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Last post Author Topic: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed  (Read 19397 times)

40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2011, 10:18:07 AM »
Stephen King is ok, but I was thinking more along the lines of some super scandal ridden kiss&tell "names names" type thing that had the potential of motivating someone to buy a reader just to get it.

Could work since any time the book got mentioned, it would likely also be mentioned that it's "only available on Kindle" or whatever. So it's a built-in advert/endorsement for a specific platform.

So far, only Apple seems to be able to get away with that.  :-\

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2011, 10:27:40 AM »
Quote
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).

Since I'm not from a first-world nation, my perception of e-book readers here is that most people have not heard of it. The few who do, they shell out the cash on the Kindle thinking Kindle = e-book.

That is dying though because people are mostly getting Ipads and other tablets.

Quote
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.

On my end, most of my culture guessing makes me feel people rarely talk about expensive things they can't afford.

A bookstore stalker for example would flip books all they long but even if they know of e-books, they won't really feel like it's worth talking about.

Similar with book clubs. A few person may have an e-book reader but it's just a nifty gadget and there's really no true interest in having a full-on e-book discussion as people would still most likely be buying and seeing books.

We're mostly a bookstore culture though and hey, I'm not saying there's not an e-book crowd - just that this is my impresson of the masses' perception of e-books.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 10:30:51 AM by Paul Keith »

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2011, 10:29:26 AM »
Stephen King is ok, but I was thinking more along the lines of some super scandal ridden kiss&tell "names names" type thing that had the potential of motivating someone to buy a reader just to get it.

Could work since any time the book got mentioned, it would likely also be mentioned that it's "only available on Kindle" or whatever. So it's a built-in advert/endorsement for a specific platform.

So far, only Apple seems to be able to get away with that.  :-\

Damn, I must be way behind the times now. I thought Stephen King was still above ok and the reason I searched for that link was because I thought I chanced upon that news back in the day in one of those trending social media links.

zridling

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2011, 10:45:41 AM »
Absent from publishers' and distributors' discussions are the customer. It's not what we want, but what they're willing to shove up our ass, I mean "give" us. Much like I envision the "Apple experience."
 >:(

40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2011, 10:58:19 AM »
Customers? What do the bleedin' customer desires have to do with anything anymore? ;D :P

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2011, 11:02:08 AM »
That's why the e-book market is getting such a topic though.

Lots of self-marketers are already hyping how e-books would make the game a little bit fairer.

It's not so much absent as lots of people are waiting for that reality to happen and some have already took to ignoring the format wars in the hopes of riding the bandwagon of cheap e-books.

What's really absent is how piracy matters in that discussion seeing as pirated books has often reached a higher status of exposure when combined with word of mouth twitter trends than e-book readers really have of exposing that one "must buy for e-book reader" book. Again my 2 cents.

40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2011, 11:20:09 AM »
It's not so much absent as lots of people are waiting for that reality to happen and some have already took to ignoring the format wars in the hopes of riding the bandwagon of cheap e-books.

And that's despite the publishers and ebook manufacturers making it abundantly clear they have no intention of seriously reducing their "cover" prices for ebooks?

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2011, 11:30:19 AM »
Well, I'm mostly referring to awhile back. Way way awhile back.

If I'm not mistaken, there was a stint when Kindle books were really cheap and it was like bundle buying.

That didn't last long though but not a lot of people know that.

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2011, 12:23:02 PM »
If you believe in the market, the ebook price business will eventually sort itself out. If publishers collude with sellers, it will be declared unlawful. If publishers operate a cartel, it will be found out. Competition has brought us inexpensive print books (certainly in the UK), the same will happen with ebooks. Eventually.

There is of course a bigger issue here related to the topic in another thread where Apple are trying to hang on to Amazon's coat-tails and pocket 30% while they're at it. This goes back to an often-discussed topic here -- the closed OS.

Apple's iOS takes the notion of a closed OS to a new level -- the "economy" of the OS is locked and controlled. This is really dangerous. Closed economic systems are a barrier to progress and efficient markets and they distort competition and discourage innovation.

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2011, 12:34:07 PM »
Quote
If you believe in the market, the ebook price business will eventually sort itself out. If publishers collude with sellers, it will be declared unlawful. If publishers operate a cartel, it will be found out. Competition has brought us inexpensive print books (certainly in the UK), the same will happen with ebooks. Eventually.

Of course this only assumes those who believe in the market also believe that we exist in a free market... (with no government bail-outs/global plans to censor the internet/intentional worsening of depressions to temporary stave off a more noticeable recession...)

