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Publishers justify $13-$15 e-book prices for Apple iPad - Page 5

post #161 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Winsness View Post

I telling you, $4.99 is the most I would pay for an e-book and THAT should be the flat rate price!

Nah, they should be free. Why pay anything at all - it's our RIGHT to have content for free - stuff paying people who produce the content and then expect to make a profit. It's wrong that these companies make profit. It doesn't cost anything to email the transcript, so just email it for free and let us read it already...

You obviously don't have a lot of respect for literature, or for people's right to earn a living.
post #162 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

SO by that logic you want purchase something, use it for it's intended purpose and then decide you don't want it anymore. And you want this cost to be less because you'll only use the product for its intended purpose once. Ermmmm.... When you buy a book, your paying for the content, for the entertainment, the means of delivery is irrelevant - the content is what you're purchasing. Once you've got that content in your brain, you don't erase it from your brain - the experience remains.

Yep, just like a movie rental, TV rental etc. Books should be allowed to rent, therefore if one finds it of such value to keep it, they can pay the extra to keep it.


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It's not like a car or a tux hire - the end product is not purely physical - it's the content, which once consumed stays with you forever.


Nope, books have entertainment value as well as reference value. People don't consume books and retain them forever, or else dictionaries would have no place on our bookshelves. Some books you keep, others you pass onto others to read. Books are donated to libraries all the time.

So why have a bunch of e-books around clogging up the iPads storage that one has no use for anymore? Can't sell them or give them away, so renting is a great option.


Quote:
What is with people wanting something for nothing? That's the price - pay it, or don't pay it. But don't claim the 'right' to reduced pricing or claim that content creators are 'greedy' for wanting to make a profit for their work?

How many of you are prepared to earn less money for no less work?


Publishers take:

iPad Sell: 70% of $14 = $9.80

iPad Rent at 50% of sale price: 70% of $7 = $4.90

Amazon Sell: 50% of $9 = $4.50

So you see, publishers are happy selling and getting $4.50 on Amazon right now.

Renting and getting 70% is a better deal for publishers and it allows people who were not considering buying to try the book at a lower price point, increasing sales.


So really your getting all upset about nothing.
post #163 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

Yep, just like a movie rental, TV rental etc. Books should be allowed to rent, therefore if one finds it of such value to keep it, they can pay the extra to keep it.





Nope, books have entertainment value as well as reference value. People don't consume books and retain them forever, or else dictionaries would have no place on our bookshelves. Some books you keep, others you pass onto others to read. Books are donated to libraries all the time.

So why have a bunch of e-books around clogging up the iPads storage that one has no use for anymore? Can't sell them or give them away, so renting is a great option.





Publishers take:

iPad Sell: 70% of $14 = $9.80

iPad Rent at 50% of sale price: 70% of $7 = $4.90

Amazon Sell: 50% of $9 = $4.50

So you see, publishers are happy selling and getting $4.50 on Amazon right now.

Renting and getting $4.90 is a better deal for publishers and it allows people who were not considering buying to try the book at a lower price point, increasing sales.

Because there is no global model in place for book rental. You can borrow a book from your local library and have - say - thirty days to read it, but that is borrowing, and is normally free (or rather funded by the taxpayer). You could also photocopy it during that time, but it would be more hassle, and a pain to duplicate.

However, with an eBook, you download as 'rental', hack the DRM and redistribute as you see fit, this will happen and publishers will be in financial crisis within a very short period of time.

If people feel that $14.99 is too much to pay for a new title, then don't pay it - wait for it to come down in price.

People do not value content now that it is so readily available. People complain about 79 - 99 pence for a music single - which is ridiculously cheap - and yet people complain. And now books are the target.

If things become less expensive then less profit is made. Is less profit is made, there is less money for companies to spend on innovation/talent seeking/R&D call it what you will.

Yes, publishers need to move with the times, and by offering a list price of 50% of the printed product price they have done so, by allowing digital distribution of their products they are moving with the times. It is not fair that they are further berated by certain people who just want everything to be cheap. I'd imagine that charging half price for the digital version, when the overheads are not halved was seen as a pretty big move.

It is the same content, delivered in a different way, it is no less 'valuable'.
post #164 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

Publishers take:

iPad Sell: 70% of $14 = $9.80

iPad Rent at 50% of sale price: 70% of $7 = $4.90

Amazon Sell: 50% of $9 = $4.50

So you see, publishers are happy selling and getting $4.50 on Amazon right now.

Renting and getting 70% is a better deal for publishers and it allows people who were not considering buying to try the book at a lower price point, increasing sales.


So really your getting all upset about nothing.

Wow! It's really hard to take your comments seriously. Have you not been following any the news on the iPad, Kindle and publishers that has been rampant foe more than a month now?
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post #165 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Wow! It's really hard to take your comments seriously. Have you not been following any the news on the iPad, Kindle and publishers that has been rampant foe more than a month now?

And it's rather hard to take your lack of vision seriously. Isn't it funny how that all the fuss with publishers and Amazon occurred right around a new Apple product launch?

Perhaps Apple instigated the e-book rental option as a driver to increase sales of the iPad. The publishers were on board with that so now in order to make room for the rental prices and keep profits the same, the selling prices needed to be moved higher.

Amazon was targeted to increase their prices, told about the iPad rental option, thus all the hullabaloo was really for public theater as people are going to complain about the new higher e-book prices.

