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E-Book Prices


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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 4:32:06 AM PDT
K. Rowley says:
"I think the publishers moving away from DRM will depend on how the agency model shakes out."

I think it also depends on how well this atempt by macmillan works out - I see this as them sort of sticking a toe in the water to check to see if they want to completely jump in..

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 4:37:32 AM PDT
K. Rowley says:
".. if publishers moved on to pushing a unified format.."

I think that many of them are heading toward a unified format - that being epub, but the problem with that is Amazon will probably keep using their own proprietary format...

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 5:01:02 AM PDT
GreyDay says:
Reformatting simple text novels is trivial. Calibre does it with a single click and no problems that I've ever found. More complex books with tables, many illustrations imbedded in the text or other such is more work naturally but it doesn't take all that long. I really doubt that making both mobi and epub versions for novels adds any measurable costs. Getting rid of DRM would SAVE the publishers a cost for each book sold.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 8:16:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2012 8:17:03 AM PDT
So one thing I still don't understand. I know this point has been made before, and I'm not trying to be snarky, or tell you to go buy paper books. But you've done of very good job of explaining the issues you have with ebooks that lower their value for you, and that's fine, I have no argument with that. What I don't understand is the fact that you seem to place a higher value on paper books, i.e. they should cost more than ebooks, but you still want the ebook version more than you want the paper book. If you want one of them more than the other, doesn't that speak to the value that you've placed on that item?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:34:04 AM PDT
Seer says:
"What I don't understand is the fact that you seem to place a higher value on paper books, i.e. they should cost more than ebooks, but you still want the ebook version more than you want the paper book"

For me, it's more about not wanting to pay inflated prices for the electronic format. I pay a lot more for mail sent by the US post office than I do for email. Email is way more efficient in many ways because if the features available in our email programs. But snail mail is sorted by machines, trucked around the country and hand delivered. I completely understand why I pay for that. I expect to pay for a physical greeting card, for the same reason.
Ebooks are digital media which have a lower production and distribution cost. I simply expect to have that reality reflected in the price I pay for them versus the physical book. Since the DOJ has confirmed price fixing to raise prices, we can see where the Big 5 had to resort to collusion to foist higher prices for ebooks.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:36:14 AM PDT
Seer says:
Unified epub without DRM is such a better way to "level" the playing field.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:43:22 AM PDT
But if people place a higher value on the ebook than they do on the paper book, then is the ebook price inflated?

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 9:50:47 AM PDT
jh bard says:
Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff is $19.95 (US) for the Kindle edition but only $13.75 (Cdn) for the paperback on Amazon.ca.
Why would anyone pay more for an e-book than for a physical book? And how can anyone justify that price for a book that doesn't have to be printed, bound, shipped, or stored?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:52:32 AM PDT
Seer says:
Sorry, but it just doesn't make sense to me to pay more for the digital version of a product than I would for the physical version that simply costs much more to produce and retail. It's upside down to me. Doesn't mean I'm not willing to pay for an ebook. I just expect it to always cost less than the discounted last paper release. Otherwise, it doesn't feel like a square deal to me.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 9:55:48 AM PDT
Logician says:
I love when people prove they have no theory of mind. It's literally impossible for them to understand how anyone can hold a different opinion than themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:56:32 AM PDT
Seer says:
And jh bard just posted a comment that makes my point again. People keep complaining about this because it just doesn't make sense. I get that publishers would love to charge a lot more and make great profits on ebooks, that's what businesses do. But they have to weigh this against what consumers will reasonably expect to pay for the virtual/digitial version.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:56:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2012 9:58:49 AM PDT
So consider this scenario:

