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The True Cost of Publishing On the Amazon Kindle

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the cost-analysis dept.

Businesses 236

Barence writes "Ever wondered why Kindle newspapers and magazines don't have many photos? PC Pro has done an analysis of the costs of publishing on the Kindle and discovered that Amazon effectively taxes newspapers and magazines for including more images. Amazon applies 'delivery charges' to publishers at the cost of $0.15 per MB/10p per MB. At those prices, PC Pro claims it's cheaper to mail out a physical magazine than have it delivered electronically on the Kindle. What's more, publishers have no control over the price of their newspaper or magazine: Amazon sets the prices itself, leading to huge customer complaints for titles such as The Economist."

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Now you know (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223472)

An now you know how they can make the 3G whispernet free. They get somebody else to pay for the connection.

Re:Now you know (3, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223618)

Well, duh. How many people really thought it was an altruistic contribution from the bottom of Amazon's heart?

Re:Now you know (2)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223712)

Really? Who pays when I use it to access Wikipedia? Not that it matters... the Kindle web browser crashes if you use it to access anything more than short text files.

Eventually I'm sure competition with Nook will drive publishing costs down to insignificant levels. BN should be jumping at the opportunity to sign up The Economist and other rags amazon pushes out with their prices.

Re:Now you know (0)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223950)

Did you really not follow along or were you just trying to find an opportunity to shove in a snarky comment about Kindle's browser shortcomings? The publishers of paid content pay 'delivery charges' to Amazon that subsidize the 3G costs. Even though you didn't "buy" Wikipedia from the publishers, they still paid the cost for you to access it. As far as what you can access, I've found that it's no worse than non-smartphones. I can run my email, Facebook, Google Voice, and the mobile versions of weather.com and ESPN with it. Other sites can very much be a pain.

Re:Now you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224024)

Better than the Apple way, i.e. letting users of high end devices pay for the free lunch of the filthy masses with their shiny black Chinese Apple toy phones.

No surprise there (5, Insightful)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223480)

Too many precedents have been set lately by allowing manufacturers/distributors to control content. And not just in publishing, either.

Not "allowing" anything (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223692)

Too many precedents have been set lately by allowing manufacturers/distributors to control content.

Amazon (and Apple) are not being "allowed" to control content. They have managed to build something desirable to put content on.

They have figured out how to make devices on which people enjoy reading content. A great part of the reason WHY people enjoy reading content on those devices is because of the way the systems have been set up - in Apple's case extreme ease of purchase for applications or content you wish to buy, in Amazon's case that plus free always-connected status.

Neither of those things is free to provide, and content PRODUCERS are welcome to sell content elsewhere or even make competing devices if they so choose. But the truth is there is great value in the path to readers that Apple and Amazon provide, and there's nothing wrong with paying for that.

Re:Not "allowing" anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223772)

I beg to differ. iPhone clearly was innovative, but when put in a golden cage as it has with iPod, iPhone, Macbook Pro, I have sworn never to buy into the Apple-hype again.

Re:Not "allowing" anything (2)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224388)

What cage is the Macbook Pro in? (other than the battery)

Re:Not "allowing" anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224022)

> They have managed to build something desirable to put content on.

They invented paper?

Re:Not "allowing" anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224336)

I prefer to get stuff from another incredibly more convenient location know as the web.

Amazon and apple only managed to make their stores popular because they control the device the user bought.

Re:Not "allowing" anything (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224396)

Actually they're being allowed to control the content. We have laws preventing certain uses of content owned by another (Copyright) and we need laws preventing the control of content beyond legal limits (restrictive DRM). It should be illegal for a company to sell me a digital file that ceases working on its own unless that was the exact feature I paid for.

Re:No surprise there (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224094)

If you don't like it just stay out of the ebook market or go with one of the ebooks that supports the epub standard. Personally I've got my Nook and I haven't had any trouble loading it up with free content, books checked out from the library or other stores than the official B&N store. It is a bit of a hassle buying elsewhere, but it's not really that hard, most of them support Adobe Editions. My main complaint is that it isn't supported by Linux or anything outside the Mac/Windows world.

