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Contributor
Max-M-Power
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-02-2011
0 Kudos

Cost of Ebooks

I'm sure I can not be the only person to ask this question but why do ebooks cost so much? I have seen some books cost as much, if not more than a paperback of the same book. I'm sorry, I believe in paying for the materials as COST for a book but is there really a COST for ebooks? Not really.

I understand everyone need to get a piece of the pie but come on, dont rake us over the coals to do it. In an economy where everyone has to pinch pennies and have to justify spending $10 or so for a book, why make ebooks just as expensive.

I look at it this way, the reader has already spent at LEAST a hundred dollars or more on an ereader to begin with, why not allow them ebooks to read? I'm sorry but it just sickens me.

All the ebooks I publish are free, they have cost me NOTHING to produce and the goal for ANY author is to have your words read. Now for the printed version I have to set a price so that the cost of materials are covered, leaving me with less than a dollar going to me.

Does this fact of ebooks coming at a high price turn others off as well? Please dont tell me I'm the only one?

Max M Power

www.writingwithpower.com

Bibliophile
bklvr896
Posts: 4,807
Registered: ‎12-31-2009

Re: Cost of Ebooks


Max-M-Power wrote:

I'm sure I can not be the only person to ask this question but why do ebooks cost so much? I have seen some books cost as much, if not more than a paperback of the same book. I'm sorry, I believe in paying for the materials as COST for a book but is there really a COST for ebooks? Not really.

I understand everyone need to get a piece of the pie but come on, dont rake us over the coals to do it. In an economy where everyone has to pinch pennies and have to justify spending $10 or so for a book, why make ebooks just as expensive.

I look at it this way, the reader has already spent at LEAST a hundred dollars or more on an ereader to begin with, why not allow them ebooks to read? I'm sorry but it just sickens me.

All the ebooks I publish are free, they have cost me NOTHING to produce and the goal for ANY author is to have your words read. Now for the printed version I have to set a price so that the cost of materials are covered, leaving me with less than a dollar going to me.

Does this fact of ebooks coming at a high price turn others off as well? Please dont tell me I'm the only one?

Max M Power

www.writingwithpower.com


If you search the forums for eBook pricing or Agency Model or Agency 5 you'll get more information than you probably want.  The easy answer, is because they can and people will pay.  (not being sarcastistic here).  

 

Longer answer, the 6 largest publishers in the country set the price of eBooks, they sell the books, B&N is simply the agent.  And as the agent they are not allowed to discount, allow coupons or otherwise reduce the price.  This model is in effect for all sellers which is why books are the same price everywhere.

 

While it may cost you nothing to produce, it does cost a publishing house to produce any type of book.  All the books have to share in the overhead costs including editing, the janitor, the accountant, the president, etc.  In addition, there are costs associated specifically with eBooks.  Yes, servers and disk space are relatively cheap.  The software to convert those books, someone to edit them (and if you've ever gotten a poorly edited eBook you'll understand why it needs to be done separately from the printed book), the software that allows you to securely download those books whenever you want, and the cost of the people to maintain, upgrade and keep those servers running are real costs.  Probably the most significant is qualified people to maintain those servers.

 

If you take an eBook that is $10, for agency model books, B&N gets 30% or $3.00.  The publisher gets 70% or $7.00.  Out of that that 3 dollars, B&N has to pay costs out of it and make a profit.  Out of the $7, the publisher has to pay the author and pay for the costs associated with large publishing houses.  Books do not have the benefit of mass sales like music does.  Most books do not sell millions of copies, so to make money, each individual copy is going to cost more.

 

But the bottom line goes back to, a good number of people do not seem to be put off by the prices and are buying the book, as evidenced by the increasing number of eBook sales and the price of the ebooks in top 20 best sellers. If you look at the top 10 best sellers on B&N right now, 5 are $11.99 or higher.  Most people apparently don't feel the prices are out of line and are buying the books.

 

But again, search or Google Agency Model or Agency 5, you'll get more than you ever wanted to read on the subject.

 

I determine which eBooks I'm going to buy in the same manner as I did before.  If I want to read the book as soon as it comes out, I'll buy it and pay the premium to read it right away.  Otherwise I'll wait until it comes down to paperback prices.  Example, I just bought Jim Butcher's latest Harry Dresden book at $14.99 because I don't want to wait to read it.