Publishers raise sale prices now and then later on offer a rental option.

Amazon works a rental model into their product line.

Everything is set to go for the iPad release.

People forget fast and life goes on.
post #166 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter02l View Post

Two things:

1. Why are we comparing ebooks to hardcovers? Why not to paperbacks?

2. The NYT article is very disingenuous. Read it carefully. Let me give you a couple of examples:

After allocating $0.80 for design, typesetting, copy-editing, it turns around and says "the publisher is left with $4.05 out of which it must pay for editors, cover art designers, ...

The it says that "print book sellers cannot sustain 3 to 5 percent of the market taken up by ebooks" and later on claims that they will cause bookstores to go out of business.

The easy thing to do is to increase the price of hard covers to adjust for the loss in sales. The aficionados and collectors will still be buying. And then reduce ebook prices to a provide a similar return as that of paperbacks. This will increase sales tremendously and make books much more accessible to the general public.

They are comparing hardcovers to ebooks because they are comparing the prices of new books at the time of hardcover release. On Amazon, they have older ebooks selling for less than the $9.99 fixed price. People have been fixated on the $13 - $15 prices announced for the iPad and have seem to have missed the fact that those prices only apply to new ebooks, when the hardcover is still being sold. I am much more interested in what the prices will be when the paperback is released. Apples own keynote showed books at $7.99 and $10.99 price points, but this has been largely ignored.

As for your solution, I don't generally agree with solutions that propose lowering the cost of what you want at the expense of raising the cost of another product that you don't want and hand waving it away with the argument that those who want it will still buy it.
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post #167 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woohoo! View Post

Nope, books have entertainment value as well as reference value. People don't consume books and retain them forever, or else dictionaries would have no place on our bookshelves. Some books you keep, others you pass onto others to read. Books are donated to libraries all the time.

Yes they have reference and entertainment value. That some people see them as 'disposable' is irrelevant and doesn't make the content worth any less. If someone buys a book, reads it and then donates it to a library, or give it away to a friend, then they have chosen to make that purchase and it's tantamount to giving it away at a loss to the purchaser - it is no longer their property, and the asset purchased is lost. You're surely not naive enough to suggest that sharing digital content with third parties for free with no restriction to stop you keeping the original is acceptable?
post #168 of 210
Dinosaurs opening an umbrella against the asteroid. I don't see the need for publishers at all in the iTunes/eBook model. All it's gonna take is for a Stephen King to self-publish books on iTunes for $10 a pop and authors will realize all they really need to succeed here in the future is (maybe) someone to edit them, and a word processor that saves as ePub. They can cut the publisher out entirely and still make a nice living from writing. Boom.
post #169 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

The strategy would likely not work for unknown authors unless they could find financial backers. A super star author like JK Rowling already did a limited edition book deal with Amazon, and Steven King did a limited "e" book with (I think) Amazon also. For the well-known authors the publicity would likely be provided by Apple or Amazon.

And that's the real problem, isn't it?

It's not that well known authors wouldn't be able to sell books, but where will the new talent come from? I know some people think that most will be self publishing, but really, that doesn't work for many people. Most self published work that I've read has been garbage. This is mostly stuff that isn't worthy of being published. Same thing for music. I know that there will always be someone who will like this stuff, but really!

Even the best known authors need support. And they won't sell nearly as many books as before, even with their own staffs helping. Tv talk shows don't want to be bombarded with hundreds of people calling to set up interviews. When a publisher calls, it's different. The show knows something is going on that they would like to have.

So many people have such simplistic attitudes about the way these things work.
post #170 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

I wonder why publishers are afraid of killing the Barnes and Nobles. What about the mom and pops that B&N killed? Apple will just take their place, amongst others. If Amazon couldn't kill the brick and mortars, certainly Apple can. Too bad, the model they are trying to protect needs to evolve, not get artificially stifled.

Such is the way of capitalism. So what if Borders and Barnes and Noble die, there will be someone to take their place. They aren't dying from lack of demand, they are dying because they are antiquated.

They're worried for several reasons. but the most important is that this change to e-books will take a long time, just as it is in music. It will take over a decade, at least. With music, people are playing it over devices that have existed for ten years in portable players, and computers which have been around in needed form for twenty years. Yet, most music is still bought in physical form. It will take several more years before more music will be bought in download form.

For books, the publishers don't want to see a B&N going under before that happens. And that's not farfetched. Several big booksellers have gone under in recent years, and Dalton's is doing poorly right now. It only takes a drop of maybe 15% in sales before profits are gone in an industry such as book selling, where profits are marginal already.

Small stores have been going under because they have to charge much more than a B&N does. Just like people here who are crying over e-book prices, those same people, and others, won't pay the higher prices the small stores have to charge. In the past, the small stores would have a service where they would get books for you that they didn't carry, but then B&N and others started doing the same thing, and Amazon carries many more books online, and from its affiliates than can any b&m store. That's why small stores are going out of business, unless they specialized highly.

If B&N goes under before e-books are a big percentage of sales, then publishers will be almost entirely dependent on Amazon for the majority of paper sales, and for a large percentage of e-book sales as well. I think they're more worried about that happening than about anything Apple may want.

So sure, they want to prevent major booksellers from going under. I don't blame them. Maybe in ten years, it won't matter to them as much, but it sure does now.

And honestly, do you really want to see most booksellers go out of business? I don't.
post #171 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Because there is no global model in place for book rental.