Re:No surprise there (1)

Inner_Child (946194) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224300)

My main complaint is that it isn't supported by Linux or anything outside the Mac/Windows world.

ADE runs fine in Wine, and even though it's definitely not an ideal solution, it is a solution. At least, I'm assuming that you're referring to ADE when you say "it", as the Nook is pretty much OS-neutral, acting as a mass-storage device. Calibre has been my Nook's best friend since I got it.

Re:No surprise there (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224358)

What's the problem with Nook and Linux? Calibre runs nicely on Linux, and Linux does nicely for getting books into and out of the Nook. Linux doesn't have a Nook client, but I'd much rather read on my Nook or even my iPhone than my laptop.

Smallest Violin (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223484)

Between EVIL Amazon and EVIL Apple, I'm running out of tears for the publishing industry.

</sarcasm>

Re:Smallest Violin (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223782)

I thought eBay was bad when they took 20% of every video game sales made on their site. Then I saw that Amazon.com was no better (and maybe slightly worse). And I thought, where is the competing online auction sites!

Re:Smallest Violin (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223904)

The usefulness of an auction site depends upon the number of users - thus it's almost impossible for a small site to succeed, just because it's small. A similar situation applies in places like social networking or IM services: People won't join unless their friends already have. It's not impossible to break into such a market, but it requires a great deal of luck, excellent management and a lot of capital.

This doesn't apply so much to publishing, but you still have the traditional barriers to entry there: Publishers arn't going to be interested in your distribution system until they consider you a serious contender, which means you need either a ton of money to spend on marketing or the backing of an established and respected player.

Re:Smallest Violin (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224416)

I recommend kijiji [kijiji.com] to sell video games.

...why? (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223488)

Why can't users just connect to their home network at download the content from the publishers' websites? This has the stink of bullshit all over it.

Re:...why? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223534)

Connect with what? The Kindle 1 and 2 do not have WiFi hardware.

The Kindle 3 has WiFi and this could make a difference in charges. But until Amazon wants to start having different pricing based on the device type they are going to have to support the millions of Kindle 2 units out there.

It is possible to load a Kindle with content through the USB connection, but this isn't very popular and requires a computer. I doubt many publishers want to set things up to be that manually operated.

Re:...why? (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223908)

Download to computer->transfer to kindle via USB. I believe Calibre has 'recipes' to facilitate doing this for free newspapers and magazine articles.

I would think images are more frequently not on the kindle because color images don't look good in greyscale at a lower resolution.

And pricing concerns? As a consumer I trust Amazon to be slightly less evil than the magazine publishers. The major book publishers got together and forced Amazon to let them set kindle book prices, to a near hardcover price, upon book release; so that they could protect their precious hardcover sales.

Re:...why? (2)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224030)

Any file transfer done with the Kindle's Wifi connection is free. It's just the 3G data that you'll have to pay for. You get free 3G for browsing, etc. But all the Whispernet services have chareges associated with them. IE, if you email a document to get converted and have it delivered over 3G, you'll have to pay for it. But if you email it and have it delivered by Wifi, no charge. Same with books. The only time you pay a delivery fee is over 3G.

I email documents that I have to review for work to Amazon for conversion all the time and never pay a cent. I also forward articles that I'd like to read later via instapaper's website. Amazon makes it painfully simple to prevent getting charged for anything by setting a set limit on how much of a bill you're allowed to rack up at any time. Set it to zero and you can't accidentally spend $10. So there really isn't any reason to get bent out of shape. Amazon isn't being (too) evil here. Somewhat like with phone subsidization, they're fronting the cash for your 3G connection, but you only pay if you use it.

Whether or not it's a fair price should be the question. When compared with, say, a cellular data plan, it's about 3-4x's more expensive per MB. When compared to texting plans? Well, let's say it sits much closer to cellular data fees. It's a convenience charge. It's up to you whether or not you want to pay it.

(Also, I have a Kindle 3, so I'm not sure what they do with Kindle 1/2 users.)

Re:...why? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224244)

Connect with what?