A company responds to a bid to perform a service for another company, and wins the bid based on the price they offered. In the process of providing that service, they discover a method of accomplishing it that reduces their costs by half, while still satisfying the customers requirements. Should they go back to the company they are providing the service to and say, "Hey, we're lowering the amount that we're charging you to reflect our lower costs," or should they remain with the original price and keep the extra profit?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:57:08 AM PDT
A Customer says:
I respect that. However, I value ebooks by a different set of criteria, and the cost of the paper book doesn't factor in to my decision to purchase any particular book.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 9:57:32 AM PDT
As has been said many times before, some people consider the ebook's convenience and ease of reading a reason to pay more than one would for a paper book. I don't like used books, I don't like paperbacked books, so why wouldn't I pay more for a digital copy?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:04:51 AM PDT
Precisely. The price of something I don't want is not relevant to any decision I make.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:05:33 AM PDT
Beth Sexton says:
Seer, referring back to section 30 of the DOJ filing. If the wholesaler and the retailer both price the e-book less than the paper book why shouldn't the consumer?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:16:21 AM PDT
Seer says:
Well, that depends on whether they expect the competition to be smart enough to discover and use the same innovation. If it is a common innovation, then it will be soon exploited by the other bidders in an effort to win the business.

But I have no problem at all with companies making huge profits on desirable products. I'm just saying that I expect digital media to cost less than it's physical version. There are still plenty of ways to to package and sell ebooks and make great profits. IMO, big publishing is just stuck on trying to change the perception of value for ebooks when they might be better served looking at other, more innovative ways to exploit the popularity of ebooks and increase sales and profits.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:21:50 AM PDT
Seer says:
Hi Beth,
Oh, I totally agree. And the DOJ, EU and probably millions of complaints about the agency hike are also in line.

For Francis, Cassie and & Kno - I get that you are perfectly happy with the ebook/price value ratio. I've no problem with that even if I don't agree. I understand about the convenience factors, and I agree, but I see those as the nature of digital technology not the price of a particular book. This is a difference of opinion we just need to respect.

Posted on Apr 26, 2012 10:27:24 AM PDT
Oh, Logician, you shouldn't put yourself down that way. I know it's really hard for you to understand that many, many people don't agree with your form of "logic".

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:29:47 AM PDT
Sure, and that would be a factor in their bidding process in the future. But the customer would have no right to expect the price for the awarded bid to be lowered, just because the production cost was lowered.

I guess what it comes down to is, I see a fundamental conflict in your view. You place a higher personal value on the ebook, as evidenced by your preference to buy the ebook over the paper book, but you want the ebook to be priced less, even though your desired price is an expression of the value you place on it.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:41:59 AM PDT
Seer says:
Well, in your example you're assuming that the customer wouldn't be savvy enough to know about technology innovations and expect the savings to be passed on. If a plumber quoted me to fix a leak that required tearing apart all my walls and rebuilding them, when I realized that technology existed to "see" through the walls, I'd expect the costs to come down accordingly.

I place a higher value on email, but I don't pay more for it than snail mail. I place a higher value on digital files, but I don't pay more for them than drawers of paper files. It's just the nature of digital technology and many folks are aware of it's cost efficiencies.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:45:14 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 26, 2012 10:45:36 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:53:15 AM PDT
You're missing the point again. In my example, the company won the bid because they offered to do it for the lowest price. So obviously there wasn't another company out there that had figured out how to do it for less.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:55:33 AM PDT
CBRetriever says:
hmmm, maybe all ebooks should be free and the authors, publishers, editors, copywriters, agents, etc can work for free - I think that is the only thing that would make some people happy

btw, it's because you're in Canada that the price is inflated - you can partly blame your government

Kindle Edition $9.75
Hardcover $17.12
Paperback $10.88

and that book's the perfect reason why people shouldn't buy paper books but switch to electronic media:

We have a problem with Stuff. With just 5 percent of the world's population, we're consuming 30 percent of the world's resources and creating 30 percent of the world's waste. If everyone consumed at U.S. rates, we would need three to five planets!

books = stuff

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 26, 2012 10:57:17 AM PDT
quilt lover says:
The price doesn't need to come down just because you can do the job for less. The seller gives you his price, you either agree & pay or don't agree. Then your options are to do it yourself, find someone who will do it for less, or negotiate with the original contractor.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  83
Total posts:  358
Initial post:  Apr 13, 2012
Latest post:  Apr 27, 2012

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