That's why I think Apple is going to introduce one with the iPad.

Apple has a history of creating new markets to sell their hardware, this is just another one.


Quote:
You can borrow a book from your local library and have - say - thirty days to read it, but that is borrowing, and is normally free (or rather funded by the taxpayer). You could also photocopy it during that time, but it would be more hassle, and a pain to duplicate.

However, with an eBook, you download as 'rental', hack the DRM and redistribute as you see fit, this will happen and publishers will be in financial crisis within a very short period of time.

And one can use software to screen record movies rented via iTunes, and rip DVD's with Handbrake, and copy songs in iTunes to DVD and give it all away for free too.

Not everyone steals content. And those who can afford a $499 iPad most likely want to sleep soundly at night without a lot of pirated content laying around for the Feds to bust them over. Those who steal content are not the iPads target audience anyway.


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If people feel that $14.99 is too much to pay for a new title, then don't pay it - wait for it to come down in price.

Ok, that model works for traditional paper books because it's based upon a physical medium and by allowing the price drop, it moves them out of the store.

However, e-books are duplicate electronic files, there is no physical medium involved, except clogging up the users hard drive eventually. So there isn't really any incentive to lower the price, it actually could have a adverse effect, a sale price could convey that the book isn't very good.

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People do not value content now that it is so readily available. People complain about 79 - 99 pence for a music single - which is ridiculously cheap - and yet people complain. And now books are the target.

The 99¢ ala carte model per song on iTunes was brilliant and highly successful, only when Apple allowed variable pricing did the labels realize lost sales, because people associated higher and lower prices as good or bad respectively.

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If things become less expensive then less profit is made. Is less profit is made, there is less money for companies to spend on innovation/talent seeking/R&D call it what you will.

Not necessarily, something they teach you in business school is that there is a price curve, sort of like upside down U shape. The more you raise prices and move to the right on the chart, the less sales there are, the more you move to the left the more sales increase. However a product also has to make a profit, therefore a margin line chart is intersected with the price curve chart, where those two points meet is the most overall profit possible, as the company is selling the most devices at the best possible margin the most people are willing to pay for.

Apple can innovate and make a device that does everything under the sun, but if enough people won't pay $20,000 each for it, then all that R&D spent is worthless.

Quote:
Yes, publishers need to move with the times, and by offering a list price of 50% of the printed product price they have done so, by allowing digital distribution of their products they are moving with the times.

They also are saving a lot with the electronic model and able to pass those savings onto consumers which results in more sales and the same profit levels.

Quote:
It is not fair that they are further berated by certain people who just want everything to be cheap. I'd imagine that charging half price for the digital version, when the overheads are not halved was seen as a pretty big move.

People naturally want to stretch their hard earned dollars, but they also want to play the game and keep the supply coming.


Quote:
It is the same content, delivered in a different way, it is no less 'valuable'.

I guessing you mean renting and buying books.

All I have show is the movie rental business on iTunes, same difference for entertainment books, consume and forget.

Now reference or teaching books people may prefer to buy, as they more likely to keep them. However they should have the option to rent in order to justify the high price tag those books incur.
post #172 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Did anyone pay attention to the article? It basically states that Amazon's $9.99 pricing nets the publishers nearly as much profit as the sale of a hardcover version. A hardcover sale averages around $4.05 in profit and an Amazon sale comes in between $3.51 and $4.26. Given that the variable factor mentioned was the author's royalty fee which had a 98 cent range, one can approximate that the range of profit for a hardcover book is between $3.56 and $4.54. Not far off the Amazon range at all.

So what it comes down to is that the publishers are pissed off that they're not making MORE money off of digital sales than the print version. Except that the new prices under Apple only make them about a dollar more per sale. But chances are the higher prices will actually cost them sales so for each lost sale, they're going to have to sell 4 extra copies to make it back up.

Your reasoning isn't correct. It's not so much that they aren't happy with the profits they're getting now from Amazon. They're concerned about several things. One it that Amazon will get people to lock into that $9.99 price. Then they're concerned that someday, Amazon will decide that they want to make a profit, rather than continue to take a loss. If Amazon has the percentage of e-book sales at that time that iTunes has for music, then they're screwed. The reason is that while Apple was upfront with the music publishers, Amazon hasn't been with the book publishers.

When Amazon decides they want to make a profit, they will bang the hammer down, and cut the price to the publishers in half. The publishers won't be able to do anything about it at that point, because while books are a shrinking percentage of Amazon's business as they keep growing, it's ALL of their businesses. And as we can see with Macmillian, Amazon isn't above dropping their books, both paper and electronic from their site.

The one thing they do know about Apple, is that they won't do that. Apple presents, upfront, what they want and expect. Then it's up to the publishers to decide whether they can accept that, or to try to negotiate a better deal. Whatever is finalized, it done, and everyone makes something. In Apple's negotiations with Universal, it was Universal that pulled their tuff, not Apple that removed it.

I think these issues are very important.
post #173 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter02l View Post

Two things:

1. Why are we comparing ebooks to hardcovers? Why not to paperbacks?

2. The NYT article is very disingenuous. Read it carefully. Let me give you a couple of examples:

After allocating $0.80 for design, typesetting, copy-editing, it turns around and says "the publisher is left with $4.05 out of which it must pay for editors, cover art designers, ...

The it says that "print book sellers cannot sustain 3 to 5 percent of the market taken up by ebooks" and later on claims that they will cause bookstores to go out of business.

