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What Book Publishers Should Learn From Harry Potter

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the might-makes-right dept.

Books 196

New submitter Volanin writes "The e-book versions of the Harry Potter series are being released through Pottermore, and J.K. Rowling has chosen to do a number of interesting things with them, including releasing them without DRM restrictions. 'One of the encouraging things about the Pottermore launch is that the books will be available on virtually every platform simultaneously, including the Sony Reader, the Nook, the Kindle and Google's e-book service. ... even Amazon has bowed to the power of the series and done what would previously have seemed unthinkable: it sends users who come to the titles on Amazon to Pottermore to finish the transaction.'"

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196 comments

Only sort of DRM free? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499791)

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2012/03/27/harry-potter-ebooks-are-not-drm-free-in-kindle-format/

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (4, Informative)

Bradmont (513167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499901)

Just buy the epub and convert it with Calibre.

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500021)

You mean we can convert from Epub to the kindle format using Calibre? Cool.

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (5, Informative)

Bradmont (513167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500039)

Yeah, it can convert bewteen just about any ebook format you can imagine. There are also plugins to strip DRM, but amazon recently changed its DRM scheme, so YMMV.

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (2)

BZWingZero (1119881) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500481)

Well, you can convert it to .mobi, which the Kindle will happily read. Amazon has a few formats, including .azw which is a DRM'd version of .mobi.

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (4, Insightful)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500847)

Having purchased one DRM'ed Nook book before I got a Kindle, and one DRM'ed kindle book since then, I wised up and now I only purchase DRM free ebooks (generally epub), manage the collection with Calibre, and convert the books as needed for loading on devices.

If a book is not available without DRM, I do not purchase it.

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (2)

yesiree (1630527) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500979)

If a book is not available without DRM, I do not purchase it.

"If a book is not available without DRM, I do not purchase it." Buy it and strip it from the drm. Then you can load it unto every type of device you own, and don't have to rely on Amazon. And yes, even since amazon changed drm-scheme it still works with the latest un-stripper (weird word btw). Or are these things illegal where you live?

What ./ should learn about it's own site. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500025)

Why does ./ render so poorly in IE7? This only started several days ago. I know, har har har, upgrade your web browser, but many companies run IE7 still on their work computers. It used to render fine... Maybe you should focus less on ./tv and more on the actual site...

Please stop adding features. If anything, remove features. We don't want a site with all the bells and whistes. Like us on facebook. doubleplusgood us on google. Flag us for shitty content.... We want a site that has good front page content, and an intelligent discussion... which leads to

Read the freaking submissions. Why are there so many typos in summaries? What do you guys do all day? You don't even make the stories. When you promote a story to the front page, read it an run it through a spell checker. Is it really that hard?

Free Cheese! (1)

Niscenus (267969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500697)

If you want fewer features, turn them off!
"You have to get an account first!"
Well, tough fuckin' nuts.

http://slashdot.org/my/preferences [slashdot.org]

Re:Free Cheese! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500821)

Come on. You've been around long enough to know that was a pure troll. If the IE7 didn't make that obvious, the complaints about typos and reading the submissions should have.

Re:What ./ should learn about it's own site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500731)

What ./ should learn about it's own site

You're on the wrong site, Pal - this isn't ./, this is /.

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (1)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500747)

Shrug.

IMO, anyone who bought a Kindle has already made a pretty clear statement that they're perfectly happy with DRM and willing to reward it financially. What do they expect?

Re:Only sort of DRM free? (1)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500887)

On the contrary, I have a Kindle loaded up with nothing but DRM free books. Amazon will probably take a loss on me, since I refuse to buy their DRM laden wares, but I'm happy with the hardware at what is probably below their cost.

good on her (3, Insightful)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499797)

it will take authors of her stature to claw back some author's rights back from apple and the publishers

I'm just sayin'

Re:good on her (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499951)

They don't loose any rights to Apple. Stupid nonsense.

