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Three Publishers Settle in eBook Agency Model Price Fixing Lawsuit

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message 1: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 2143 comments It seems that three of the big publishers have agreed to settle in the eBook 'Agency model/Price fixing lawsuit'. They have agreed to stop using the agency model and pay $69 million in damages. I would be interested to know if anyone here gets a refund check. Apple and the other two publishing houses are still holding out.

Full story here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-5...


message 2: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5137 comments Mod
I hope this results in cheaper ebooks. I'd be more likely to buy them instead of paper books if they cost less (materials, processing, and distribution costs).


message 3: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2114 comments Rob.... Production/shipping etc is about 20% of the cost.

A book is $8 or so for a solid 6-12 hours of enjoyment. I fail to see how that's a bad deal honestly and let's face it... if you're unwilling to spend $8 would you really spend, say, $6? Is the $2 material to most people? I doubt it. Consider everything that's done by the author, editors, etc. Now ask yourself... is that really not worth $1/hour?


message 4: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5137 comments Mod
The amount is irrelevant to me. It's the principal. ebooks cost less to make and sell than a printed book and should therefore cost less to buy.

To be honest I don't like ebooks for several reasons I've mentioned in other threads.

I buy mass market paperbacks with a few exceptions of books I don't want to wait for. It's not because they are cheaper. It's because they are more convenient.

I would pay the same price for a mmpb on release day of a book as the hardcover for most books if they offered the option.

If it were up to me media costs would be split in two:

1) The cost to the content creators. This price can be whatever they think people will pay for it.
2) The production cost (as mentioned above). This cost should be without markup.

In the case of books this would mean ebooks are the cheapest, followed by paperbacks and hardcovers.

Let people choose the format they want and pay accordingly.

New books would cost more, and be discounted as time goes on.

I'd honestly prefer to give my money directly to the authors and let them decide if they want to pay someone to edit, print, and/or market their books.


message 5: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 2143 comments @Rick
With most mass market paperbacks now costing $10, I think $8 for an eBook would be fine. The problem is the price of eBooks is often as much, or more, than the dead tree edition. Since they have zero resale value most people find that unacceptable.


message 6: by Rik (new)

Rik | 768 comments Rick wrote: "Rob.... Production/shipping etc is about 20% of the cost.

A book is $8 or so for a solid 6-12 hours of enjoyment. I fail to see how that's a bad deal honestly and let's face it... if you're unwil..."


E-books simply should be at max 1/2 the price of a dead tree version. Its why the only e-books I read are ones I loan from my library. If I'm going to have to pay full or near full price give me a dead tree every time.


message 7: by Rick (new)

Rick F. (aggieflyboy) | 1 comments
A book is $8 or so for a solid 6-12 hours of enjoyment. I fail to see how that's a bad deal honestly and let's face it... if you're unwil..."


Somewhat faulty logic...since I read a typical book in 3-6 hours, I should therefore pay $4. I am getting less value for my entertainment money :)

If a paperback costs $8, then an ebook should cost $6.40 since costs %20 less to produce. Additionally, if printing is so cheap, why have book prices outpaced inflation over the past 20 years. I seem to remember publishers blaming the rising cost of paper...


message 8: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments Re: $8 vs $6 for an ebook

For $24

I can read 3 books @ $8 per book or I can read 4 books @ $6 per book.

Every 4th book free! Heck yeah it makes a difference !


message 9: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments P.S.

Don't forget to deduct cost of printing and storage. Publishers try to use hand wavium to dismiss those costs as trivial


message 10: by Sky (new)

Sky Corbelli | 320 comments Rick wrote: "If a paperback costs $8, then an ebook should cost $6.40 since costs %20 less to produce."

Only 20% less to produce?! Apparently I need to begin self-publishing paperbacks now.

In all honesty, however, the cost to produce an ebook is negligible. Here's a breakdown of what I've spent on 2 books:

$70.00 - 2x copyright registration
$200.00 - Cover art
$250.00 - 10 ISBNs
$400.00 - Editing for book 1

A few notes: The copyright probably wasn't necessary, but it still felt cool to have something that I made for no reason other than being creative copyrighted. Also, I think they sold my name and mailing address to a bunch of dubious publishing agencies who now spam me offering to format my books to "reach a global marketplace." I should reply with a link to KDP or Smashwords...