The easy thing to do is to increase the price of hard covers to adjust for the loss in sales. The aficionados and collectors will still be buying. And then reduce ebook prices to a provide a similar return as that of paperbacks. This will increase sales tremendously and make books much more accessible to the general public.

That's a terrible idea!

You should look through some of the earlier posts. Macmillian and others have also said that they want prices to come down to $4.999 for books that have been out for awhile, like paperback editions.
post #174 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by peter02l View Post

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...le-sales-surge

Apparently Amazon sold more digital copies than paper copies last quarter. Yet they had a record quarter!

No one knows whether Amazon is even making money on the Kindle itself. As for their e-book sales. It's been said that over 80% of them are for free books. hat's not much money. Then they lose money on most of the rest.
post #175 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

Yes they have reference and entertainment value. That some people see them as 'disposable' is irrelevant and doesn't make the content worth any less. If someone buys a book, reads it and then donates it to a library, or give it away to a friend, then they have chosen to make that purchase and it's tantamount to giving it away at a loss to the purchaser - it is no longer their property, and the asset purchased is lost.

Right and the publisher doesn't realize a profit on those trickle down readers, but with a e-book rental they can.


Quote:
You're surely not naive enough to suggest that sharing digital content with third parties for free with no restriction to stop you keeping the original is acceptable?

I have no such qualms about sharing copyrighted content with others if no other reasonable solutions exist. The buyer and seller both play the economic game, the seller needs to make a profit and the buyer wants the supply to continue, both have to come to reasonable terms of exchange.

File sharing came about because the system was broken, but since iTMS, Apple has solved a lot of the issues surrounding distributing digital content and I feel with the iPad they are about to do it again.
post #176 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Winsness View Post

I telling you, $4.99 is the most I would pay for an e-book and THAT should be the flat rate price!

Well, good for you.
post #177 of 210
Quote:
the industry is based on the understanding that as much as 70 percent of the books published will make little or no money at all for the publisher once costs are paid.


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Some of these books are by writers who are experimenting with form or genre, or those who just do not have recognizable names. Youre less apt to take a chance on an important first novel if you dont have the profit margin on the volume of the big books, said Lindy Hess, director of the Columbia Publishing Course, a program that trains young aspirants for jobs in the publishing industry. The truth about this business is that, with rare exceptions, nobody makes a great deal of money.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/bu...er=rss&emc=rss

I wonder how many l still have not read the entire article before they commented?


It is obvious that many don't quite understand the publishing process, and believe that a book that reaches New York Times Best Seller list the day it was printed.

To answer my own question, I have a feeling that they don't read, primarily because they can't read.
post #178 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by macpeople1 View Post

I don't know how the publishers can possibly predict how much it will cost or how much profit they make on e-books when they have no idea how many e-books they will sell. Sales determine final costs but I really think that 50¢ per digital copy is way too high.

I have laid out books before and using templates, style sheets and other shortcuts it shouldn't take too long. All the editing is done for the print copy and all you need is RTF text of the book and QuarkXPress or InDesign to do the layout which should be a streamlined and fairly easy process.

You're saying you are willing to do all that work for a royalty of 10¢ per book? How many copies of those books did you sell? You have to keep in mind that there are a LOT of books that don't break even, I know of some small publishers that don't have a single book that sold more than 3700 copies. With your pricing model, that would be $370 for the work royalties.

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I'm all for everyone getting paid but it sounds to me that the fly in the ointment here is Apple. They want 30% from every e-book? That's way too much by half IMHO.

The standard retailer markup is 40%. The distributor's take is 10%. It looks like Apple is doing all that for 30%. So far, no one has shown that Apple is making a lot of money on downloadable media. They take in a lot of money, but expenses seem to take most of it out, leaving a relatively small percent for net profit.
post #179 of 210
I'm not an avid reader, I'm not even a somewhat casual reader so I don't presume to make any conclusions on anyones arguments. However, I've read many post that defend both sides of the argument but one thing that is totally overlooked in just about everyones arguments and something that neither the movie or music market has had to grapple with... paperback books.

Paperback Books!

- What is the paperback book market when compared to the hardcover book market (in both UNITS MOVED as well as GROSS REVENUE)

- What % of the authors cut is generated from paperbacks?

- What % of the publishers cut?

- Printing costs?

- Shipping costs?

Because if you take the ebook to its eventual conclusion it could possibly (one day) overtake both hardcover and paperback sales. If the publishing market behaves even remotely similar to the music industry this might be a reality in 10 years, maybe less. However I'm in no way saying that it will.... my knowledge of either industry is far too limited to make any serious prediction. However, from a layman's point of view it doesn't seem like a totally absurd notion.

Why was the 'paperback' invented in the first place?

Presumably because a large enough group of people were simply unwilling to pay the price of a hardcover book each time they wanted something to read. So for the concept of the ebook to be successful moving forward paperback pricing must be taken into account in some way shape or form or it will fail. The ebook has to have pricing in place to cater to BOTH the hardcover buyers as well as the paperback buyers or in my mind the chance of its failure is greatly increased.

Again, the music industry and the movie industry doesn't have anything remotely similar to 'paperbacks'. The music companies never released high quality CD with great full color cover art and booklets at one price and a cheap quality CD with generic B&W cover art and no booklets at a cheaper price. For the most part movies companies don't either. Tho with the additional space afforded to them with DVD and now bluray many are issuing 'movie only' editions with little to no extras at one price and then a 'deluxe edition' at a higher price. This however, is a relatively new concept for the movie industry and not nearly as much of a factor as paperback sales are to the book industry.