Re:good on her (4, Informative)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500047)

yeah, except for giving apple 30% off the top and not being able to offer the book for less anywhere else...

which means they have lost the right to discretionary pricing and possibly from offering the book for free...

I'm just sayin'

Re:good on her (1, Troll)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500121)

They in no way lose any of that "right".

What they lose is the "right" to charge less for it in other places, they can offer it free on iBooks just as they do elsewhere. You can change prices anytime you like.

Apple is doing a substantial amount of legwork for free (yes, free, even if you never actually sell a copy) and they don't want people getting the advertising and such from iBooks but encouraging people to direct-buy it for 20% less.

Re:good on her (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500443)

What exactly do they do that could possibly be described as "substantial legwork"?

Re:good on her (2)

rwv (1636355) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501077)

I imagine that hosting an online store that does supply management with integrated order processing and fulfillment isn't something you consider trivial?

Re:good on her (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500221)

30% is comes out of the publisher.

"not being able to offer the book for less anywhere else"
and that's just false.

return of the king
Apple: 9.99
http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-return-of-the-king/id503026877?mt=11 [apple.com]

Google: 8.51
https://play.google.com/store/books/details/John_Ronald_Reuel_Tolkien_The_Return_Of_The_King?id=WZ0f_yUgc0UC&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImJvb2stV1owZl95VWdjMFVDIl0 [google.com] .
That's just one example.

Stop 'Just sayin' and start thinking for yourself.

Re:good on her (3, Insightful)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500997)

nevertheless, apple and the big 4 publishers are under antitrust investigation in both the US and Europe over price fixing and collusion, which may or may not benefit the author, but certainly hurts the consumer

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/08/us_justice_dept_apple_ebooks/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/13/apple_ebooks_cases_cost/

-I'm just sayin' -what I think and hear and feel...

Re:good on her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500749)

(Posting AC because I'm at work)

yeah, except for giving apple 30% off the top...

People keep bringing this up as a bad thing. Let me explain something to you - 30% is NOTHING compared to doing everything on your own. If you think 30% is a problem, try doing it all - everything that Apple offers as part of their service - yourself and see how much of a percentage that turns out to be in the end. You'll start viewing giving up 30% as a godsend! Trust me.

Re:good on her (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500089)

it will take authors of her stature to claw back some author's rights back from apple and the publishers

That's a ridiculous statement. What rights have authors lost specifically to Apple? All available evidence indicated Apple would prefer that DRM be removed from media.

Re:good on her (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500115)

it will take authors of her stature to claw back some author's rights back from apple and the publishers

That's a ridiculous statement. What rights have authors lost specifically to Apple? All available evidence indicated Apple would prefer that DRM be removed from media.

They lost the right to sell the books at a reasonable price. People on Slashdot keep forgetting that the iBookstore or whatever it's called came along with negotiations that contractually forced Amazon to raise ebook prices by >50%.

Re:good on her (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500379)

And you seem to forget that was a lie.

Re:good on her (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500537)

They lost the right to sell the books at a reasonable price. People on Slashdot keep forgetting that the iBookstore or whatever it's called came along with negotiations that contractually forced Amazon to raise ebook prices by >50%.

No, that's not an author right they lost. They gained that right with Apple's agency model.

Otherwise what happened was Amazon was selling books at a loss (to them) in an effort to drive out everyone else from selling e-books. The publishers and authors had no right to say what price Amazon could sell at. So if Amazon decided your books were worth $1, sure they could be paying you $3 for each copy, but you won't be able to sell your next book for any more than $0.50 per copy as everyone thinks your book is only worth $1.

As well, Sony/B&N/Kobo won't be able to compete and exit the e-book market (if they have to pay $3 per book and Amazon's big enough to dump it at $1...), leaving Amazon the only player in town.

