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Last post Author Topic: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed  (Read 19354 times)

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2011, 09:59:36 PM »
@Renegade

Well to me your initial post sounded more like it was talking about the impracticality of it all and yet the despair over the mass adoption of that impractical model that forces it to be necessary.

If economics or currency alone is what stands for capitalism then technically it's not capitalism that's the dictator but money and well... money makes the world go round isn't really a new idea and doesn't really go deep enough to dictate the market at all.

Plus I don't know if it's being fair to say Compared to so and so country something is socialist and yet at the same time assume that capitalism is a blanket. Either it's all general blanket statements or then it's not really fair to say socialism gets the right to be compared to other systems while capitalism can't have the issue of being "more capitalistic" or "less capitalistic".

I guess a simpler way of stating it is that there's no one capitalist economic model not even in the practical sense where as socialism is much easier in that there's a mindset of good will that runs much similar to Marxism or Communism except it accepts or admits to the economic failure of those two latter concepts at least based on how the applied systems deteriorated and that mindset alone even with the partnership of an economic model can still be narrowed down to one mindset not much different from virtues and vices. Capitalism on the other hand, it's linked to greed often times only because it's linked primarily to the exchange of currency with the ideal preference of getting more as it is a system based on competition. However once you add things like socialism into it for example or even the mere proliferation of corporations then there's always that different gap between how people view greed and how they spend their money. It all seems to really depend whether the acceptance is that it is a natural deterioration due to greed or that capitalism has many branches and often the wrong economic model forces it to take a wrong turn. Nonetheless as a blanket idea, the main thing against capitalism being a dictatorship is that money is widely used and money is most associated with capitalism. Of course I'm not really an expert and I'm not sure if by expanding on my opinion, I'm making it clearer or just making it more confusing but this is why I feel socialism is more widespread.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 10:07:04 PM by Paul Keith »

Renegade

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2011, 10:47:19 PM »
Well to me your initial post sounded more like it was talking about the impracticality of it all and yet the despair over the mass adoption of that impractical model that forces it to be necessary.


I meant practicality in a personal sense in that we live in a predominately capitalistic society and must deal with it. (Same applies to corporations.) As for despair, yes. In some ways it is self-perpetuating as it entrenches vested interests which will always resist any perceived attack on their interests. e.g. It would be almost insane to believe that banks could be nationalized.


If economics or currency alone is what stands for capitalism then technically it's not capitalism that's the dictator but money and well... money makes the world go round isn't really a new idea and doesn't really go deep enough to dictate the market at all.


If money is the dictator, then capitalism, being strongly linked with it, is guilty by association.


Plus I don't know if it's being fair to say Compared to so and so country something is socialist and yet at the same time assume that capitalism is a blanket. Either it's all general blanket statements or then it's not really fair to say socialism gets the right to be compared to other systems while capitalism can't have the issue of being "more capitalistic" or "less capitalistic".


I believe that it's a matter of the "prevailing system" being capitalism, with various flavors of others thrown in as spice, e.g. Canada has a capitalist market economy, yet still has some socialist influences in there. It's not an all or nothing deal -- there are gray areas. e.g. By comparison, the US is more capitalistic than Canada.

The question is only one of which system is dominant, as in capitalism, socialism or some other system being dominant. (Having the most influence.)


I guess a simpler way of stating it is that there's no one capitalist economic model not even in the practical sense where as socialism is much easier in that there's a mindset of good will that runs much similar to Marxism or Communism except it accepts or admits to the economic failure of those two latter concepts at least based on how the applied systems deteriorated and that mindset alone even with the partnership of an economic model can still be narrowed down to one mindset not much different from virtues and vices. Capitalism on the other hand, it's linked to greed often times only because it's linked primarily to the exchange of currency with the ideal preference of getting more as it is a system based on competition. However once you add things like socialism into it for example or even the mere proliferation of corporations then there's always that different gap between how people view greed and how they spend their money. It all seems to really depend whether the acceptance is that it is a natural deterioration due to greed or that capitalism has many branches and often the wrong economic model forces it to take a wrong turn. Nonetheless as a blanket idea, the main thing against capitalism being a dictatorship is that money is widely used and money is most associated with capitalism. Of course I'm not really an expert and I'm not sure if by expanding on my opinion, I'm making it clearer or just making it more confusing but this is why I feel socialism is more widespread.


My reason for stating that capitalism is the new dictator is because it is so entrenched, so prevalent, so all-encompassing that any attempt to extricate any country/society/state/whatever is certainly doomed to failure (back to vested interests -- capitalism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change). Further, it has fostered forces in the market/society/life that are so strong that anything different is nothing more than a twig being swept along a raging river.

Marxism/communism were doomed to failure because people simply cannot act altruistically enough to give them a chance. (If everyone were like Mother Theresa, it wouldn't be an issue, but we aren't.) They need certain conditions to be met inside of people, and those weren't there, and aren't there. We all look out for #1, and capitalism works with that very well, and rewards that. I believe that's only a statement of the obvious, the way things are.

When I say "dictator", I mean that in the pejorative sense, the common sense of the word. However, I also believe that it could be otherwise -- we could have that dictator decide to become "the Philosopher Kingw". That of course is also subject to corruptionw, as are all things. But it is a goal.

It's ok to inadvertently take a wrong turn. It is not Ok to purposefully take a wrong turn. At the moment, it seems like greed is leading capitalism down a path of intentional wrong turns. e.g. It is NOT ok to pull young children out of school and pay them $0.50 a day to work in factories, even if the local laws permit it. (The argument logic is in many aspects the same as the argument logic against clitoridectomyw.)