Their B&N Nook. ;)

Re:...why? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223910)

Users can do that, in theory. But Amazon won't go out of their way to make it easy on you. Putting things on your Kindle without Amazon's help involves a USB cable and copying files to the right place on the Kindle's filesystem using Windows Explorer. Letting Amazon do this for you is just far more convenient--hence Amazon's ability to charge a substantial fee for the service.

Re:...why? (1)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224142)

"Putting things on your Kindle without Amazon's help involves a USB cable and copying files to the right place on the Kindle's filesystem using Windows Explorer"

This sounds easy enough. The time needed is way shorter than the time needed to read the book anyway. And, since when using Explorer is considered difficult?

Re:...why? (1)

jomcty (806483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224170)

Check out Calibre eBook Manager software.

Re:...why? (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224230)

I will agree that downloading to a PC and moving with a USB cable is harder and has more steps than most people would like. However, you make it sound like Amazon is locking down the device somehow and that is far from the case.

It is trivial to visit a web site that offers Mobipocket content for free and download that using the built-in web browser. While www.manybooks.net is somewhat of a pain on the Kindle, it is quite functional and allows downloading of 100% of the books there for free. No charges. Amazon is picking up the tab for the data transferred in this manner.

There are also many other free book sites which offer Mobipocket (.prc or .mobi) content. Most of these will "work" with the Kindle browser which allows the books to be installed on the device immediately.

You can also use either Mobipocket Creator or Caliber to convert other content (EPUB, PDF, etc.) for use on the Kindle. Caliber will do the conversion within itself but doesn't have a lot of control over how things are converted. Mobipocket Creator requires some intermediate step to get the content into it, but does offer more control over the conversion process.

They can (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224152)

Why can't users just connect to their home network at download the content from the publishers' websites?

They can. Nothing is stopping anyone from doing that, in fact on a Kindle or iPad you can load PDF or ePub files on it yourself if you like.

But for the same reason I fly instead of walk to New York, people like to get content through automated feeds and directly on a device wherever they are.

The Real Reason... (2)

domulys (1431537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223514)

... is that images and photos look terrible on a Kindle. Amazon doesn't want you, as the reader, to dwell on that fact.

Re:The Real Reason... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223600)

And they draw slowly - an image the size of the screen ( 600x800, I think ) takes well over a second to render. Not that the kindle was meant to show really show pictures, of course, since it's main selling point seems to be the appearance of the text on the page.

Re:The Real Reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224234)

My comics look great on my kindle so I can't agree.

Costs (4, Insightful)

Elder Entropist (788485) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223530)

"At those prices, PC Pro claims it's cheaper to mail out a physical magazine than have it delivered electronically on the Kindle." But that doesn't include the costs of actually printing the physical magazine. Not to defend Amazon though. They're clearly trying to make a buck before commoditization of the industry drives prices down.

Re:Costs (2, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223550)

The printing costs almost nothing. Today, the mailing of a magazine probably costs more than the printing does.
Do not believe that physical printing costs much - it doesn't - and doesn't factor into the prices of books and magazines much at all. It is heavily outweighed by the costs of the editorial staff.

Re:Costs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223988)

Clearly, you know nothing about the printing industry. While it is true that the cost or printing has dropped considerably over the last 10-15 years, I can guarantee you that the printing costs on a magazine outweigh the mailing costs substantially. Heck, the paper alone costs much more than the mailing.

Re:Costs (2)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224304)

While it might have been true that a magazine would cost $5 to print in 1960, most magazines are printed much cheaper today. I don't know specifics about magazines today but it is a rare book today that costs more than $2 to print. You cannot tell me that it costs more than $1 to print People or Time, and I suspect the target is more like $0.75.

There might be some specialty magazines - think Architecture Digest - that cost more to print and are printed on heavier, high-quality paper. These magazines are almost collectables in their own right and are printed to last. People, Time and a lot of others are printed the cheapest way possible on thin low-quality paper.