Amazon went for the wholesale model - they bought N books for $X, and sold it for $Y (X and Y have no general relation, though Y > X for a profit). Apple went with the agency model - the publisher sets the price, and Apple sells it for that price.

Consumers love the wholesale model - books are cheaper and get discounted, though publishers hate it (devalues the book) as do authors. If you want to see this in action, check out developer complaints about 99 cent games making it hard for other developers to charge $4.99 for games (better ones, of course) and such.

Of course, Amazon could be devaluing the market to be the only contender (Amazon's Kindle store is the largest after all) and with the DRM, once you're locked in and the other stores are gone, Amazon is free to jack up prices.

No DRM but has tracking (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500191)

They call it watermarking, but it's tracking by any other name. "The Pottermore Shop personalises eBooks with a combination of watermarking techniques that relate to the book, to the purchaser and the purchase time. This allows us to track and respond to possible copyright misuse."

So don't copy the floppy..... er, book to your friends.

Re:No DRM but has tracking (4, Insightful)

Transkaren (1925482) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500817)

And the problem with this - assuming it doesn't interfere with the function of the book in any way - is what exactly? It's like a registered serial number - it's *your* copy. Quite honestly, it's probably the single best copy protection method out there - both from an enforcement ("See this? It's yours") and rights (But make backups and change formats as much as you want) way.

Re:No DRM but has tracking (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500857)

Nothing's wrong with it, so long as it doesn't put anything visible (like Macrovision did on some VCRs) that would degrade the quality.

Re:No DRM but has tracking (5, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500933)

"I don't understand potions", said Ron gloomily.
"You don't understand anything!" said Hermione snootily.
"Cut it out, you two. I'm trying to watch the Quidditch", said John Thompson, the twenty eight year old living at 17 Acacia Avenue, Surrey, credit card number 5753100085692323.

Re:No DRM but has tracking (1)

barc0001 (173002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500969)

And does this watermarking survive being converted to other formats through Calibre or other similar software people use to manage their e-readers? I doubt it.

Re:good on her (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500393)

However an Author of her Status (and money in the bank) really has little to fear from rogue pirating and distribution issues.

The average author is not making a living off their books, at best they are paying for lunch. So every pirated book counts for much larger percentages of their revenue.

Re:good on her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500465)

No, it doesn't, because it's been demonstrated repeatedly that pirated books do not actually reduce revenue at all, and raise it in many cases.

She's part of the problem (1)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500467)

It's clear that J.K. Rowling is part of the piracy problem.

Re:good on her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500807)

By "of her stature", you mean shitty authors who write poorly about stupid shit for twelve year olds?

Yay and boo? (0, Troll)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499799)

I agree with the DRM free part, but why do I have to be redirected to Pottermore? I don't want my financial details all over the place.

Re:Yay and boo? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499833)

Then just pirate it. Don't be such a whiner.

Re:Yay and boo? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500369)

Yeah good solution. Personally I downloaded all 7 books four years ago! I didn't feel like waiting for the movies to be released, or the ebooks, and just went straight to the scanned copies off isohunt, in order to learn how the story ended

Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499897)

You spread your financial details all over the place in the real world. It's just as unavoidable over time on the web.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499931)

How do I spread my financial details at a brick and mortar? If I buy a $20 book at a brick and mortar, I do hand over a financial document with a name and picture on it, but the name and picture are of former US president Andrew Jackson. I don't mention that's not really my name, and nobody has ever made an issue of it.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500071)

Then let me say thank you. Thank you for doing your part to keep Diebold in business after their voting machines were shown to be unreliable and borderline fraudulent.

The rest of the world, however, puts a nonzero value on convenience and the ability to easily shop for goods and services outside our respective home cities.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500113)

How do I spread my financial details at a brick and mortar? If I buy a $20 book at a brick and mortar, I do hand over a financial document with a name and picture on it, but the name and picture are of former US president Andrew Jackson. I don't mention that's not really my name, and nobody has ever made an issue of it.