It's one thing to be greedy and hurt people or do damage. It's another thing to be greedy and still manage to help people. Capitalism has both going on in it. I'd like to see the former stop.

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Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2011, 07:29:50 AM »
Quote
I meant practicality in a personal sense in that we live in a predominately capitalistic society and must deal with it

See the thing is this is up for debate. I'm not one of the experts but if you check out the model, there's a lot of things that go both ways.

Example: Debt. Many would consider something like that un-capitalistic. However many also consider it a necessity to compete with a global economy full of needs and demands.

Quote
If money is the dictator, then capitalism, being strongly linked with it, is guilty by association.

Yes, that is what I was trying to imply. It could be guilty by association but guilty by association is not what a dictator makes. The same could be said for socialism. It's just that socialism is less about associating as it is about a prevailing mindset therefore it seems more akin to a dictator to me than capitalism but only if we are looking at which is more prevalent in our global culture.

Quote
I believe that it's a matter of the "prevailing system" being capitalism, with various flavors of others thrown in as spice, e.g. Canada has a capitalist market economy, yet still has some socialist influences in there. It's not an all or nothing deal -- there are gray areas. e.g. By comparison, the US is more capitalistic than Canada.

The question is only one of which system is dominant, as in capitalism, socialism or some other system being dominant. (Having the most influence.)

Exactly. Which is why it seems unfair how socialism can be more or less socialistic vis-a-vis another country but capitalism must somehow be the prevailing system "with various flavors thrown in".

Either both have various flavors thrown in or both have to be considered as one and there shouldn't be a comparison of what is and isn't socialism in a country.

Quote
My reason for stating that capitalism is the new dictator is because it is so entrenched, so prevalent, so all-encompassing that any attempt to extricate any country/society/state/whatever is certainly doomed to failure (back to vested interests -- capitalism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change). Further, it has fostered forces in the market/society/life that are so strong that anything different is nothing more than a twig being swept along a raging river.

The thing though is, depending on which branch of people you inquire, capitalism may not be entrenched. It may not even be present.

This sound preposterous until you see how this sentence could be applied to both socialism and communism too:

Socialism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change. (issues like opting out of healthcare, increased spending despite being in debt to help the needy, produce sharing at the cost of quality or necessity)

Communism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change. (real historical flaw of Communism)

As you said:

Quote
Marxism/communism were doomed to failure because people simply cannot act altruistically enough to give them a chance. (If everyone were like Mother Theresa, it wouldn't be an issue, but we aren't.) They need certain conditions to be met inside of people, and those weren't there, and aren't there. We all look out for #1, and capitalism works with that very well, and rewards that. I believe that's only a statement of the obvious, the way things are.

Also depending on which flavor of capitalism, it doesn't always reward someone being #1.

Quote
It's ok to inadvertently take a wrong turn. It is not Ok to purposefully take a wrong turn. At the moment, it seems like greed is leading capitalism down a path of intentional wrong turns. e.g. It is NOT ok to pull young children out of school and pay them $0.50 a day to work in factories, even if the local laws permit it. (The argument logic is in many aspects the same as the argument logic against clitoridectomyw.)

Except that capitalism is a concept and not an entity. Just as schools, factories, food to eat, ease of start-up are all dependents.

Let's take your example, is it ok for young children to be forced to go to work anyway despite not being pulled because they have a poorer economy under socialism or an inferior equalized school quality under communism?

This doesn't mean pulling young children to work in factories is the right moral path to take either but we don't exist in a vacuum. Something like everyone having a VCR under communism may sound good but everyone getting free internet might be better but everyone paying and supporting web developers thus increasing the number of people interested in that job branch may also seem even better especially if it could lead to cheaper sustainable products... but then again, they could be worse.

Quote
It's one thing to be greedy and hurt people or do damage. It's another thing to be greedy and still manage to help people. Capitalism has both going on in it. I'd like to see the former stop.

Again, the same thing can be said for communism and socialism if we are taking them up as blanket concepts.



johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2011, 10:04:06 AM »
I've got nothing against "capitalism" or growing wealth, but at some point, capitalism starts running amok in ways that are not beneficial.

Going back to the core of your argument, Renegade, I don't think many would disagree with this statement. On the other hand, there seems to be little appetite among voters (particularly American voters) for state intervention in the economic process. And it's still America's view on this issue that matters most. America is still (just) the economic engine of the world.

Sometimes it's difficult to have these conversations across national boundaries because our own histories and teachings mean we have very different working definitions of capitalism or socialism, right-wing or left-wing.

For example, viewed from the comfort of my armchair here in the UK, American politics seems a very frightening beast. You have a right-wing party (the Democrats), an extreme right-wing party (Republicans) and another large political organisation (the Tea Party), for people for whom even the Republicans don't seem right-wing enough. Terrifying.

This is using the modern, narrow definition of right-wing to mean the extent to which you accept state intervention in everyday life (through taxation, or regulation).

The most right-wing party in the UK (the Conservatives) has as its leader a man who is a great champion of our national health care system (the state-funded NHS, free to everyone at the point of delivery), the same NHS that was vilified in TV ads by American Republican politicians during the "Obamacare" debate. Republican ads described the "nightmare" of being treated in the UK's "socialist" medical system. In the hands of American right-wing politicians, the word socialist has no definition. It simply means "a bad thing". To many people in the UK (including the Conservative Prime Minister) the NHS is one of the greatest achievements in Britain's history.

