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Apple wants to price hardcover bestsellers $13-$15 on tablet - WSJ - Page 4

post #121 of 156
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Originally Posted by SeaFox View Post

They are? The last few hardcover books I've bought are the last few Harry Potter books and the most recent Wheel of Time novel. The Potter books were $16-18 IIRC. The WoT book was $11.75. These are new as-they-are-released prices for hardcover.

My local Borders is usually selling the newest titles for 30% off publishers suggested retail, putting them fairly close to this area, too,

3x this price? You need to find a new bookstore to go to.

Where did you get the hardcover WoT for that price? It's way lower than those books sell for anywhere else? And which one is it?
post #122 of 156
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Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

À la carte pricing per book chapter. It's gonna make writers like Dan Brown and James Patterson a killing.

On a serious note, I recall reading that Charles Dickens sold books a chapter at a time with each one ending on a cliff hanger, not unlike our modern soap operas and primetime dramas with a season or series long hook. I think this medium will change the entire course of writing with authors releasing booklets or chapters at a reduced price designed to set you up for the next paid-for edition.

Dickens wrote his books for a newspaper, and was paid by the word. It was less than a chapter at a time.

I'm not sure that I'm in favor of it. I don't want to pay padded prices for padded writing. Getting paid for the entire book, regardless of size is still the best thing.
post #123 of 156
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Originally Posted by seek3r View Post

But I *can* often get a brand-new hardcover, the day it's released, if I pre-ordered it from amazon... at less than the prices quoted here often. I can certainly get it cheaper from a dozen places if I wait a week

I buy a lot of books from both Amazon and B&N, and no hardcover book costs less that about $15, most several dollars more. Unless the books are well beyond the release date, and are off the bestseller lists because the value of the hardcover drops rapidly around the time the paperback comes out. Then it's in the cheap areas of the store. You know, books that no one want to buy anymore.

I'm a member of the readers club in B&N so I do get an additional discount, but most people are not.
post #124 of 156
Serializing books was standard practice back in the day, when the goal was selling newspapers and magazines. Not sure it makes sense to revive that practice.

Apple has made and is making deals with publishers, but I don't see any barriers to self-publishing on the iPad (at least, not yet). If so, I can see a big market opening up for authors to sell directly to readers at prices they decide, without the middleman.
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post #125 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Serializing books was standard practice back in the day, when the goal was selling newspapers and magazines. Not sure it makes sense to revive that practice.

Apple has made and is making deals with publishers, but I don't see any barriers to self-publishing on the iPad (at least, not yet). If so, I can see a big market opening up for authors to sell directly to readers at prices they decide, without the middleman.

I don't like the concept of being paid by the word which is still in practice in some areas of publishing. I would like an author to write the best book they can, unencumbered by the idea that adding unnecessary words will earn more money.

I would hope that anyone who wants to can publish a book, short story, or anything else in the store. But then again, books are edited (and rejected) before publication, often for very good reasons. So I'm not sure I want to see hoards of self published amateur junk.
post #126 of 156
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't like the concept of being paid by the word which is still in practice in some areas of publishing. I would like an author to write the best book they can, unencumbered by the idea that adding unnecessary words will earn more money.

I would hope that anyone who wants to can publish a book, short story, or anything else in the store. But then again, books are edited (and rejected) before publication, often for very good reasons. So I'm not sure I want to see hoards of self published amateur junk.

Anybody can do that already, through companies like Xlibris, but it's relatively costly and results in a printed book. Before those existed, there were the vanity presses. They'd print anything, so long as you paid for it. They don't exert any editorial control, or only provide it as an option for a fee. I'm not too concerned about self-published amateur junk. A lot of professionally published books are junk, so gatekeepers are no guarantee of quality. In fact I really like the idea of writing finding its audience more naturally, in the way we now do with music.
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post #127 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Anybody can do that already, through companies like Xlibris, but it's relatively costly and results in a printed book. Before those existed, there were the vanity presses. They'd print anything, so long as you paid for it. They don't exert any editorial control, or only provide it as an option for a fee. I'm not too concerned about self-published amateur junk. A lot of professionally published books are junk, so gatekeepers are no guarantee of quality. In fact I really like the idea of writing finding its audience more naturally, in the way we now do with music.

We have't found much amateur music in the store so far. It takes more work and money to produce music, even cheap bad music. A bad book can cost nothing to produce. We'll just have to wait and see.

The one thing about self produced books has been that bookstores, because of lack of sales for them, have no shelf space to allot for them. That's not the case here.

But, as I said, I do think people should be able to do so. I'm just hoping that not too many will take up the possibility.
post #128 of 156
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

We have't found much amateur music in the store so far. It takes more work and money to produce music, even cheap bad music. A bad book can cost nothing to produce. We'll just have to wait and see.

The one thing about self produced books has been that bookstores, because of lack of sales for them, have no shelf space to allot for them. That's not the case here.

