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Publishers justify $13-$15 e-book prices for Apple iPad - Page 6

post #201 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

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.

Are they a particular genre? The opposite can be true. A lot of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and series novels never appear in hardcover. It really depends on the genre and market segment in question.

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

If the hardcover sales don't justify the risk, why make a special run?

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

The point that I didn't notice Melgross make (maybe I missed it) is that hardcovers to softcover delay is a way to segment the market. If you're willing to pay more, you can get it much sooner. If you're willing to wait to save a little money, then you can often wait and buy the soft cover. Melgross said he's seen articles where they address softcover pricing, the publishers claim there will be a price reduction when the soft cover version is available. We'll have to see if they follow through when the time comes. Right now, the iBookstore isn't even open and the information available is pretty sketchy.
post #202 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Are they a particular genre? The opposite can be true. A lot of sci-fi, fantasy, romance and series novels never appear in hardcover. It really depends on the genre and market segment in question.

Well, that may be indeed the case. After graduating in the US, and returning to Europe, I finally wound up teaching computer science, for which many of the textbook titles are available in softcover (and I remember well, most weren't in the US -- tightly controlled by the publishing houses). IMO, one of the reasons of making the titles available as softcover is to accommodate less affluent students abroad.
Oddly enough, if I had our bookstore order some of those hardcovers, they arrived as.... HARDCOVER
post #203 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by VanFruniken View Post

Well, that may be indeed the case. After graduating in the US, and returning to Europe, I finally wound up teaching computer science, for which many of the textbook titles are available in softcover (and I remember well, most weren't in the US -- tightly controlled by the publishing houses). IMO, one of the reasons of making the titles available as softcover is to accommodate less affluent students abroad.
Oddly enough, if I had our bookstore order some of those hardcovers, they arrived as.... HARDCOVER

Just to make sure there isn't any miscommunication, I wasn't saying that books advertised as hardcover were being shipped as paperback.

Our textbook publishers can be pretty bad, I'll give you that. For a little while, the calculus textbooks for my college changed every semester, but at least they were paperbacks. That burned me, I accidentally bought a new book one semester ahead and kept it thinking that it would still be good.
post #204 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

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

OK.. let's tear this apart a little.
Typesetting is a fixed cost.

The cost of typesetting an e-book is certainly no more than a single person day. As a non-expert, I am pretty sure I could typeset a novel in a day. Let's say that person-day costs $300.

If the publisher are passing on this cost at 50c per book - isn't that cost entirely recouped after just 600 units.

So we have to ask ourselves, did the person compiling this table base it on an anticipated run of 600 units? No wonder the numbers look crazy. It isn't worth writing or publishing a book for just 600 unit sales. Or is the publisher simply exaggerating the fixed costs to make it look like they are not making an unholy profit?

Here's an important observation. The lower the unit costs - The more units you sell.
With physical books, it becomes pointless to lower prices below a certain point. The per-unit manufacture and distribution costs prevent that.

But electronic distribution is effectively free. There is no "per unit" marketing or "per unit" typesetting costs. More importantly there's no per unit manufacture or distribution costs. That means e-books can be profitable at much lower unit prices.

Selling a million units at a $1 can be more profitable than selling 10,000 units at $10.

There's a real potential that book buyers, publishers and authors can all benefit from electronic book publishing, as long as there is some flexibility in pricing.

C.
post #205 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

OK.. let's tear this apart a little.
Typesetting is a fixed cost.

The cost of typesetting an e-book is certainly no more than a single person day. As a non-expert, I am pretty sure I could typeset a novel in a day. Let's say that person-day costs $300.

If the publisher are passing on this cost at 50c per book - isn't that cost entirely recouped after just 600 units.

So we have to ask ourselves, did the person compiling this table base it on an anticipated run of 600 units? No wonder the numbers look crazy. It isn't worth writing or publishing a book for just 600 unit sales. Or is the publisher simply exaggerating the fixed costs to make it look like they are not making an unholy profit?

Here's an important observation. The lower the unit costs - The more units you sell.
With physical books, it becomes pointless to lower prices below a certain point. The per-unit manufacture and distribution costs prevent that.

But electronic distribution is effectively free. There is no "per unit" marketing or "per unit" typesetting costs. More importantly there's no per unit manufacture or distribution costs. That means e-books can be profitable at much lower unit prices.

Selling a million units at a $1 can be more profitable than selling 10,000 units at $10.

