Friday, March 13, 2009

eBook Gouging = Print Book Losses

From the Amazon Boycott Board: and Amazon Boycott Board (the original)

D. Boyle writes:

I'm not sure they are making more money by charging higher prices. For example, I have not purchased Fearless Fourteen because of the price. I'm willing to bet I'm not alone in that. So for every hardbound they sell at $18, they only have to sell 2 copies at $9.99 to equal the current hard cover price. And if I really wanted to read it, I could buy a used hardbound for $5. Not to mention the mass market paperback is only $7.95.

In my opinion, the publisher's are charging ebook readers for the losses they take when they have to buy back unsold inventory from bookstores. They're trying to use ebooks to make up their losses/costs of print books. My answer to this price gouging is this. Offer me a reasonable price, or you've lost my business. I'll either quit reading that particular author, or I'll buy used. That way the publishers won't see a dime of my money.

In my opinion, if the ebook costs more than the print book, the ebook is subsidizing print books. Publishers are worried about ebooks hurting their business. If they keep trying to overprice their ebooks, it will. For one thing, there are a lot of books in public domain. It's also becoming easy for authors to self-publish. This price gouging by publishers just encourages ebook readers to look for other sources.

My prediction is that ebooks are going to become more and more popular. Current publishers can take advantage of that and grow their ebook market by selling at fair prices, or they can continue to sabotage it with higher prices. When an industry fails to provide what the customer wants, entrepreneurs usually rush in to supply the demand.

Hollywood Accounting

A long discussion from the HarperStudio Blog in which Bob Miller tries to defend publishers digital list pricing of ebooks @ the same/similar to those of actual print books

Rick Spilman:

"With all due respect, the suggestion that e-books should only cost $2 less than hardcover books strikes me as “Hollywood accounting”, which is to say that it makes no sense whatsoever. Can you really argue that a $26 hardcover should cost $24 dollars as an e-book and $12 as a trade paperback? You also seem to be assuming that while the cost of paper/printing/binding may be $2, that transportation, warehousing and other inventory costs are zero.

It may be comfortable to play these games with numbers, but it strikes me as symptomatic of the real problems within your industry. Making it easy for readers to get access to books in whatever form is good for both writers and publishers. It is past time that the publishers wake up."

DRM Delusions

An interesting quote at Nashuatelegraph-

Brought to my attention by Paxton Reader from the Amazon Boycott Board

"The publishing industry seems determined to make the same mistake the movie and music industries have: thinking customers won't mind having purchases locked down by software restrictions. Some may accept those limits, but others will spend their money elsewhere, on things they feel they actually own.

Record labels finally realized the folly of this strategy and began letting music sites - such as Amazon's MP3 store - sell music without DRM. But the movie studios remain stuck in their DRM delusions, and book publishers don't seem to want to learn, either.

Until that changes, Amazon can have the smartest designers in the world work on the Kindle, and it will still feel like a Version 1.0 approximation of the e-book future."