A majority of people don't pay cash. Even 20 years ago when I was working retail while going to school, people hand over their credit card to a minor who more or less can't be seriously prosecuted, and almost all of the time, nothing bad happens. Having worked both sides, I used to laugh at people who were "scared of the internet" in the 90s, as if a "rich computer guy" like myself is more likely to skim their records than a 16 year old waitress.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (1)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500143)

Most brick and mortar don't have a database where they store my financial information with an easy web portal to target it. Some might, but the credit card and user records from Walmart.com aren't the same ones as Walmart brick and mortar. I can't go to Walmart use a credit card there then sign in to Walmart.com to use the same card. And I'm pretty sure for brick and mortar there isn't a user record unless I have a club membership card.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500659)

A number of brick and mortars have been tracking users based on payment type so that if you use a credit card, they'll have a file on you, membership or not.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501159)

This. Assume anywhere your personal data is used that its being tracked by metrics. Even if they dont do anything with the data, its trivial to collect it, just in case.

Re:Do you shop at just one brick and mortar? (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500571)

No, it's not just as unavoidable. You can't hand someone cash over the web. Transactions are stored in databases that are attached to Internet-facing websites that can be SQL-injected, etc.

The only people who have my credit card are the bill companies that automatically hit my account once a month, gas stations, Steam, Newegg, and Amazon. No one else knows my CC. If I can't get it through one of those retailers...I don't get it.

I am the only person who touches my debit card. No one walks away with it. If I don't swipe it personally, I don't give them my debit card.

claudia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499859)

Pottermore I hope we are not becoming a problem because I am fan of the series. [comoenamoraraalguien.com]

Now if only the price was more competitive... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499879)

Going the DRM-free route is truly surprising and appreciated, but it's tainted by the eBooks all being more expensive than the paperback versions. That's a hard sell for a lot of people. :-/

  I know the industry's fear that if they price ebooks too low then people will stop buying printed books altogether and blah, blah, blah... I'm ok with that. There will almost always be some desire for printed material, but digital distribution just makes way too much sense to be held back for long.

Re:Now if only the price was more competitive... (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500175)

There will almost always be some desire for printed material

It'll be like music CDs. In 2012 music you buy for yourself comes from legal or illegal sources online. I haven't bought a music CD for myself in about a decade. However, on christmas morning, birthday parties, etc, music cds are still being unwrapped...

In the future, you may never own a book that did not arrive in wrapping paper... but you'll still get at least some books. Just like music CDs now.

Re:Now if only the price was more competitive... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500285)

Going the DRM-free route is truly surprising and appreciated, but it's tainted by the eBooks all being more expensive than the paperback versions. That's a hard sell for a lot of people. :-/

 

I agree that going DRM free was a surprise, especially from JKR, who has long been very much adverse to ebook releases, often citing piracy as one of her objections. Apparently once you are filthy rich its not such an issue any more.

As for the Ebooks being more expensive, this too may fall, because until Apple got involved with ebooks, it didn't use to be that way. Books in Ebook format used to be 5 to 7 bucks, 9 bucks for a best seller. Then Apple enabled the publishers to adopt their so called Agency Model, and all the ebook prices jumped. Everybody else had no choice but to go along. The DOJ is currently looking into this [geekwire.com] , and in fact there are already indications that some publishers are quietly talking settlement [ecommercetimes.com] .

Because of Apple's well placed friends, it took an EU Investigation [washingtonpost.com] to nudge the DOJ into action.

Re:Now if only the price was more competitive... (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500355)

The cost of the paper and distribution are minuscule. The vast majority of the RRP on a book is author's fee, proofreading, editing, marketing, artwork, layout etc etc. Given that layout is more difficult in an eBook, and that some of these jobs have to be done several times if you want to offer more than one format, and eBooks can cost more to distribute than paper books.

