Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
AlanNJ
Posts: 3,722
Topics: 64
Kudos: 1,518
Solutions: 0
Registered: ‎03-09-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?


Omnigeek wrote:

How does one create a "less convenient" site if the target consumers are already locked into a proprietary standard?  There's already inertia on the part of consumers who feel they have a "significant investment" in AZW-format e-books so the competitor would either have to be able to read AZW formats without violating Amazon patents, convince Amazon to sell ebooks in another, more open format (good luck with that) or tell the prospective customers to do something potentially illegal by transforming all their current products?


For that matter why would anyone purposely create a less convenient site in the first place?  The whole argument here as far as I can tell is absurd.  I'm considering switching to a Kindle since I already have Amazon Prime.  The only drawback is that I will lose my B&N books (although that's easily enough fixed it's still a hassle).  The average consumer, though, as said above is not about to give up all of their AZW books.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.

►Without order there is chaos◄
Inspired Scribe
kamas716
Posts: 1,480
Registered: ‎09-28-2011

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?


5ivedom wrote:

Marketplace is Convenience.

 

Consider what you wrote:

 

Consumers are fairly lazy, we want to go to one place and buy our stuff.

 

*****

 

The Q is - ARe consumers lazy enough to keep paying $12.99 and $14.99?

 

I'd reckon not.

 

That as soon as someone makes a site that is at least a bit less conveinent, they will switch to it and leave Amazon.

 

Then Amazon will cut prices. And there go all the profits it was dreaming of. All the years of investment.

 

It's basically broken down the giant castle Publishers had built and erected a shanty town. Now it's hoping that's defensible.

 

IT's not. Fortunately for Amazon, most readers and authors don't realize it. They still imagine it's a giant castle and impenetratable. The truth is, its so fragile it might fall apart without anyone even doing anything.


So, what you are proposing is someone will replace one marketplace with another.  How is that reconciled with what you wrote earlier about "...as readers realize there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING preventing them from connecting directly to authors"?

 

There still needs to be a marketplace because consumers aren't going to go searching for five hundred sites looking for their next read.  They are going to want to go to one or two places to find their books.

http://www.goodreads.com/kamas716
Distinguished Scribe
gb18
Posts: 819
Registered: ‎12-06-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?

Amazon sells much more than just books.

Freedom is not free.
Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?

Think of it in the opposite way.

 

Not about customers LEAVING but of customers finding ANOTHER CHANNEL.

 

*****

 

So, let's say someone comes up with a method (and for now let's not argue about whether it's possible or not, we've already seen that ebooks have taken off and they were supposedly impossible) -

 

Existing Device owners can get books on their device for much cheaper than existing stores.

 

*****

 

If that were to happen, then Amazon & B&N and Kobo would have just two options

 

1) Price-match. Thus cutting into their profits. Not sure about Kobo. However, Amazon and B&N can't really afford to lose their profits from ebooks.

 

2) Let some portion of readers shift over to another site.

 

If they do the latter, the latter site gets stronger and stronger.

 

*****

 

Think of the BIGGEST thing.

 

The Marketplace is going to be making almost pure profit.

 

So we have

 

Amazon and B&N which subsidize devices and have lots of costs (shipping physical books, etc.).

 

Versus

 

A new Marketplace whose only cost is running a website.

 

While, for Amazon & B&N there will be figures like

 

Perhaps $2 or $3 average profit per ebook required Just To Break Even. And after that profits start.

 

For the new marketplace it would need something like $0.25 cents per book to start making a profit.

 

So it could, by selling at same price as B&N and Amazon make a LOT more profits.

 

OR, it could, by undercutting Amazon and B&N so that the new prices are Zero Profit for them, still make $1.75 to $2.75 an ebook.

 

*****

 

I'm not making a value judgement here. So not saying 'This is what anyone should do'. Just saying - This is what SOMEONE will do.

 

IT's exactly what Amazon did to stores (and is still doing).

 

Lower costs so sharing the savings with customers.

 

Now we have the opposite situation. Amazon is the one with costs - R&D for devices, customer support for devices, subsidized devices, lots of server costs, etc.

 

And a site could come up that just caters to readers' desire to buy books at good prices.

 

*****

 

At the moment that Amazon sells the device to a reader, from then on - The reader is totally free to buy from anywhere PROVIDED it'll work.