But of course the NHS is not immune from the capitalist model, indeed it interacts with it every day. Drug companies sell drugs at a price, and the state either pays up, or patients don't get the drugs (see Nudone's earlier post).

This has been concentrating my mind over the last year. I was diagnosed with cancer at a time when I had no employment and little savings. Without the NHS, I would have been in big(ger) trouble.

Ultimately, the length of time I will survive depends on whether I get access to new and expensive drugs. By a curious coincidence, shortly before I was diagnosed, a British television programme showed the curious process through which drugs are approved for use -- using as an example the very drug I am likely to need soon.

It's called Revlimid. The NHS will pay a maximum of £30,000 per patient (about $48,000) "per year of good life" for a single drug. The drug company wanted £45,000 a year per patient for Revlimid. The NHS refused use of the drug. So the drug company came back a few months later and said "okay, £42,000". The NHS has some discretion in paying more for what are seen as "end-of-life" drugs. They actually showed the committee's voting session on TV. The eighteen-member vote on whether they should pay £42,000 per year per patient for Revlimid tied at 9-9. The chairman's casting vote was yes. So I should get the drug. Which means that other patients with other conditions will be denied drugs, because the budget is always finite.

Allegedly, Revlimid was a "relatively inexpensive" drug to develop. It is an extremely profitable drug for the company. I try to be realistic about these things, but it is difficult not to conclude that drug companies hold health services to ransom.

Renegade

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2011, 10:48:34 AM »
Quote
I meant practicality in a personal sense in that we live in a predominately capitalistic society and must deal with it

See the thing is this is up for debate. I'm not one of the experts but if you check out the model, there's a lot of things that go both ways.

Example: Debt. Many would consider something like that un-capitalistic. However many also consider it a necessity to compete with a global economy full of needs and demands.



With debt you're confusing governing economic systems with banking systems. It's possible to have debt/credit in capitalist, socialist, communist, fascist systems.


Quote
If money is the dictator, then capitalism, being strongly linked with it, is guilty by association.

Yes, that is what I was trying to imply. It could be guilty by association but guilty by association is not what a dictator makes. The same could be said for socialism. It's just that socialism is less about associating as it is about a prevailing mindset therefore it seems more akin to a dictator to me than capitalism but only if we are looking at which is more prevalent in our global culture.


But capitalism is far more prevalent. There are no socialist or communist states (that matter). They are all captialist. Those that profess to be socialist/communist are in name only. Go to a "communist" state like China or Vietnam. It's a joke. They are capitalist all the way.

I'm only talking in real terms about what is the case.


Quote
I believe that it's a matter of the "prevailing system" being capitalism, with various flavors of others thrown in as spice, e.g. Canada has a capitalist market economy, yet still has some socialist influences in there. It's not an all or nothing deal -- there are gray areas. e.g. By comparison, the US is more capitalistic than Canada.

The question is only one of which system is dominant, as in capitalism, socialism or some other system being dominant. (Having the most influence.)

Exactly. Which is why it seems unfair how socialism can be more or less socialistic vis-a-vis another country but capitalism must somehow be the prevailing system "with various flavors thrown in".

Either both have various flavors thrown in or both have to be considered as one and there shouldn't be a comparison of what is and isn't socialism in a country.


Capitalism just happens to be the prevailing system world-wide. It's not unfair. It's simply fact. Socialism is only a flavoring right now.


Quote
My reason for stating that capitalism is the new dictator is because it is so entrenched, so prevalent, so all-encompassing that any attempt to extricate any country/society/state/whatever is certainly doomed to failure (back to vested interests -- capitalism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change). Further, it has fostered forces in the market/society/life that are so strong that anything different is nothing more than a twig being swept along a raging river.

The thing though is, depending on which branch of people you inquire, capitalism may not be entrenched. It may not even be present.


But it is the dominant system everywhere. (Everywhere that matters anyways.)


This sound preposterous until you see how this sentence could be applied to both socialism and communism too:

Socialism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change. (issues like opting out of healthcare, increased spending despite being in debt to help the needy, produce sharing at the cost of quality or necessity)

Not sure what to say about that.

Communism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change. (real historical flaw of Communism)

As you said:

Quote
Marxism/communism were doomed to failure because people simply cannot act altruistically enough to give them a chance. (If everyone were like Mother Theresa, it wouldn't be an issue, but we aren't.) They need certain conditions to be met inside of people, and those weren't there, and aren't there. We all look out for #1, and capitalism works with that very well, and rewards that. I believe that's only a statement of the obvious, the way things are.

Also depending on which flavor of capitalism, it doesn't always reward someone being #1.

Quote
It's ok to inadvertently take a wrong turn. It is not Ok to purposefully take a wrong turn. At the moment, it seems like greed is leading capitalism down a path of intentional wrong turns. e.g. It is NOT ok to pull young children out of school and pay them $0.50 a day to work in factories, even if the local laws permit it. (The argument logic is in many aspects the same as the argument logic against clitoridectomyw.)

Except that capitalism is a concept and not an entity. Just as schools, factories, food to eat, ease of start-up are all dependents.



I don't know what you mean by "dependents".


Let's take your example, is it ok for young children to be forced to go to work anyway despite not being pulled because they have a poorer economy under socialism or an inferior equalized school quality under communism?


But there are no socialist or communist forces pulling kids out of school. Those forces are all capitalist or religious.


This doesn't mean pulling young children to work in factories is the right moral path to take either but we don't exist in a vacuum. Something like everyone having a VCR under communism may sound good but everyone getting free internet might be better but everyone paying and supporting web developers thus increasing the number of people interested in that job branch may also seem even better especially if it could lead to cheaper sustainable products... but then again, they could be worse.


