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When ebooks are more expensive than the paper version

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Ann (Noumena12) (noumena12) | 34 comments I was browsing my Amazon wishlist for books that I wanted to read next. Most of my books aren't yet released but I keep a few around hoping they will be released in electronic format. I was checking inkmesh.com and came across this one.

Ain't Too Proud to Beg
Amazon Mass Market Paperbook price: $7.89
Amazon Kindle price: Not available
BooksOnBoard: $9.98
Kobo: $11.19
Powells.com: $12.43
ereadable: $13.58
Fictionwise: $14.00

As much as I'd like to read Susan Donovan's book. I'm not willing to pay more than the paper price!!! Really, what are Publishers thinking?! As a matter of fact, it is making me mad...to the point that I probably won't ever buy the book and I'll think twice about purchasing St. Martin's Press books. Odd thing is...SMP has released other books recently that didn't have this discrepancy. Why this book?


Ann (Noumena12) (noumena12) | 34 comments Although SMP still hasn't released Knock Me for a Loop by Heidi Betts in any electronic format according to inkmesh.com. E-Book release plans are a mystery to me. Anyone have any insight? Is there a method to Publisher's madness or are they just trying to piss me off?


message 3: by Catherine (new)

Catherine There a huge controversy going on right now in the publishing industry concerning how ebooks are priced and when they should be released.

The short version is that publishers are afraid that cheap ebooks will steal sales from newly-released hardcovers. So they see two possible alternatives: to price ebooks closer to $15, or to delay the release of ebooks until the paperback version is released. Publishers count on hardcover sales to recoup a large part of their production costs.

There's a longer version on my blog here:
http://www.catherine-m-wilson.com/blo...

Catherine M. Wilson
http://www.whenwomenwerewarriors.com/
http://www.catherine-m-wilson.com/
http://raqoon-design.com/


message 4: by BookAddict (new)

BookAddict (bookaddictgirrl) | 26 comments What started all of this is that Apple, who cares about selling hardware not books, made a deal with Macmillan which had a downstream affect in the industry that had Macmillan raising the price of their eBooks to Amazon. Apparently Random House has now followed suit because one of my Wishlist books was $9.99 when I listed it and now its $14.27. Frankly, I'm not paying that price.

You would think that the Publishing industry would have learned from the Music industry. So, I wonder how many authors will move to self-publishing like musicians did? After all - you don't need the record company/record store distribution machine with the internet just like you don't need it for eBooks.

This has to be one of the dumbest business moves in history but hopefully the dust will settle.

The thing that has me scratching my head is that it defies the laws of supply and demand because it's frequently the lowest price provider that wins a distribution war - in this case it was the higher priced provider (Apple) that won this battle.

It's too bad because the consumer and the author are going to be hurt by this because the only way the publishing industry seems to be able to make money is by raising prices rather than really taking a hard look at their antiquated business model.

So, like the music industry - Readers and Authors revolt!


message 5: by Eric_W (new)

Eric_W (ericw) Cheryl wrote: "What started all of this is that Apple, who cares about selling hardware not books, made a deal with Macmillan which had a downstream affect in the industry that had Macmillan raising the price of ..."

The battle is by no means over yet. These are just the preliminary shots fired. I expect we'll see quite a bit happening in the next couple of years. I suspect the Apple bookstore has a long ways to go. Amazon has considerable customer loyalty not to mention a depth of consumer reviews that would require years for Apple to duplicate.


message 6: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) I prefer to read on my Kindle over a paper format (but not hard cover price), so I would pay more if it is only a few dollars for new releases.

But I am very worried about how this is going to go down, now with Apple in the market and the current negotiations/battles. 3 new releases that I am waiting on are all not available in Kindle format and it worries me.

My fear is that the publishing industry is going to give all priority to Apple, considering the new contracts many of them have with Apple that requires the publishers to not let other vendors sell for less. http://news.cnet.com/Amazon-threatens...


message 7: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Wow just checked inkmesh, and prices for some books I bought in the past have DOUBLED.


message 8: by Jon (new)

Jon Spoelstra (findjon) | 14 comments I find it amazing that publishers are trying to control the RETAIL price. This doesn't happen in other industries. Proctor & Gamble doesn't control the retail price on Crest toothpaste--the stores do. Same with autos--the dealers control the final prices.

The right strategy for Amazon, in my opinion, is to hold firm. I'm not sure if the Ipad is a good e-reader because it is backlit. I consider it more like an oversize Iphone. Eventually, Macmillian and other publishers are going to have to deal with Amazon.