But, as I said, I do think people should be able to do so. I'm just hoping that not too many will take up the possibility.

I've been working on a book myself for the last few months, and let me tell you, it's not something a person does on a lark. Takes real sustained effort over a prolonged period of time. I've got another six months of slogging if it goes well. So personally, I don't see any harm in bad books being published because the gateskeepers haven't been there to prevent it. Much of what they let through is twaddle anyhow -- not that twaddle doesn't sell.

The analogy with music is there, I think, because it seems to me that digital music has enabled more artists to find their audience than the previous method. A similar method of digital publishing could do the same for the printed word.
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post #129 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I've been working on a book myself for the last few months, and let me tell you, it's not something a person does on a lark. Takes real sustained effort over a prolonged period of time. I've got another six months of slogging if it goes well. So personally, I don't see any harm in bad books being published because the gateskeepers haven't been there to prevent it. Much of what they let through is twaddle anyhow -- not that twaddle doesn't sell.

The analogy with music is there, I think, because it seems to me that digital music has enabled more artists to find their audience than the previous method. A similar method of digital publishing could do the same for the printed word.

We'll just have to see how it works. I've written a bunch of short stories, but have never thought to have them published, even though I've written columns and articles for Kodak and others, so I'm not entirely an amateur. Good luck with yours.

I'm excited by the bookstore though. As you might have noticed, I've complained a number of times about the way the one in the app store works. When it was newer, I would look through all the books, then all the new ones, then, well, it's just too difficult. The books section is expanding faster than all others other than the games section.

If this new bookstore is done well, I will start buying books from Apple again. I've bought over a dozen. The problem has also been that new bestsellers have been priced at list by the publishers. That's nuts! Who pays list for a book?
post #130 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

We'll just have to see how it works. I've written a bunch of short stories, but have never thought to have them published, even though I've written columns and articles for Kodak and others, so I'm not entirely an amateur. Good luck with yours.

I'm excited by the bookstore though. As you might have noticed, I've complained a number of times about the way the one in the app store works. When it was newer, I would look through all the books, then all the new ones, then, well, it's just too difficult. The books section is expanding faster than all others other than the games section.

If this new bookstore is done well, I will start buying books from Apple again. I've bought over a dozen. The problem has also been that new bestsellers have been priced at list by the publishers. That's nuts! Who pays list for a book?

Thanks. You should try to get your stories published somewhere, if you've already got them written. You've got nothing to lose if you don't mind frustration.

I was also a freelance tech writer for a number of years, even had a regular newspaper gig, until the market for for tech freelance dried up. Even the pittance they were paying me was too much for them to justify. It was fun while it lasted, which is pretty much a requiem for the entire newspaper business, come to think of it.

The trick is finding out something about individual tastes and making recommendations based upon them, another analogy to music. Would it be any more difficult to create a reading genome, I wonder?
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post #131 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Thanks. You should try to get your stories published somewhere, if you've already got them written. You've got nothing to lose if you don't mind frustration.

I was also a freelance tech writer for a number of years, even had a regular newspaper gig, until the market for for tech freelance dried up. Even the pittance they were paying me was too much for them to justify. It was fun while it lasted, which is pretty much a requiem for the entire newspaper business, come to think of it.

The trick is finding out something about individual tastes and making recommendations based upon them, another analogy to music. Would it be any more difficult to create a reading genome, I wonder?

You're not an amateur either. So there's some experience between us both. I've read some things people who were amateurs have written, and most has been pretty bad.

Amazon does that with me, as I've bought dozens of books from them over the years. Actually, more than dozens. Usually, they come pretty close to knowing what I would buy.

What I find funny in their site, as well as in others, is where they give you the "Here is what others buying this also bought." Usually, the items have nothing to do with it and just came from some shopping list someone had. You would think that if I'm buying DVD-R disks, they wouldn't put a listing for nylon stockings in that "also bought" category. Very amusing sometimes.
post #132 of 156
I don't read books but I would like things like Wired or MacWorld, MacUser, print versions, as eBooks. I'm sure magazines will soon get on the bandwagon over the next several years, the iPad will be *the* benchmark "luxury"/class/premium standard in e-Publication reading.
post #133 of 156
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Originally Posted by Jerseymac View Post

Ha. If you think the price of content is too high, wait until you find out how much the tablet will cost. Anyone still think it will be six hundred bucks? Nine hundred?

$1800 at least or greater. No way it will go cheap with all the research and development they must have in this thing.

LOL

What were you saying?
post #134 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You're not an amateur either. So there's some experience between us both. I've read some things people who were amateurs have written, and most has been pretty bad.

Amazon does that with me, as I've bought dozens of books from them over the years. Actually, more than dozens. Usually, they come pretty close to knowing what I would buy.