I don't see where that counterfactual has any basis in the world we live in. Can you provide an example?


Quote
It's one thing to be greedy and hurt people or do damage. It's another thing to be greedy and still manage to help people. Capitalism has both going on in it. I'd like to see the former stop.

Again, the same thing can be said for communism and socialism if we are taking them up as blanket concepts.

There are no real example of socialism or communism, and that's the problem.

To be clear -- I like working in a capitalist system. I simply don't like the abuse of it.

@johnk -- it's way late here, and I need to get to sleep -- I do want to respond later though. :D
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40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2011, 11:34:58 AM »
To the best of my knowledge, printing and distributing a book is a minor part of overall publishing costs. I think a standard hardback print run for a mainstream novel costs less than £1 per book. So if publishing companies are looking to maintain the same level of profits on ebooks that they obtain on print books, you're not going to see a huge reduction in prices.

Based on my own personal experience in getting technical books printed and distributed, I doubt a finished "standard" hardcover book could be produced at a cost of £1 per copy regardless of the size of the production run.

Back in the 80s I was responsible for annually getting over 100K sets of technical documentation printed, bound and distributed for a major corporation. The average "doc set" consisted of two to three (paperbound oversized-trade format) books averaging 300-500 pages each. Even with "normal" industry runs of 20,000 copies the average delivered cost of each book hovered in the $7+ range despite using every trick in the book ("slow time" press runs, aggregating paper purchases for multiple titles, etc.) to keep the costs down. And this was back around 1988, so boost it $1-2 to account for inflation and paper cost increases since then

And while manufacturing may only account for a portion of the cost, it's not an insignificant part of the expense to produce a book. Add in transportation and shipping, warehousing, returns for unsold and damaged copies, etc. and the fully absorbed manufacturing costs climb even higher.

A general rule of thumb for manufacturing is that sales prices need to be set somewhere in the range of 3X to 5X the total manufacturing cost to maintain profitability. Volume runs can help get unit costs down, but there's a limit to how much savings volume alone can provide. Especially when factored to account for risk (unsold, damaged, transportation cost increases, etc.) which increases more than proportionally with larger production runs.

The way it usually works is the publisher sells to a book distributor for roughly 50% off the cover price. The distributor sells to retail channels at 20-30% off cover depending on the title and quantity.

So lets run some very round quick & dirty numbers:

Publisher's total manufactured cost = $5.

To be profitable, they'll need to sell it for $15-20 per copy.

Based on the going market, similiar titles retail for $28-35.

Publisher sets the initial cover price at $30 (actually $29.95 for marketing reasons but lets use whole numbers)

The distributor purchases from the publisher @ $15/copy (with 10% discount applied to unsold copies after 2 months, and full return allowed after 6 months.)

The retailer purchases from the distributor at 25% off cover. So $30 less 25% = $22.50

Here's the breakout (under absolute ideal circumstances):

Mfg's Cost            $ 5.00
Mfg's Markup           10.00
Distributor Cost      $15.00
Distrubutor Markup      7.50
Retailer's Cost       $22.50
Retailer's Markup       7.50
Sell Price            $30.00


Note: take the above example for what it's worth. In actual practice it's much more complicated than that. But at least it will give you some idea of what's driving physical book prices.

Not that ducky a gross profit margin for the publisher. Especially once discounts get taken and the returns start coming back. I don't know what it is today, but back when I was involved with  this stuff, a title that earned back total cost + 15% was considered a wildly successful title. Most titles were lucky to break even or make a few percent. Subtract out all the titles that lost money, and the bottom line for a very successful publisher used to be somewhere around 2-3% of total revenues.

Truth is you can make better money selling books than making books to sell. And with less risk since all distribution copies, and virtually all retail copies, are purchased with the option to return for refund.

Any wonder product quality has deteriorated, and so much of the manufacturing now gets done in places where labor is dirt cheap?

One good indicator of the publisher's cost is to check out the remainder tables. The publishers usually agree to sell at or below cost just to avoid getting books returned to them for "pulping." So all those $28 books that you see selling for $8.95 at Borders or Barnes & Noble? Take 30% off that closeout price and you have a pretty good idea of what it actually cost to print them.



 :)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 12:02:16 PM by 40hz »

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2011, 12:00:00 PM »
With debt you're confusing governing economic systems with banking systems. It's possible to have debt/credit in capitalist, socialist, communist, fascist systems.

See that's another confusing criteria to the whole situation. Is capitalism not a banking system but a purely governing economic system?

Can government systems be even separated from banking systems?

I don't think all people agree that it should be possible to spend debt in a capitalist system. (Note that this is different from whether it is possible to acquire debt while in a capitalist system.)

Quote
But capitalism is far more prevalent. There are no socialist or communist states (that matter). They are all captialist. Those that profess to be socialist/communist are in name only. Go to a "communist" state like China or Vietnam. It's a joke. They are capitalist all the way.

I'm only talking in real terms about what is the case.

Except again here, what is real? Like you said, a communist state could be a capitalist system but then you also said a socialist state can also be capitalist.

Certainly the word capitalism is thrown more often but is it more prevalent? For me it's not because most people don't even agree or know what a capitalist system often times and other times there's a bias towards stating all are capitalist but not all are socialist or communist especially in parts of the world like America where socialism is portrayed as something of an evil thing even if by people who only say so just to force away a healthcare plan that their party is against.

Quote
Capitalism just happens to be the prevailing system world-wide. It's not unfair. It's simply fact. Socialism is only a flavoring right now.