Ralph Gallagher | 327 comments Mod
I'd sooner stop dealing with these idiot publishers than stop dealing with Amazon. Amazon has always been super helpful and has never given me any problems. These publishers cause nothing but grief. They'll learn to deal with Amazon when their sales start to drop.


message 10: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Does Apple's approach on the market worry anyone? They dominate the music industry now. It worries me.


message 11: by Ralph Gallagher (new)

Ralph Gallagher | 327 comments Mod
I personally don't like buying things from Apple. I don't like their strict DRM. I can only have up to 5 computers registered with my iTunes account, so if I have more than 5, I'm screwed. I can't download a song and share it with my parents like I can with a CD. I prefer buying CDs because I can keep a physical copy of the CD and still have digital copies on my computers/MP3 players.

Also, with iTunes, if you buy a song/movie from them and don't back it up and then your computer crashes, you're screwed. At least with Amazon you can redownload the books and music with no extra charge.

That's not to say I'm anti-Apple. I do love my iPod and I love iTunes. It's great for organizing my music.


message 12: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) I completely agree with you and I have been screwed by losing hundreds of dollars worth of downloads from Apple. That being said, Apple is great about making it easy and seem worth the extra risk/money b/c of ease and programs (like iTunes). Amazon is also good at this, as they came up with a downloader that is compatible with iTunes, and Kindle is obviously super user friendly. But, Apple continues to dominate the market.


message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen | 60 comments Regina wrote: "Does Apple's approach on the market worry anyone? They dominate the music industry now. It worries me."

I read that Apple is having the same problem with content providers as Amazon is with publishers. Apple wants to control the video industry and charge 99 cents for TV shows on the Ipad and they are having problems getting content providers to agree.

Apple already offers tons of e-books in the App store, Iceberg Reader sells books at the price of the paper edition I don't know how many they sell. Amazon has always had the best price, which is why I bought the Kindle.

When the prices get too high it creates a black market, or incentive to share files. There is already http://www.truly-free.org/new.php and other sites posting books for free download.

I will not pay more than $9.99 for a Kindle book, I'll wait till the price drops or I find it at a used book store. I have a huge collection of paper books to read, so it doesn't bother me. It will all shake out in time. Karen


message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen | 60 comments Regina wrote: "Does Apple's approach on the market worry anyone? They dominate the music industry now. It worries me."

I don't know if I would say Apple dominates the music industry, Amazon, and Rhapsody and others are still selling music. Karen


message 15: by Elena (new)

Elena Karen wrote: "Regina wrote: "Does Apple's approach on the market worry anyone? They dominate the music industry now. It worries me."

I read that Apple is having the same problem with content providers as Amaz..."


I have had my Kindle for a year now, and I also will not pay more than $9.99 for a book for it.


message 16: by Connie (new)

Connie Faull | 80 comments I have to admit, that at first I didn't really compare whether something was out in paperback and how much it was. I bought my Kindle because I went to the book store for the first time in a couple of years, and saw that they only offered the larger size paperbacks and they cost between $13-$18, and I refuse to pay that much for a book, so when I saw the Kindle and that the books were usually $9.99 or less I thought the price of the Kindle was worth it. I've never paid more than $9.99 for an e-book, however, I am now noticing that sometimes when they release older books that are out in paperback they are being offered at $9.99, even though the book's been out in paperback for a year or more (ie. most of the John Grisham books just released). So I am starting to pay more attention to that as well. I will not pay more than $9.99 for an ebook and I recently chose to buy a Sony Pocket reader instead of upgrading to the Kindle 2 so I could get books from my Library. I wish Amazon would allow that with the Kindle but I guess they are a bookseller so that would put them out of business.


message 17: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Karen wrote: "Regina wrote: "Does Apple's approach on the market worry anyone? They dominate the music industry now. It worries me."

I don't know if I would say Apple dominates the music industry, Amazon, and..."


I myself buy my music from Amazon, but I am guessing Apple has a larger share of the sales. Just an assumption.


message 18: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Connie wrote: "I have to admit, that at first I didn't really compare whether something was out in paperback and how much it was. I bought my Kindle because I went to the book store for the first time in a coupl..."

I think the prices and releases are in flux right now due to the issues with publishers. I watched prices for about 6 months before I purchased my Kindle and Amazon was hands down less expensive than other e book providers. Also, Amazon had muchmore availability in what I wanted to read.