Re:Now if only the price was more competitive... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500787)

Not finding that to be true anymore. The last three programming books I bought for the Kindle app were at least 25% less then the print version, and these were recent (within the last year) releases. Could be better, but it seems to be trending downward. I'd like to see them implement a system where we could get free upates for various errata, much like software patches, especially in technical books were an error in the wrong spot can leave you baffled for quite a while.

So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39499889)

Most authors don't have the sort of clout and fan base that J.K Rowling has. Amazon is willing to redirect because it will not piss off the massive numbers if they didn't AND they might be able to get in some additional sales by suggesting some Harry Potter swag that they do sell.

If you're an author with a smaller fan base (the 99%), Amazon would simply laugh and not do business with you or try or dupe you into signing some controlling publisher agreement.

Who needs DRM (5, Funny)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499903)

Each book is a Horcrux. Who needs DRM restrictions? :-)

A) Nothing (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499905)

What Book Publishers Should Learn From Harry Potter

They should learn form this that we wanted these 5+ years ago, preferably released simultaneously with the print version, and ideally the print versions should have included one free e-Version each.

What will they learn from this? They'll learn that they can fake it and promote themselves as "DRM-Free" by releasing material that everyone already owns in another form (and therefore piracy doesn't much matter), which continuing to burden new releases and reference material under as onerous of a lock as they can clamp on.

Re:A) Nothing (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500063)

Exactly. We bought all of these as they came out in print (for my daughter - I think they're drivel). We're not going to pay for the electronic versions, even though they'd be nice to have.

Re:A) Nothing (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500233)

The first 3 books are drivel. The latter 4 books are pretty dark (I'm not sure children should even read them).

Re:A) Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500587)

I agree, but the series was exceptional and certainly not drivel.

From this thread and numerous others here on /. I'm left wondering what readers here will pay for...Everything should be free.

if everything is free, why hold a job? Why produce anything? We'll all just move back into the caves and eat weeds and kill all of the wild squirrels and deer...yeah, that'll work.

Re:A) Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39501105)

Objection! First three were pretty good, as children's literature go. The "darker and edgier" books on the other hand were pure drivel with the last book being nothing more than a giant "take that" to the lunatic fringe (well perhaps not much of a fringe in this case, the gooey centre then if you will, of the fanbase.

Re:A) Nothing (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500231)

ideally the print versions should have included one free e-Version each.

I can agree with simultaneous print-and-eBook releases. Baen's done it for over 10 years. These books should have been electronic the day they were published, instead of the publisher's snotty "I should thank they would understand that if we don't provide it, they can't have it."

DRM-free? Heck YES! DRM is a slap-in-the-face insult to every customer.

But the above statement is ridiculous. If I buy the hardcover, I still have to buy the paperback, which is NOT the same book. eBooks are no different. I still cheerfully pay for the paper copies from Baen *and* make a separate purchase for the electronic editions. Of course, Baen's the only publisher I do that for. Everybody else it's eBooks or nothing.

Re:A) Nothing (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500723)

I agree. A free e-version should be included with all physical book purchases. True, someone could just go and sell the physical book and keep the e-book, but that only counts for first-time sales. Seems that game publishers are more than happy to provide free DLC to first-time buyers - maybe this will catch on with books. I don't doubt Kindle might be around for 20 years or more, but maybe I'll move on to a different ereader before then. Therefore, I'm only willing to spend a small amount on an e-version anyway. I always want a hardcover or paperback version until there's an industry standard like MP3 or AAC, or (it pains me to say it) some universally-supported DRM like Ultraviolet for books.

Re:A) Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500905)

Also, they'll learn that if you're a diva, you can write your own rules and force consumers to go through your own site instead of just letting people buy what they want to buy, where they want to buy it.

Funny how she went from (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499939)

Never releasing digital, to a digital release.

And by funny, I mean money.

Re:Funny how she went from (3)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500177)

So? Is it evil to like money now?

