Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Amazon Caves To Publishers On eBook Pricing

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the bowing-to-ipressure dept.

Books 236

AusPublishingWorker writes "With the iPad arriving on the scene, it seems that Amazon is feeling the pressure on eBook pricing from publishers. ITNews reports that Amazon has agreed to deals with both Harper Collins and Simon and Schuster which would allow the companies to select their own prices rather than the default US$9.99 price tag. Given the recent deal with Macmillan, it seems likely that we'll be seeing eBook prices moving up towards $14.99 in the near future."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (4, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715214)

Therefore I have the right to take it for free.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (4, Interesting)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715314)

It is high. Particularly when you factor in that the DRM on eBooks locks you to read it using certain readers, and may cause you to loose access to the book you paid for if you buy a new computer, or the publisher takes the DRM servers offline (even accidentally). Unfortunately, putting DRM on books are expensive, as noted by Charlie Stross on his blog [antipope.org] , and consumers get to pay the bill.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (4, Insightful)

kenj0418 (230916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715342)

Therefore I have the right to take it for free.

At your local library -- if you bring it back in 2 weeks. Otherwise,no, it doesn't. You not liking their pricing structure does not give you the right to violate their copyright. (Unless you are Google, that is.)

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715376)

You are correct. He does not have the right. What this kind of rip off gives him however is the motivation. He is not the only one either. There will be many others who feels that these greedy bastards deserve what they get. Too bad about the poor authors caught in the middle.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (4, Funny)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715556)

Do you guys not hear a loud Whooosh! as the feepness' sarcasm goes sailing over your heads?

Re: Whoosh (3, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715828)

Whoosh is no longer allowed now that J J Abrams copyrighted for Lost.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715882)

So what is the difference between piracy and getting the book from your local library? The exact same amount of money was exchanged in both cases.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (5, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715350)

Exactly. When CD prices went from 10-12 bucks to 18-20 bucks suddenly during the mid 90's I stopped buying CDs and I never have bought one since. I go to 20-30 shows a year though and usually buy tour shirts at the show.

I own a Sony PRS-600, a 1st gen Kindle and an Edge [entourageedge.com] and I have never bought a single e-book because they are worth to me about 3-5 bucks a piece, not 10 bucks. Maybe if you read a book a month that is worth it but I read 2-3 books a week and I'm not about to spend 100+ a month on books when for my entire life buying new and used paper books I have never even come close to that. Can't even sell the damn things. Powell's a book store in PDX where I live I used to be able to recoup 50-60% of the price I paid for the books by trading for store credit, with Amazon, Apple and Sony you get a 10 dollar book sitting in your Library that you will likely never read again.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715398)

It may not justify piracy, but that doesn't mean people won't be doing it. And this is what publishers might be doing to a technology that is responsible for increasing readership. Kinda shooting yourself in the foot.

The prices for ebooks will be the same, if not higher in many instances [1], as the paper versions for something you
- can't resell
- can't give away
- can't lend [2]
- might disappear from your device

So you paid $300 to lose some of the weight and increase your consumption of the product, with the publisher having to do little, if anything [3], to get the extra business. Where's the incentive to shell out the money for a Kindle or Sony?

[1] Compare prices on the first Dune ebook versus what the paperback costs on Amazon.
[2] I know that Adobe's tech allows you to lend for 2 weeks. Dunno how many devices support that yet.
[3] Most books are likely already in digital form.

Competition good for consumers (1)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715432)

My first thought was that competition should be good for consumers, as another dominate player enters the market prices should be forced downward. Stealing the book is a natural reaction to the publishers oligopolistic practices.

I agree (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715512)

and I'm not trolling. DRM has changed the way publishing works. Copyright as it is written in the US constitution has been fundamentally broken by new technology. This is why I hate conservatives. I can't get them to understand that a legal document written 200 years ago might, just might, not be 100% relevant any more. Principles are great when everyone subscribes to them, but when they other guy (the publishers) runs roughshod over them it's time to do the same.

Re:I agree (4, Interesting)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715610)

This is why I hate conservatives. I can't get them to understand that a legal document written 200 years ago might, just might, not be 100% relevant any more.

It's not enough to simply show that a law might not be relevant; you have to show that it is not relevant. The law prevents expedient copying from devaluing new artworks, which are both in demand and (unlike the copies thereof) scarce. The faster and cheaper the copying technology, the less likely a person is to support the artist, the less likely the artist will create a new work.

Copying has only become faster and cheaper. Now, more than ever, copyright is relevant.

Now here comes the difficult bit: convincing you that a legal document written 200 years ago might still be relevant. It wouldn't be the first, and I believe certain other documents (e.g. magna carta) break this record.

Re:I agree (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716180)

The law prevents expedient copying from devaluing new artworks, which are both in demand and (unlike the copies thereof) scarce.

If you consider works that were made 70 years ago new, that's a problem.

If the purpose is to protect the artist, why are artworks from dead artists still under copyright? Who are we protecting? Are those artists, dead for 20, 40, 60 years going to produce new works?

Now here comes the difficult bit: convincing you that a legal document written 200 years ago might still be relevant. It wouldn't be the first, and I believe certain other documents (e.g. magna carta) break this record.