What I find funny in their site, as well as in others, is where they give you the "Here is what others buying this also bought." Usually, the items have nothing to do with it and just came from some shopping list someone had. You would think that if I'm buying DVD-R disks, they wouldn't put a listing for nylon stockings in that "also bought" category. Very amusing sometimes.

At journalism at least, I was an amateur when I began. I found an editor who saw something in my ideas (bless 'em) and was willing to work with me. I was pretty undisciplined as a columnist when I started out. I wrote way too long, for one. I spent a lot of time reading columns that I liked by others, and asking myself why they were good. Usually, it had something to do with economy of writing (in addition to the avoidance of cliches). By the end I'd learned how to get my ideas across in 600 words or less. It was an education.

Yes, Amazon does a pretty poor job of directing customers to other products they might buy. That's just another opportunity for Apple, or somebody else.
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post #135 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

At journalism at least, I was an amateur when I began. I found an editor who saw something in my ideas (bless 'em) and was willing to work with me. I was pretty undisciplined as a columnist when I started out. I wrote way too long, for one. I spent a lot of time reading columns that I liked by others, and asking myself why they were good. Usually, it had something to do with economy of writing (in addition to the avoidance of cliches). By the end I'd learned how to get my ideas across in 600 words or less. It was an education.

Yes, Amazon does a pretty poor job of directing customers to other products they might buy. That's just another opportunity for Apple, or somebody else.

But you did have an editor. That's my point. Editors help new writers write better, and even very experienced writers need them. Unfortunately, amateurs have no editors.

Amazon does get my book selections right though.
post #136 of 156
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

But you did have an editor. That's my point. Editors help new writers write better, and even very experienced writers need them. Unfortunately, amateurs have no editors.

Amazon does get my book selections right though.

Truthfully, the best thing my editor did for me was give me a chance and be patient and encouraging. He didn't change much. Editors can also screw you up. I had that experience after he left the paper and I had to deal with somebody else.

Still, nobody can edit their own work. That I do know.
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post #137 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Truthfully, the best thing my editor did for me was give me a chance and be patient and encouraging. He didn't change much. Editors can also screw you up. I had that experience after he left the paper and I had to deal with somebody else.

Still, nobody can edit their own work. That I do know.

The last point is the big one.
post #138 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Anybody can do that already, through companies like Xlibris, but it's relatively costly and results in a printed book. Before those existed, there were the vanity presses. They'd print anything, so long as you paid for it. They don't exert any editorial control, or only provide it as an option for a fee. I'm not too concerned about self-published amateur junk. A lot of professionally published books are junk, so gatekeepers are no guarantee of quality. In fact I really like the idea of writing finding its audience more naturally, in the way we now do with music.

In terms of music YouTube and many other sites are great ways to discover new music and mixes.

Speaking for electronic/dance music myself, I am proud to say my remix of Linkin Park's New Divide is one of the top results on YouTube for "linkin park new divide remix" searches... With 51,000+ views. ( Quick plug: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVlHhT7FYQA ) ...And it was done on a whim, I am just a hobbyist electronic music dabbler.

There will always be the "GateKeepers" of media publishing even in the digital realm, but there's ways around that, which will continue to evolve, mature, or sometimes, die off...

I agree that a lot of professionally published books nowadays is rubbish. But I stopped reading books about 5 to 10 years ago, despite being quite an avid reader when growing up. My last real read was the Dune series. I tried out some of the "reimagined" sequels from Herbert's son and Kevin J Anderson(?) and it was unbelievably just such a let down.

I can tell you in Asia anyways wealth is growing but people aren't spending a lot of time and money reading books nowadays.
post #139 of 156
Like newspapers, book publishing is a dying industry. And yet, people still have a desire to read and be informed. How does that gap get filled, if the traditional methods of doing so are withering away? I think fundamentally this is the question Apple is hoping to answer for written matter with the iPad in the same way they provided a new direction for music with the iPod. The stakes are even higher, and so are the rewards, if you get it right. With all the pointless cat fighting going on over what the iPad is or is not, this is the big picture question that gets squeezed out of the discussion.

Personally, I think the grumblers are missing the point entirely -- but I don't think Apple is missing it. I believe Apple knows precisely what they are trying to do, and they are aiming themselves directly at that target. Whether they hit it or not with this version of the iPad is an open question, but it seems very clear to me that they are going to try, and keep trying, until they get it right.
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post #140 of 156
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Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

it's really not that high. actual hardcovers are 3 times that retail with discounts for perhaps the first two weeks.

Where do you shop? Maybe for a 1,200 page Stephen King book, the most expensive hardcover book I could find on B&N's top 50 bestseller or pre-order lists was $22.

