gets a bigger royalty? Unfair to the publisher? Unfair to those that would pay that price and not bat an eye? Unfair to those that don't want to spend that much on that particular book?
I think the answer is that it is probably unfair to all but the Publisher. A greater royalty rate is not much comfort when there are none sold. Even 100% of zero is still zero. Of course, in all "fairness", I should point out that even if this price is not a mistake the likely intention of the publisher is not to deprive the Author of royalties but to divert sales from ebook to print book.

Having said that, I strongly agree with your comments. Fairness, whilst a wonderful thing, is usually highly subjective and far overused. It is usually impossible to be fair to everyone. And coming across as a whinger indeed makes the chances of a complaint being taken seriously very remote.

I concede that this pricing may well be a mistake. I am, as those who have read my past posts will be aware, not a fan of Hachette or traditional publishing in general, so sometimes can be too ready to assume the worst. I hope this proves to be true in this case.

There are many sources of books, both legal, doubtful and unquestionably illegal. Most books are fungible, and there are plenty of cheaper alternatives available. Otherwise, if one is prepared to wait there will be price reductions and promotions. There are libraries, both in our own countries and in other countries. If you are happy to read from paper, there is still a used book market. There is lending amongst friends and family. And, of course, there is piracy. The publishing industry is not unique. The best defence against piracy is to provide a great product, a reasonable price and an easy convenient method to purchase.

Amazon is doing this. Indie authors and publishers are doing this. It can be done.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:40 PM   #11
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I think the answer is that it is probably unfair to all but the Publisher. A greater royalty rate is not much comfort when there are none sold. Even 100% of zero is still zero. Of course, in all "fairness", I should point out that even if this price is not a mistake the likely intention of the publisher is not to deprive the Author of royalties but to divert sales from ebook to print book.

Having said that, I strongly agree with your comments. Fairness, whilst a wonderful thing, is usually highly subjective and far overused. It is usually impossible to be fair to everyone. And coming across as a whinger indeed makes the chances of a complaint being taken seriously very remote.

I concede that this pricing may well be a mistake. I am, as those who have read my past posts will be aware, not a fan of Hachette or traditional publishing in general, so sometimes can be too ready to assume the worst. I hope this proves to be true in this case.

There are many sources of books, both legal, doubtful and unquestionably illegal. Most books are fungible, and there are plenty of cheaper alternatives available. Otherwise, if one is prepared to wait there will be price reductions and promotions. There are libraries, both in our own countries and in other countries. If you are happy to read from paper, there is still a used book market. There is lending amongst friends and family. And, of course, there is piracy. The publishing industry is not unique. The best defence against piracy is to provide a great product, a reasonable price and an easy convenient method to purchase.

Amazon is doing this. Indie authors and publishers are doing this. It can be done.
I do mostly used books.
Using cookbooks as an example. Let's say I want Cajun food. I see two books. Paul Prudomme and Emeril Lagasse. Paul is $20. Emeril is $15.* Since they are pretty much equal, I would grab Emeril.
*Figures made up.
The reality is I would wait till they are in the thrift store or flea market to pick them up. Or in the case of one Emeril book, my mom gave it to me.
Before you ask, yes I have found most of both those chefs books at the thrift store.
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:09 AM   #12
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In general, reviews aren't the place to complain about price, it's the place to review the book. If you weren't reviewing the book, but rather complaining about price, then I think that rejecting the review was appropriate.

The biggest issue with Amazon's star rating is that people use it as a mechanism to vent their spleen about something that has nothing to do with the quality of the product in question. I sympathize with being mad about paying more than other countries for ebooks and the like, but use forums like this, complaints to Amazon and emails to the author/publisher, not the reviews.
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Old 07-14-2017, 09:19 AM   #13
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And to respond to another reply above ... I already have a copy by alternate means, which I hope to never need using, because I will get a chance to buy it at a reasonable price .... eventually. As much as I can, I take steps to future proof my collections.

P.S. With any luck, if it was an error, they will notice within weeks, and think ... "Crap, no wonder no-one from AUS has been buying. Maybe we should give it a good discount for a bit." That could be my moment of purchase.
MobileRead does not permit the advocacy of piracy, even by such cute locutions as "alternate means" nor by using price as a justification and not even by cloaking it with a promise to buy the book at some future date, once it meets your parameters.
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Old 07-14-2017, 10:53 AM   #14
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In general, reviews aren't the place to complain about price, it's the place to review the book. If you weren't reviewing the book, but rather complaining about price, then I think that rejecting the review was appropriate.

The biggest issue with Amazon's star rating is that people use it as a mechanism to vent their spleen about something that has nothing to do with the quality of the product in question. I sympathize with being mad about paying more than other countries for ebooks and the like, but use forums like this, complaints to Amazon and emails to the author/publisher, not the reviews.
While in essence I agree with you, as can be seen by my earlier comments, if Amazon don't provide an alternate means, like a Comment section per book, that others can see and respond to, they only have themselves to blame for those like myself who use the only means available.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:04 PM   #15
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I have a few problems here and this post may sound harsh but I do still think you have a valid point on that pricing, Timboli.

First, reviews are for book content, not complaining about prices. That's a pet peeve of mine.

Second, I realise the price is still outrageously higher regardless, but Australian dollars do not equal U.S. dollars. Take for example that the minimum wage in the U.S. is around $7.25 an hour while the minimum wage in Australia is around $17.70.

Third, if you have money to spend on entertainment and the book is available, then I fully, 100% oppose anybody using alternate means to obtain the book. You have absolutely no justification whatsoever in my opinion. You don't like the price? Then don't buy it. Simple as that. You are basically saying, 'I have the money to buy the book, and the book is available, but I don't agree with the price they want to charge me so I'll use alternate means'.

If the book wasn't available in your country in any format, pbook or ebook, then I might have a bit of empathy, or if you were poor and this was learning material and not available through a library or anywhere else then again I might have a bit of empathy.
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