That legal document was produced to protect artist from producers. Now, it's helping the producers subdue others. See the title? "Amazon Caves To Publishers On eBook Pricing". That was not their intentions when they wrote it.

Re:I agree (2, Insightful)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715748)

What give you the right to ignore the laws of the country you live in? You don't like a law? Work to change it. Work to change the laws concerning DRM and extending copyright.

I'm conservative and I agree with you that DRM, and copyright, due to the never ending extensions that Congress keeps tacking on to it, laws are broken. But, that doesn't give either of us the "right" to break other laws. There's lots of laws I think are unjust and counterproductive but ignoring them is not the way to go. You only harm your own society when you champion lawlessness.

There are several instances where single individuals have proven that one person can be the prime motivator in getting a law changed. Harriet Beecher Stowe was one of those people. Her book was a prime mover in ending slavery as it had a great impact on people's consciences. She worked within the system to change something she knew to be wrong. You dislike the copyright and DRM laws? Work to change them. Keep at it until something changes, and you'll have made a very positive contribution to everyone's life. You'll be a hero to a lot of people.

Keep on promoting illegal activity and all you will accomplish is the creation of even harsher laws. Dishonesty harms your cause in the eyes of the public at large and the government, and makes your belief look to be a "professed belief" based only on self-interest and the willingness to steal.

Re:I agree (2, Insightful)

dloose (900754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715920)

What give you the right to ignore the laws of the country you live in? You don't like a law? Work to change it. Work to change the laws concerning DRM and extending copyright.

Disobeying laws is a way of working to change them. Just ask that skinny Indian dude... Ben Kingsley.

Re:I agree (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715992)

Ghandi didn't base his opposition in dishonesty. He based it solely on, and his protests in, highly moral principles and actions. That's why his opposition worked. He had the moral high ground and he kept it. What's being promoted here immediately takes to the "morally challenged ground", to put it nicely, and gets worse from there. It won't, and can't, work.

Re:I agree (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716216)

What dishonesty? He believe the law was broken, so he publicly broke it and encouraged other to break it.

The fact that you believe he was right doesn't change the action.

Re:I agree (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716154)

The problem with your "work to change it" theory? Let me point it out to you: Unless your last name is Gates and you live in Redmond you can't compete with these things called "bribes". See Sonny Bono and DMCA and the coming ACTA for really nice examples of this in action, or if you want something more current how Obama ignores the fact that repealing the stupid pot laws has been #1 on his little "hope & change" website every single year. Why does he ignore the will of the people? Because the people don't write big fat checks like the drug companies and the private groups taking over our prison systems, that's why.

So I'm sorry, but short of armed rebellion things are only gonna get worse. You will be given a choice of "rich corporate ass kisser" A or B, no exceptions, which continues to support the rigged game we have now. As for TFA they will raise the hell out of prices and when nobody buys their little imaginary properties they will scream "piracy" and get even worse laws passed. One way or another you WILL give your money to the corporations, again no exceptions. See "too big to fail" for an example of this. Sorry but it just ain't our country anymore, it belongs to supermega corp inc. Didn't you know that?

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31716220)

replace copyright and drm with slavery and you sound like the guy against the underground railroad.

Re:I agree (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716058)

...conservatives...I can't get them to understand that a legal document written 200 years ago might, just might, not be 100% relevant any more.

Let alone non-legal documents written much, much longer ago than that...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koran [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talmud [wikipedia.org]
etc.

Re:I agree (1)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716116)

This is why I hate conservatives. I can't get them to understand that a legal document written 200 years ago might, just might, not be 100% relevant any more.

This would be why said document does have a method by which to change it. Liberals seem to forget about that part because it's difficult.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715694)

As countless posters following will point out, you don't have the right to take it for free. But at a certain price, you will have the motivation. It is only human nature. We make cost/benefit analyses all the time, often without even thinking deeply about them. An industry which prices its product above that price point which the average consumer thinks is reasonable is just begging for trouble.

When VHS movies came out in the early 80's, they cost upwards of $100 or so. There were shortly illegal copies of these for sale on streetcorners in Brooklyn. A decade later, the manufacturers dropped the price of a movie below $20 or so and it became easier to buy one than copy one. Shortly after that the streetcorners were clear of illegal tapes.

Same dynamics will happen with ebooks. At $5, it isn't worth my time to go find an "illegal" copy. At $20, it is.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715700)

Therefore I have the right to take it for free.

Don't take it or nobody will be able to buy it. Leave a copy at least.

Re:$14.99 seems way too high for an eBook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31716026)

or just buy the paperback edition for less??? Most paperbacks in the UK retail for £3-10 (~$4 - $14) and you can read them as many times as you want and don't have DRM will still work in 10 years time and so on...

So, what is really needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715276)

is for Amazon, BN, Apple, etc to make it easy for authors to bypass the publishing companies. More importantly, make it such a deal that the authors WILL bypass them. Several thoughts on that would be that they set up a publishing company that takes a minimal cut, pays the authors 5/e-book, has printing on demand for the cross-over, and finally access to paperback printing facility (ideally, keep it local).

If they take this approach, then it is strong incentives for authors to skip the traditional publishing house, since they typically pay less than .10/book for new authors (though it may have gone up over the last decade).

Lulu.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715378)

Check it out.