For e-books that cost the providers nothing but server space and bandwidth this is a ripoff.
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post #141 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Like newspapers, book publishing is a dying industry. And yet, people still have a desire to read and be informed. How does that gap get filled, if the traditional methods of doing so are withering away? I think fundamentally this is the question Apple is hoping to answer for written matter with the iPad in the same way they provided a new direction for music with the iPod. The stakes are even higher, and so are the rewards, if you get it right. With all the pointless cat fighting going on over what the iPad is or is not, this is the big picture question that gets squeezed out of the discussion.

Personally, I think the grumblers are missing the point entirely -- but I don't think Apple is missing it. I believe Apple knows precisely what they are trying to do, and they are aiming themselves directly at that target. Whether they hit it or not with this version of the iPad is an open question, but it seems very clear to me that they are going to try, and keep trying, until they get it right.

Of course, once the print shops disappear, people will perceive no value in a book, or magazine. That's the problem we see. They don't understand that it takes plenty of money to find, groom and support writers, musicians etc. As most books and music loses money, who but the publishers can afford to do the work required? Self publishing and self producing music isn't the long term answer.
post #142 of 156
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Originally Posted by iPoster View Post

Where do you shop? Maybe for a 1,200 page Stephen King book, the most expensive hardcover book I could find on B&N's top 50 bestseller or pre-order lists was $22.

For e-books that cost the providers nothing but server space and bandwidth this is a ripoff.

Realistically, how much of the price of a $28.50 list hardcover book do you think, with everything included, including author advances, the books costs the publisher? Remember that most hardcover books are around 30% off, and members of reading clubs, such as myself, get an additional 15% off at B&N. The sales price to me is about $17.
post #143 of 156
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Of course, once the print shops disappear, people will perceive no value in a book, or magazine. That's the problem we see. They don't understand that it takes plenty of money to find, groom and support writers, musicians etc. As most books and music loses money, who but the publishers can afford to do the work required? Self publishing and self producing music isn't the long term answer.

I'm not persuaded. I don't think many musicians are great fans of the music industry, nor are many writers great fans of the publishing industry. Only the ones who make a great deal of money from the system believe it's a good one, which of course is only a tiny minority. I don't suppose that many of either feel the need to be groomed. I think there's a fundamental conceit a work here, which goes that fine writers aren't fine until some publisher tells them so, or that a fine musician isn't fine until some recording industry executive tells them so. I don't claim to know what the new order of things will be, but I hope we can do far better than that.
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post #144 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I'm not persuaded. I don't think many musicians are great fans of the music industry, nor are many writers great fans of the publishing industry. Only the ones who make a great deal of money from the system believe it's a good one, which of course is only a tiny minority. I don't suppose that many of either feel the need to be groomed. I think there's a fundamental conceit a work here, which goes that fine writers aren't fine until some publisher tells them so, or that a fine musician isn't fine until some recording industry executive tells them so. I don't claim to know what the new order of things will be, but I hope we can do far better than that.

I don't really care if they're fans or not. Everyone thinks they deserve more money. My employees thought they deserved more money. I thought I deserved more money.

When 90% of all books fail to break even, and 90% of all music fails to break even, it's difficult to give everyone more. The publishing industry works on small net margins. They aren't robbing anyone.

It's likely rare that someone with real talent isn't picked up by a publisher if they go looking for one. It may take a while to get published. Most all the major writers have said that it took a while, and many attempts until a publisher picked them up. But they did get picked up.

Nothing is easy!

With so much published work being mediocre, imagine how much of the work from authors who aren't picked is really bad.

And sure, I know, there's always a gem of a writer who isn't found. But of they really try, they will be.
post #145 of 156
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Originally Posted by frugality View Post

Absolutely ridiculous pricing.

The publishers will be saving a ton without printing and distribution, and they're hoarding the 'savings'.

Stickin' with the real books. At least those I can pass on to others when I'm done.

Prices will come down eventually if e-reading really takes off and there is more competition from B&N, Amazon, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

it's really not that high. actual hardcovers are 3 times that retail with discounts for perhaps the first two weeks.

the publishers have an investment in prepayment to the author and then often share the remaining profit with the author once that recovery is made. So it's not like it's all just money in the bank.

Once a solid market exists we'll likely get down to something like $10 for a 'new release' and $5 for 'backlist' with perhaps free first chapters being offered by publishers for some titles, especially newer authors.

+1 and a big nod of agreement. Apple and the Publishers must think we are idiots to pay $9.99 and upwards for an ebook...a book that they don't have any overheads storing, shipping, importing, printing or manufacturing.

I'd rather spend the money on a REAL book and pass it on to someone else once I'm done reading it.
post #146 of 156
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Originally Posted by ahmlco View Post

I smile every time I see this.

Guess I'll just see if I can sell to the SIXTY percent who read two books or more....

[QUOTE= said. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. QUOTE]

40%%???!!!? no way. id have said 4% but WAY less than 10%
post #147 of 156
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I don't really care if they're fans or not. Everyone thinks they deserve more money. My employees thought they deserved more money. I thought I deserved more money.