In short (too late) the concept of paperbacks has a very long history in the world of book publishers and if they are is simply ignored the ebook is going to be a curiosity at best. This is of course presuming that paperback sales are meaningful % of books sales.
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post #180 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

I'm not an avid reader, I'm not even a somewhat casual reader so I don't presume to make any conclusions on anyones arguments. However, I've read many post that defend both sides of the argument but one thing that is totally overlooked in just about everyones arguments and something that neither the movie or video market has had to grapple with... paperback books.

Paperback Books!

- What is the paperback book market when compared to the hardcover book market (in both UNITS MOVED as well as GROSS REVENUE)

- What % of the authors cut is generated from paperbacks?

- What % of the publishers cut?

- Printing costs?

- Shipping costs?

Because if you take the ebook to its eventual conclusion it could possibly (one day) overtake both hardcover and paperback sales. If the publishing market behaves even remotely similar to the music industry this might be a reality in 10 years, maybe less. However I'm in no way saying that it will.... my knowledge of either industry is far too limited to make any serious prediction. However, from a layman's point of view it doesn't seem like a totally absurd notion.

Why was the 'paperback' invented in the first place?

Presumably because a large enough group of people were simply unwilling to pay the price of a hardcover book each time they wanted something to read. So for the concept of the ebook to be successful moving forward paperback pricing must be taken into account in some way shape or form or it will fail. The ebook has to have pricing in place to cater to BOTH the hardcover buyers as well as the paperback buyers or in my mind the chance of its failure is greatly increased.

Again, the music industry and the movie industry doesn't have anything remotely similar to 'paperbacks'. The music companies never released high quality CD with great full color cover art and booklets at one price and a cheap quality CD with generic B&W cover art and no booklets at a cheaper price. For the most part movies companies don't either. Tho with the additional space afforded to them with DVD and now bluray many are issuing 'movie only' editions with little to no extras at one price and then a 'deluxe edition' at a higher price. This however, is a relatively new concept for the movie industry and not nearly as much of a factor as paperback sales are to the book industry.

In short (too late) the concept of paperbacks has a very long history in the world of book publishers and if it is simply ignored the ebook is going to be a curiosity at best.

I've brought up the paperback several times here. Publishers are willing to account for that in their pricing when the paperback comes out.
post #181 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I've brought up the paperback several times here. Publishers are willing to account for that in their pricing when the paperback comes out.

Well thats good to hear... I for one would really like to see ebooks thrive. I'm far from a tree-hugger (quite far) but even I can see enormous benefits worldwide if ebooks became the norm.

- Global resources (trees, inks, trucking, warehousing).

- Versatility and potentially vast savings to disabled individuals. Special (costly) brail-editions might be all but unnecessary since the text is in digital format could be read aloud or possibly even digitally linked with existing brail device if the person has the device. I don't know the proper name but its a line of mechanical dots that can be activated to form words and sentences. Large print editions (again at an added cost due to it being a special low-quanity print run) for the elderly or weak sighted people. In todays world I'm going to bet that many of printed books, magazines and journals are simply not available in large print or brail editions due to the relatively low demand for the majority of titles published simply can't justify the expense of creating these special editions.

After a simple Google search I found some relatively recent data that proves out my point.... In a rush to get "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" into a brail edition would cost about $80,000 dollars. Full Story Link. So even an ENORMOUSLY popular book relied on individual donations to fund the creation of a brail edition of the book... and yes of course they easily succeeded in raising the funds I'm going to bet that well over 95% of the other books published will not receive the same level of success and with either be very costly to buy or will simply be unavailable at any price.

Quote:
It costs about $80,000 to produce the braille edition, or approximately $63 per book, yet we sell the book at a comparable price to the print edition so blind people don't have to pay more than sighted people. To make sure that blind children and adults have books to read, we need charitable support to make up the difference.

- Storage... todays libraries are simply unable to house and catalog the vast number of printed publications generated each year. Many share their collections with a network of libraries and books can be requested across the network and then delivered to the proper library so the person can eventually borrow it. This is a great effort but it is time consuming and wastes time and doesn't address the real problem, storage space. If ebooks become a fully embraced method of publishing and distribution, libraries could provide enormous catalogs of books with zero additional storage and no need to shuttle books from one library to another. One day I could see the physical library transformed from a roof and wall holding a ton of printed books into something totally different...

I was almost going to say the library itself (as a physical space) could be unnecessary but I think it still could hold a great value to the neighborhood it services provided the people running the library have vision to look beyond the physical books.
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post #182 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

And that's the real problem, isn't it?

It's not that well known authors wouldn't be able to sell books, but where will the new talent come from? I know some people think that most will be self publishing, but really, that doesn't work for many people. Most self published work that I've read has been garbage. This is mostly stuff that isn't worthy of being published. Same thing for music. I know that there will always be someone who will like this stuff, but really!

Even the best known authors need support. And they won't sell nearly as many books as before, even with their own staffs helping. Tv talk shows don't want to be bombarded with hundreds of people calling to set up interviews. When a publisher calls, it's different. The show knows something is going on that they would like to have.

So many people have such simplistic attitudes about the way these things work.