Destruction of First Dale Doctrine and more $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715278)

There is so much that could be right with e-books, but it is going down a worse path than Music. Too many formats, no way to let someone have you book when you are done, and now higher prices. I vaguely remember when the Internet was going to disimtermediate a lot of this, but it seems that was a pipe dream.

Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715284)

let me just give a preemptive counterperspective.

I buy ebooks and I'll buy them at this price, too.

Yes, I prefer (by far) reading using ebook readers with eink displays. Since the first Kindle emerged I've probably read 10,000 pages or so using ebook readers. Love them.

Also, tools exist to unDRM and convert between just about every ebook format, including Mobi, Azw, Topaz, ePub, PDF, Lit, PDB, and others, so books can in fact travel with you as you upgrade devices in the future, should you choose to go this route.

Re:Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715348)

Why not just get them in unDRM format in the first place? From that nice bay place, where everything is free.

Um, (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715360)

to contribute a little royalty to the authors? And because I suspect brand new releases aren't on that "nice bay place," and I have better things to do than trudge all over the internet looking for something to read when I can just drop a few bucks and not waste my time?

Re:Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715426)

I doubt any OCR scanned books you find on torrent sites have proper formatting for your reader. And that makes a lot of difference. So then you're stuck formatting a 400 page book yourself, to save $10.

And that is if you can find a copy of whatever book you want. It's hard enough to find them on ebook stores as one may have it, and another may not.

Re:Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716084)

I doubt any OCR scanned books you find on torrent sites have proper formatting for your reader.

Weird, I've... *cough*... heard... that the ebooks you download from an average torrent site are OCR'd to plain text, and so are readable on basically anything that will support that format (which is, AFAIK, essentially any reader on the market today).

Granted, you will suffer from more typos and errors, and definitely imperfect page layout. But they work just fine.

Re:Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (0)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715704)

The law
Risk of heavy financial penalty
Morals and ethics
Refusal on principle to support those leeches who run the place, making millions off the backs of artists who don't receive a penny
Desire for the artists I like to keep working
An absence of a sense of entitlement over the work in question

Take your pick.

Re:Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (1)

PortaDiFerro (1719902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715986)

I think at least in Finland breaking a copy protection is bigger crime than copying copyrighted material for your own use.

Re:Before the anti-ebook posts accumulate, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31716114)

you know you can't legally even posses those "tools exist to unDRM and convert" in the USA and/or many other places, I'm well versed with the DMCA but don't feel like looking up exact quotes, so basically you can't even HAVE the tools to do what you just said, you can't legally do the action you talking about, it is illegal to even tell anyone where to look to get those tools, and the librarian of congress isn't likely to soon or maybe ever add "you can break DRM and have all those tools legally aslong as it is only to allow back-up and or fair-use uses", because as of 3 years ago, in 2007~2008 the librarian of congress (who ever 3 years is allowed to add exceptions to the DMCA, such as academic research, library archival purposes, cell phone carrier unlocking...etc) stated that she didn't even OWN a computer. So the single person in the US who could actually help to bring back balance in the user rights vs content distributer (not creator in most cases) battle doesn't even own a PC and therefore has no clue of the hassles of converting an old itunes drm'ed song to mp3 or not being able to rip a dvd to her computer/laptop to watch it that way, not being able to scale down a DVD to make it fit onto her zune (or other such device), doesn't know about being unable to legally sample a DVD for reporting or documentary purposes (reporting how this scene was taken from another movie, either for academic or news-reporting-worthy reasons). The single fact that Fixing the Y2k Bugs would have been illegal in lot of cases, if the DMCA hadn't been delayed into going into action until after 2000 shows that there is something very wrong with the fundamental basis of the bill.

The Real Issue (3, Interesting)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715296)

The problem with pricing books at $9.99 is the stickiness of the price tag. What is meant by this is consumer' perception of value. Although you can achieve large sales volume at price "below $10", if you ever try to raise the price by even a tiny amount, say $1, consumers *feel* like the markup was much higher than it really is, and sales subsequently drop off heavily.

The same phenomenon could be observed with iTunes' .99 cents pricing. Attempts to raise the price higher (especially without unilateral price raises across the board of offerings and publishers) resulted in significant sales drops.

It is also one reason we may never see a $99 netbook. That sub-factor of 10 number is quite magical for sales numbers, but kills any hope of raising prices in the future to combat inflation, increased salaries, admittedly raising profits, etc.

Re:The Real Issue (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715362)

The problem with pricing books at $9.99 is the stickiness of the price tag. What is meant by this is consumer' perception of value. Although you can achieve large sales volume at price "below $10", if you ever try to raise the price by even a tiny amount, say $1, consumers *feel* like the markup was much higher than it really is, and sales subsequently drop off heavily.

You sound like a marketing major. They seem to be the only ones who believe that garbage. I don't know anyone who is fooled by pricing at 9.99 and being told "under $10". Just call it $10.

Re:The Real Issue (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715474)

You sound like a marketing major. They seem to be the only ones who believe that garbage. I don't know anyone who is fooled by pricing at 9.99 and being told "under $10". Just call it $10.

Almost everyone is fooled by 9.99 and "under $10" pricing.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_pricing [wikipedia.org]
Endless studies have been done on the matter and it works.

We like to pretend that demand curves are smooth, but they aren't.
They go through all kinds of weird contortions because humans are not 100% rational market actors.