 

So the only thing missing is to bypass the proprietary lock-in. The obvious solution would be DRM free books.

 

*****

 

There will be different solutions offered. And that's the key.

 

ANYONE can be the marketplace now. Where's the defensibility? What can Amazon defend?

 

*****

Distinguished Correspondent
sparky_80
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎06-30-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?

 

And Amazon's eBooks are usually a dollar or two cheaper than B&N's price.

 

I still price compare, and of the last 10 eBooks I've bought, 8 were cheaper on the Kindle, 1 was cheaper on the Nook, and one had the same price.

 

 

Inspired Scribe
kamas716
Posts: 1,480
Registered: ‎09-28-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?

5ivedom, you're still just advocating a marketplace.  How does that get the readers and authors directly together unless all the authors band together to create their own marketplace?

http://www.goodreads.com/kamas716
Distinguished Scribe
Omnigeek
Posts: 893
Registered: ‎01-25-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?

I guess I just don't understand why you say ebooks were supposedly impossible.  Hell, they've been featured in SF for decades albeit not necessarily in the same form we're seeing today.

 

I can see how the EPUB base of readers might get books on a new device cheaper than existing stoers but the whole reason Amazon has acted in a monopolistic fashion has been to lock customers into their proprietary AZW format and a large majority of their customers act as desired:  they think of an "investment" in that AZW-format collection and won't leave it.

 

As long as AZW is a proprietary format, there is no way for a new device to read the format without either licensing it from Amazon or violating the patent.  In either case, Amazon and its team of lawyers will ensure Amazon is the lowest price source for AZW-format ebooks.  This is the third option you fail to mention:  litigate.

 

EPUB is a whole other story since it's an open standard and that's precisely why I favor Nooks and Kobos over Kindles.  I have never purchased an AZW-format ebook from Amazon and can't see me ever doing so despite having a Kindle application on a couple of devices.

 

Now, all bets are off once Amazon's patent on AZW expires and customers can legally convert their library to another format but that will be some years down the road.  Of course, there's also the unthinkable:  Bezos' empire collapses when people realize it's built on the financial equivalent of soap bubbles but for now, it's more like stone soup.  Bezos has the stone and Amazonians are bringing all the other ingredients but at the end of the day, all they can see is this wonderful soup.

Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, Angel Fire East, Batman Year One, Appleseed
Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,640
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?

And maybe aliens will land on earth and show us that fairies really do exist, and the fairies will teach us to read books on seaweed scrolls that mermaids make, and all the books will be written by unicorns.

 

You know, since we're speculating in fantasyland, and all.

Distinguished Bibliophile
MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,192
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?


keriflur wrote:

And maybe aliens will land on earth and show us that fairies really do exist, and the fairies will teach us to read books on seaweed scrolls that mermaids make, and all the books will be written by unicorns.

 

You know, since we're speculating in fantasyland, and all.


Silly. Unicorns do not write books.  They're not that longwinded.  They prefer to tweet.

flyingtoastr
Posts: 3,019
Topics: 55
Kudos: 2,947
Registered: ‎11-11-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Amazon, 725 years, and Price to Earnings - Thoughts?


Omnigeek wrote:

 

Now, all bets are off once Amazon's patent on AZW expires and customers can legally convert their library to another format but that will be some years down the road.


There isn't a patent on Amazon's DRM - they simply own it and refuse to licence it to anyone - and as Bezos says in his interviews, they're happy with it that way.

 

Now, if eBooks end up going DRM-free eventually, it leads to a very interesting development for companies like BN. Kindle devices can read unprotected (non-DRM'd) mobipocket files natively, so BN could pull a Fictionwise/Baen/Gutenberg/etc. and offer to fufill ebook orders in multiple formats, including Mobipocket. Thus, BN can sell Kindle books even without Amazon's approval.

 

Even more interestingly, since AZW and KF8 are just Mobipocket files with a proprietary DRM wrapper, there's almost nothing Amazon can do to block such an act except require DRM on any file opened on their Kindle. And doing so would cause such a backlash in the tech journalism industry that it would erase pretty much any goodwill Amazon cultivated over the years (and if you don't belive that can happen, look at Google's impending closure of Reader).

 

Naturally, it works both ways (Amazon could offer books in EPUB for NOOKs and such), but it would be a very interesting development.