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gb18
Posts: 740
Registered: ‎12-06-2010
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Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,096
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

"The way I see it, all ebooks from big publishers are overpriced. The public does not see it this way and ebooks are hot tickets."

 

If the public does not see it that way, then they're not overpriced.  Almost by definition, the price people are willing to pay is the fair market price.

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patgolfneb
Posts: 1,717
Registered: ‎09-10-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

Nothing  new here.  A number of threads have included opposing opinions on this.  It is difficult to quantify publishers costs.  Sceptical types, like myself, tend to assume publisher overhead doesn't reflect the new reality.  Little real proof has been offered.  Certainly the majority of authors are not getting rich.  

 

My take usually boils down to, the huge majority of books sold are still DTB.  Publishers see selling books as a single business. Any fatter margins on e books is being used to offset DTB declines. If e books become the primary or at least close to half the books sold then it becomes harder to justify at least some cost savings being reflected in prices.  The greatest savings on e books accrue on older titles which have recovered much of the original one time costs, many of which don't sell in enough volume to justify new publishing runs. 

 

I do have a problem with the reissuing of old classics, often unavailable in paper at new book prices, Asimov and Heinlein for example . But Richard is right  if people are willing to pay the price the publishers are making a good business decision.  Personally I will pass on those titles or haunt the used book stores for those reads. 

 

 

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keriflur
Posts: 6,183
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

Ooh, another article where the author has an opinion and assumes everyone else agrees with him, even as he throws all logic out the window.  I *love* those. </sarcasm>

 

What MacMcK said.  People are willing to pay the current prices, as evidenced by the growth in the ebook industry, making the current prices fair market value.

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Mercury_Glitch
Posts: 1,323
Registered: ‎06-07-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

Funny, last I checked most, if not all, of my ebooks have covers.  Many have some sort of artwork inside even if it is just as part of a new chapter.  I would also presume they were edited, and put together so I could utilize the ToC (actually I know they were since the quality of the ToC is a variable between ebooks).  So where does this guy think the in house costs have gone down? 

 

Distribution and printing I can grant.  It's unquestionably cheaper to distribute an ebook than it is a DTB.  I wont pretend to know the savings, however the fact that ebooks are still cheaper than their DTB counterpart seems to show the publishers are willing to pass some of the savings on.  I also don't doubt they're using some of their savings on ebooks to recover the costs of the DTB production.  And why shouldn't they?  They're a business, they are out to generate profit.  And if it means they can take on some authors who may not have been published otherwise are we not better off? 

The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.
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Irishelf
Posts: 242
Registered: ‎07-20-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

Some of us buy ebooks because we have no choice.  I am legally blind and have difficulty reading most DTB even with a magnifier.  Few books are offered in large print and those that are available are just as expensive, if not more so, than ebooks.    The local library sucks (both large print DTB and ebook catalog)  and even though they are so badly stocked, they are actually considering charging a yearly fee to use it!  I was told when I complained about the cost of large print books that the higher cost was due to ink and paper.  Now the same people are justifying the high cost of ebooks by saying ink/paper costs are negligible.  Bull!  I like to read, so ebooks are basically my only option.  But I would buy a heck of a lot more if they were decently priced.  I noticed that the publishers that settled in the lawsuit raised the prices of their ebooks.  Well guess what, I'll just wait until they go on sale to buy them. Charging 11+ for a regular ebook is ridiculously high.  I rarely am willing to pay that much.  Usually the only time I do is when I get a gift card.  And I'm still finding Amazon tends to have the cheapest prices for them.

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bobstro
Posts: 3,522
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

[ Edited ]

While the public is paying the prices, the whole issue of the ongoing trial and resulting press has generated some resentment. This article just seems to be grumbling along those same lines. So long as prices are not illegally manipulated to remain higher, I agree that an ebook is worth what it can be sold for.

 

I don't agree with the sentiment (not expressed here) that publishing somehow deserves to maintain prices at higher levels using different rules than any other product.

 

If a book is a hot seller, I'd expect any "correction" to be upwards so long as it is selling at that price (and until a competitor offers it for less). While electronic books have reduced printing, shipping and storage costs, they also come along with the ability to manipulate prices instantly in response to demand. The buying public needs to understand that this doesn't guarantee dirt-cheap pricing.

 

One of the biggest gains I see from ebooks is that the "long tail" allows me to easily find books that otherwise would have been long out of print. Pricing isn't really one of the reasons I've converted, though I certainly don't mind lower or flexible pricing!

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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,096
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

Some people always want to read the latest bestseller, and are willing to pay $15.00 to do so.  I'm not one of those people.  At any given time I have dozens of books on my "want to read" list.  If some are $15, and some are $10, and some are $6, guess which ones I'll buy first.  Every now and then I'll pay more if there's a specific book I really want, but usually there are many candidates and I'll take the cheaper one.

 

The new release $15 price will probaly continue, because those people will pay it.  The pricing for books that have been out a while (equivalent to mass-market paperback for DTBs) may gradually adjust to market price competition if there are enough people like me.

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bobstro
Posts: 3,522
Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks

[ Edited ]

I just noticed an embedded link in that article to yet another article on PCMag.com, "E is for Enhanced: 8 Enhanced Ebooks Worth Checking Out", in which they're talking about all the enhancements (or baggage, depending on your point of view) electronic platforms provide.

 

The author of the original article should probably update that list of expenses to include some eBook-only details. I'm sure that same author laments the fact that PCMag is no longer in print and commanding the prices it used to!

 

Way down in the comments, commenter wright_is had a great insight (emphasis mine): "... Cost cutting - you say that costs for artwork etc. disappear, they don't. The artwork still needs to be generated, even if it isn't printed, the book needs to be advertised and it needs some sort of artwork in the eBook store.

 

But the biggest problem, and I see on "news" and blogger websites, like this one, is the reduction or removal of editors and copy editors / proof readers. Many of the cheaper books you find on Amazon and other eBook sites, often the 99c to $3 range are almost unreadable due to poor grammar, spelling mistakes and generally a lack of care in producing the text."

 

Commenter Mel Gross makes another great point: "... But one major reason why many new books are priced where they are is simple economics. Major authors get major advances."

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keriflur
Posts: 6,183
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Correcting the Cost of Ebooks


MacMcK1957 wrote:

Some people always want to read the latest bestseller, and are willing to pay $15.00 to do so.  I'm not one of those people.  At any given time I have dozens of books on my "want to read" list.  If some are $15, and some are $10, and some are $6, guess which ones I'll buy first.  Every now and then I'll pay more if there's a specific book I really want, but usually there are many candidates and I'll take the cheaper one.

 

The new release $15 price will probaly continue, because those people will pay it.  The pricing for books that have been out a while (equivalent to mass-market paperback for DTBs) may gradually adjust to market price competition if there are enough people like me.


*nods*

 

Every time we as consumers buy something outside of necessary-to-not-die-or-be-homeless products, we are voting with our wallet.  We are saying, "this product is worth this price to me," and "I prefer this product over the competitors."  There are a lot of people who do wait for the the lower prices - if no one was buying at those price points, there'd be no reason for sellers to lower the prices.  But there are enough people buying new releases at $15 right now to make that price not only viable but desirable to sellers.