Re:The Real Issue (5, Insightful)

kainewynd2 (821530) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715476)

I know dozens of people who think that way. They're the people on the budgets.

I've seen it consistently at my mother-in-law's consignment shop and she confirms the behavior over the entire lifetime of the business (which has been in business for 14 years). Price it at $X.99 instead of $X+1 and you'll see almost twice as many sales. Similarly--though much more confusingly--people tend to buy stuff marked "Buy One, Get One 50% off," instead of "Buy One, Get One Free!"

I really don't get that one...

Re:The Real Issue (2, Informative)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715568)

I really don't get that one...

I can top that. Back in 7th grade, my cousin and I were selling lottery tickets door to door for charity. As a joke at the first house on our route, I said:

Five kroner a piece, four for an even twenty

And the guy at the door wanted to buy four for twenty.

Figuring it was just a fluke, we tried it at the next house. Same thing. So we did it the entire route. Out of about a hundred houses, only a handful of people batted an eyebrow and asked if we didn't mean five for twenty.

I suspect we've been so indoctrinated into getting discounts if we buy multiples, that we don't even check to see if we're saving money. Like the 99 cents vs 1 dollar thing. Sure, if we buy 99 of them, we can get one more for free. But books? If you buy a hundred books at 9.99 you've saved exactly 1 dollar over the 10.00 ones. And just the time you lose keeping track of that tiny coin every time is going to cost you more money. If you buy a thousand books at 9.99 instead of 10 you can now afford one more book.

Personally I can go through a typical book in about 4 hours. So it's taken me half a year to save up enough money to buy another book.

Re:The Real Issue (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715606)

I was at the movie theater recently, and at the concession stand, they had a number of "Combos", listing for example 1 Large Soda and 1 Large Popcorn. Or 2 Large Sodas and 1 Large Popcorn. Curiously, they had no prices attached to the combos. Sure enough, when the price came up, the price for Combo 1 was exactly the same as the price for 1 Large Soda plus the price of 1 Large Popcorn.

Re:The Real Issue (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716118)

Some less than totally honest stores actually charge more per unit for multiples or larger containers counting on exactly this behavior. It's especially bad with things where the small and large are something like 3.7 oz and 16.2 oz, and people are forced to do math to figure out which one is cheaper.

Re:The Real Issue (2, Funny)

Pawnn (1708484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715576)

I have a theory for that last conundrum. It's a long shot, but here it is: You offer "buy one, get one 50% off" and Jane Doe thinks "Wow! That's a good deal!". You offer "buy one, get one free" and instead of thinking "Wow! That's a really good deal!", she thinks "That's just a marketing ploy! They can't actually afford to do that. They must have inflated the price first! Grrr..."

This reminds me of something that happened when I was in highschool that I found really funny. I was selling candy bars for some reason or another, and had this silly joke. "Buy one for 50 cents a piece or buy one for a dollar and get one free!"

My art teacher was shocked that I would offer the 2nd deal and without joking wanted to know how I could afford to give such an offer. I told him I was just a generous guy. ^_^

Anti-intellectualism (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715650)

Would it kill you to admit that a marketing major might know a little more about this than you?

Re:The Real Issue (1)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715794)

While I don't doubt that reasonably intelligent consumers see through pricing psychology, there are numerous studies that clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of pricing endings (the cents) that are just one penny below the dollar (or euro or whatever) when large groups of consumers are involved. In fact, consumer preference for the $8.99 product over an identical product priced at $9.00 (or similar differences) is so commonplace that the questions being asked now aren't about whether it happens but why. Some have suggested that this pricing mechanism takes advantage of some irrational decision making process in consumers. Others have suggested that consumers simply don't want to take the time to process the cents portion of prices and look merely at the dollars.

Re: Cents (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715916)

It might have something to do with the next evil trick in the marketing book.

If your Fast Food Chain offers "Burgers for 99c" as a consumer it's easy to see that. But once it becomes "Burgers for $1.00" it's like a glass barrier broken. Then after some hand wringing, it will be "$1.25" and then "$1.35" and then it takes off like a bottle rocket.

It's harder for a consumer to price compare $1.35 at Ye Olde Tourist Trappe vs $1.25 Strip Plaza.

Re:The Real Issue (1)

Mister Mudge (472276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715510)

I wouldn't buy an e-book for $14.99. Maybe for $9.99 but not the higher amount. There's no justification for it, unless that extra $5 is going to the author. I don't buy music from the iTunes Store, either - the prices are unconscionable. It makes much more sense to buy the CD, rip it (at higher bitrates than Apple provides) and resell it, for a per-song price closer to $0.25.

E-books, like e-music, have minimal inventory and distribution costs, and zero production cost, and the inventory/distribution costs are amortized over millions of units. The incremental cost of adding a new book to the marketplace approaches zero.

Re:The Real Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715800)

It makes much more sense to buy the CD, rip it (at higher bitrates than Apple provides) and resell it, for a per-song price closer to $0.25.

An immediate per-song cost of $0.25. A hell of a lot higher if you ever get charged for your copyright violations.

Re:The Real Issue (1)

Mister Mudge (472276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715956)

It makes much more sense to buy the CD, rip it (at higher bitrates than Apple provides) and resell it, for a per-song price closer to $0.25.