The mailing cost for a magazine can easily be over $1. Given postage rates in the US today, even a bulk mailer is going to get stuck with high costs. When first-class mail was $0.15 in the 1970s you could probably get your thick copy of Popular Mechanics mailed for $0.25 or so but mailing rates have gone up. And today the bulk mailers are supporting a lot more of the USPS operation than first-class mail.

Re:Costs (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224124)

Judging by the Editorial "work", and I use that term loosely, that I see in many e-books most editorial staffs are drastically overpaid.

Re:Costs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224218)

If you consider $.50 - $1.00 per copied printed almost nothing (depends on pages, quality, type of binding etc.) I know for sure, this is what I do.

Re:Costs (2)

Chemicles (771024) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223642)

But that doesn't include the costs of actually printing the physical magazine.

Which is why the article very clearly states that it's "cheaper to mail out a physical magazine", instead of saying "cheaper to print out a physical magazine and mail it".

Re:Costs (1, Interesting)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223682)

Whether a magazine is pure text, or has a tons of photos, doesn't make much difference in printing costs. It used to, but not anymore.

And "it costs amazon a lot of to download" is a bit specious. My dialup connection lets me grab 14 gigabytes a month, but still only charges me 7 dollars (basically 0.5 dollars per GB). There's no reason why photos in e-magazines should be charged at $150 per GB.

Re:Costs (2)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224246)

Your "dial-up" connection is using AT&T's 3G network?

Re:Costs (1, Interesting)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224320)

No obviously not.

I was comparing/contrasting the huge difference in cost. My dialup is 50 cents/GB. ATT is $40 per 5GB cap == $8 per GB. So why is amazon charging $150 per?

Re:Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223846)

But printing is seriously cheap now.

And if you only print-to-order, even further savings.
Well, usually, unless you are printing with some company that offer huge discounts on stupidly large numbers. (which might be wasteful for smaller prints you don't expect to sell a lot of)
This mainly applies to the less refined papers you find in most books, rather than the smooth, dyed papers, though.

Color printing is admittedly still a little more expensive in comparison to good old grayscale.

Re:Costs (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224414)

Amazon is so intent on opposing commoditization, that they stop authors from selling their work at low prices. I'm acquainted with an author who is trying to build some audience by not-quite-giving-away a couple of his novels at impulse-purchase prices on Kindle, but Amazon insists on selling his ebooks for a higher price.

Not really a moving narrative (4, Interesting)

shogarth (668598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223580)

There are two things to consider here

1.) Amazon is handling the distribution. If their formula is unreasonable, that is something to kick around but they do need to cover those costs.

2.) The publishers probably cannot "pop it in the mail" for less. The article's author is forgetting about or intentionally ignoring the printing costs.

At the end of the day, the question has to be "Is the publisher getting a better or worse return?" This article (and most others on this subject) neglect that issue entirely. It's easy to bash at Apple's or Amazon's costing formula. It's much harder (and would display a lot of the publishers' proprietary data) to discuss the real fiscal impact on the publishing industry.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223762)

2.) The publishers probably cannot "pop it in the mail" for less. The article's author is forgetting about or intentionally ignoring the printing costs.

Are you kidding? At the price Amazon is charging, your average print magazine would cost hundreds of dollars if every image in it were charged at the rate Amazon is charging. Are you actually claiming that it costs hundreds of dollars per magazine to print and deliver?

Re:Not really a moving narrative (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223906)

[...]but they do need to cover those costs.

$150/GB is inexcusable. If a typical magazine contains 10 MB of pictures (which doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility) then you're talking about $1.50 just to deliver the images to the user for each issue. That's significantly more than it costs to print and deliver a physical copy to the reader, as is evidenced by the number of magazines that can be had for less than $18 per year.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (4, Informative)

bark (582535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224064)

By the way, the magazines that can be had for less than $18 per year are actually subsidized by advertising. The true cost of printing + mailing a full length (around 100 pages / perfect binding / good paper / good printing) magazine is around $5 - 10 per issue per customer. Add in production/design/content costs, and the actual cost of a single magazine can be anywhere from $20 - 30. If you take a look at the sale prices of unsubsidized (ie magazines with no ads) - you can find that the cheaper magazines use poor quality paper, while the really glossy ones (which are usually high art / high fashion mags) costs around $30 per issue.