All of the Harry Potter books are within what would be a reasonable copyright term, so she's entitled to maximize the money she makes from them. It makes perfect sense to hold back the eBooks until the hardcopy sales dropped, and she's done the right thing here, which is not to penalize legitimate users of the eBooks in the name of piracy prevention.

Re:Funny how she went from (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500207)

So? Is it evil to like money now?

Look up "Seven deadly sins" and locate "Greed" :) How much money is it really worth to earn before you don't feel you have to have more? All of it?

Re:Funny how she went from (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500593)

Evil is a social construct that's pretty fluid between time and space. Not sure that just because greed is one of the seven deadly sins, it automatically becomes evil in the here and now. Not even sure that sinners are automatically evil, or that every sin is an evil act.

Not about her, about YOU (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501069)

How much money is it really worth to earn before you don't feel you have to have more?/em.

What a horrible, selfish, evil attitude you have.

It should not matter if someone made zero or ten billion dollars on something. If they make something you enjoy, they should get money for it - it really is that simple. If they manage to make something wildly popular why is it a problem that a huge number of people will be rewarding them?

It's only a problem if you are a dick who wants everything for free and artists to live in poverty.

I myself am happy to buy the Harry Potter books, just as I am happy to buy what I can from small bands who make music I really enjoy. How much they have made in the end does not matter, to me it's only about my appreciation for well crafted art in any form.

Re:Funny how she went from (1)

expatriot (903070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501139)

Look up "I want things for free because other people have done something fantastic and made money from it and I am just sitting on my ass."

Re:Funny how she went from (2)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500407)

Actually I heard recently that she's slipped from the world's billionaires list to the millionaires one, because she's given away so much to her charities. I suspect money isn't her driving force.

Need I add, I wish more gazillionaires were as generous. How many million do you need in one lifetime, after all.

digital spell: (2)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499949)

Alohomora DRM!

Price still too high (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 2 years ago | (#39499963)

DRM free and all that is great, but they're still asking $7.99 for the kindle version on Amazon vs. $8.79 for the paperback version. It does not cost them eight bucks to send me a 300kb file...

Re:Price still too high (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500011)

I think maybe this is why there is no DRM restrictions, she will have made so much money from the sale of the virtual book from legal copies, that the illegal ones will havebeen paid for...I think this is why they are selling as expensive as the paper back versions....just my opinion...

Re:Price still too high (2)

The Good Reverend (84440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500013)

It doesn't cost them $8.79 to print a book, either. What's your point?

Re:Price still too high (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500281)

The point is electronic versions don't have snail-mail shipping costs, and should be cheaper. Take Fantasy&Science Fiction magazine for example:

$36 for the print version but only $12 for the electronic version. They save money by not printing the magazine & adding postage, and those savings are passed to their e-mag readers.

Re:Price still too high (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500449)

Ever hear of economies of scale? There is no way you can compare the per-unit cost of running off millions of copies of a Harry Potter book to running off a few thousand copies of some niche magazine. There is little doubt it actually costs $24 to print and individually ship the magazine, and there is little doubt that it costs only $1 to print and bulk ship the Potter books.

Re:Price still too high (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500297)

This is what people seem to forget. Printing a book is dirt cheap these days. You can get copies of The Bible at the dollar store, for $1. That includes printing, distribution, retail shelf space, theft and damage, retail staff, and probably a few other costs I'm forgetting. Plus I'm sure they are making quite a profit on it. They sell other books too including those romance novels. I often get books for my kids at the dollar store. The cost differential between a print book and an e-book is probably very close to 0.

Re:Price still too high (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500881)

How much does it cost to print a book in London, then ship that book to a store in Chicago, pay the bills at that store necessary to support the sale to one person? How about the same incremental cost for an e-book?