An immediate per-song cost of $0.25. A hell of a lot higher if you ever get charged for your copyright violations.

It's fair use, not a copyright violation.

Re:The Real Issue (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716144)

It makes much more sense to buy the CD, rip it (at higher bitrates than Apple provides) and resell it, for a per-song price closer to $0.25.

You could save even more money by torrenting it, both of these are copyright violations. Format shifting is OK, but "making a backup" and then selling it is not.

Re:The Real Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715586)

It is also one reason we may never see a $99 netbook

Interesting article here on a $99 netbook [engadget.com] - and yes they are real and for actual sale

Re:The Real Issue (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715852)

From a comment in the engadget article: It's actually already out in the U.S. I was at a Kmart the other day and in the electronics dept. they had these sitting there but the kid had no idea if they were $149 or $99. I checked it out and it was terrible. The mouse buttons are insane, it has a 400Mhz Samsung CPU, and is pretty much worthless in build quality. They had 3 of them though on the shelf in the case.

So I should have qualified my statement with "legitimate, quality $99 netbook".

Re:The Real Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715600)

The real issue has more to do with who has the right to set the price in a store. Traditionally, booksellers pay a percentage of the cover price to the publisher for each unit they sell. The seller then prices the book on the shelf without further intervention from the publisher. The "agent model" declares the seller as an agent of the publisher. The publisher tells the agent how much they must sell for and provides a percentage of sales to the agent. The fact that 5 publishers and Apple colluded to force this scheme smacks of price fixing.

For the record, Amazon never guaranteed a maximum price for e-books, only for NYT Bestsellers. They also stand to make more per unit with the agent model. Why do you think Apple likes it?

Cynically commenting that Amazon is only using $9.99 ebooks to sell Kindles is incipid at best. The Amazon model, as a twist on the Shick/Gillette model (give away the razor and sell the blades) is as old as capitalism. Amazon is using $9.99 bestseller e-books as a loss leader to promote the Kindle and thereby create a larger market for e-books. It's called doing business.

Not All Books Will Be Priced Equally (2, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715298)

I don't think the predicted $14.99 price will be for all eBooks, though it will probably be the 'release price' when new titles come out by big name authors (and maybe some or all of the textbooks). If the eBook version is more expensive than the paperback version then I think we'll see eBooks sales stall.

I think the shift to the eBook model will affect the publishing industry's current practice of releasing a hardcover first (at a higher price) and then a paperback once the hardcover has run its course. We're not going to get rid of hardcovers all at once but there will probably be more 'straight to paperback' titles than we're used to now.

monopoly (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715300)

Amazon was to some extent using its pricing power to push the Kindle platform, and indeed to their credit, despite the monopoly this handed them, without their effort the ebook market may have continued to flounder. Now, as their monopoly collapses, they have the choice of seeing publishers vacate the platform possibly moving competing devices to the fore, or letting the prices rise.

The rise in prices, however, IMO cannot stand, and I don't think even the $10 price point can be maintained for long. Self-publishing is going to undermine that, and the result should be much lower costs for us readers.

Re:monopoly (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715436)

That, and freely available classics. At least to supplement reading new bestsellers. But the end result would be lower sales.

Money grab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715338)

It costs less to ship/print an eBook than a regular one, this is just ridiculous. Maybe they're just trying to jump-start the eBook piracy scene?

Re:Money grab (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715448)

Don't forget distribution. Any books not sold are the responsibility of the publisher or distributor to buy back. Trying to gauge demand takes effort too. And I'm sure there are many other costs that people unfamiliar with the business are not aware of. What I do know is that serving 300KB files, with no regard for how many copies of each to stock takes no effort at all.

$14.99? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715346)

Thats ok, it will only make it easier for me to justify not buying any, or an e-book reader either for that matter.

I'll stick with dead tree editions, thanks.

No thanks (4, Insightful)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715354)

If I have to pay that much for an ebook I'll just buy the real thing.

I can resell it when I've read it, I can take it wherever I want and I don't have to worry about someone pressing a button and removing it from my read.

Best of all, I don't have to spring for the price of a reader before I can even start reading a book

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715486)

Which is exactly what 5 of the big 6 publishers (Random House haselected not to follow the agent model) want you to do. Like the music industry before them, they are trying desperately to hold onto their old model.

Re:No thanks (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715786)

This sure seems to be true, but they'll be dragged along kicking and screaming. Just like the big music labels started losing ground to independent labels who WERE on the intertubes, so will the big publishers start realizing they're losing ground to the publishers who are supporting ebooks at reasonable prices and "reasonable" levels of DRM (if there is any such thing).

I could have sworn (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715368)

Weren't we promised that competition drives down prices? People are actually enthusiastic about buying an iPad so they can pay MORE for the electronic copy than the paperback editions cost? no thanks.. not unless it comes with ifriends and ilatte

Re:I could have sworn (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715550)

what compeition?

unprecedented evile surrenders hostages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715380)

just kidding. we all know we're still under the tutelage of the corepirate nazi illuminati, right?

the daze of it having it's way with us seems to be winding down now, & we're left with..., each other?

never too late to consult with/trust in your creators, providing more than enough of everything for everybody, without any personal gain motive, since/until forever. see you there?