Hope this clears up some things.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (2)

bark (582535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224076)

And yes - this business model makes absolutely no sense in the absence of outrageous advertising prices. Which is why the publishing industry is going down down down.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (2, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224350)

Nobody except the "high art" magazines are using good paper these days. You are thinking of an era that has long passed us by. Good paper can be seen with Architectural Digest and a few (very few) others. The rest are using the cheapest paper and cheapest printing techniques possible.

No way does it cost Time $5 to print and deliver a copy. Perfect-bound books can be printed in large quantities for $1.25 each, so I would say Time is probably no more than $0.50 to print and maybe $0.75 to bulk mail it.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (2, Interesting)

dorre (1731288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223998)

At the end of the day, the question has to be "Is the publisher getting a better or worse return?"

This is not the only question to ask. I am really surprised at Americans (I am not sure you are, but I see this argument a lot) who say 'well if you dont like apple/amazon/evil-megacrop restricting what content they are distributing you can always get it some other way, it's not like they have a monopoly'. In fact, they DO have a monopoly and I am going to explain why:

A monopoly is when you have 100 % control of the market. While amazon do not control all electronic distribution. They do control the distribution to all Kindles. Basically you can take everybody who owns a kindle and consider them a separate market. And this market they control. To a 100 %. This is the same thing apple does, google and everybody else wants to do this.

This is really the new black. Do not be a monopoly. Create a market (for e.g. stupid apps). Do not conquer the whole market because then you will be regulated. When someone complains about you locking up your market you can always say they can go buy a nokia or whatever.

I think it is really important to realize that these companies are trying to create monopolies that do not look like traditional monopolies. This is no conspiration theory. It's just nobody likes the free market and if you want it free, it must be regulated.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (2)

Ferzerp (83619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224306)

I don't know about your last point. You can put arbitrary files on your Kindle by default.

Re:Not really a moving narrative (1)

dorre (1731288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224364)

All right. Then it's just me that so used to the dark side of the apple I think everybody else is evil too :)

Re:Not really a moving narrative (2)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224044)

1.) Amazon is handling the distribution. If their formula is unreasonable, that is something to kick around but they do need to cover those costs.

Of course they need to cover costs. I think the problem/complaint comes from a belief that it should be cheaper, since it's all digital.

2.) The publishers probably cannot "pop it in the mail" for less. The article's author is forgetting about or intentionally ignoring the printing costs.

I dunno... How much do you honestly think delivery costs on your average periodical? How much do you think printing actually costs?

Once you've considered the editorial staff, creative folks, journalists, assorted management... The cost of actually producing and distributing a periodical probably doesn't amount to much.

Which is what ruins the idea that it should be cheaper to distribute it digitally. If production/distribution isn't where your costs come from, then saving money on production/distribution isn't going to help you much. And if it actually costs more to produce/distribute digitally? You're screwed.

Define 'cost' (2, Interesting)

emagery (914122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223584)

Oh, come on... money is not the only resource by which one survives. In fact, it was never meant to have any meaning beyond measuring the value of resources and labor, period. That considered, resources on this planet ARE finite, and I find much more value being able to inhale my entertainment in digits rather than in paper. I can have a single metal and plastic kindle (which, btw, can be powered off a freakin' hand crank (as I did last night when the apartment complex was without power due to a failed upgrade by maintenance.)) replace 10s of thousands of paper items over the course of its useful lifetime. Me, I like to breath oxygen and have the luxury of, you know... EATING FOOD... things that I cannot take for granted in a world that is well beyond sustainable cultivation practices in most every regard. Define 'cost,' because going without a survivable future is too high a price to pay, at least if you ask me.

Carbon sequestration and tree farming (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223708)

One might argue that new-growth trees take carbon out of the air and put it in paper. But would this carbon sequestration have a measurable impact on greenhouse gases?