Re:Price still too high (1)

Tmann72 (2473512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500019)

Sure it doesn't cost them $7.99 to give you the file. It's called royalties, web hosting, and any other number of fee's tacked on. See that $1.79 you save compared to print? That's what you saved for downloading it, and a tree. It's actually cheaper than the print copy for once. Do you honestly expect the months of writing a book to be distilled down to simply the cost of downloading it? Get real.

Re:Price still too high (5, Insightful)

epedersen (863120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500029)

No, it costs them $0.80 to print and send you a papterback version. The cost of the content is what you are paying $7.99 for.

Re:Price still too high (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501055)

Yep. Economies of scale and all that. A bottle of beer costs even less to make -- an order of magnitude less.

Re:Price still too high (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500031)

They can price it at anything they wish; no one is compelled to buy it. But given that it's DRM free, I'll gladly buy it if I want it badly enough. Ms. Rowling is respecting our rights and I in turn respect hers.

Re:Price still too high (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500035)

No it doesn't, but then the price is not made up purely of distribution and replication costs.

Re:Price still too high (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500101)

So what? How does the cost to the producer affect the value to the consumer? If they produced a book where every letter of your copy was hand-written by a graphic artist, would you pay thousands of dollars for it just because it cost that much to make?

Assuming you have a job, how much did it 'cost' you to work today? Practically nothing - just enough nutrition to keep you alive and functioning for the day. Bet you happily accept more than a few cents for a day of work though.

Re:Price still too high (1)

AnonyMouseCowWard (2542464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500675)

Actually, if they made a handwritten version of a popular book with quality ink, great binding and cotton-like high-grade paper, I'm sure some people would pay thousands for it. It costs almost that much to produce, it's only fair.

Comparing royalties with a daily job is disingenuous. If your job is developing software, writing a book is spending 3 years of your life writing that software and then earning money on it until you die (or, rather, until you die + 70 years). The point the poster was making is not really that they _can't_ price it at their current price, but that he/she finds it too expensive, which is fine. It only means they will not buy it at that price and will either do without or find an alternative (I heard of this great "brick and mortar", old school creation called "libraries". They're amazing, it's like a video store for books and the best is it's free. Also a lot of them do have e-books now.)

You can't argue that the e-book is _worth_ 7.99, because it depends on how much the _buyer_ values it at. For some people it's worth that much, others not. The lowest price you can go to, however, is the production price, and that is not nearly as high as eight bucks for an e-book, considering a lot of money has been made (and the cost of production paid many many times over) through the paper version already. The case would be different if it was a new book released in both paper and e-book format, as in you would have to account for publishing, editing and all.

To me, this is more like... "look guys, remember Warcraft 2? Good shit right? How about we release it again, but like, as a download-only version with a new splash screen? I think we should make it cheaper than what we used to sell it at. Let's say $40, cheaper than the original 49.99!". You're allowed to, but I'm allowed to think you're trying to rip me off.

Re:Price still too high (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39501123)

If they made a book like described, nobody that just wanted to read the story would pay that price. Anybody who did pay that price would be paying it because they valued the book at least that much (probably as a piece of artwork, or just to be able to show off how much money they have). Nobody would pay that price simply because if cost that much to make.

The point of the job comparison was that the price of pretty much everything, including the price you get for doing your job, is determined by how much the 'purchaser' is willing to pay, not how much the thing cost to produce.

The purchaser did NOT say that they find the price too high (more than the value he would get from the book), he said the price was too high because it doesn't COST that much to make. My point is that sane people do not decide that value of something by the cost to make it. The value of a book (as a story to read) does not go up just because some ridiculously expensive process was used to produce it. By the same token, the value of a book (as a story to read) does not go down just because an inexpensive process was used to produce it.

Re:Price still too high (-1, Flamebait)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500145)

DRM free and all that is great, but they're still asking $7.99 for the kindle version on Amazon vs. $8.79 for the paperback version. It does not cost them eight bucks to send me a 300kb file...

