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Old 10-17-2017, 03:18 AM   #46
DNSB
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Ebooks are not a byproduct or fad. They offer many benefits over print books. Expecting them to be priced lower is unrealistic. Many users, myself for one, are willing to pay more for a digital book. It is worth more to me, because it is better.
Expecting them to be priced lower is unrealistic??? Passing on lower costs to the consumer is just so last century.

Given that the production costs of an ebook are lower than a paper book, I have trouble believing you made that statement with a straight face. It's easy enough to find information on the costs of producing a book though those tend to be small run costs. The articles I've read on publishing are pretty consistent in stating the production costs of an book (proofreading, editing, cover design and formatting) are the same up to the point where the ink meets the paper. At that point, ebook costs stop while paper books costs continue for each and every copy. No printing/binding costs, no shipping costs, no warehousing and taxes on inventory (anyone remember ordering Ace books from the form in the back of many of their books?), no returns of unsold copies, no cost difference between producing 1,000,000 copies or 1,000 copies, no need for "if you bought this book without a cover" notices.

While the folks at Baen increased their royalties to authors by 25% on ebook sales when they increased their prices after their deal with Amazon to sell their books through the Kindle store and indie authors get 70% after Amazon's 30% commision, I haven't seen any mention of other publishers increasing authors' royalties on ebook sales.

I am willing to pay for my ereading habit but please don't expect me to believe that an ebook needs to be priced higher than the paperback version of the same book for any reason other than simple corporate greed. Not to mention I can resell, give away, trade, loan, gift, leave in my will, etc. dead tree books while the horrifying thought of doing the same with ebooks brings out crowds of lawyers. The suggested workaround of giving your Amazon/Kobo/whatever account passwords to your heirs and forgetting to mention that you are dead is well, a bit unattractive -- that little envelope with your account information and passwords needs continual updating as you change your passwords on a regular basis. You are changing your passwords regularly, aren't you?
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:38 AM   #47
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Yet how many people read those?

I worked at a very large european publishing house for a couple of months, and I was told during training that it comes from the fact that for the price of the book, it doesnt really matter if something is physically printed or not. Printing costs are a negligible factor in the costs of books and magazines.

Yet the reader doesnt know or understand it, so they expect a lower price from ebooks.
Yet printing is not free. Perhaps, we are to believe the costs for warehousing, shipping, handling returns, etc. are also free negligible?

The last numbers from what I considered a reputable source for cost of print runs for popular books gave about a $3.50 cost for a hard cover and $1.50 for a paperback for printing (those numbers varied widely depending on B&W/colour use, size of page, number of pages, cover, size of print run (a lot of fixed costs no matter what the print run size), etc. so I used the lower end of the costs for a run of 25,000-50,000 books). The other costs associated with printed books ran about $2.50 though that number did not break out formats, just stating this was for shipping, warehousing, dealing with returns, etc. A bit of quick addition gives $4.00 in costs for a paperback that are not going to be present for an ebook.

I've also noted quite a few ebooks that are priced higher than the paperback version -- care to try to explain the costs of production rationale for that?
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:37 AM   #48
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There are still over a million free books at Amazon.
Sure, but originally Amazon was subsidizing best-selling books from popular authors. As I recall they were offering many NY Times best sellers for $9.99 or less.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:09 AM   #49
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Sure, but originally Amazon was subsidizing best-selling books from popular authors. As I recall they were offering many NY Times best sellers for $9.99 or less.
The situation is actually very simple. Amazon does offer many cheaper reasonably priced ebooks. Amazon was indeed offering best selling Big 5 ebooks for $9.99. However, the price fixing conspiracy entered into by certain publishers with Apple deprived Amazon of any control over the prices of the books of those publishers. Yes, the DOJ and the courts intervened, but the die was already cast. All of the publishers concerned went back to "agency pricing" as soon as the settlement allowed them to. Amazon does not set these prices. Amazon cannot discount these books. The blame for this belongs squarely with the Publishers who set their prices so high. Outside of the Big 5 there are many far more realistically priced ebooks available, not only from self-published authors and Amazon imprints, but also from more adaptable and innovative traditional type publishers who actually offer their authors a much fairer deal. I don't buy ridiculously priced Big 5 ebooks. If you don't like what is going on you should not either. There are some great Indie authors out there, and for those few overpriced books you really want to read, borrow from the library, borrow from a friend, buy a second hand paper copy or find some other legal alternative.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:18 AM   #50
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Although I prefer e-books there are still reasons to buy a paperback.