$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715404)

You know folks, its not inevitable that ebooks will take off. As long as content manufacturers think that the electronic versions should cost the same as the print versions and net higher profits, electronic distribution of content will be stifled. As long as this attitude prevails, electronic books may not take off for a very, very long time. This is not the same as movies and music. While I consume multiple novels at the same time, one is an audiobook in the car, one in the bathroom, on on my night stand, and I may carry one, but usually only one novel with me at a time, and that novels is the same size as an ebook reader or close to it. Contrast with CDs where I listen to a dozen or more albums over the cource of the day. I am also more likely to change my mind on track 6 of an album, and abandon it than I am to abandon a book on page 200, so I would, if anything, need even more music, just in case. A dozen or more CDs is much, much larger than my mp3 player.

I could buy the CDs, like I said, but I would just end up ripping them to MP3s anyway. I could also buy a book, but I would have no compelling reason to convert that to electronic format. With digital music, yes, the cost should be lower, but they can justify it because it is more convenient (in the same way that 7-11 should be able to charge less for a gallon of milk that Giant, due to lower overhead, but they actually charge more), but electroinc books have neither a cost advantage nor a "convenience factor".

The fundamental differences in the way people consume media make it difficult to create a convenience factor for books, the closest thing being that you can buy on a whim and be reading almost immediately, but other than Potter fans and twitards, how many people really just can not wait until the next day to hit B&N and buy a book or the next day the library is open. Periodicals that would be delivered to your device could drive this (which is about the only place that I think SONY's devices fail), but that will not happen until very long life (like e-ink) can be combined with color. The iPad might get 10 hours when its new but what about after a year, if its like my iPhone, within a year or two the battery life will be halved.

Yes, go ahead an say that there is a lifetime or things to read at Guttenberg, there is also a lifetime or things to view on youtube and archive.org and hulu and the like, and a lifetime of things to listen to on the net as well, but sometimes, I just want to read something written after my great-grandfather was born.

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (4, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715502)

``electroinc books have neither a cost advantage nor a "convenience factor".''

They are searchable, aren't they?

And also, for people who move around a lot, electronic books probably have a weight advantage.

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715628)

I definitely wouldn't dismiss the cost/portability factor.

I spent 2 weeks bed-ridden in a hospital a few years ago. I'd have died of boredom if it weren't for my kindle giving me instantaneous access to more books than I could ever read (as it was, I must've read like 50 books during my hospital stay).

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715684)

They are searchable, aren't they?

Only useful for certain types of books. When's the last time you've taken out a fiction book and flicked through it to find something in particular (apart from your bookmark)?

And also, for people who move around a lot, electronic books probably have a weight advantage.

That's not "probably". I only have a limited collection of books, but they still weigh about 50 kg. The upside is, that if someone drops a book down a flight of stairs, they're still able to use it afterwards. Accidents do happen.

Now, if you drop it into a lake, or you're reading at the beach and a freak wave comes in and soaks you ... the book or two you brought you might be salvageable, but otherwise it's just a matter of replacing two books at maybe 15 bucks each. Your eBook reader on the other hand is toast, and depending on the DRM involved, so are your books.

Don't get me wrong though. I like the idea of ebooks and ebook readers. I just don't have the money for one. And you can do things with readers that you cannot do with books, like making them waterproof. I'd love to get an e-reader I can take into the bathtub, hot tub or the beach and not have to worry about it getting wet. My Garmin Edge 705 GPS + heart rate monitor is water proof down to a meter for 30 minutes, and that's a US$ 479 item at Amazon, has a built in Micro SD-card slot and USB connector. That's 10 dollars less than the Kindle DX, and I'm fairly certain the DX wouldn't survive if you let it get wet.

Obviously they aren't the same kind of device, but my point is I can get an advanced piece of electronic hardware that includes user interaction AND is waterproof for less money than a Kindle DX, so waterproofing the DX should be doable within that price-range.

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (1)

dloose (900754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716012)

They are searchable, aren't they?

Only useful for certain types of books. When's the last time you've taken out a fiction book and flicked through it to find something in particular (apart from your bookmark)?

This happens to me a lot. For example, if a scene references an earlier piece of dialog, I often find myself wanting to re-read it in its original context. Maybe it's just because I'm a slow reader, but I think the ability to search is a pretty useful feature.

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (4, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715602)

While I consume multiple novels at the same time

You consume your books? Aren't you aware that books were meant to be read and not eaten?

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715686)

Maybe he is a book worm!

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (2, Funny)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715710)

You consume your books? Aren't you aware that books were meant to be read and not eaten?

What about cook books? Or diet books?

Like this one: Dr. Tooshi's High Fiber Diet: A Revolutionary Diet that will Help You to Lose Weight, Prevent Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Digestive Disorders (Paperback) [amazon.com]

It says so right on the front. High fiber diet.

Re:$9.99 was too high for an ebook to begin with (1)

ChinggisK (1133009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715932)

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. --Sir Francis Bacon

Ahh, the things Leonard Nimoy has taught me...

Oh how convenient... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715466)

...to stick a little bit of completely unrelated paid viral marketing right in front of the “article”.