When 90% of all books fail to break even, and 90% of all music fails to break even, it's difficult to give everyone more. The publishing industry works on small net margins. They aren't robbing anyone.

It's likely rare that someone with real talent isn't picked up by a publisher if they go looking for one. It may take a while to get published. Most all the major writers have said that it took a while, and many attempts until a publisher picked them up. But they did get picked up.

Nothing is easy!

With so much published work being mediocre, imagine how much of the work from authors who aren't picked is really bad.

And sure, I know, there's always a gem of a writer who isn't found. But of they really try, they will be.

I care, for the reasons already stated. The system as it exists benefits a few very handsomely, and the rest, essentially not at all. I don't see the virtue of such a system, particularly as it pretends to validate talent but doesn't necessarily do a particularly good job of it. The publishing industry feeds off mediocre writing, just as the music industry feeds off mediocre music. Maybe the reason why 90% of music and writing fails to break even is because the costs are so high. Perhaps if the costs were substantially lowered, much of that 90% would turn enough of a profit for their creators to make it worth their while. As I'm sure you well know, many authors and their publishers make very good livings off of bad novels. Always have, always will.

In general, I don't see the argument in favor of gatekeepers, let alone deliberately keeping the cost barrier high such that few can get over it. In journalism perhaps, where accountability should be relevant. But does a novelist need accountability? Not so far as I can see. So what if a lot of bad novels are made available to the public that no editor would have approved for publication? Who is harmed? The feelings of the third parties that have been accustomed to deciding what is fit for the public to see? Anybody else?

As I said, I don't pretend to know what the new order will be. But I think it is changing, and I think we can do a lot better than the old order.
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post #148 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I care, for the reasons already stated. The system as it exists benefits a few very handsomely, and the rest, essentially not at all. I don't see the virtue of such a system, particularly as it pretends to validate talent but doesn't necessarily do a particularly good job of it. The publishing industry feeds off mediocre writing, just as the music industry feeds off mediocre music. Maybe the reason why 90% of music and writing fails to break even is because the costs are so high. Perhaps if the costs were substantially lowered, much of that 90% would turn enough of a profit for their creators to make it worth their while. As I'm sure you well know, many authors and their publishers make very good livings off of bad novels. Always have, always will.

Only a very few authors and musicians make any money for the companies. They get paid accordingly. but even they complain. They don't understand that if they get paid even more, no one else could get published. High costs. Sure. Editors, marketing, advances, most of which never get paid back by the number of books sold, printing, etc. So they get rid of the printing and associated costs. There's still 2/3rds of the costs left.

Bad novels. Well, when it comes to entertainment, the only bad works are the ones that don't sell. I know that sounds cynical, but it's true. There's also been a dumbing down of culture, which partly comes with the fact that people aren't willing to invest the time and energy to learn about what they're doing. So my daughter and her friends insist that graphic novels are just as expressive and "deep" as any other form of book. And she was always a big reader of more serious works.

Quote:
In general, I don't see the argument in favor of gatekeepers, let alone deliberately keeping the cost barrier high such that few can get over it. In journalism perhaps, where accountability should be relevant. But does a novelist need accountability? Not so far as I can see. So what if a lot of bad novels are made available to the public that no editor would have approved for publication? Who is harmed? The feelings of the third parties that have been accustomed to deciding what is fit for the public to see? Anybody else?

As I said, I don't pretend to know what the new order will be. But I think it is changing, and I think we can do a lot better than the old order.

I don't believe that the costs are deliberately high. They just are what they are.

Without someone to set the standards, those standards will just get lower, faster. We'll all be reading children's level books as Bush does, because that's all there will be. When asked his favorite book, he named one for kids). The level of the writer will get lower and lower.

So, while I don't like censorship by government, I do like it when applied to entertainment when applied by editors.
post #149 of 156
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Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Only a very few authors and musicians make any money for the companies. They get paid accordingly. but even they complain. They don't understand that if they get paid even more, no one else could get published. High costs. Sure. Editors, marketing, advances, most of which never get paid back by the number of books sold, printing, etc. So they get rid of the printing and associated costs. There's still 2/3rds of the costs left.

I think this statement summarizes the problem I have with your spirited defense of the publishing and music industry. Why does any creative effort have to make money for anyone at all, let alone for someone other than the creator? I suppose we've gotten used to this arrangement, which is predicated on the complexities and costs traditionally involved with both. But it is not inherent to creative output, just an accommodation to the way things have been done.

Fundamentally, I don't see the value of creating barriers to creativity, and not especially for artificially maintaining them in some hope of preventing the "dumbing down" of our society. Maybe that's simply because I don't see where our self-appointed cultural protectors have done an especially good job of it. You've said it yourself -- "bad works are the ones that don't sell." Trying to follow that with an argument for how the industry protects us from declining creative standards seems like a major non sequitur to me.
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post #150 of 156
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Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I think this statement summarizes the problem I have with your spirited defense of the publishing and music industry. Why does any creative effort have to make money for anyone at all, let alone for someone other than the creator? I suppose we've gotten used to this arrangement, which is predicated on the complexities and costs traditionally involved with both. But it is not inherent to creative output, just an accommodation to the way things have been done.

