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Distinguished Bibliophile
patgolfneb
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎09-10-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/business/e-book-ruling-gives-amazon-an-advantage.html?partner=rss&...

 

I added this link here because it adds some historical perspective to the current state of book publishing.  It includes a statement that e book sales decreased temporarily when Borders closed. I think the reasoning that because people couldn't browse books in a physical store before buying at Amazon is possible but unprovable. 

 

I do think in the short run Amazon is bad for e book authors.  Amazon now has leverage, with its e book market share.  Amazon can pressure publishers who can pressure authors, who have the least power.  Except for the cream authors may receive poorer deals and fewer may be signed at all. 

 

My bias is that while the publishers and Apple acted improperly I am concerned that there is no concern about Amazons predatory business practices and the long term harm to publishing, authors, and consumers, who will have few other valid choices for e books. 

Contributor
jpisini
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-17-2013

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

One thing I never see in these debates is salary. Think new books only forget old books that have to be re-edited to release an ebook. The average yearly salary for a book editor is 45,000 a year when a new book comes in it is electronic they already have to edit it. Now add in the time to add a TOC and maybe an index with hyperlinks and we are talking at best an extra days work. You can't tell me paying the editor one days pay is more than paper, ink, binding, shipping, and stocking. There is no way an ebook that can be duplicated uncounted times at less than a cent each for bandwith and electricity comes even close in cost. Now older books someone has to go back in and re-edit and then link but even that with most books being in electronic format is at most a couple of days worth of work.

 

When I first bought one of the original Nooks it made sense I paid for the device up front but I saved money on each book and at the rate I read that equaled me breaking even at 7 months well worth it. I used the device for a year and a half and then gave it to my daughter who is still using it today.

 

Other than space if the ebook is the same cost or higher there is no reason for me to buy ebooks as at least with a real book I can resell to recoup my investment or donate it to the library for a tax break. I can not do that with an ebook.

Wordsmith
TnTexas
Posts: 897
Registered: ‎10-22-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

[ Edited ]

Ran across this article (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57412587-93/why-e-books-cost-so-much/) from a former literary agent in the world of children's publishing. I think the most relevant quote to this discussion is:

 

  • The vast majority of a publisher's costs come from expenses that still exist in an e-book world: Author advances, design, marketing, publicity, office space, and staff.

 

And I would throw editors/editing in there. It doesn't matter whether the story's going to come out in physical or digital form, someone still has to spend time editing it - probably a couple of someones since I'm pretty sure content editing (continuity, plot, pacing, etc.) and copyediting (punctuation, grammar usage, etc.) are usually done by at least two different people.

 

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
patgolfneb
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎09-10-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks


TnTexas wrote:

Ran across this article (http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57412587-93/why-e-books-cost-so-much/) from a former literary agent in the world of children's publishing. I think the most relevant quote to this discussion is:

 

  • The vast majority of a publisher's costs come from expenses that still exist in an e-book world: Author advances, design, marketing, publicity, office space, and staff.

 

And I would throw editors/editing in there. It doesn't matter whether the story's going to come out in physical or digital form, someone still has to spend time editing it - probably a couple of someones since I'm pretty sure content editing (continuity, plot, pacing, etc.) and copyediting (punctuation, grammar usage, etc.) are usually done by at least two different people.

 

 

 I know I make this point often, so my apologies to those weary of it.  The cost advantages of e books lie in marginal costs.  The longer a book can be sold without significant additional costs the greater the advantage.  

 

There is very little additional costs in storing and delivering additional e books.  The sales rate needed to justify a new print run and the additional costs mean most books go out of print fairly quickly. 

 

E books since many more books can be available for sale, with little additional investment, cost can spread over a much longer time frame, even for slow selling books. This means cost savings are really just now becoming significant. 

 

The end result of current pricing is that new books might even be under priced, while older books may over priced, even subsidizing newer titles.  This is not inherently unfair, many products are most profitable late in production runs, as long as incremental costs are stable. Reinvestment of this revenue funds new products.  What is different is that these older products normally sell at a significant discount.  Books resist this trend more than any product I am aware of. 

 

I really believe readers are being gouged on older titles. These titles should have recovered their one time costs, or having slow sales would justify consistent discounts to spur sales.  Yet the prices for a title varies little by how long ago it was introduced.

 

If there is demand for new titles why do publishers do this? Either the new books offer little and publishers fear that new book sales will be threatened, or they think we are stupid.  Either possibly highlights why publishing is in dissaray.  They are clinging to outdated models instead of supporting a structure that makes sense now. 

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,073
Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

patgolfneb wrote:

[...] There is very little additional costs in storing and delivering additional e books.  The sales rate needed to justify a new print run and the additional costs mean most books go out of print fairly quickly. 

 

E books since many more books can be available for sale, with little additional investment, cost can spread over a much longer time frame, even for slow selling books. This means cost savings are really just now becoming significant. 

 

I think the "long tail" of ebooks will be important over the long run. I occasionally get interested in obscure topics, few of which are hot items in the market today. It's nice to be able to find old, long out-of-print titles available that I'd otherwise have to hunt down via research libraries. Google books was useful for finding some 19th century titles on nautical rope handling, for example. I like the fact that I can find short stories and books written by authors I read in my youth at a moment's notice for a few bucks. Since ebooks are still relatively new, the idea that "nothing goes out of print" isn't pervasive yet, but I think it's great.

 

[...] The end result of current pricing is that new books might even be under priced, while older books may over priced, even subsidizing newer titles.  This is not inherently unfair, many products are most profitable late in production runs, as long as incremental costs are stable. Reinvestment of this revenue funds new products.  What is different is that these older products normally sell at a significant discount.  Books resist this trend more than any product I am aware of. 

 

I have to admit that I've come full circle in my thinking. Initially, I bought into the fast downward trend in titles that Amazon was pushing, and thought only of the overall costs of manufacturing ebooks (transport, printing, etc.). Thinking about up-front costs required to produce quality books, and to incent writers to write them, it makes sense for them to cost more up front.

 

 

I really believe readers are being gouged on older titles. These titles should have recovered their one time costs, or having slow sales would justify consistent discounts to spur sales.  Yet the prices for a title varies little by how long ago it was introduced.

 

This I very much agree with. I suppose "top sellers" might stay at higher prices for a longer period of time simply because it can be sold at that amount, but I would expect an ebook to drop in time. If publishers try to keep prices consistent over the long life of an ebook, I think they'll only hurt themselves in the long run.

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,836
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

One DAY for editing?!? Try weeks, as in three or more. And that's per pass (there's often more than one), and that's per editor (there are always at least two).

 

Most people don't read a book in a day, how could a person edit a book in less time than it takes to read it?

Distinguished Wordsmith
Intrigued_by_Romance
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎04-16-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

I do agree that some of the eBooks are priced high, but just think of the time and effort the author put into the books they make. There is no posible eay you can great an awesome book in a short time frame.
The issue I have is some of the books I have purchased; the spelling mistakes. Even if it is an eBook, you should have a better handle on the quality being published.
It seems to me that people are in such a hurry to get the new book out there just to make the all mighty buck, they don't pay that much attention to the details.