I have to disagree unless by now you mean something that stretches back to the Great Depression. Again it's not like a vacuum where capitalism with say NAFTA is the same as capitalism with a different Free Trade Agreement or capitalism without a gold standard is just a different flavor of capitalism with a gold standard.

Certain things depending on certain people's definition of capitalism could break another person's definition of capitalism.

Quote
But it is the dominant system everywhere. (Everywhere that matters anyways.)

We'll have to agree to disagree there.


This sound preposterous until you see how this sentence could be applied to both socialism and communism too:

Socialism fosters them in a financial and visceral way, and they are the major resistance against any change. (issues like opting out of healthcare, increased spending despite being in debt to help the needy, produce sharing at the cost of quality or necessity)

Quote from: Renegade
Not sure what to say about that.

I'm just demonstrating how open (or closed) your sentence could be when trying to fit it into capitalism.

Quote
I don't know what you mean by "dependents".

Dependents as in situations that don't exist in a vacuum. Things that have cause and effects and different elements that could determine different necessities. Like a poor hungry kid in a vacuum could be helped by giving them money but depending on their roles, like say a beggar, they may not be able to utilize that money for food or healthy foods.

But there are no socialist or communist forces pulling kids out of school. Those forces are all capitalist or religious.


This doesn't mean pulling young children to work in factories is the right moral path to take either but we don't exist in a vacuum. Something like everyone having a VCR under communism may sound good but everyone getting free internet might be better but everyone paying and supporting web developers thus increasing the number of people interested in that job branch may also seem even better especially if it could lead to cheaper sustainable products... but then again, they could be worse.
Quote from: Renegade
I don't see where that counterfactual has any basis in the world we live in. Can you provide an example?

Well that's the thing. We only have one branch of timeline. Everything else is theory. If you believe the Gold Standard people for example, you could say after the gold standard there was no capitalism anymore.

But then that's not clear either. Even communism, the only way you can see there is no communist school forcing kids out is because most communist systems fell. Then imagine things like healthcare. In a hypothetical prime of healthcare, you're not going to see many casual people go against healthcare bills outside of the fear mongerers. Yet if that healthcare bill falls then it falls as a capitalist system even though it's a socialist intended system because well... it was paid in currency that is central to a capitalist system.

But that's alot of what ifs depending on each of your beliefs and knowledge and it's just too vast.

Again, for the Gold Standard people, the economic bubble is history repeating itself. For the non-Gold Standard people, it may not be history repeating itself but the natural course of capitalism and greed. Then of course depending on the other sub-branches like a communist would just as say "See, it's not just communism that doesn't work when it's corrupt" and socialists on the other hand may say "Well, look at so and so socialist country that's not overspending or over-in-debt as the United States of America, look at how they are handling the recession."

Quote
There are no real example of socialism or communism, and that's the problem.

To be clear -- I like working in a capitalist system. I simply don't like the abuse of it.

See again that's dependent on your own definition but there are just as many that would say, in the practical sense, there was and are real examples of communism and socialism and that's not the problem. The problem is socialism and communism gets certain exemptions from their flaws unlike capitalism because conceptually they sound more like good will governments. Which one is right there?

Well the answer doesn't matter in this discussion because we're not really defending or going against another system. Simply discussing whether a system is so prevalent in it's structure that it has dictator-like hold on the world to which I said, I don't feel that way. Maybe socialism has a dictatorship but not capitalism.

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2011, 12:03:47 PM »
@40hz

I thought johnk was exaggerating but thanks for that wonderful post.

Deozaan

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2011, 12:19:42 PM »
For example, viewed from the comfort of my armchair here in the UK, American politics seems a very frightening beast. You have a right-wing party (the Democrats), an extreme right-wing party (Republicans) and another large political organisation (the Tea Party), for people for whom even the Republicans don't seem right-wing enough. Terrifying.

That's an interesting perspective. From my point of view, there's an extreme left-wing party (the Democrat party which has been overrun by the extreme-left "Progressives"), a moderate-to-left-leaning party (Republicans), and a bunch of people who have noticed that the Republicans, who are traditionally "supposed" to be right-wing, have moved so far left (so-called Tea Party-folk).


This is using the modern, narrow definition of right-wing to mean the extent to which you accept state intervention in everyday life (through taxation, or regulation).

Huh? Did I miss something? By your own definition, "Conservatives" (at least as I understand them in the U.S.) are not right-wing at all, as they generally want smaller government, less taxes, etc.

As for the original topic, capitalism is not evil. It is merely a tool that allows people the freedom to do good or evil with it. As is often the case in life, we very often focus mostly only on the bad parts and fail to recognize the good parts. There are lots of wealthy people who do a lot of good with their money. There are plenty of large, successful, billion+ annually corporations that do a lot of good with their money. But all we generally hear or think about is the ones that rip us off or in some way harm others, and in doing so, we often call a corporation or a person evil or greedy when that is simply not the fact.

For an example, I was watching an episode of CSI the other day, and there was a bus that malfunctioned and crashed, killing many of its passengers. So during the investigation they found out that the bus company was doing everything according to the law and safety standards and was very proud of the fact, but one thing of note was that they had recently chosen a different provider of a certain kind of bolt that held the suspension in place or something (I'm not too knowledgeable about the mechanics of automobiles). They switched because this bolt provider offered them a better price. Well, the bolts they were selling weren't as high quality as they said they were, and they broke. Yet the TV show seemed to call the bus company greedy for "trying to save a buck" when in fact the bus company was doing everything it could to do the right thing. It was the bolt company that was the dirty, lying, greedy, evil company, because they were selling inferior bolts with the label of the higher quality bolts.