...err yeah, I know you added the Apple situation already but I just can't consider that the bigger issue in light of other err...bigger issues.

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2011, 01:03:42 PM »
...err yeah, I know you added the Apple situation already but I just can't consider that the bigger issue in light of other err...bigger issues.

So what is the bigger issue? I think the closed OS (iOS) is a bigger issue than the price of ebooks, because the only way you can legally control prices long-term is with closed systems. But ultimately, I guess, if iOS became a dominant force in the ebooks market, and Apple maintained its current stance, competition authorities would step in (in the EU, at least).

Some people seem very annoyed about this (ebook prices and DRM) but we all have freedom to make our choices. I don't like Apple's business methods so I don't buy Apple stuff. I did buy a Kindle because it's great bit of kit but I don't buy Kindle ebooks, I just use the Kindle as a document reader.

Amazon's sales statistics suggest that plenty of people are happy with the price of ebooks and they don't care about DRM. However, Apple's recent decision on demanding a fee from Amazon and others may cause some of those who are content with the current system to think again...

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #61 on: February 07, 2011, 01:06:50 PM »
Quote
So what is the bigger issue?

I was referring to this:

Of course this only assumes those who believe in the market also believe that we exist in a free market... (with no government bail-outs/global plans to censor the internet/intentional worsening of depressions to temporary stave off a more noticeable recession...)

wraith808

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #62 on: February 07, 2011, 01:20:22 PM »
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)


<snip />

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.

<snip />

It's worth noting that the other outlets now have that book- it just took a few months.  I don't know what was behind that shift, as it wasn't as well publicized as the exclusivity.

(And on an unrelated note, I saw the series first, and absolutely loved it, so I can say that while the books are undisputedly better - I think most books are- that's not to say that the TV show wasn't good, just different.)

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #63 on: February 07, 2011, 01:27:52 PM »
Quote
So what is the bigger issue?

I was referring to this:

Of course this only assumes those who believe in the market also believe that we exist in a free market... (with no government bail-outs/global plans to censor the internet/intentional worsening of depressions to temporary stave off a more noticeable recession...)

I see. Personally, I do not share those concerns. But for those who do, well, at least people can change a government on a regular basis (making the large assumption, of course, that people live in a stable democracy. For those who don't, the issues we're discussing here are the least of their concerns).

40hz

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #64 on: February 07, 2011, 07:41:22 PM »
Exactly where on this planet are you going to find a democracy if I may be so bold?

I didn't know any actually existed.  :)

johnk

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2011, 07:50:34 PM »
Exactly where on this planet are you going to find a democracy if I may be so bold?

I didn't know any actually existed.  :)

Now we really are going off topic! I meant democracy in the modern, practical sense. Definition:

The option occasionally, through an election, to replace one set of self-serving members of the plutocracy with another.

Renegade

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2011, 08:00:03 PM »
Customers? What do the bleedin' customer desires have to do with anything anymore? ;D :P

Sigh... Nothing. :(

I stopped buying any movies/shows through iTunes as it's simply not worth it. It's often cheaper to buy a DVD set at retail in the store and have a physical copy. I'm still hosed with DRM, but crappy DRM that barely works, which is better than Apple's DRM that actually works. So, better broken defective by design than simply defective by design.  :tellme:

Books at retail here are insanely expensive. I've seen books that are 3x the USD price, putting them well over $100. More often they are about 2x the USD price. For those prices you should get a free <insert rudeness here />.

So it makes more sense to buy an ebook, print it, then bind it myself. It's kind of sucky, but better than being violated at retail.

The books I buy are all more expensive though. The cheapest are around $50 USD, with most in the $60~80 USD range, but some well above that. I got a fantastic deal on one book for only $150 USD (US prices ordered through Amazon). So buying those at retail here is simply out of the question.

What I would like to see is getting a digital copy along with the printed copy. For a $50 USD book, I'd pay $70 or $75 to get both. That's reasonable.

The thing I want most is to not be blatantly violated. But like you said... What do customer desires matter?

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Paul Keith

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #67 on: February 08, 2011, 01:33:32 AM »
Quote
Now we really are going off topic! I meant democracy in the modern, practical sense. Definition:

The option occasionally, through an election, to replace one set of self-serving members of the plutocracy with another.