With the iPad arriving on the scene,

If you paid twice the price of the same thing from an other manufacturer, now you know where that money went. ^^

One could even make a meme out of it, since it really fits anything:

With the iPad arriving on the scene, the Haiti earthquake victims were all saved!
With the iPad arriving on the scene, war in Iraq ended and peace broke out!
With the iPad arriving on the scene, 351 people died in the latest terror attack!
With the iPad arriving on the scene, the Teabaggers finally managed to overturn the government and proclaim a theocracy!
With the iPad arriving on the scene, fanbois around the world came for a week straight. ...

Re:Oh how convenient... (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715580)

Did you forget that the reason Amazon was being pushed into this position was because of the deal the publishers made with Apple for the iPad, and thus MFN status would affect the discounts and other pricing given to Amazon?

These topics are not unrelated.

Publisher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715478)

Who is "Publishing" the ebook? Seems like Amazon is, and the paper company is taking a cut while the author gets fucked. Authors, cut them out.

Oh look... (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715518)

14.99! Yay! I'll buy the PAPERBACK!

There is no reason why an ebook needs to cost more than a paperback, let alone 15 bucks. At least it can't be removed remotely from my reader. I suspect that brick & mortar book stores don't need to worry about their futures the way things are going.

--
BMO

More reasonable pricing (5, Informative)

IceDiver (321368) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715584)

Considering the fact that you get no physical copy and are encumbered by DRM, it seems to me that fair pricing is as follows:
$9.99 for the period when the only physical copy available for sale is hardcover,
$4.99 once the paperback comes out.

Anything above these prices is, to me, a rip-off.

This explains why I have never purchased an e-book, yet the bookshelves in my home are overflowing.

Re:More reasonable pricing (1)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716100)

The problem with your reasoning, is that just a little bit of the cost is actually paper. Sure, you get rid of one middleman, but you replace it with another who want their cut (30% seems to be the going rate).

The "lack of value" you see doesn't show up as a saved cost for the publisher and author [nytimes.com] , and most of the work is done anyway. And AFAIK, publishing isn't a business making money hands over fist. A few authors do - J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown are not exactly median earners - and publishing them is very profitable too. But for most books, this does not seem to be the case.

All Thanks to Apple (2, Insightful)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715648)

I can't believe no one even mentioned this: /. all praised the iPad and Apple's scheme to make the publishers more money. Well here are the results of your joyous praise!

Now instead of Amazon keeping e-books at $9.99 and the industry in check--we now have a locked down, DRM-laden, inferior versions to the paperback, for...

$14.99! And that's only the beginning of the price increase!

Thanks Apple fanboys!

Re:All Thanks to Apple (1)

dloose (900754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716102)

If you believe that e-books are locked-down, DRM-laden, and inferior to paperbacks -- and I agree with you on all 3 counts -- then why do you care what they cost? Just buy the paperback. That's what I'm going to do. Sure, they're a bit more expensive, but they're convenient, incredibly easy to use, and they look cool sitting on a shelf. I'm willing to pay a premium for that.

The good, The bad, The ugly (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715666)

While I am upset that they feel the need to jack up the prices, it is nice to know that my local used book store will still feel a market niche. To some degree, it is almost feels better to buy a used book than a new one. With a used book, you can see the wear and tear on it, that someone actually has enjoyed this book and that they are passing it on to you.

Re:The good, The bad, The ugly (1)

mindmaster064 (690036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715998)

If the books go much over $10 on average there will be a lot of money to be made this way, and I was worried that the e-books are going to take over. Sure, the reference books will still be more useful likely in an electronic form but they're certainly cutting their throats here. Most of the mass-market paperbacks have already been overpriced on Amazon Kindle (a typically $7.99 book going for $9.99) and are teetering on that brink of not being worth the price. The Kindle is still a handy PDF reader, but the IPad can do that as well so who knows who will win here. Honestly, I'd pay $2 extra on every book if I could have a pdf on cd attached to the physical book.. but that's just me.

Amazon was trying to protect them (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715690)

They were only trying to protect publishers from themselves. Amazon knows a lot more about what customers will pay for ebooks than publishers do, and their tactics which appeared heavy handed existed because it was the point where the maximum amount of profit could be obtained. Yes the $9.99 price point would hurt the sale of physical books, but you sell so many ebooks at that price that makes up for it tremendously.

The only concern publishers had was that in public you couldn't tell what books other people were reading if they all had Kindles. They felt they lost some free advertising when going to ebooks. What they failed to realize is with an ebook reader attached to a network you can tie it into twitter or facebook which is a far more powerful advertising vehicle than some random stranger in public.

It's really pitiful that publishers are incapable of adapting to the realities of the 21st century. Amazon tried to drag them there kicking and screaming, but have failed.

(ex Amazon employee, so my views may be biased)

Re:Amazon was trying to protect them (1)

jfruhlinger (470035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715834)

Yes the $9.99 price point would hurt the sale of physical books, but you sell so many ebooks at that price that makes up for it tremendously.

Do you have any basis for this statement? My understanding is that physical book sales still outpace ebook sales by far.

Re:Amazon was trying to protect them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715838)

Even $9.99 seems rather high, I never pay more than $10 for a book, and most of the time it's $6.