The cover art was technically free, because my wife has a masters in digital art, but I asked her to keep track of her time and estimated it at around $20/hour or $100/cover. I probably underpaid her...

Actual publishing agencies get $1/1 ISBN, assuming the pricing shown to the public is the same as what they get. I'm not bitter... not at all... Also, if you let Smashwords distribute the book, you don't need your own ISBN.

I only paid for editing on book 1 because the editor did a significantly worse job in terms of plot and prose than my writing group and beta readers. Maybe I got what I paid for, but it really doesn't seem like anything a group of educated, interested, and honest people can't accomplish, especially if they're avid readers already.

And finally, I published book 1 in December and book 2 in April, tinkering with the prices until finally giving away book 1 for free and charging $3.99 for book 2. I made it all back before May, and I've done practically zero marketing. Maybe that's where the big money sink is?


message 11: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5137 comments Mod
@Sky Thanks for that breakdown. Great post!


message 12: by Ayesha (new)

Ayesha (craniumrinse) AndrewP wrote: "@Rick
With most mass market paperbacks now costing $10, I think $8 for an eBook would be fine. The problem is the price of eBooks is often as much, or more, than the dead tree edition. Since they ..."


Don't forget that because of DRM, we don't actually OWN the ebooks we buy. So, why should I pay $10 for an ebook that I can't give to a friend, sell online, and that Amazon (or anyother ebook retailer) can remove from my ereader without my knowledge or permission.


message 13: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5137 comments Mod
Ayesha wrote: "Don't forget that because of DRM, we don't actually OWN the ebooks we buy. So, why should I pay $10 for an ebook that I can't give to a friend, sell online, and that Amazon (or anyother ebook retailer) can remove from my ereader without my knowledge or permission. "

Yea. that is a large part of why I don't like eBooks..but if they were cheaper than physical books, I might consider it for the stuff I plan to only read once.


message 14: by Kate (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments Sky wrote: "In all honesty, however, the cost to produce an ebook is negligible. Here's a breakdown of what I've spent on 2 books:

$70.00 - 2x copyright registration
$200.00 - Cover art
$250.00 - 10 ISBNs
$400.00 - Editing for book 1
"


That's fine if you're self publishing, but if your publishing traditionally you have multiple other costs to consider, not limited to, salaries, author's advances, agent fees, rent of office space. I would suggest that none of those are negligible.

I'm personally happy to pay $8 - $10 for an ebook to preserve a semblance of traditional publishing. Not everyone is, clearly, but to suggest that the costs of ebook production are negligible is just no accurate is applied to a traditional publisher.


message 15: by Stan (last edited Sep 05, 2012 07:34AM) (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments Ayesha wrote: "Don't forget that because of DRM, we don't actually OWN the ebooks we buy..."

There are a lot of publishers out there who sell non-DRM books. Just frequent them if you have a problem with it.

P.S.

To me the cost break down should be

$2 - $3 for ebooks
$8 - $9 for paperbacks
$12 - $15 for trade (oversized) paperbacks
$20 - $25 for hardbacks

Publishers need to shift to marketing and promoting books and authors and focus less on distribution and printing


message 16: by Sky (new)

Sky Corbelli | 320 comments Kate wrote: "That's fine if you're self publishing, but if your publishing traditionally you have multiple other costs to consider..."

You are correct. I was referring only to the costs involved in actually producing an ebook, not in the upkeep of the establishment.

I've got nothing against traditional publishing, I just think that their business model is more suited to ink than e-ink. And for the record, I'm more than willing to buy an ebook for $10 if it's something that I really want to read. I'll wish that more of that $10 went to the author's pockets, because I'm paying for the story, but I'll still pay it.


message 17: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 5137 comments Mod
Looks like the price has started dropping prices on all Harper Collins eBooks. At least for Amazon/B&N/Apple:

source

Quote: "There’s no sign yet that Amazon has signed deals with other publishers, but I can report that HC titles appear to have gotten an across the board price cut. There’s a fair number of $9.99 ebooks now selling for $8.02, and there’s also quite a few $13.99 titles now selling for $10.94. There’s also a handful of other HC titles with different discounts, so there does not seem to be a pattern. Nor does this does not include all titles, but nearly all the HC ebooks I checked in the Kindle Store have gotten a price cut. The rest might just be waiting for Amazon’s servers to get around to them."


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