Please. (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223604)

Dear Amazon,

We want pictures on our Kindle subscriptions, even if they are (currently) only black-and-white on the flagship device. They are often important parts of the content. Please stop, or come to a more reasonable (to you, anyway) conclusion--for example, I would gladly wait until a Wi-Fi connection to download the images if it makes you happy. (And others won't, but I say this as someone who rarely reads such publications and won't want to do so right-now-at-an-airport or something.)

Except you foolishly left Wi-Fi off the new Kindle DX despite putting it on the Kindle 3. Don't do that, either. I'm not going to want to hook it up with USB. (Hey, Wi-Fi would also help with your 3G costs!)

Sincerely,

Your users

Re:Please. (4, Funny)

tm2b (42473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223686)

Dear Users,

You are obviously unclear on the dynamics of our relationship.

Love,

Amazon

I 3 my kindle (1, Flamebait)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223614)

Kindle + calibre + torrents = awesomeness. Screw paying for anything.

Re:I 3 my kindle (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223808)

Kindle + calibre + torrents = awesomeness. Screw paying for anything.

So you think we're going to be impressed by the fact that you're nothing more than a petty thief?

What are you going to do when your boss says 'screw paying for your time'?

Ignorant shits like you give them a reason to push for DRM.

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223964)

Why does "torrents" mean stealing? Do you work for *IAA or something?

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224138)

Torrents have nothing to do with it. "Screw paying for anything" does.

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223994)

By the way, thanks for calling me an "ignorant shit" after jumping to a conclusion. I bet you are a blast to be around.

Re:I 3 my kindle (3, Interesting)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224108)

Ignorant shits like you give them a reason to push for DRM.

I'm certainly not going to defend the guy who's pirating books, but I don't think this gives an excuse for DRM. Quite the opposite -- this method will circumvent any DRM they apply. I don't want to pirate books. I just want to buy a book and have permanent ownership of it. I want to back up the file and put it on laptop, or ipad, or phone, or even print a copy out if I feel like it. I'm willing to pay pretty much the cost of a hard-copy book to do it. With or without DRM, the publishers already depend on the customer's goodwill to not steal from them. Why don't they try to maintain that goodwill by letting us buy the product that is already available if we were willing to steal it?

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224180)

Copyright is broken. Gee, when i'm 104 years old i'll finally be able to read that thing i always wanted to! fix it, then you'll have the moral ground to tell people to participate in your 'lil information-money-power-game.

Re:I 3 my kindle (2)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224352)

Given that he's actually doing it, what's the DRM accomplishing?

Re:I 3 my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223826)

u are so right. demonoid has a great books section too

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

vic.tz (1000138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223836)

<

Here, you dropped this. :)

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223972)

Thanks! I guess /. doens't allow in the subject... :(

Re:I 3 my kindle (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223892)

It's only awesome if you stole your kindle, too.

Do what I do. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223702)

Do what I do.

Sit back and laugh at the entire e-reader industry until it figures out how to behave like a real business environment.

Re:Do what I do. (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223794)

Do what I do.

Sit back and laugh at the entire e-reader industry until it figures out how to behave like a real business environment.

You mean like the publishing industry in general? Sounds good. I'll wait for e-publishers to writhe in agony as the impenetrable fiefdom they created and got fat off of dies a slow painful death, occasionally lashing out blindly at concepts they A. don't understand and B. could have used as means of maintaining profitability and relevance had they paid the slightest bit of attention to.

There are problems with e-readers and e-books. To me, they are offset by the advantages they have over traditional media.

Re:Do what I do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223854)

Man, I wish I could be a clever as you. It must suck to always be around people who don't match up to your level of smugness.

Re:Do what I do. (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223898)

Well, the model is mostly breaking down when it comes to magazines. A normal "novel" 60,000 word type book would run under .25 megs and cost several dollars, so the delivery cost would be quite reasonable.

Even trade manuals(Linux for dummies) would still be very reasonable, considering they sell for $30 or so in the print world.

Magazines should be ad supported in some way. The current readers aren't really setup for them.

I think the problem is in the 3G... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223720)

I think the problem is in the 3G carriers pricing...