I agree that most self-published work isn't worth the paper (or e-ink) it's printed on, but my point was that it is inevitable that some of the big name authors will want a larger cut of the pie and they'll be able to do it by selling "direct" either via iTunes, Amazon, or perhaps even through their own e-delivery web site.

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post #183 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

Well thats good to hear... I for one would really like to see ebooks thrive. I'm far from a tree-hugger (quite far) but even I can see enormous benefits worldwide if ebooks became the norm.

- Global resources (trees, inks, trucking, warehousing).

- Versatility and potentially vast savings to disabled individuals. Special (costly) brail-editions might be all but unnecessary since the text is in digital format could be read aloud or possibly even digitally linked with existing brail device if the person has the device. I don't know the proper name but its a line of mechanical dots that can be activated to form words and sentences. Large print editions (again at an added cost due to it being a special low-quanity print run) for the elderly or weak sighted people. In todays world I'm going to bet that many of printed books, magazines and journals are simply not available in large print or brail editions due to the relatively low demand for the majority of titles published simply can't justify the expense of creating these special editions.

- Storage... todays libraries are simply unable to house and catalog the vast number of printed publications generated each year. Many share their collections with a network of libraries and books can be requested across the network and then delivered to the proper library so the person can eventually borrow it. This is a great effort but it is time consuming and wastes time and doesn't address the real problem, storage space. If ebooks become a fully embraced method of publishing and distribution, libraries could provide enormous catalogs of books with zero additional storage and no need to shuttle books from one library to another. One day I could see the physical library transformed from a roof and wall holding a ton of printed books into something totally different...

I was almost going to say the library itself (as a physical space) could be unnecessary but I think it still could hold a great value to the neighborhood it services provided the people running the library have vision to look beyond the physical books.

I understand the storage problem. We have over 3,000 books. That's why I welcome e-books, of which I now have several hundred. I've also railed at the overpricing I've seen.

But that overpricing is when an e-book is sold for the list price of the hardcover edition. This is still commonplace. You can find that on MobilePocket, and even the books section of the app store. Crazy!

But I find $13 to $15 to be fair enough for a just released book. If prices do indeed come down to the $4.99 level, that seems fair as well.

As a number of authors who have written about this have said, the rights to books may be given back to the author if the books aren't selling. Then some can, and do sell them for as little as $0.99. At that point, the authors have really got nothing to lose. Every sale, even at that price is better than no sale.

But if their books are selling, even in the low thousands, then they are going to want a more normal price as well.
post #184 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

...The cost of producing an ebook isn't simply the additional $1.28 cost over converting it from paper to ebook. ...

This sort of statement causes considerable skepticism for many of us. I don't know what system is being used for the conversion but if there is a recurring cost per copy then someone should be fired. As someone else has noted several of these so-called costs are actually performed by $8 to $12 per hour employees. The numbers as they are presented are either poorly explained or just dishonest. Many of us don't have a background in publishing but we do know something about computers and networks and we can recognize smoke and mirrors (i.e. lies) when we see them.

On the other hand I'm not agitated or concerned about prices being set wherever publishers want to see them. For the vast majority of books the prices are far beyond what I would pay (since they are of little interest to me) and for the others the prices are very attractive. Setting higher prices simply reduces the number of books that are of interest to me. Setting e-book prices much higher than the marginal cost simply diminishes the role of books in our society.
post #185 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I agree that most self-published work isn't worth the paper (or e-ink) it's printed on, but my point was that it is inevitable that some of the big name authors will want a larger cut of the pie and they'll be able to do it by selling "direct" either via iTunes, Amazon, or perhaps even through their own e-delivery web site.

I agree. But the big name authors aren't what this is all about in the long run. It's about the viability of a strong, free press. And press means more than newspapers. It means anyone. We've always had self published authors. I know a couple, but the vast majority need publishers behind them.

I have no problem with people wanting to publish their own vanity work. A vanity press exists, and has for a very long time. E-books will make that easier, and I'm all for that.

But I don't want to see that ruin the publishing industry.

I've already linked to this, and it remains the best article written about this issue from a published author that I've seen so far. He also has links to others. It's somewhat long, but well worth the read. I just wish everyone who comments on this issue would read it.

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2010/01...le-via-amazon/
post #186 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbryan View Post

This sort of statement causes considerable skepticism for many of us. I don't know what system is being used for the conversion but if there is a recurring cost per copy then someone should be fired. As someone else has noted several of these so-called costs are actually performed by $8 to $12 per hour employees. The numbers as they are presented are either poorly explained or just dishonest. Many of us don't have a background in publishing but we do know something about computers and networks and we can recognize smoke and mirrors (i.e. lies) when we see them.

On the other hand I'm not agitated or concerned about prices being set wherever publishers want to see them. For the vast majority of books the prices are far beyond what I would pay (since they are of little interest to me) and for the others the prices are very attractive. Setting higher prices simply reduces the number of books that are of interest to me. Setting e-book prices much higher than the marginal cost simply diminishes the role of books in our society.

You have to look at where the money is going, and understand that all the expenses for producing a book are still valid for an e-book, other than the small amount for printing and its derivatives.

Only if you think that no one should profit from the e-book edition would you think that it's worth so little.

I really don't think that you can understand the "smoke and lies". What I do see is that you don't want to pay more than a trifle because somehow, you think that once something's in digital form, it's worth almost nothing.
post #187 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I agree. But the big name authors aren't what this is all about in the long run. It's about the viability of a strong, free press. And press means more than newspapers. It means anyone. We've always had self published authors. I know a couple, but the vast majority need publishers behind them.