Obviously that's just a fictional example, but the point is that most people watching that show probably got the message that "corporations are greedy and evil!" and came away thinking the bus company was at fault even though the bus company was honest and had integrity.

I'm tired of capitalism getting a bad reputation because some people abuse it. It's like saying the internet is evil because some people abuse it. IMO, capitalism is a freedom, and like all freedoms, people are allowed to choose how to use or abuse it.


40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2011, 12:40:31 PM »
@40hz

I thought johnk was exaggerating but thanks for that wonderful post.

I didn't.  :)

Who knows, maybe with improvements in press technology (i.e. faster = cheaper) and "third world" slave labor rates it could be possible to do a book for a pound.

But so many people think so much stuff costs only pennies to make, no matter what, that I felt some oddball need to put on my accountant's cap and write something.

Which was foolish of me considering I'm in the middle of an onsite server upgrade and just blew my twenty minutes of lunch/free time to do it.

Oh well... Back to those "dark satanic mills" for some more long hours of Fun with Microsoft!

 ;D

« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 12:50:55 PM by 40hz »

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2011, 02:49:42 PM »
@40hz

I thought johnk was exaggerating but thanks for that wonderful post.

I assure you I was not wilfully exaggerating. But neither can I quickly find a source for my numbers. I may be wrong. I'll work on it! However I think the essential point is true -- print costs are a very small part of the cost of a book. Authors frequently emphasise this point when discussing book prices with their readers. This article is instructive.

EDIT: For UK readers. Also bear in mind that you pay 20% VAT on top of the price of your ebooks. Printed books are VAT free. It's a significant element.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 02:51:52 PM by johnk »

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2011, 03:11:01 PM »
For example, viewed from the comfort of my armchair here in the UK, American politics seems a very frightening beast. You have a right-wing party (the Democrats), an extreme right-wing party (Republicans) and another large political organisation (the Tea Party), for people for whom even the Republicans don't seem right-wing enough. Terrifying.

That's an interesting perspective. From my point of view, there's an extreme left-wing party (the Democrat party which has been overrun by the extreme-left "Progressives"), a moderate-to-left-leaning party (Republicans), and a bunch of people who have noticed that the Republicans, who are traditionally "supposed" to be right-wing, have moved so far left (so-called Tea Party-folk).

See? That's what I mean about the difficulty of using political terminology across boundaries.

This is using the modern, narrow definition of right-wing to mean the extent to which you accept state intervention in everyday life (through taxation, or regulation).

Huh? Did I miss something? By your own definition, "Conservatives" (at least as I understand them in the U.S.) are not right-wing at all, as they generally want smaller government, less taxes, etc.

No, my phrasing was just ambiguous. My intended definition was: the less you accept government intervention, the more "right-wing" you are.

Deozaan

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2011, 03:24:40 PM »
This is using the modern, narrow definition of right-wing to mean the extent to which you accept state intervention in everyday life (through taxation, or regulation).

Huh? Did I miss something? By your own definition, "Conservatives" (at least as I understand them in the U.S.) are not right-wing at all, as they generally want smaller government, less taxes, etc.

No, my phrasing was just ambiguous. My intended definition was: the less you accept government intervention, the more "right-wing" you are.

Thanks for clarifying that. It makes a lot more sense to me now.  :Thmbsup:


Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2011, 03:30:26 PM »
I assure you I was not wilfully exaggerating. But neither can I quickly find a source for my numbers. I may be wrong. I'll work on it! However I think the essential point is true -- print costs are a very small part of the cost of a book. Authors frequently emphasise this point when discussing book prices with their readers. This article is instructive.

Yes, this was why I thought you were exaggerating. I wanted to add the "a bit" part but really I feel like we're talking small change as I hold the same conclusion 40hz has that things may get to the point - it's just not that clear cut yet.

There's also something "bubble-like" about modern day outsourcing. I just get that nag that it's much closer to African American slavery than wage slavery and think the whole cheap process could be derailed depending on which countries' economy make a revolution against the current way of min-maxing costs.

Quote
See? That's what I mean about the difficulty of using political terminology across boundaries.

To be fair, it's goes beyond borders. It's in-country, in-state, in-people, in-knowledge, in-bias.

Reminds me alot of the volatility between each person's interpretation of capitalism.

With that said:

Quote
No, my phrasing was just ambiguous. My intended definition was: the less you accept government intervention, the more "right-wing" you are.

Hmm... sounds like Libertarianism to me.  :P

wraith808

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2011, 05:02:16 PM »
Quote
No, my phrasing was just ambiguous. My intended definition was: the less you accept government intervention, the more "right-wing" you are.

Hmm... sounds like Libertarianism to me.  :P

Yes.  I think the poles are Libertarians are no govt influence, conservatives are no govt influence is business, govt influence in social, and libs are the reverse of conservatives.

tomos

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2011, 06:13:43 PM »
For example, viewed from the comfort of my armchair here in the UK, American politics seems a very frightening beast. You have a right-wing party (the Democrats), an extreme right-wing party (Republicans) and another large political organisation (the Tea Party), for people for whom even the Republicans don't seem right-wing enough. Terrifying.

That's an interesting perspective. From my point of view, there's an extreme left-wing party (the Democrat party which has been overrun by the extreme-left "Progressives"), a moderate-to-left-leaning party (Republicans), and a bunch of people who have noticed that the Republicans, who are traditionally "supposed" to be right-wing, have moved so far left (so-called Tea Party-folk).