Re:I think the problem is in the 3G... (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224274)

I seriously doubt Amazon is paying $150 per GB in 3G charges, or anything close to it. AT&T currently charges $30 a month for a regular old, low volume of sales, consumer to use 5GB a month (Unlimited if you're grandfathered in), I don't they exponentially increase that for a huge, high volume partner. I see several cost centers involved in what Amazon is doing: The 3G on the device, the Internet pipe for their servers, the storage, the maintenance and coding... I'd be shocked if all of that added up to even $20 a gigabyte. I do think this all costs Amazon a bit more than some people are thinking, but nothing like $150 a gig.

$0.15 per MB/10p per MB (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223746)

the cost of $0.15 per MB/10p per MB

I'm trying to work out what dimensions that has (none I think), but mixing dollars with pence like that is enough to make even Verizon wince.

Re:$0.15 per MB/10p per MB (1)

smithberry (714364) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223886)

They are not mixing dollars and pence. They are (I think) saying the cost is 15 cents per MB and that in the UK that converts to about 10p per MB. A "/" is not always a division. Sometimes it is half a a web site name.

Re:$0.15 per MB/10p per MB (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223984)

Since 'per' implies division and there are no grouping indicators, you end up with .15 USD / MB / 10p / MB. It would come out to be .015 USD / (p * MB^2) which is pretty meaningless. If you insist on the use of 'per' to imply a grouping, you'd end up with USD / p as your units, which should be a close estimate of the exchange rate between the two (and, incidentally, it does). Of course, all of this assumes that you insist to misunderstand that the '/' is meant as 'or'.

I want PARAGRAPH BREAKS and proofreading! (4, Informative)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223766)

I bought my first Kindle book last week -- "Selected Stories by Philip K Dick"
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0027MJTNS [amazon.com]

I'm very unhappy with the Kindle experience.

There are typographical errors on 50% of pages (usually missing spaces between punctuation). And most importantly, the Kindle edition simply LACKS those "blank-line paragraph breaks". In the physical copy I can tell that time has jumped forward or we've switched planet by that half an inch of whitespace. But on the Kindle, it all just flows together and I have to slow down, stop, reverse, and figure out that there should have been a break there.

Re:I want PARAGRAPH BREAKS and proofreading! (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223848)

The Kindle doesn't lack these things. The edition of the text that you bought lacks these things. Blame the publisher who converted the text into Kindle format, not the manufacturer of the device.

Re:I want PARAGRAPH BREAKS and proofreading! (4, Interesting)

cruff (171569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223990)

Indeed, even recently published material that you would think would be available in digital format to begin with seems to have OCR style errors in the Kindle edition. Either that or editors and proof readers aren't doing a very good job. Oh wait, that's always been the case for a lot of publishers.

Crappy OCR is the bane of e-readers. (3, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224000)

When you read the Note on the Text for the ebook of LoTR, which was excellently done, you see how much effort it takes to get a good copy. "The Victorian Internet", OTOH, is a crappy OCR. Much of the action took place in "Rritain", and sometimes entire words are rendered as "????" when the OCR broke down.

Nook is no better for end users (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223778)

I'm not sure how Barnes and Noble's pricing structure works, but it's no better there for the end user. For example, here's most of a message I posted on B&N's Nook forum [barnesandnoble.com] :

I was playing with the store on my Nook and was really impressed by the magazine prices. For example, I picked "National Review" at random and saw that it cost $3.95 an issue, or $4.95 for a subscription. "Wow," thought I. "These magazines are early adopters, expanding their readership through cheap subscriptions in a digital form that has approximately zero distribution costs. How clever of them!"

Looking at the bn.com page for the magazine, I found the catch: that's $4.95 per month.

Holy cow. First, that's $59.40 a year. I could subscribe to the physical version for $29.50 (and apparently get a free book as a gift). Second, I have never, anywhere, ever seen magazine subscriptions priced monthly. They are universally priced annually. Upon reviewing the Nook screen, sure enough, there it is at the top: "Monthly Subscription: $4.95". I missed that in favor of the large-font, glowing "Subscribe for $4.95" button on the touch screen. Tapping that button gives the prompt, 'Would you like to buy "National Review" for $4.95?", again with no indication that you're buying a monthly subscription.