Because no one lives in a vacuum. Because all writers and musicians want to make money, because they all want to make as much money as possible, despite that some deny that. I don't see them giving it back.

And because of that, they need the distribution and marketing money that will help them earn that. There are quite a lot of musicians and writers who ARE making a good living thanks to the marketing of those companies, and it's likely that few of them would have ever done so on their own. The ones who fail, despite the money thrown around to help them become a success, would not likely have made it on their own anyway.

For those who think that viral marketing over the web works, well it doesn't. The only time it seems to is when there's big money behind it, and guess where that comes from?

In addition, many writers need the help the companies give them with the editors assigned to them, so that they can become better writers. Not everyone is brilliant out of the gate. Most novels, even those from the most respected writers, have been bettered by their editors. And yes, there are poor editors as well, that doesn't disprove the rule. There are far more poor writers.

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Fundamentally, I don't see the value of creating barriers to creativity, and not especially for artificially maintaining them in some hope of preventing the "dumbing down" of our society. Maybe that's simply because I don't see where our self-appointed cultural protectors have done an especially good job of it. You've said it yourself -- "bad works are the ones that don't sell." Trying to follow that with an argument for how the industry protects us from declining creative standards seems like a major non sequitur to me.

I don't see it as a barrier. I see it as a help. People who want to self publish because their writing isn't good enough, or the topic has little interest for enough people to make it worthwhile, or because they have scientific concepts that are meaningless will still be able to publish here. I've said that I don't want to stop it, I just don't want to see this cruft become the norm.

But, there are publishing houses that publish high quality works that don't sell well. There will always be higher minded imprints. My statement applied to popular culture where the numbers mean all.

But it's also the purpose to publishers to educate. Modern society has allowed that function to lapse. But the publishers at least keep the worst out.

I believe that this concept of absolute cultural democracy is flawed. It's a race to the bottom.

It's nice to say that everyone deserves their place in the sun, but that's when you start puling reading material and music away from your kids, and monitoring their time on the net. It doesn't work out so well in practice.

Adults are supposed to have better mental filters, but that's a myth.

These companies have tried to present the best up front, while maintaining a certain minimum quality level of popular work to help earnings. It's this "democratization" thats forced them lo lower standards further. It's a defensive move. This will just make it worse.

If you write a really good book, and I hope you do, how will it be seen? In reality, it will get lost in the crowd of other self published junk. You need some entity to say that this is a good book, and we're going to market it so that it will be seen.
post #151 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Because no one lives in a vacuum. Because all writers and musicians want to make money, because they all want to make as much money as possible, despite that some deny that. I don't see them giving it back.

I will disagree with this statement right off the bat. If the impulse to write is to make money, then that's a commercial impulse not a creative one. The publishing industry by in large feeds off the commercial impulse, which mainly results in mass market trash. You've admitted that much yourself.

I have already decided to self-publish my book, and not because it won't be "good enough" for a publisher, but because the interest level is local and I can't see any reason to give a publisher a cut, even if they were interested, which I doubt very much any would be. It will be a short run and distributed locally by me. I have virtually no expectations of making money from this; I will feel happy to cover my outlay costs in the short term with the hopes of making some small return over time, assuming I can sell the entire run.

Even under the best scenario, the time required to research and write this book will result in a ludicrously small return on my invested time. I certainly would not even think of attempting it unless I thought it was important. Not commercial, important.

And as much as it might pain people in the publishing industry, I'd also like to have an alternative e-book method of publishing available that I can control. I don't know if it would work for me, but if the cost is effectively zero, I'd be a fool not to want it.

You can tell me that I am in the small minority or writers, but the fact is I have never read a book that I enjoyed from a writer who didn't seem to be doing it for the pleasure, because the subject was important to them somehow. I have also read many of the popular factory writers and come away with the feeling that it was just their job. A lot of people seem to like these books well enough to read them regularly, but I don't. They may keep the publishing industry afloat, but I think they are icky.

Witness also the writing career of J.D. Salinger. He apparently kept on writing for his own satisfaction but had less than no interest in showing what he'd written to anyone else, let alone, have it published. An extreme case to be sure, but an illustration that the impulse to create can't be easily reduced to base incentives.
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post #152 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

I will disagree with this statement right off the bat. If the impulse to write is to make money, then that's a commercial impulse not a creative one. The publishing industry by in large feeds off the commercial impulse, which mainly results in mass market trash. You've admitted that much yourself.