More Media BS (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715760)

Fuck e-books; fuck e-book readers, including, but not limited to the Kindle, the iFad, & all the others I've not heard of. May they all go belly up, bankrupt and take the crooked publishers with 'em. Why anyone would want a crippled computer to read crippled books which can be stolen back by the "publisher" on any whim, "Just because we felt like it ... Buzz off, Sucker!" completely escapes me. Preposterous.

Re:More Media BS (4, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715990)

I suggest you look into the Sony PRS-505. Sony & the publishers can't do shit to the stuff I have put on my reader.

It supports damn near every format of displaying books (use Calibre if you don't like a format), it reads the data from an SD-card.

The fact that it doesn't connect wireless to the world is a GOOD THING.

Guess we are not Apple's customers anymore (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715764)

Apple's customers are media conglomerates.

So they cut deals with them and it trickles down in smacking us the paying customers who used to use their service and use other services. In other words, they came to the realization that real money is making deals with publishers of content, not the users. This causes the publishers to lean hard on anyone moving their product as they can hold "Apple" up as an example saying well we have Apple on our side and we don't really need you.

Yeah. thanks a lot Steve

I Think It's A Bit High (2, Interesting)

SplicerNYC (1782242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715784)

Considering that they are not manufacturing anything nor paying for shipping, warehouses (including workers), etcetera. If I thought the authors were getting more out of it then I might not bristle as much but I have no illusion that anyone but the publisher is benefiting from the price hike. As long as there are libraries, if won't be a problem. As an aside, I wonder how long it will take before publishers challenge libraries in court?

Geez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31715830)

...and I thought that $7.99 paperbacks printed on crap quality paper with what seemed to be a lack of qualified editors and proffreaders were a ripoff, hence I severely curtailed my book purchases to only titles that I was almost positive I would be interested in unlike in the past when paperback were more reasonably priced I'd pick extras up based solely on a quick glance through the text and the synopsis. (I always skipped ones that had no synopses and merely quotes from other authors and reviewers...) My extra favorites were the 200 pager $7.99 knockoffs which I also skipped even IF I thought that I MIGHT be interested or knew that I would be as there are limits to profiteering that I simply will not support.

An ebook's worth about $4 to me tops. MUCH less than that if it comes encumbered with all sorts of device restricted DRM(hello Amazon/Apple) as I've been through about 5 or 6 different devices for reading since the late 90s almost all of which had their own relatively unique DRM encumberance incompatible with most other devices.

Of course the WORST offenders by FAR are academic texts. Got to be at the point sometimes where the freaking texts cost almost as much as a semester's tuition did ffs!

Penguin and Hachette eBooks Too (2, Interesting)

Sounder40 (243087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715844)

I'm traveling a lot now, so I'm reading a lot. I picked up the James Patterson "Alex Cross" series on my Kindle. I tried to buy the next book in the series Thursday only to find that no James Patterson books were available. Turns out that Hachette books had blocked all book sales while Amazon switched to the "agency model". Agency model means that Amazon acts as an agent for the publisher instead of a middleman/retailer like they do for paper books.

It was a short-lived outage, and I was able to buy the next book this morning. For a dollar more. Not a big deal, but I see the end of my love affair with the Kindle real soon now. If this is the way they're going to play, I'm just not interested.

Re:Penguin and Hachette eBooks Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31716090)

Hmmm, I was going to write Amazon and let them know that I'd be boycotting Harper Collins/Simon&Schuster items in my Kindle choices - I can see that this could get complicated with this agency-model thing thrown into the mix. Sigh. Guess I can only write and protest this stupid, weak "decision". Well, until the inevitable iPad competitors emerge, with improvements in battery life, Flash, and cheaper Internet charges. Loved the original Kindle arrangement - too bad Amazon caved.

Odd twist (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31715870)

Usually when competition enters a market prices fall. In this case, Apple's entry seems to be raising prices. I suppose offering a higher price point is how Apple was able to get the publishers to partner with them after what happened with the music publishers, who are not happy with the $0.99 defacto single track price point. Hopefully once Apple gets a good foothold in the market prices will again fall as Amazon, Apple, B&N and other ebook vendors battle for marketshare, willingly cutting their own profit margins in order to obtain it. But for now, I view this as a giant step backwards for the "ebook revolution". Oh well, I refuse to spend over $10 for an ebook, so I guess my Kindle purchases will be much reduced.

It works both ways (2, Informative)

the Dragonweaver (460267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716036)

These stories never seem to mention that while the publishers want $14.99 at the high end, they also want the ability to price below $9.99 for back titles. Amazon has pushed the $14.99 price point so hard in the hopes that people wouldn't notice the cheaper part.

Collusion, restraint of trade, racketeering, RICO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31716134)

Collusion, Restraint of Trade, Price fixing, Payola, Racketeering, RICO.

Where are the Obama DOJ lawyers now?

"Change we can believe in." Hope 'n' Change 'n' Stuff.

Money talks everything else walks (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31716224)

Money talks everything else walks. Upset about the prices? don't buy the E books,they will come down in price fast enough. I would never waste money on an e reader,it don't give any value back. Buy a hard cover,soft cover book it has resale value. The marketers don't want that,so by buying ebooks you give them all the control as well Ebooks don't have resale value if you can sell them at all because of the DRM included with the books. And another thing, going out to the physical store isn't a bad thing really,you meet real people out there,Real Women too,who woulda known.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?