I have no problem with people wanting to publish their own vanity work. A vanity press exists, and has for a very long time. E-books will make that easier, and I'm all for that.

But I don't want to see that ruin the publishing industry.

I've already linked to this, and it remains the best article written about this issue from a published author that I've seen so far. He also has links to others. It's somewhat long, but well worth the read. I just wish everyone who comments on this issue would read it.

http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2010/01...le-via-amazon/

Thanks for the article link. The author makes some interesting points, but the fact remains... all human activity, as long as it is possible be digitized (this of course includes the work of artists, writers, filmmakers, doctors, lawyers, and "experts" of all kinds, etc., etc., etc.), face vastly increased competition, if not obsolescence by virtue of the fact that the final product, the work, can be boiled down to an easily distributable and consumable product. Think about it. Everyone will have near equal access to the absolute best and latest information in any given field and about every human activity. That's a lot of competition to make a little money, and the net effect is to drive the value of everything digital as near to zero as possible.

This is why extreme specialization will continue on it's skyward path, and why personalities and/or personal contacts will likely be more important than the ultimate activity. Having said that, the "journeyman" authors, artists, and all the rest will still find room to create product and sell. Not every bit of output needs to make it's owner a lifetime of riches.

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post #188 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

But I find $13 to $15 to be fair enough for a just released book. If prices do indeed come down to the $4.99 level, that seems fair as well.

Very good point. IMO, this is critical for eBooks to succeed. Although with that said, if it only costs a publisher $3.26 to print, store, and ship a new hardcover book, there really isn't a reason for publishers to make any price concessions for eBooks.
post #189 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Thanks for the article link. The author makes some interesting points, but the fact remains... all human activity, as long as it is possible be digitized (this of course includes the work of artists, writers, filmmakers, doctors, lawyers, and "experts" of all kinds, etc., etc., etc.), face vastly increased competition, if not obsolescence by virtue of the fact that the final product, the work, can be boiled down to an easily distributable and consumable product. Think about it. Everyone will have near equal access to the absolute best and latest information in any given field and about every human activity. That's a lot of competition to make a little money, and the net effect is to drive the value of everything digital as near to zero as possible.

This is why extreme specialization will continue on it's skyward path, and why personalities and/or personal contacts will likely be more important than the ultimate activity. Having said that, the "journeyman" authors, artists, and all the rest will still find room to create product and sell. Not every bit of output needs to make it's owner a lifetime of riches.

Almost everyone wants to make money at what they're doing. The dream of authors is to be able to do it full time. Few achieve that goal. Fewer will achieve it without the publishing industry.

It's nice to think of ideals, but they never work.
post #190 of 210
well, lets probably assume that this calculation is valid for hardcover and new books vs ebooks. but whats about older ones, availablr as paperback. more or less everytime i browse the kindle store the ebooks are more expensive than than the papaerback version. that's the thing i don't understand - it just seems they are ripping us off with the ebook stuff...
post #191 of 210
"If e-book sales start to replace some hardcover sales, the publishers say, they will still have many of the fixed costs associated with print editions, like warehouse space, but they will be spread among fewer print copies."

As pointed out before, this is a flawed argument (if fewer paper books are sold, warehouse space can be reduced -- unless they continue to print too many copies for each edition), but the message is clear: publishers want the e-Book sales to pay for their ancient cost structure.

Anyway, comparing e-Books with just the hardware edition isn't fair either.
Whatever happened to the paperpack edition (I know, I know, sometimes artificially kept off the shelves in the US)?

Customers who normally buy the paperback version should still pay somewhat less for the e-Book.
post #192 of 210


This implies that the costs of typesetting and marketing are incurred on a per-sale basis.
Which suggests the more copies of book that are sold, the higher the marketing and typesetting cost.

What nonsense!

Typesetting is done once. Marketing is done once.
With sufficient sales, these costs are entirely recouped. And once recouped, those costs are effectively zero.

C.
post #193 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

image: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/...ok_g-popup.jpg

This implies that the costs of typesetting and marketing are incurred on a per-sale basis.
Which suggests the more copies of book that are sold, the higher the marketing and typesetting cost.

What nonsense!

Typesetting is done once. Marketing is done once.
With sufficient sales, these costs are entirely recouped. And once recouped, those costs are effectively zero.

C.

Of course economy of scale is in effect, but they have to use a general number of units sold to do the math. The only other option is to use a formula, but that doesn't work well for most readers. You could ask them how many units were used for the charts.
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post #194 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Of course economy of scale is in effect, but they have to use a general number of units sold to do the math. The only other option is to use a formula, but that doesn't work well for most readers. You could ask them how many units were used for the charts.

I think it's a representation of the average cost of the work spread out among all the books sold. Some books make a lot of money and might have a very slim cost when spread out to millions of copies, other books might never sell a thousand copies. There are probably far more books in the thousand copy range than the million copy range.
post #195 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

"If e-book sales start to replace some hardcover sales, the publishers say, they will still have many of the fixed costs associated with print editions, like warehouse space, but they will be spread among fewer print copies."

As pointed out before, this is a flawed argument (if fewer paper books are sold, warehouse space can be reduced -- unless they continue to print too many copies for each edition), but the message is clear: publishers want the e-Book sales to pay for their ancient cost structure.