I have already decided to self-publish my book, and not because it won't be "good enough" for a publisher, but because the interest level is local and I can't see any reason to give a publisher a cut, even if they were interested, which I doubt very much any would be. It will be a short run and distributed locally by me. I have virtually no expectations of making money from this; I will feel happy to cover my outlay costs in the short term with the hopes of making some small return over time, assuming I can sell the entire run.

Even under the best scenario, the time required to research and write this book will result in a ludicrously small return on my invested time. I certainly would not even think of attempting it unless I thought it was important. Not commercial, important.

And as much as it might pain people in the publishing industry, I'd also like to have an alternative e-book method of publishing available that I can control. I don't know if it would work for me, but if the cost is effectively zero, I'd be a fool not to want it.

You can tell me that I am in the small minority or writers, but the fact is I have never read a book that I enjoyed from a writer who didn't seem to be doing it for the pleasure, because the subject was important to them somehow. I have also read many of the popular factory writers and come away with the feeling that it was just their job. A lot of people seem to like these books well enough to read them regularly, but I don't. They may keep the publishing industry afloat, but I think they are icky.

Witness also the writing career of J.D. Salinger. He apparently kept on writing for his own satisfaction but had less than no interest in showing what he'd written to anyone else, let alone, have it published. An extreme case to be sure, but an illustration that the impulse to create can't be easily reduced to base incentives.

Writing for a living doesn't change the fact that the writer loves writing, and that isn't, wasn't, the primary reason for becoming a writer. But if you want to write for a career, make a living out of it, which is the goal of most writers, then you want also to make money from it. Most people really don't want to have as their career goal of living just above the poverty line.

If your book sells, you want to make money from it.

As you said in the beginning, writers complain that they're not being given enough money. So we're back to what you said at first. If they didn't care about that, but just loved the writing, then we wouldn't be hearing about it. But we do, because writers, like everyone else, want to make more money. It's no sin. And I can't say that because someone want to make a lot of money that (s)he is a worse writer, or that the opposite is true.

If someone really loves writing, they want to make a career of it, and that means they have to be paid.

Salinger was made wealthy from his writing, as were most successful writers. But that doesn't mean that he didn't like to write what he may correctly have perceived to be at the time, works that wouldn't have been successful. Or that he didn't yet finish to his satisfaction.

As I keep telling you, I'm not against someone self publishing an e-book, and it turning up in the Bookstore. I'm just hoping that we won't get too much trash.

I'm also saying that if the publishing industry goes away, and everyone needs to e-publish on their own, it will be mayhem, and scarce few quality writers will be recognized amongst the noise.
post #153 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neerazan View Post

Happy to go with these numbers, time for some sums...

In order for the publisher and author to keep the same amount of cash from that $27.95 book as an eBook sold using Apple's existing 30/70 revenue split the cost to the user would be $13.91.

That's a little less than 50% of the hardback RRP (and yes, I know a huge amount of books are discounted, but it's still a saving to the reader).

That's the royalties, pre-production and marketing elements making up 70% of the sale price.

Whilst actual costs per book for the pre-production and marketing will vary dependent on volume sold, it is fair to say that on average if the price point is lower then more units would be sold, so those costs would reduce on a per unit basis. Basically (for the sake of simplicity), let's just say they remain at a similar % level of the cost of sale, regardless of the sale price...

So when the softback comes out, there's no good reason to thing that the e-quivalent iPad book wont cost 50% of that RRP as well.

The publishers see the same return on their investment, the authors see their royalties retain the same cash value and increase as a % of the sale price, and I get cheaper books.

As for Amazon losing money on every book sold, it is possible (I guess due to the wireless modem delivery system), but Apple make a slight profit out of serving up larger files at lower prices, books are gonna make them money.

Using these numbers:

Assume $9.99 e-book price.

Apple's 30% cut = $3.32
Author royalties (assume 15%) = $2.10
Preproduction costs = $3.55
Marketing = $2.00

= $10.97

Gee...that number is higher than $9.99.

A the $14.99 price point the cost distribution looks like this:

Apple's 30% cut = $4.50
Author royalties (assume 15%) = $2.25
Preproduction costs = $3.55
Marketing = $2.00

= $12.30

Publisher's cut $2.70 (18%)

Gee...that's a number that's lower than the sale price which is how things are supposed to work.

I can see why publishers were pissed about $9.99 given when the book first comes out it has the most sales and where they need to make enough money back to cover duds that don't sell and be a profitable company.

Once it goes softback, I would be happy with $6 which is what a lot of my Baen e-books cost me.
post #154 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Using these numbers:

Assume $9.99 e-book price.

Apple's 30% cut = $3.32
Author royalties (assume 15%) = $2.10
Preproduction costs = $3.55
Marketing = $2.00

= $10.97

Gee...that number is higher than $9.99.