I love my Nook, but I'd never pay for a small, electronic, black-and-white version of a magazine when I could get the colorful, ergonomic dead-tree version delivered for half the price. Their subscription model is miles away from making sense for me.

Re:Nook is no better for end users (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224334)

gasp, the National Review is a giant scam con job?

where's my fainting couch?

And that... (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223828)

And that is why paper books/publishing isn't going away anytime soon.

$160 a gigabyte (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223858)

US data plans are on the order of $10 a gigabyte.

Cheaper than SMS (1)

Osurak (1013927) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223866)

$.15/MB is cheaper per byte than text messages are. The publishers should be thanking Amazon for that.

Re:Cheaper than SMS (2)

NoSig (1919688) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224294)

If you take the (almost zero) mass of the electrons that carry the information for SMS messages, you may even find that SMS messages are more expensive per pound than gold. Anything that comes within orders of magnitude of SMS data prices are beyond the pale.

The Economist pricing... (1)

hpj (26910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223872)

It's interesting that The Economist was the example chosen in the original text because I have personally complained about the pricing for that title. Silly me I complained to The Economist and not to Amazon. It is ridiculous that I currently pay $69/year for the print edition (Which also includes access to a podcast where actual humans read the entire paper to me) but if I want it on the Kindle I have to shell out over $125.

Re:The Economist pricing... (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224162)

If you have an iPad, The Economist offers their app to subscribers is free.

I can't figure out what's worse: (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223878)

Apple saying that you can't sell for a lower price than what you sell in our store. Or Amazon having complete control over pricing.

Amazon is greedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35223884)

I just want them to smash their fat faces in a brick wall. You tried selling used college books on that site? It's pure rip-off, both in terms of their cut & the shipping fee that they give you.

An incentive to keep files small for usability (1)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223912)

I believe that Amazon has the fee in place to provide an incentive to publishers to keep their files small, not because of bandwidth or storage costs, but rather because large files degrade the user experience on the Kindle.

This thread [kindleboards.com] on an end-user bulletin board shows the frustration that users frequently experience because of the device's limited memory. Amazon sells the idea that the Kindle will hold 1500 books despite having only 2 GB or 4 GB of storage, depending on model. Image-rich files, especially if the image compression is not applied with care, can easily exceed the 1-2 MB size that must be reached for that promise to come true.

Rather like the U.S. government rationing gasoline during the second world war despite its abundance. The real goal was to limit tire wear and therefore consumption of rubber.

Problem with the pricing assumption (1)

GreyFlcn (963950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35223920)

Doesn't this pricing figure make the assumption that physically making a paper magazine or newspaper costs $0.00?

Re:Problem with the pricing assumption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224036)

Doesn't this pricing figure make the assumption that physically making a paper magazine or newspaper costs $0.00?

No.

Per megabyte (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224048)

It says it's $0.15/MB, but is that per book sent, or for all their books? Because if a book is ~200KB, with one method it costs $0.15 to send 5 copies, and with the other it costs $0.75 to send five copies. This is an important distinction (that might be solved if I RTFA, but)

once again (1)

cyberfr0g (2812) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224150)

when will developers and content creators learn that closed systems are not good? i hope google dominates in the content publishing arena. make it so that every person on the planet can write a book, publish it online, and get paid a good % out of it regardless of the "quality" of the content.

Stop selling books on Kindle, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35224206)

If the prices Kindle charges are so extortionate, then the publishers should simply refrain from making their content available to Amazon. That they do not, tells me something. If I was in the book- or magazine-selling industry, I'd be getting together with the other heavy hitters and creating my own device.

But then again, I don't understand why MP3-player manufacturers never got together to design a standard interface that could be used to connect to and control their devices.

Embedded links? (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35224330)

Since I believe the Kindle and other e-readers have built-in browsers, couldn't the magazine embed links to pictures (or thumbnails with links) that would open up in the browser? This would mean the actual number of bytes delivered with the "magazine" would be fairly low.

  That's pretty much how a lot of web sites handle large photos associated with stories.

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