I'm fairly disillusioned with all parties at this stage - they're all afraid to stand up to the bank(er)s and they're all afraid to regulate the corporations (yes, I realise that some of them dont think that way anyways).
Deozaan, you may consider the New Yorker magazine a left leaning publication - but this article actually gave me a much greater respect and understanding for the US Republicans of the 80's and 90's. But it also gives a bit of perspective to the Tea Party....
Confounding Fathers - The Tea Party’s Cold War roots.
Tom

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2011, 06:34:29 PM »
No, my phrasing was just ambiguous. My intended definition was: the less you accept government intervention, the more "right-wing" you are.

Hmm... sounds like Libertarianism to me.  :P

You're right, of course. In terms of political philosophy, Libertarianism would be a more accurate term. But I was just making the point that today, in everyday speech, people are more likely to use "right-wing" as shorthand for "in favour of reducing the size and scope of the state".

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2011, 07:23:05 PM »
As promised, I went looking for the source(s) that made me think that it cost very little to print books today. I found this from a blog at Harper (from 2009):

"In fact, the paper/printing/binding of most books costs about $2.00…so if we were to follow the actual costs in establishing pricing, a $26.00 “physical” book would translate to a $24.00 e-book…"

So I may have slightly exaggerated how cheap it is to print books, but the general point still stands. There is also the issue that other print book costs (e.g. physical distribution) may also be higher than corresponding costs associated with ebooks.

The statement from the publisher is also nonsense in another way -- saying that a $2 reduction in costs might equate to a $2 reduction in shop price. As we all know, that ain't the way the system of mark-ups works. To be fair, however, if you click the link the writer does go on to say that the discount should be more than $2.

EDIT: Another detailed piece on this subject from the NYT suggests that combined printing and distribution costs of print books account for 12.5% of the average hardcover retail price.

EDIT: A final footnote on book costs from today's (06 Feb 2011) Sunday Times (London), which contains a lengthy article on "inflated" ebook prices. They quote a member of research firm Enders Analysis: "The cost to manufacture a paperback is less than £1 including transportation. The real costs are the advances to authors, the editors, and the marketing budgets." The article concentrates on the pricing agreement between Apple and book publishers at the iBook store, and the subsequent battle between Amazon and the publishers.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 12:35:22 PM by johnk »

40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2011, 08:20:23 AM »
Another detailed piece on this subject from the NYT suggests that combined printing and distribution costs of print books account for 12.5% of the average hardcover retail price.

Hmm...wasn't too far off with my outdated cost figures, coarse rounding of numbers, and disregard for crucial details.  ;D

My example put the cost at $5/$30 for 16.66% vs NYT's 12.5% so my $5 cost should be closer to $3.75. Not too far off considering.  :)

Quick question: where did these articles get their numbers? Because I'm beginning to wonder if they're just quoting each other considering how closely their figures match.

Since publishing houses are notoriously jealous about sharing their financial data, I'm assuming they got the $2 ballpark figure from a printing firm? We need to be careful if that's the case. The printing industry has a vested interest in not being painted as the bad guy in this discussion. So I'd be a bit cautious before I accepted such figures from someone "in the trade" as being gospel. Not to say they're wrong. I'm just sounding a note of caution.

I was the CFO at a printing company some years back. One thing you learn very quickly is that it's extremely difficult to accurately estimate "average" costs for a printed piece. Each press job is quoted separately since numerous cost variables in the four main operation areas (pre-press, press, bindery, shipping) have a distinct impact on the quoted price.

Interestingly enough, the press operation itself is the only part that really benefits from volume. Once you're on press (and absorbed the cost of the make-ready and wash-up) it's only press time, paper, and ink.

So the longer the press run, the lower the unit cost of each printed piece. At least up to a point. Ink and paper are relatively cheap. And today's presses can crank out an amazing number of pieces per hour. So many people are surprised to discover it costs very little extra to run 10,000 copies vs 5,000. The actual price of a 10K run will be higher. But it won't be anywhere near double the price of a 5K impression run, all other factors being equal.

Pre-press has probably benefited most from technology. The old days of "film to plate" are gone. And good riddance IMO. Direct to press from digital is the way it's now done. Good because it eliminates a lot of the old "proofing" work a quality printing shop used to provide. Saves money big time. The unfortunate downside, however, is that there's no longer any content proofing. Whatever gets sent over gets printed. The huge number of typos that make their way into today's printed books is a symptom of that. This never would have been considered acceptable 20 years ago. But apparently the customers don't complain too much, so the publisher's (even the big ones that have the budgets and time to prevent it) are perfectly happy to ignore the problem.

Bindery operations are harder to cost out. Much of the process is sill labor intensive despite automation. And it also has the highest risk factor for a printer. Work spoiled during bindery operations (cutting, folding, binding, etc.) can force a job back on press if the delivery quantity can't be met. When I got out of printing, this was the area of the industry that was being most closely looked at for potential efficiency improvements and increased profitability. I'm sure many technical improvements were made. But from the looks of it, a lot of the cost savings were also gained by employing the age-old tactic of finding a 'sweat shop' somewhere subcontract the work out to.

I could go on and an... 8)

Maybe I'd better spare you.  :-[ ;D

Renegade

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2011, 08:42:47 AM »
For an example, I was watching an episode of CSI the other day...

While I watch CSI, I sometimes want to reach out and strangle the main characters. Gary Sinise I've always liked, but the show is beneath him. He's a better actor than that.