There's a real potential that book buyers, publishers and authors can all benefit from electronic book publishing, as long as there is some flexibility in pricing.

How about the editing and writing? Do you really know for sure there is enough market out there to shift the entire industry to $1 a book? As it is, paper book distribution has been given about 10%. So saying distribution is "free" and typesetting is cheap now doesn't mean there is necessarily room to drop the prices by 90%, or even assuming a 10 or 100 fold increase in sales volume, which seems unrealistic. The only thing that really stops me from buying more books is that I have other things to do, I have a backlog as it is.
post #206 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

OK.. let's tear this apart a little.
Typesetting is a fixed cost.

The cost of typesetting an e-book is certainly no more than a single person day. As a non-expert, I am pretty sure I could typeset a novel in a day. Let's say that person-day costs $300.

If the publisher are passing on this cost at 50c per book - isn't that cost entirely recouped after just 600 units.

So we have to ask ourselves, did the person compiling this table base it on an anticipated run of 600 units? No wonder the numbers look crazy. It isn't worth writing or publishing a book for just 600 unit sales. Or is the publisher simply exaggerating the fixed costs to make it look like they are not making an unholy profit?

Here's an important observation. The lower the unit costs - The more units you sell.
With physical books, it becomes pointless to lower prices below a certain point. The per-unit manufacture and distribution costs prevent that.

But electronic distribution is effectively free. There is no "per unit" marketing or "per unit" typesetting costs. More importantly there's no per unit manufacture or distribution costs. That means e-books can be profitable at much lower unit prices.

Selling a million units at a $1 can be more profitable than selling 10,000 units at $10.

There's a real potential that book buyers, publishers and authors can all benefit from electronic book publishing, as long as there is some flexibility in pricing.

C.

The tabled figures are based on averages of all books.

Quote:
University of California Press, notes that the market for 'the specialized, scholarly monograph,' once the bread and butter of academic publishing, is all but disappearing. 'By this I mean books whose principal purchaser is the academic or the university library. A typical print run would be 1,500 cloth copies or less,

A JK Rowlings might get a million print run, but most authors are likely to get less than a 1,000. As shown, ebooks represent less than 5% of the print volume thus the relatively high unit type costs. Keep in mind that proofing pre-ebooks is more complicated than pre-press editions. Ask any ad agency or publication firm how many times lines roll over, pages shift, images disappear, formulae become garble just with a font change, let alone resizing to facilitate reading ease.

And if you think that all you have to do to typeset a book is import a word document into Quark or indesign and press a button, you really have a lot to learn.
post #207 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

And if you think that all you have to do to typeset a book is import a word document into Quark or indesign and press a button, you really have a lot to learn.

Have you seen how bad the typesetting is on the Kindle?
If anyone got paid more than $200 to typeset such a thing, I would be astonished.

To create such a layout is trivially easy. And to take a whole working day to layout a book would be excessive.

C.
post #208 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

How about the editing and writing? Do you really know for sure there is enough market out there to shift the entire industry to $1 a book?

I am not saying that.

But editing and writing are fixed per-sku costs. Not per-copy costs.
Presenting them as such is misleading. Perhaps deliberately so.

The pricing of an item should be done to maximise the revenue.
Price too highly and it will reduce sales.
Price too low and the increased sales numbers will not make up for the lower profit-per-item revenue.

If we plotted this price->revenue relationship on a graph, we would get a curve.
The market creates this curve, and it is the market that determines the right price for any item.

My point is that electronic distribution has different rules because the entire sales price is profit.
There are no per-unit costs. This gives publishers much more price flexibility.

I am not suggesting that the right price is $1 or 1 penny. But it does mean that some profit could be made at very low prices. With physical books, low prices are loss-making.

C.
post #209 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Have you seen how bad the typesetting is on the Kindle?
If anyone got paid more than $200 to typeset such a thing, I would be astonished.

To create such a layout is trivially easy. And to take a whole working day to layout a book would be excessive.

C.

Books on the Kindle are not what we would call in the industry typeset. Our definition falls under 'typography', an art that takes into account more than a day to set a book.
post #210 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Books on the Kindle are not what we would call in the industry typeset. Our definition falls under 'typography', an art that takes into account more than a day to set a book.

But in the table under discussion, the publisher is charging 50c per book for typesetting and design for a purely electronic edition. (Which currently means Kindle.)

The iPad's layouts are more book-like but I still doubt it would take more than a day to do a layout.

C.
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