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Do some publishers have any idea?
#1  Timboli 03-26-2019, 08:13 AM
Or another way to re-phrase the title.

Do publishers who overcharge for ebooks, have a clue?

It doesn't seem they do to me, and they appear to be backing themselves into the niche corner. Ultimately time will tell of course.

I've been reading and collecting books for many decades now, and even before ebooks came into my life, I was way behind with my reading, and once I started collecting ebooks (legally) that multiplied a hundred-fold, perhaps more. I am at the point, where unless a miracle in science regarding longevity at least, occurs, I am not going to ever read all I have.

Because I have so many, and because I am so far behind, then when I want to purchase an ebook by one of the many authors I follow, if I don't like the price, I can just wait it out .... perhaps forever, because I am never short of something to read.

Now let's get something clear, I am happy to pay a fair price, always have been. I don't have to get something at a 'cheap as' bargain price. If such ever comes my way, of course I will grab it .... just like I am constantly snapping up great sounding Indie ebooks for free. But I like to support the authors I like and love.

I follow many authors, and I do so, because I like their writing. If I like an author, then I generally just buy their next book, never bothering with Reviews (especially as to me, they are some kind of spoiler regardless). When I will buy their book though, is always governed by the price.

For a few years now, I have preferred to read an ebook, and even though I have hundreds (perhaps thousands) of unread physical books, you will more often find me reading an ebook.

The transition (as I am sure many of you have found) from physical book to ebook, has however not been easy or smooth, especially with a good number of publishers playing games with availability and pricing.

It has become so ridiculous and annoying, that I have mostly given up and started enjoying the many benefits of Indie authors. Sure many aren't perfect, and they have their own annoyances, but overall I feel happier dealing with them, rather than those I feel are the enemy.

The enemy that is, to fairness, ethics and morality.

While it appears that mainstream ebook purchasing has declined, Indie ebooks by all accounts are on the rise.

The reader nowadays has more choice than ever ... not only with content and quantity, but how much they need to pay.

One could argue, that for may Indie ebooks, the quality is not there, and to some degree I guess that is true. It is not as big a degree as some of the publishers in question try to make it out to be though.

I do agree with paying more for higher quality. The question however, is how much more?

I can only estimate what is fair and reasonable to pay for an ebook, based on physical book prices. I look at the many many factors involved, and for me I have a general limit of $10 USD for a new ebook. I will sometimes go above that, for a particularly good or long book. What constitutes that type of good though, is often very subjective, so it doesn't happen much. Older books I expect to pay less for, and Indie ebooks even less ... unless they have proved themself to me with a prior read by the same author.

One needs to consider many things when it comes to books and ebooks and prices in general these days. Potential and existing customers are not what they used to be. There is so much more on offer now to entertain and distract us, and attention spans because of it appear to be much shorter. Most, if not all media, have expanded their content many times over, whether that be movies or games or books etc. And people only have so much time. Travel now, is much more prolific and all the activities on offer.

So why are so many publishers playing hard ball, when surely the writing is on the wall, that they need to adapt and change their commercial model?

Shouldn't they be trying to make their books more attractive? Part of which is user friendly, so an ebook ... and at a fair price.
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#2  HarryT 03-26-2019, 09:54 AM
We've had this discussion a thousand times before and, as always, the answer is very simple: if you think a book is too expensive, don't buy it. If a sufficient proportion of other potential buyers think similarly to you, the publisher will either adjust their prices or go out of business. If sufficient people think that the price is fair and buy it, they won't.

Personally I think ebooks are very reasonably priced. I buy mainly "back catalogue" crime fiction and pay around half to two thirds the price of the paperback, which seems eminently fair to me. Eg Dick Francis' ebooks at Amazon UK are £3.99; the paperback is £7.99.
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#3  ilovejedd 03-26-2019, 11:04 AM
Quote HarryT
Personally I think ebooks are very reasonably priced. I buy mainly "back catalogue" crime fiction and pay around half to two thirds the price of the paperback, which seems eminently fair to me. Eg Dick Francis' ebooks at Amazon UK are £3.99; the paperback is £7.99.
Alas, in the US I often see ebooks costing the same or more than the mass market paperback edition.
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#4  crossi 03-26-2019, 11:28 AM
A lot of authors who used to be "auto buys" have lost me to the point where I don't even search their names anymore, whereas I used to subscribe to upcoming book magazines and kept a list of their books that were due out months later. I bet they have lost a lot of other customers and they are unlikely to ever get them back. Oh well, their loss is some other author's gain.
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#5  McGonigle 03-26-2019, 11:38 AM
£20 - £40, or $27 - $53 for physical books and ebooks here in Denmark. The ebooks are sometimes more expensive than their physical counterparts. If you want something that isn't mass-market, you're likely to have to pay even more.

Public libraries incredibly actually limit the amount of digital copies available, in order to try to boost sales and their apps don't work on eink devices.

I'm very lucky that I can save a ton of money by just going to Amazon, Kobo, Gutenberg etc. for my needs because I'm not reading much else than English/American.

I certainly sympathise with the sentiments expressed by the OP. It seems some publishers have no clue at all of the sales they're missing.
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#6  theducks 03-26-2019, 11:43 AM
When Baen went with traditional outlets (and their pricing), I severely cut back (to almost 0) and went with Indy published (and put up with less than stellar editing ) for <=$4.99
No paper, No press, No large warehouse (the entire backlist will fit on a 1RU server). Sorry, but I am not subsidizing the paper side of the business.
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#7  Timboli 03-26-2019, 12:30 PM
@HarryT - I agree in part with what you said, but my topic is about more than that. It's not really the same old same old, but inevitably covers much the same ground in parts.

Lucky you with Dick Francis etc. Likewise, I also buy reasonably priced ebooks, even brand new ones. C.J. Box is the perfect example of a best seller selling at fair prices, as is Terry Goodkind and Val McDermid and a host of others.

As has been said, it is often down to where you live and where the author calls home ground, to how fair prices can be.

AUS is a very affluent country, but it isn't America, so the prices often reflect that. AUS is also full of middle class fools who have no sense when it comes to money, and often that is why stuff is much higher priced here than it should be. The poorer classes of course are always the ones impacted in the throwaway mentality society.

Anyway I have given up expecting the bad publishers to do the right thing. But I am interested, very much so, in their anticipated fate. Unfortunately, they are likely to take some damn good authors down with them, who are locked into long contracts, and don't appear to have much say. The possibility of that makes me sad and worried indeed. I also worry about how their writing is being impacted by the state of things.
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#8  Timboli 03-26-2019, 12:37 PM
Quote theducks
Sorry, but I am not subsidizing the paper side of the business.
In total agreeance with you.
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#9  Timboli 03-26-2019, 12:40 PM
Quote ilovejedd
Alas, in the US I often see ebooks costing the same or more than the mass market paperback edition.
Often the same here in AUS.
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#10  Timboli 03-26-2019, 12:43 PM
Quote McGonigle
It seems some publishers have no clue at all of the sales they're missing.
Indeed, it appears so.

Some of course are locked in the past where they had full control, and are fighting against giving that up, and it seems that is often more important than the money .... of course, many of them have already made a shitload of cash already, so can rest on their high horse, in a effort to prove a stupid point.
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