I will always get angry if an e-book costs only a bit less than the paperback. A used paperback is almost always cheaper. So no reason to pay fictitious prices for digital products.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:22 AM   #51
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The situation is actually very simple. Amazon does offer many cheaper reasonably priced ebooks. Amazon was indeed offering best selling Big 5 ebooks for $9.99. However, the price fixing conspiracy entered into by certain publishers with Apple deprived Amazon of any control over the prices of the books of those publishers.
There was even a better shop selling eBooks that has a very good business model. Fictionwise was a very well shopped eBook Agency pricing ruined Fictionwise's business model. BooksOnBoard was another shop that was popular that was ruined by Agency.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:06 AM   #52
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Reading "distractions" on tablets are entirely self-inflicted wounds. When I sit down to read for a few hours, I read distraction-free for a few hours. Did so with print, did so with eink, and now do so on a tablet. People who are easily distracted will be easily distracted. That's all there is to it. I get a kick out of how so many people believe that tablets are jangling, binging, flashing bags of shiny toys that people couldn't possibly use to read distraction-free.
That's only your personal opinion, of course. Feel free to look down on others, though

Anyway, I can read without distractions for 5-6 hours on my Kindle. However, if I try to read on the iPad, it usually takes me less than half an hour to decide to check wikipedia for some interesting factoid mentioned in the book, and there goes an hour of my time.

e-Ink readers do offer a more focused reading experience, but: a) not everyone needs it; b) for many people it's not sufficient to counteract their natural restlessness/short attention span.

As for the topic at hand, I think it's a combination of high prices, and poor reading experience on phones/tablets that make people give up on ebooks (several highly educated coworkers are on this category - I've urged the Kindle on them, but they are reluctant to spend extra money on a single-purpose device, and stick to pbooks).

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Old 10-17-2017, 09:22 AM   #53
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That's only your personal opinion, of course. Feel free to look down on others, though
I only look down on those who are silly enough to assume their personal experience represents some sort of norm. As long as you present it as your personal opinion, I have no beef. Pretending that a dedicated eink device is objectively, definititively, and inherently the "better" reading experience, however is when you will see my claws come out. Because suggesting so is to look down upon me.

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Old 10-17-2017, 09:45 AM   #54
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Given that the production costs of an ebook are lower than a paper book, I have trouble believing you made that statement with a straight face.
As a consumer, my expectations may be different than yours. Digital books are worth more to me. Productions costs don’t enter in to my decision process of whether or not I buy a certain book.

It doesn’t matter if I can buy the paperback copy for less money. I can’t read it.

But when I buy a digital copy from Amazon, my husband has access to the same book, as does my elderly mother, and a DIL who lives 400 miles away. My husband and I use the same Amazon account for our book purchases. Should one of us die, the other will continue doing so. Should we both die at the same, my DIL has the account info, if she wishes to use it.

What works for me may not work for you. There is no reason to be uppity or snarky about it. If you can read paperbacks, be thankful for good vision. I’m pushing 60, and was born with very poor vision. If it weren’t for digital books, I’d be lucky to read one book a month.

I think wild caught sockeye salmon is worth $25 per pound, and gladly pay it when they run. I’ve a friend who thinks that’s crazy behavior. And so it goes.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:48 AM   #55
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I will always get angry if an e-book costs only a bit less than the paperback. A used paperback is almost always cheaper. So no reason to pay fictitious prices for digital products.
Why? An ebook costing less than paper seems logical to me, for reasons already stated in this thread. How much cheaper is debatable. That a used paper book is perhaps cheaper still, is again logical: it's used, therefore worn and no longer pristine, and its fixed costs are already paid for the first time round. Paper wears out, bits do not. What would that even mean, a 'used' ebook?