Anyway, comparing e-Books with just the hardware edition isn't fair either.
Whatever happened to the paperpack edition (I know, I know, sometimes artificially kept off the shelves in the US)?

Customers who normally buy the paperback version should still pay somewhat less for the e-Book.

Your argument is flawed, because you don't understand the economics of leasing warehouse space, or owning your own.

Follow the discussion, then come back. We've covered all of this fairly well already.

And paperbacks aren't "artificially" kept off the shelves here. Can you show some proof of this? Some books never get to the paperback stage because they haven't sold well enough, and they just go out of print. Sometimes a book sells in one market, but not in another, so you may see a paperback in that one, but not in the other.

A little bit of logic and understanding goes a long way.
post #196 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

This implies that the costs of typesetting and marketing are incurred on a per-sale basis.
Which suggests the more copies of book that are sold, the higher the marketing and typesetting cost.

What nonsense!

Typesetting is done once. Marketing is done once.
With sufficient sales, these costs are entirely recouped. And once recouped, those costs are effectively zero.

C.

That's not really what's meant. What the chart doesn't show, is the number of books sold that some of these fixed costs are based on. There's a minimum number of books that have to be sold to pay off those fixed costs, and those costs per book are how the price of the book is determined, along with the running costs. That's one of the major reasons why trade paperbacks, and hopefully later, pocket book editions can be so much cheaper. All of those fixed costs have hopefully been paid off during the hardcover's early runs.
post #197 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post



This implies that the costs of typesetting and marketing are incurred on a per-sale basis.
Which suggests the more copies of book that are sold, the higher the marketing and typesetting cost.

What nonsense!

Typesetting is done once. Marketing is done once.
With sufficient sales, these costs are entirely recouped. And once recouped, those costs are effectively zero.

C.

No. NO. NO. These are average cost per unit based on spreading the total expenditures across a publisher's total print runs.

Keep in mind that publishers base a books first print run on a years of experience relative to the authors' history if he/she has any. As has been pointed out previously, less than 70% of books are profitable. A lot of risk is taken for an unknown as it is a judgement call. Bad booksa big loss. Good booksa profit. Great bookshelp offset the loss of bad books and hopefully ups the publisher's profit.

Generally, books that make the best seller lists take a few weeks to reach that plateau. It is most often attained by customers that have paid the full price or close to it. Then the vultures swoop in, grab the warehoused editions and offer the carcasses for considerably less. For example, books by J.K. Rowling commands a premium price for a few weeks. Then the price drops significantly.

As the table shows, the cost to pre-press an ebook is not much different than a print edition. Without commanding a similar profit structure for the ebook vs a print volume, the biggest loser is the author.
[INDENT]The idea that even great authors will start their own ebook and drop print is ludicrous.
Quote:
It used to be that the author wrote and the publisher published. Publishing meant everything from editing to distribution to marketing. Now, more and more books are not being published, but instead are merely being printed.

No one walks into a bookstore and says to the clerk Id like to buy a book that I never heard of and that you never heard of. Someone has to do the marketing and get the word out.

http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=4599

The iPad will change publishing. But unless professional publishers are involved and are profitable, simply uploading a book on the internet won't do it. Sure, some will be extremely successful. But just like the iPhone/iPod touch apps, the selection will be so huge, it will be harder to make a decision.
post #198 of 210
This is silly. If you charged a million dollars, you'd only have to sell one copy, but that never seems to work. The reality of e-books that is being overlooked is that you can sell many more copies without incurring additional overhead.

And as far as publishers still having fixed costs for printing plants and warehouses -- that is their issue to deal with. And it is not their place to "slow down" ebook sales. There's nothing to prevent new companies, or cooperatives from starting as ebook-only publishers and eat their lunch.

The end result will be driven by the success of e-books. If the market takes off, all these numbers change.

Learn how to swim or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'
post #199 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naboozle View Post

This is silly. If you charged a million dollars, you'd only have to sell one copy, but that never seems to work. The reality of e-books that is being overlooked is that you can sell many more copies without incurring additional overhead.

And as far as publishers still having fixed costs for printing plants and warehouses -- that is their issue to deal with. And it is not their place to "slow down" ebook sales. There's nothing to prevent new companies, or cooperatives from starting as ebook-only publishers and eat their lunch.

The end result will be driven by the success of e-books. If the market takes off, all these numbers change.

Learn how to swim or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'

There are already. But they are virtually going un-noticed. As I said previously, you need professional publishers and basically most of the process and their expertise they bring to the table.
post #200 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Your argument is flawed, because you don't understand the economics of leasing warehouse space, or owning your own.

Follow the discussion, then come back. We've covered all of this fairly well already.

And paperbacks aren't "artificially" kept off the shelves here. Can you show some proof of this? Some books never get to the paperback stage because they haven't sold well enough, and they just go out of print. Sometimes a book sells in one market, but not in another, so you may see a paperback in that one, but not in the other.

A little bit of logic and understanding goes a long way.

Thank you for your rather caustic reaction. The people that be have spoken already and I should just STFU. You must have some agenda to react like this.

And about paperbacks vs hardcovers.

Many, and I mean MANY, books never appear in the US in their paperback form.
In Europe you can order them, in the US you can't.

I don't know the economic reasons for this, but what I said is a fact and has been for decades.

My point in connection with eBook pricing is, that it is fairer to compare them with the softcover prices than with the hardcover prices.
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