I feel like I'm being preached to in the show all the time. "Oh, you evil son of a *BANG BANG*... That'll teach you to jaywalk. Now we're going to go throw your mother in prison for raising such a brat!" They're psychotically out to convict everyone for everything for no reason.

Sigh... CSI... Pet peeve...

I saw the episode that you're talking about. Yeah... They love to blame people and don't care who as long as they get to throw someone in prison or get to ride their moral high-horse. Pisses me off.

I think I simply spent too long in Asia to swallow the radical legalism you find in North America, etc. etc. There is another way.
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johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2011, 08:53:39 AM »
Quick question: where did these articles get their numbers? Because I'm beginning to wonder if they're just quoting each other considering how closely their figures match.

Well, the reason I started with the Harper quote is that it's from a publishing house (and written by their then boss). And while we can, of course, choose to believe them or not, it is at least from the horse's mouth.

And I'd also be inclined to believe the analyst in the Sunday Times article. These analysts spend their lives studying particular industries, and tend to know their stuff (and won't let themselves be quoted if they're not sure of their information, because it ruins their credibility).

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2011, 08:58:59 AM »
*puts on tinfoil hat*

I do often wonder though if there's pressure on these people to make book buying sound like they're going cheaper to derail the masses from adopting e-books.

It's not like authors are going to avoid publishing houses from now on if they are looking for the easy way to market their real books.

40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2011, 09:55:34 AM »
No need for tinfoil.

If paper wanted to undermine ebooks, all they'd need to do is point out the tradeoffs the reader makes for the 'convenience' such as there is. That and refuse to license to ebook format.

But they won't. Publishers are wimps. They want to keep all their options covered until they can determine which way the wind will ultimately blow.

I'm guessing it will end up with ebooks getting 60% of the market when the dust finally settles and better reader tech finally hits the streets. One thing I do not expect is for any of the crazy restrictions or DRM to go away.

The acid test will be the day some major best-selling author does a book, and they announce it will only be available on Kindle. That will be the first warning that hardball is about to commence.

How the public reacts and (more importantly) buys will determine future publishing directions.

Just my two anyway. 8)

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2011, 10:04:48 AM »
The acid test will be the day some major best-selling author does a book, and they announce it will only be available on Kindle. That will be the first warning that hardball is about to commence.

How the public reacts and (more importantly) buys will determine future publishing directions.

Just my two anyway. 8)


This seems to have happened already:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ur_(novella)

Quote
Ur is a novella by Stephen King. It was written exclusively for the platform Amazon Kindle, and became available for download on February 12, 2009.[1][2] It was later released on audiobook.

Also I feel as wraith mentioned earlier that things like the Dresden Files are better litmus meters. This may be my own preference but even back then, I felt the Nook was getting me more excited than the Kindle.

It's not as advertised or mentioned but the name, the business, the site, the features - only thing keeping me away from the Nook is because it seems like E-book readers are in the PPC stage and I was burned out by it once when I ended up getting a cheap PPC months before the Iphone arrived.

Let's take the last book of the Dresden Files for example: I haven't read the Dresden Files except an IMDB review stating the book is better than the TV show way way back in the past.

However, if I felt the Nook was going to get the last of a popular book, the completionist in me would prefer the Nook over any exclusive titles the Kindle may offer because I feel I must have at least invested in that series of books and willing to support the author to really get that final book barring things like Twilights and Harry Potters. On the other hand, if something was exclusive to the Kindle alone, I get the perception that the author must not be putting as much effort in that book and if it did eventually become popular - it will have a non-Kindle version.

It also strongly correlates with Amazon and Barnes & Noble's perception. Amazon should be the Google or at least Wikipedia of books. You buy Kindle so you can choose between real books and e-books. If an author feels like they won't lose any marketshare from making it a  Kindle exclusive on the Google of bookstores - then it puts a sense of doubt whether the author really feels invested in creating a quality book that would have a chance of being read by many.

In reverse, if something is exclusive on the Nook - especially something like the Dresden Files - it makes you wonder if the author isn't sending the message that they really like this e-book reader A LOT and are willing to sacrifice sales for the support of this lesser known reader.

It's all general un-sourced speculation but I don't really have an alternative evidence to show that something else must be the acid test.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 10:13:45 AM by Paul Keith »

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2011, 10:13:15 AM »
I do often wonder though if there's pressure on these people to make book buying sound like they're going cheaper to derail the masses from adopting e-books.

My impression of "the masses" (i.e. people I know who buy lots of books and have bought/are considering an ebook reader, but don't follow tech news or tech in general and are blissfully unaware of the debate about ebook prices):

All say they hate the idea of losing the feel of a real book, the tactile pleasure, the smell. All love the idea of carrying around lots of books in a small device. All are impressed with the screens on the latest generation of ebook readers. Everyone over 40 loves the fact that you can vary font size! (this is a huge selling point).

And my point is...the price of books is hardly ever mentioned as a barrier/reason to purchase. They all spend lots of money on books, and they'll continue to do so. Real books, ebooks, whatever. Price is always an issue, everywhere, but I've never heard a member of the "masses" complain about the price of an ebook, or say they should be cheaper than they are. They do moan if the ebook is dearer than the print version. This happens quite often these days, due to Apple's scandalous deal with book publishers, which allows publishers to set ebook prices. This will hopefully be declared unlawful in the UK, as it is essentially a re-introduction of the Net Book Agreement*. The Office of Fair Trading is already investigating.

*For non-UK readers, the NBA was an agreement between publishers and bookstores to fix the price of books. Declared unlawful in 1997.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 10:14:59 AM by johnk »