Just to go further off-topic: I don't really believe you can change anything in a democracy and hence I agree. Democracies exist in this world. Even if you don't believe in the rigged voting system, believe in Facebook likes and Digg up-votes.  :P

Republics however, I don't think they exist in any large scale anymore. The largest Republic I've seen is Hacker News.

xtabber

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #68 on: February 08, 2011, 05:41:58 PM »
What I would like to see is getting a digital copy along with the printed copy. For a $50 USD book, I'd pay $70 or $75 to get both. That's reasonable.

O'Reilly does this. You can register any print book published by them that you own and if it is available as an ebook, buy that for an additional $4.99.  That includes most titles from MS Press. All their ebooks are DRM-free and if there are multiple formats (pdf, ePub, mobi), they are all included in the price.

It would be nice if other publishers would operate this way, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Publishing is the original venture capitalism (dating from the 15th century) and the mentality of publishers is generally the same as any other venture capitalists.

zridling

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #69 on: February 09, 2011, 06:33:30 AM »
Exactly where on this planet are you going to find a democracy if I may be so bold? I didn't know any actually existed.
Of course this only assumes those who believe in the market also believe that we exist in a free market... (with no government bail-outs/global plans to censor the internet/intentional worsening of depressions to temporary stave off a more noticeable recession...)

Reminds me of this line  :mad::
Choice is an illusion created by those with power for those without.
  -- Merovingian, The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

zridling

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #70 on: February 11, 2011, 10:20:03 AM »
On a Kindle tangent, Slate's Farhad Manjoo seems confused about degrees of "openness":
http://www.slate.com...7298/pagenum/all/#p2

The comments provide corrective feedback to his misperceptions. Among other interesting tidbits are:
-- How librarians are telling people to stop buying Kindles as a gift (once you buy a Kindle, you're locked into Amazon)
-- The model publishers are following with DRM and pricing is RIAA in the 1990s all over again
-- We might see ebook rentals for textbooks, pulp fiction, etc.
-- Laura Miller's take on Google's ebooks at Salon: http://www.salon.com...bookstore/index.html
-- Stop confusing the iPad as an e-reader. It can't do what the Kindle/Nook does and doesn't have the Ink clarity.

wraith808

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #71 on: February 11, 2011, 10:26:40 AM »
-- The model publishers are following with DRM and pricing is RIAA in the 1990s all over again
Agreed.  Totally.

-- Stop confusing the iPad as an e-reader. It can't do what the Kindle/Nook does and doesn't have the Ink clarity.
Agreed only in part.  Can it use e-ink or have the advantages that e-ink provides.  No.  But can it do what the kindle/nook does?  Of course it can!  What the readers to is allow you to read ebooks.  And iPads (and a variety of other devices) allow you to do that also.

Deozaan

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #72 on: March 29, 2011, 10:40:02 PM »
There's a book I want.

Used: $20
Digital: $40

How is it possible for the "mash a tree up into pulp and dehydrate it and put ink on it and glue it together" version to cost less than the "ones and zeros" version which can be duplicated almost infinitely, almost instantaneously, and at almost no extra cost?

EDIT: The list price for the book, new, is $50 but it's on Amazon right now for less than $32.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 10:44:32 PM by Deozaan »

mouser

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #73 on: March 29, 2011, 10:46:55 PM »
There was a recent article about the music industry and how they completely screwed themselves by being so incredibly greedy and exploiting this exact same phenomena when it came to cds.  They cost much less to make and yet they mark them up to higher prices -- result is a short period of extreme profits, followed by a complete collapse of their market when people finally get fed up and catch on to the scam.

zridling

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Re: Let's face it: the ebook market is FUBAR, thanks to pure greed
« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2011, 01:20:03 AM »
There's a book I want.
Used: $20
Digital: $40

This is the strategy for three years now. If you've noticed, you get about 20% less food in boxes, cans, and packages in 2011 than you did in 2009. The packages look the same, but the contents are less to cover increasing fuel costs and gain greater profits for companies. Even if you're crazy and buy the NYTimes digital edition for $760/year, they still want to dump a 3kg newspaper on your doorstep once a week, even if they know you're not going to read it.

It reminds me of the artist who wrote one song and expects to live off the profits of that one song for the next 80 years of his life, suing everything and everyone he can. There are dozens of old athletes in their 80s who have spent their post-playing years suing individuals for using their name, jersey number, likeness, quotes, or jokes without paying them first. Now we get someone who wrote a book, and along with Amazon, we need to pay double price just so the chump can get rich. Or at least he thinks he will.

Last week a judge shot down Google's deal with authors and publishers to house an online library of their books -- even sell them -- but the judge thought the deal gave Google too much leverage. "You can have any book you want, as long as you don't want any books!"

Spoiler
god. damnit.