 

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,640
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Cost of Ebooks

[ Edited ]

Max-M-Power wrote:

All the ebooks I publish are free, they have cost me NOTHING to produce and the goal for ANY author is to have your words read.


For a lot of authors, the goal is a bit more complicated.  An author may want his words read but may also need to pay bills and keep a roof over his family's head.  Or an author may want to quit her day job so that she can write full time, or simply so that she can see her family on occasion and remember what they look like :smileywink:.  Also, editors, agents, cover artists and marketers don't work for free, and their pay all adds into the cost of the ebook.
You may feel like producing an ebook costs you nothing, but it has a pretty big impact on your time, and that's time you're not being compensated for.  I'm willing to bet you love what you do so you don't mind spending the time, but not every author has the luxury of not getting paid for the effort they put in.
Doug_Pardee
Posts: 5,521
Kudos: 4,013
Registered: ‎03-09-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Cost of Ebooks


keriflur wrote:

 

An author may want his words read but may also need to pay bills and keep a roof over his family's head.  Or an author may want to quit her day job so that she can write full time, or simply so that she can see her family on occasion and remember what they look like :smileywink:.


And then there are authors like J. D. Salinger, who reportedly wrote quite a number of books that he didn't allow to be read until his death.

 

Contributor
whoiskevin
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎11-17-2009

Re: Cost of Ebooks

I actually wouldn't mind if the ebooks cost the same as the regular books but since they are a more limited copy I think either the rules need to change or I for one will go back to paper books.

 

Consider that if I buy a paper version (hardback or paperback) when I am done I can give it to a friend.  They can read it and give it to another friend.  With an ebook I can only lend it for a few times and only for 2 weeks.  Come on BN lead the industry here. Push back.  If the publishers want to charge the same for ebooks then let me give the book to another nook owner.  They can then give it one more time perhaps. Still limited but at least equivalent to a regular book.

 

Otherwise despite any justification you are selling an ebook at the same price and consumer is getting raked over the coals.

Distinguished Bibliophile
RHWright
Posts: 1,619
Registered: ‎10-21-2009

Re: Cost of Ebooks

Being able to lend/giveaway/sell a DTB is predicated on the fact that it is a individual physical object. It exists in a very definite either/or state—it is either in your possession or it is not.

 

With eBooks, there is no easy way to make that interaction possible. It would, even then, require even more draconian DRM that somehow ensures the copy is removed from your devices when you give it away, etc.

 

The trade off is that, barring odd accidents or failure to backup data, your copy of an eBook is much more durable than a DTB. Fire, flood, pests. No problem. Your book will last a lifetime.

 

In addition, much less of a headache for storage and transportation. I can now carry hundreds of books with me in a package that weighs less and is smaller than a single hardcover DTB. And those 100s of books don't need many linear feet of shelf space either.

 

And it's much easier to organize and find my books. When you have 1000s (even with a fairly sophisticated database and filing system) you still have to dig through boxes and stuff does, still, get misplaced. Heck, I just found a book last week. that I thought I had "lost"some time ago.

 

It would be great if everyone could make the money they need (publishers, authors, etc) and eBooks would only be a buck or two.

 

But I'm willing to pay on par, and sometimes a premium, for the convenience of the format to my particular needs.

 

YMMV.

 

 

Doug_Pardee
Posts: 5,521
Kudos: 4,013
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Cost of Ebooks

[ Edited ]

whoiskevin wrote:

 

Come on BN lead the industry here. Push back.  If the publishers want to charge the same for ebooks then let me give the book to another nook owner.  They can then give it one more time perhaps. Still limited but at least equivalent to a regular book.

 

Otherwise despite any justification you are selling an ebook at the same price and consumer is getting raked over the coals.


One more time... although I sometimes wonder why I bother...

 

If you're talking about e-books from the 'Big 6' publishers, and I suspect that you are, B&N has zero control over any of it. They are merely sales agents for those publishers. The publishers set all of the terms, including price, lendability (none, for those publishers), etc.

 

The only "push back" that B&N could do is to refuse to sell those e-books for the publishers. B&N's Fictionwise subsidiary has taken that path. Check them out and see how it's going for them.

