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Author Topic: EBooks Pricing & Issues
Vex
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This may sound like complaining and if it is, let me start off by saying I really enjoy OSC's books. The price to purchase any of OSC books for the Nook or Kindle is the exact same price as for purchasing a paperback. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? I understand that there may be a price to getting a book formatted digitally, but other books I have purchased digitally have been discounted for the fact that they are digital and do not require printing on paper. Whose pocket are we padding when we pay extra for a book that costs less? I'm hoping it goes to OSC's pocket, but I doubt it. There seems to be no incentive here to purchase the digital version even though the publisher makes more money. Am I right to think this is greed? There are other cheaper options for me to get the books, I could for instance go to half price books and buy a used copy and that benefits no one but HPB. I would prefer if OSC received some royalties for monies I am spending, but why is the publisher in this instance bankrolling the savings on not printing a book. I would prefer to think that perhaps there were extra costs that could justify the same price for EBooks, but the recent debacle with low quality books entering the marketplace seems to indicate otherwise. I suppose after all of this it comes down to a few simple points:
Why are the EBooks the same price as the print versions for OSC's books?
Is OSC getting more royalties because of this, or are the publishers being greedy?

If the publishers are being greedy then I will just go purchase some used books and cut both out of the revenue stream. I am not a large consumer, nor am I powerful but why piss people off unnecessarily so?

I hope I have not pissed anyone off, but I felt it had to be asked.

Vex.

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fugu13
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The prices are extraordinarily ridiculous and stupid, they are the choices of the publishers, the publishers are driven less by greed and more by fear, OSC may be getting less, the same, or more, as contracts still vary widely on the issue of ebooks (and it may well vary depending on which book it is), and I think going for used books makes complete sense.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
There seems to be no incentive here to purchase the digital version even though the publisher makes more money.
Actually, there are quite a few advantages that ebooks inherently have over dead tree books, including not taking up any physical space, and the ability to search the text in them.

quote:
Am I right to think this is greed?
It's right to think of it as business. It's expected that most businesses will do what they can to maximize profits. That's pretty much the point of most businesses.

quote:
I could for instance go to half price books and buy a used copy and that benefits no one but HPB.
Mostly, but not completely true. The fact that people buy used books means used books have value. The higher the used book value, the more people there will be who are willing to buy new books because they know they can turn around and sell it used to get some of their money back. This means more sales for the publisher and author.
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shadowland
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
The higher the used book value, the more people there will be who are willing to buy new books because they know they can turn around and sell it used to get some of their money back.

Are there really that many people that consider the resale value before purchasing a new book?

I have a hard time imagining there being a lot of people who consider the options -- buying a new book, a used book, an electronic book, or just borrowing the book from a friend or the library -- that end up deciding to purchase the new book because of the resale value.

I don't doubt that such people exist, but I don't know anyone offhand that has actually considered that before buying a book.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Are there really that many people that consider the resale value before purchasing a new book?
Depending on how many is "that many", absolutely.

I've known people who had a certain amount budgeted for books each month. The more they were able to sell the used ones for, the more new books they were able to buy.

The resale value has affected my decision to buy many things, including books.

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fugu13
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quote:
It's right to think of it as business. It's expected that most businesses will do what they can to maximize profits. That's pretty much the point of most businesses.

Greed (the emotion) often gets in the way of maximizing profits. Of course, the book publishers aren't maximizing profits at the moment (at least some of them realize they aren't in the short term, though I think they all think they are in the long run). But I really don't think they're doing it out of greed; everything I read written by publishers on the issue reflects varying degrees and types of fear about what book publishing is going to look like, and a wishful vanity that it can be staved off by acting like ebooks are just hard copies that have misplaced their paper.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The resale value has affected my decision to buy many things, including books.
I'm actually really intrigued by this. Which books have you purchased, thinking, "I can get a good price for this?" In a world with libraries, I can't personally see resale affecting my decision.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Sometimes it can take several months to get to the top of the library's waiting list for a popular book. And with budget cuts, our local library has become considerably less useful than it used to be.

Based on the current prices on Amazon and half.com, it would only cost me $5 to read Dance With Dragons right now if I sold it when I was done. That's less than a third what it would cost to buy and keep the book. If I'm not interested in having it on the shelf, but am willing to pay to read it now, that's a great deal.

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Mucus
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University textbooks for me. There were texts for certain classes that I preferred to buy new (while planning to sell) or ones that I would be more willing to buy knowing that if it sucked, I could resell it to the next class.
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Jeff C.
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I really doubt that it's OSC's idea or that he is getting more money.

I do agree it's a little unfair. But then again, you're buying a convenience, so you don't have to lug all those books around. But I think they should be cheaper, because paper can get expensive, especially when you compare it to an ebook, which presumably costs way less to distribute.

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Belle
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It's worth it to me just to be able to download it and not have to drive to a bookstore or wait for one to be delivered from Amazon. When I finish a book at 10:30 at night, am still not sleepy, and can start reading the sequel in 30 seconds or less....then the ebook is worth it to me even if it is the same price as the paperback.
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Sean Monahan
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OSC had a bit to say about this during the Amazon-MacMillian debacle last year, here:

http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2010-02-07.shtml

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Shanna
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I guess I don't think too much about the pricing. Its $8 here if I want to see a movie in the middle of the day. That's two hours of entertainment and if I want to watch it again, I have to pay the price again or wait until it comes out on dvd. I can't even think about pricing for 3D movies, especially if I want to see in a show in the evening. Ouch.

Ten bucks for a book that will keep me busy for a few days is pretty inexpensive by comparison.

The one thing I will say about paperbacks is that paper and shipping most likely doesn't have a huge impact on the pricing. Its such a basic thing part of their business that it hardly factors. When we return unsold books at the bookstore where I work, the publishers don't even bother to have us ship back the mass market books so they can be redistributed. Its just cheaper for everyone if we strip the covers and recycle the paper.

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fugu13
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OSC's description of the Amazon situation in that column is incomplete, inaccurate, and economically ill thought out.
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Jeff C.
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He's still right about one thiing though. Amazon shouldn't be able to lower initial prices so significantly when the publishers are the ones who have to pay for the costs.

[ August 11, 2011, 09:23 AM: Message edited by: Jeff C. ]

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fugu13
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Except he was wrong. The publishers don't pay the costs. They were receiving exactly the same payments per book no matter what Amazon set the price at. In fact, since Amazon lowered the prices substantially and there were big sales boosts because of that, they were receiving *more* payments.

And that sort of price lowering is common in the physical book world, too. For instance, numerous stores priced the latest Harry Potter book far below cost on release day, simply because the extra activity of all those customers was worth the losses on those books. It is even more common for bookstores to lower prices on newly released bestsellers to be at or barely above costs. This is just Amazon taking a successful sales tactic for normal books and applying it to ebooks.

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fugu13
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Taking the other interpretation of "pay the costs", that the people who produce the thing should be the ones who pick the final price it sells at to consumers, that is not how it works for almost every single product sold in stores everywhere in the world. In fact, until recently it was *illegal* for producers to put such clauses in their contracts in the United States. Books are not some mystical product that work completely differently. They should not be treated completely differently, and trying to do so is only going to hurt the market for books.
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