I don't think prices like that are fictitious. Ebooks costing more than paper is quite another kettle of fish...
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:14 AM   #56
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shipping, warehousing, dealing with returns, etc. A bit of quick addition gives $4.00 in costs for a paperback that are not going to be present for an ebook.

I've also noted quite a few ebooks that are priced higher than the paperback version -- care to try to explain the costs of production rationale for that?
I don't know how books are taxed where you live, but here in The Netherlands books are taxed with 6% VAT + further subsidized with special regulations. ebooks fall under regular consumer goods, and are taxed 21%

Website design and maintenance also cost a fortune and dealing with returns don't differ from physical books. On the contrary, ebooks cost a lot more in customer care simply because a lot of people have a hard time understanding how "the internet" and computers in general work. Also, they feel less of a threshold to ask for help or to shove away their responsibility.

It is not as simple as putting an ebook on a website and you're done like if you're uploading something on Mobileread.

You need to develop a solid, reliable environment which renders well on everything from the smallest phone and browsers from a decade ago to a modern desktop monitor, without a single hitch or glitch. Then you have to triple-check if personal data is secure, nobody can't access something they haven't paid for, DRM is solid and in place (without denying actual paying customers, and without them having an overly big threshold to use the system). Then you have to research how the best way is to design the website and what customers want (which genres to show, which books to show, avoid words with more than one syllable etc...). After that, you start with designing the environment for analytical data and cookies, which requires even more outside experts. You also have to adapt everything to internet legislation, and legislation for multiple countries. You must ensure that people can use multiple payment methods, which cost money as well.

A lot more go into it than renting some storage, hiring people on minimum wage (and below) and putting a stamp on it.
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:02 AM   #57
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Why? An ebook costing less than paper seems logical to me, for reasons already stated in this thread. How much cheaper is debatable. That a used paper book is perhaps cheaper still, is again logical: it's used, therefore worn and no longer pristine, and its fixed costs are already paid for the first time round. Paper wears out, bits do not. What would that even mean, a 'used' ebook?

I don't think prices like that are fictitious. Ebooks costing more than paper is quite another kettle of fish...
I often have seen e-books priced the same as the new paperback variant. And the conversion was not that great.

One sold e-book more doesn't have that high fix costs in comparison to a paperback book. That's the reason why Bill Gates got rich with software.

A used e-book would be one which has been used by the previous licensee and was passed on or sold to the next licensee. It's the same with used software.
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:35 AM   #58
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I often have seen e-books priced the same as the new paperback variant. And the conversion was not that great.

One sold e-book more doesn't have that high fix costs in comparison to a paperback book. That's the reason why Bill Gates got rich with software.

A used e-book would be one which has been used by the previous licensee and was passed on or sold to the next licensee. It's the same with used software.
I agree that ebooks should always be the cheapest option. And the difference between paper and bits is exactly in the fixed cost: paper needs to be printed, stored and shipped, ebooks do not. The point with used books is that those fixed costs are also already paid for when it was new. In that sense, it's become like an ebook (although a secon-hand bookstore still costs money to run. But then, a webstore isn't completely free either...)

It's more difficult than it seems at first.
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:10 PM   #59
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The publishing industry continues to insist that "screen fatigue" is causing e-book sales to flag. It certainly has nothing to do with high prices.
Interestingly, the vendors of over-highly priced audiophile analogue gear, like turntables, also discovered a "fatigue", namely the "digital fatigue". Don't buy 5€ CDs, for they will "digital fatigue" you, buy XIX-century-technology 59€ vinyls, they have also a "warm" sound.

What causes one thing or the other it's nothing but greed.
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:41 PM   #60
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I still buy a lot of ebooks, even from agency 5, but I rarely buy a ebook priced over $5. So, if they're claiming ebooks sales are down, are they considering ebook sales by gross receipts or by number of ebooks sold? If it's the former, maybe they are just seeing better informed consumers taking advantage of their sales?

As to Amazon boycotting libraries, when did Rakuten buy Overdrive? I suspect that if Overdrive went DRM free on audio after Rakuten bought it, that could have also entered into Amazon's decision.
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