Thank Apple. When they brought book sales to iTunes they and the publishers managed to contractually force Amazon to raise ebook prices by >50% in most cases.

Re:Price still too high (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500349)

As has been pointed out, that's bullshit.

Re:Price still too high (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500225)

Believe it or not ... the main cost of publishing a book is not the actual printing. Author Charles Stross has a quite interesting series on the subject here. A few quotes:

Overall, the process of turning a manuscript into a book is estimated to cost $7000-$20,000 — an amount comparable to the author's likely earnings from the book. In fact, the actual division of labour on a book is split roughly 50/50 between the author and the publisher.

and

In particular, about 80-90% of the cover price of a book has nothing to do with the paper and ink object you buy in a shop; indeed, using current production standards, ebook production requires nearly as much work as paper book production.

Yes, yes, I know that they already have made their initial investment back an obscene number of times, but that is a different matter.

Re:Price still too high (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500257)

Learn this lesson, and learn it well: Price != Cost. Price=Cost+Profit.

Re:Price still too high (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500367)

Better yet, learn the real formula: Price != Cost: Price=what people are willing to pay (ie. how much value they assign to the thing)

Re:Price still too high (1)

Keyslapper (852034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500949)

Never mind that, why the hell does it cost $57.54 for me to buy the ebook collection, but only $50.77 to get the paperback set? The Game of Thrones 4 book set was the same thing - something like 20% more for the ebook. What's up with that?

I think I'm missing the whole point of ebooks here. I went and bought a very expensive little gadget so I could:
(a) Buy more books without having to spend more money (cheaper books + old book budget = more books);
(b) Keep more books on hand without having to raise bookshelves on the other half of my house (save space);

Well, at least (b) still holds, but I have very little interest if it comes at the cost of (a).

Now, sometimes I find an ebook that is considerably less than the hardcopy, and that's good, but that seems to be the exception to the rule - or more precisely, the "nobody books" and "not hyped books". The whole ebook movement is pretty good for independent authors to get their stuff out there, but even so you have to spend $20 on $1 pulp books just to get one or two decent reads. I suspect some of the more well known authors are even throwing a fair bit of chaff out there to get in on that "penny market" (See Patterson's "Witch and Wizard" for a prime example). Frankly that annoys the hell out of me.

As for the ebooks, I'm not interested in spending more money to read it on a tablet, I already spent more money just to get the damn thing. Now the damn thing is better for playing Angry Birds or letting my son watch Phineas and Ferb than anything else.

Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500041)

Will it teach Web publishers that HTML tags don't work in RSS feeds?

DRM Free? It's like Magic! (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500049)

*ducks*

International translators V. Potter Franchise (2)

Nurki (2605637) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500125)

I just read this post [wordpress.com] today, and it shows how the Warner Bros. bullied the translators of the Potter books. No wonder Amazon gave in, they were probably bullied as well.

It is good to see the artist in control (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500161)

Distributors come and go, but mankind's demand for the art of the story is enduring. This is one more iteration of the chain of distributors that started with cave painters.

Nurture the artists. They are life.

Power to the content creators! (3, Interesting)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500365)

This is what ebooks are made for. Eliminating the middle-man, and letting the creators own the distribution of their own works. I hope this trend continues. I'm only too happy to buy these books knowing that the creator is getting the lion's share of the profits and not some publishing house.

DRM free? So what! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39500403)

I'm more concerned that even after a 10% reduction for buying the "boxed set" (as it were), the individual titles still come to £5.52 each, which is not too distant from the UK new paperback prices, and well adrift of prices in charity shops. If the ebooks were nearer £2 each, then perhaps I'd bite, but no. Not now.

What publishers of all stripes must learn is that once you've milked first the hardback, then the paperback sales, people are only buying ebooks for minor convenience.

They didn't learn shit (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#39500409)

I've already downloaded and read all the Harry Potter books. By waiting this long to release them in ebook format, they only encourage pirating of the ebooks.

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