 

Here's the reality: as long as readers insist on buying the Big Name titles from the Big Name authors published by the Big Name publishers, those publishers hold all of the cards. Their terms are whatever they darned please, and you can take it or leave it. Some people do choose to "leave it," but enough readers are hooked on those Big Names to pay whatever the publisher asks.

 

There are plenty of reasonably-priced e-books from smaller publishers. Among B&N's fiction titles, 85% are $7.99 or less, 75% are $5.99 or less, but most of those aren't Big Name books. If you're concerned about price, I suggest you check those out. Otherwise, if you must have a Big Name book, expect to pay a Big Price: the publishers have got you by the short hairs.

 

Frequent Contributor
KD67
Posts: 182
Registered: ‎10-12-2010

Re: Cost of Ebooks

Ok enough of the blowing smoke up peoples Asses.  There is one and only one reason why the ebooks from the big 6 are priced they way they are.  People continue to pay for them, and to me that is simply foolish.  If enough people would simply send the message that they will not pay the high prices, then the prices would come down.  For me personally, I simply refuse to pay 12.99, 13.99, 14.99 and up for an ebook especially when most of the time the Hardcover is only a dollar or less more then the price of an ebook.  There have been 4 books lately that I really want to read but I refuse to pay ridiculous prices for them, soooo I will just do without until the prices come down.  And one of the books is the newest Dresden Book.....Oh well I will read something else until its a cheaper price. 

 

Bibliophile
bklvr896
Posts: 4,807
Registered: ‎12-31-2009

Re: Cost of Ebooks


whoiskevin wrote:

I actually wouldn't mind if the ebooks cost the same as the regular books but since they are a more limited copy I think either the rules need to change or I for one will go back to paper books.

 

Consider that if I buy a paper version (hardback or paperback) when I am done I can give it to a friend.  They can read it and give it to another friend.  With an ebook I can only lend it for a few times and only for 2 weeks.  Come on BN lead the industry here. Push back.  If the publishers want to charge the same for ebooks then let me give the book to another nook owner.  They can then give it one more time perhaps. Still limited but at least equivalent to a regular book.

 

Otherwise despite any justification you are selling an ebook at the same price and consumer is getting raked over the coals.


When the agency model first started, Amazon tried to push back.  They refused to sign the agreement with Penguin.  For the entire month of April, 2010, Kindle owners could not get any new Penguin releases.  There was a lot of upset Kindle owners.  Amazon finally caved and signed with Penguin.  If Amazon, who has a lot more clout that B&N at this time was unable to push back, I seriously doubt that BN refusing to go along with this pricing model will have any impact except to wind up as Amazon did, not being able to offer the books to the Nook owners.

Bibliophile
bklvr896
Posts: 4,807
Registered: ‎12-31-2009

Re: Cost of Ebooks


KD67 wrote:

Ok enough of the blowing smoke up peoples Asses.  There is one and only one reason why the ebooks from the big 6 are priced they way they are.  People continue to pay for them, and to me that is simply foolish.  If enough people would simply send the message that they will not pay the high prices, then the prices would come down.  For me personally, I simply refuse to pay 12.99, 13.99, 14.99 and up for an ebook especially when most of the time the Hardcover is only a dollar or less more then the price of an ebook.  There have been 4 books lately that I really want to read but I refuse to pay ridiculous prices for them, soooo I will just do without until the prices come down.  And one of the books is the newest Dresden Book.....Oh well I will read something else until its a cheaper price. 

 


Unfortunately, you are apparently in the minority. As Doug said (oh and I Doug, surprised to see you here).  A significant amount of eReader owners apparently don't think it's foolish to buy the books at those prices.  If I look at a small sample of people that I know, 6 Nook owners, 6 Kindle Owners, 1 Sony eReader owner.  Not one of them is worried about the price of an eBook.  If they want it, they buy it, it's as simple as that.

 

I generally won't pay $14.99 except for a very few, such as the latest Dresden book.

 

It comes down to what is worth to you, and if you choose to buy a book at the price, it's not foolish, it's your priorities.  I personally won't pay the $12-$14 to see a movie, but apparently there's a whole lot of folks out there who will.  Do I think they're foolish?  No, I just think they have different priorities.

 

I personally wouldn't look for prices to come down in the near future.