I also watched area libraries and what ebooks they had in stock -- I am a member of a large system (Chicago public library) and a smaller suburban system as well. While there are quite a few ebooks, the number was just not enough to warrant, in my opinion, getting a sony e reader. It was mainly new releases and classics. I can get pre-1923 free anyway for the Kindle and new releases, I likely wouldn't read those, with the exception of a few and I want to own those.


message 19: by Tammie (new)

Tammie (puddles) | 5 comments When I have time I go to Amazon and check out the books they offer for free each day. This can change daily or by the hour. If you see a book you like be sure to snap it up then and there because next time you check it might not be free. I recently read "The Appothacarys Daughter" as a free download and now it is listed at a download price of 9.99!!!


message 20: by BookAddict (new)

BookAddict (bookaddictgirrl) | 26 comments What's starting to make me nuts is that there are a lot of books now where the Kindle price is more than the paperback price which just does not make any sense at all. If you're interested in seeing the publishers view Macmillan's CEO John Sargent has a continuous Blog about this that allows customers to post their views that can be found here: http://blog.macmillanspeaks.com/ - there's a whole interesting thing about this from a social media marketing standpoint about this blog but I won't go there -- this is a book forum :-)


message 21: by BookAddict (new)

BookAddict (bookaddictgirrl) | 26 comments Jon wrote: "I find it amazing that publishers are trying to control the RETAIL price. This doesn't happen in other industries. Proctor & Gamble doesn't control the retail price on Crest toothpaste--the store..."

Sadly, Amazon already caved, at least with Macmillan and Random House.


message 22: by Jon (new)

Jon Spoelstra (findjon) | 14 comments Amazon has played this smartly. They make more money on the Macmillan pricing. Amazon gets 30% of the list price. To keep the math easy, let's say the price is a forced $15. Amazon makes almost $5.

In the old scenario, Amazon BOUGHT the book from Macmillan for $14, discounted it to $9.99, thus LOST $4 per sale. Amazon was doing this to build Kindle sales. Amazon also found that when they priced it at $9.99 that their book sales flourished. I found this to be true with me--I bought many more books on Kindle than I did as physical books.

I don't think the forced retail pricing will last. Amazon is in the business of SELLING books; the publishers are in the business of SELLING books (I think). They'll find that they can sell MORE books when they price it the Amazon way.

And, we'll buy more books the Amazon way.


message 23: by Amber (new)

Amber Adamchuk (celticstorm76) Jon wrote: "Amazon has played this smartly. They make more money on the Macmillan pricing. Amazon gets 30% of the list price. To keep the math easy, let's say the price is a forced $15. Amazon makes almost..."

Jon... I totally will buy the Amazon way... I feel if we are reading on an eReader we are saving paper and expense to the publisher/therefore just like paper is less then hard E Book should NOT be more then paper!!! If the publisher is trying to give Amazon the shaft and therefore their followers/supporters with the Kindle then I don't want their books!


message 24: by Jon (new)

Jon Spoelstra (findjon) | 14 comments I think everything hinges on how well the Ipad does as an e-reader. My feeling is that Ipad's book sales will taper off and never approach Amazon's volume. It will be too difficult to read on a backlit screen.

At the moment, Ipad is giving publishers some leverage (and hope). But that, most likely, will change.

What we may see is the book industry offering hardbacks and Kindle at the same time at the same price, letting Amazon price it whichever way they want. A month or so later, the Kindle version would be offered at a lower price just like paperbacks are.


message 25: by Ann (Noumena12) (new)

Ann (Noumena12) (noumena12) | 34 comments Jon wrote: "I think everything hinges on how well the Ipad does as an e-reader. My feeling is that Ipad's book sales will taper off and never approach Amazon's volume. It will be too difficult to read on a b..."

I agree! I'm a techno-geek...2 blackberries, iPod touch, 2 laptops...well you get the idea. I like having the latest gadgets. But I haven't come up with a reason that I want to buy a iPad.

And I certainly wouldn't buy it to use as my primary e-book reader. I only read books on my Touch now if the book isn't available on the Kindle. Which at this point just isn't that often. The iPad seems to big to use as my primary music source to carry around in my pocket.

I have started to pay more attention to ebook prices. I try not to purchase ebooks where the pricing is out of whack relative to the lowest price of the available paper version. (I've also seen cases where the price of the ebook is set relative to the original hardcopy version of the book even though a cheaper paperback version is available.) When i first got my Kindle, I didn't pay much attention to ebook prices (thinking that they would obviously be cheaper). The publisher war raised my awareness. So now, I try to pay more attention. I also don't buy ebooks where the publisher delayed the release of the ebook version from the original release. There is plenty of other books to read!


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