A the $14.99 price point the cost distribution looks like this:

Apple's 30% cut = $4.50
Author royalties (assume 15%) = $2.25
Preproduction costs = $3.55
Marketing = $2.00

= $12.30

Publisher's cut $2.70 (18%)

Gee...that's a number that's lower than the sale price which is how things are supposed to work.

I can see why publishers were pissed about $9.99 given when the book first comes out it has the most sales and where they need to make enough money back to cover duds that don't sell and be a profitable company.

Once it goes softback, I would be happy with $6 which is what a lot of my Baen e-books cost me.

According to the Times article the other day, Amazon is losing money on each book that's out in hardcover. They pay the publisher 50% of the list for the hardcover. So that's almost $14 for that $27.95 list book. They say it's to grow sales and marketshare, and that at some point in time Amazon will drop the hammer on the publishers.

Apple will give less to the publisher for that same book, but it would still come out to about $10.50. Add a third for Apple's cut, and you get the pricing Apple's talking about. But it's a sustainable scheme.

Later on, prices will get lower when the book is in paperback.
post #155 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Writing for a living doesn't change the fact that the writer loves writing, and that isn't, wasn't, the primary reason for becoming a writer. But if you want to write for a career, make a living out of it, which is the goal of most writers, then you want also to make money from it. Most people really don't want to have as their career goal of living just above the poverty line.

If your book sells, you want to make money from it.

As you said in the beginning, writers complain that they're not being given enough money. So we're back to what you said at first. If they didn't care about that, but just loved the writing, then we wouldn't be hearing about it. But we do, because writers, like everyone else, want to make more money. It's no sin. And I can't say that because someone want to make a lot of money that (s)he is a worse writer, or that the opposite is true.

If someone really loves writing, they want to make a career of it, and that means they have to be paid.

Salinger was made wealthy from his writing, as were most successful writers. But that doesn't mean that he didn't like to write what he may correctly have perceived to be at the time, works that wouldn't have been successful. Or that he didn't yet finish to his satisfaction.

As I keep telling you, I'm not against someone self publishing an e-book, and it turning up in the Bookstore. I'm just hoping that we won't get too much trash.

I'm also saying that if the publishing industry goes away, and everyone needs to e-publish on their own, it will be mayhem, and scarce few quality writers will be recognized amongst the noise.

Actually I didn't say that writers complain about not getting enough money. Closer to the opposite in fact. All I did say about writers and money is that a very small fraction of them get the vast majority of it, which I believe is true. I also said that many of the writers who do end up with the lion's share are writing mass market trash. All of which suggests to me that the publishing industry isn't doing a very good job of protecting our cultural heritage.

From the evidence, Salinger did like to write, at least for some years after he dropped out of sight. What he disliked intensely was the publishing industry, which I read somewhere in his obits he considered to be an embarrassment. Why we may never know, but the point remains that the impulse to write is not necessarily a commercial one, and this goes for whether you expect or don't expect to make a living out of it.

I'm happy to hear that you're not opposed to e-books. From the rest of your argument, it seemed you were signaling the end of good writing as we know it because the quality stuff endorsed by the industry would get lost in an avalanche of crap books.

FWIW, I don't expect the publishing industry to go away and I'm not really rooting for that outcome. But just as the music industry has been unalterably changed by technology, so will publishing. I hope publishing won't be as clueless for as long as the music business, and try to stop the world.
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post #156 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Actually I didn't say that writers complain about not getting enough money. Closer to the opposite in fact. All I did say about writers and money is that a very small fraction of them get the vast majority of it, which I believe is true. I also said that many of the writers who do end up with the lion's share are writing mass market trash. All of which suggests to me that the publishing industry isn't doing a very good job of protecting our cultural heritage.

From the evidence, Salinger did like to write, at least for some years after he dropped out of sight. What he disliked intensely was the publishing industry, which I read somewhere in his obits he considered to be an embarrassment. Why we may never know, but the point remains that the impulse to write is not necessarily a commercial one, and this goes for whether you expect or don't expect to make a living out of it.

I'm happy to hear that you're not opposed to e-books. From the rest of your argument, it seemed you were signaling the end of good writing as we know it because the quality stuff endorsed by the industry would get lost in an avalanche of crap books.

FWIW, I don't expect the publishing industry to go away and I'm not really rooting for that outcome. But just as the music industry has been unalterably changed by technology, so will publishing. I hope publishing won't be as clueless for as long as the music business, and try to stop the world.

When you said that they weren't fans, I was assuming that lack of money was the reason you meant because that's what writers and musicians have been complaining about. Sorry for misinterpreting.

Publishers have always used the earnings from major popular authors, whether they are good or not, to fund the much lower sales of better quality authors. Publishing houses have always felt that responsibility. They still do, but it's getting more difficult, because people buy less and less of the quality works.

I can't speak much about Salinger, as he's far from being an author I've ever liked.

My only worry is that the low quality doesn't crowd out the high quality. As long as publishing houses are nurturing authors, that shouldn't happen.
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