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Ebook Pricing War Wages On....Apple vs Amazon

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the DRIZZLE

Platinum Member
Sep 6, 2007
2,956
1
81
Selling products for losses ultimately harms consumers in the long run. Amazon only got a monopoly on e-books because it sold them for losses.

I have no problem with a company selling hardware for a loss like MS and Sony. But selling content for a loss harms content providers.
That's fine in theory but I don't see any basis for claiming that Amazon was selling anything below cost. Their costs on a per unit basis are tiny so they don't need much of a markup and ebook prices aren't that much less than physical books. The fact that publishers had more control over prices in the old model doesn't make Amazon a predatory monopolist.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
6,762
0
0
There is utility in the information which goes beyond the printing or distribution costs. If years are spent on an abstruse and highly technical subject then there will never be a high demand. In this case neither 30 nor 10 dollars will compensate the author for his work. In that case both costs will be high, although if the price of the ebook is slightly less to account for physical production differences then that's understandable. It's not going to be 5 bucks though.
Right -- or in other words, price is based on both supply and demand. I'm happy to sell an electronic book for less than a paper one since it costs less, but there's no inherent reason I should pass on all the savings if I don't have to.

Also remember that while you get less per paper book, you usually sell a lot more of them.
 

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,519
165
106
I'm just going to leave this here...

The Government starts from the false premise that an eBooks "market" was characterized by "robust price competition" prior to Apple's entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute. Apple's entry spurred tremendous growth in eBook titles, range and variety of offerings, sales, and improved quality of the eBook reading experience. This is evidence of a dynamic, competitive market. These inconvenient facts are ignored in the Complaint. Instead, the Government focuses on increased prices for a handful of titles. The Complaint does not allege that all eBook prices, or even most eBook prices, increased after Apple entered the market.
 

WelshBloke

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
27,177
4,239
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... But selling content for a loss harms content providers.
I suppose that depends on who you define the content provider as.

I can see ebooks being a lot better for authors in the long term, for distributors, printers and publishers maybe not so good.

Whether this is better for consumers is open for debate I guess, I think it will be.
 

RightIsWrong

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2005
5,650
0
0
I'm just going to leave this here...
Virge,

B&N released their Nook reader in 2009 and had a full catalog of content for those that were willing to pony up for their device.

It isn't like Amazon had no competition, their competitors were just stupid about their business models. Just like Apple in this case.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,947
2,324
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There is utility in the information which goes beyond the printing or distribution costs. If years are spent on an abstruse and highly technical subject then there will never be a high demand. In this case neither 30 nor 10 dollars will compensate the author for his work. In that case both costs will be high, although if the price of the ebook is slightly less to account for physical production differences then that's understandable. It's not going to be 5 bucks though.
I completely understand the concept, I has simply using easy numbers. My point was simple, if the author receives the same amount of profit from selling an ebook at 1/3 the price (for whatever reason) then what is the issue? I have a hard time believing that the costs associated with printing, binding, shipping, brick and mortar shelf cost, cost of capital to keep the book on the shelf until purchased, etc.... is only a few percent of the books price. Now if we are talking about a $300 technical book then sure but for the purpose of this discussion lets assume its a book under $50.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
6,762
0
0
My point was simple, if the author receives the same amount of profit from selling an ebook at 1/3 the price (for whatever reason) then what is the issue?
The issue is that authors have considered themselves underpaid for a very long time, and have had to put up with that because of the costs associated with printing. With those costs no longer in the picture, they aren't eager to pass on all of the savings to the consumer.
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,641
669
126
The issue is that authors have considered themselves underpaid for a very long time, and have had to put up with that because of the costs associated with printing. With those costs no longer in the picture, they aren't eager to pass on all of the savings to the consumer.
The problem is expecting people to pay the same or in some cases more then a real book will not work for many people and we have seen what happens when people don't like a ridiculous price on something like this.

With how easy it is to find "free" download links to almost any book you can wish for will end badly if they don't want to be competitive to how people feel they should.
 

LumbergTech

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2005
3,624
1
0
The issue is that authors have considered themselves underpaid for a very long time, and have had to put up with that because of the costs associated with printing. With those costs no longer in the picture, they aren't eager to pass on all of the savings to the consumer.
I can appreciate that, but it doesn't have to be one or the other. They could make an extra few bucks per book sold and still sell them at a reduced price.
 

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,519
165
106
Virge,

B&N released their Nook reader in 2009 and had a full catalog of content for those that were willing to pony up for their device.

It isn't like Amazon had no competition, their competitors were just stupid about their business models. Just like Apple in this case.
Amazon's business model was a loss leader. It's a model designed to eliminate all competition and for the longest time it worked.
The problem is expecting people to pay the same or in some cases more then a real book will not work for many people and we have seen what happens when people don't like a ridiculous price on something like this.
The problem is that the cost of producing a physical book is effectively nil; but most buyers don't realize that hardcovers and such were priced as they were for price discrimination reasons. The true cost of writing a book is in the content creation. Virtually nothing is saved moving from a physical book to an eBook.
 

Balt

Lifer
Mar 12, 2000
12,677
482
126
If you don't have a Kindle you might not know that some ebooks are sold above print prices. Further the cost of electronic distribution is nil compared to that of print and then there is the cost of printing itself. There is no "at a loss".
As a recent Kindle purchaser, I have noticed this. Perhaps I missed the 'Golden Age' of e-books, but it seems like half of what I've wanted to read is either 'cheaper' to buy in print or isn't even available in Kindle format.

I've found tablet e-ink reading remarkably easy to adapt to (far easier than I thought it would be), but there's still no way I'm paying more for an e-book version of something than a good print copy.
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
42,826
83
91
As a recent Kindle purchaser, I have noticed this. Perhaps I missed the 'Golden Age' of e-books, but it seems like half of what I've wanted to read is either 'cheaper' to buy in print or isn't even available in Kindle format.

I've found tablet e-ink reading remarkably easy to adapt to (far easier than I thought it would be), but there's still no way I'm paying more for an e-book version of something than a good print copy.
pretty much... but there's a lot of great stuff out there for cheap from independent publishers or self-publishing authors, if you're willing to venture outside of the major publishing houses.
 

Balt

Lifer
Mar 12, 2000
12,677
482
126
pretty much... but there's a lot of great stuff out there for cheap from independent publishers or self-publishing authors, if you're willing to venture outside of the major publishing houses.
It's disappointing to see something already under attack (or in heavy litigation) before it's even become mainstream. Of course, I'm speaking from the perspective of someone in the Southeast US. We usually lag a bit behind in adopting new technologies. You won't see too many Kindle/e-bookers in this area.
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,641
669
126
Yeah I would have thought that just the transportation, storage and retail space would add up.
This is a big one.

Sorry but a digital copy of a book is where it's next to nothing to make and sell compared to a actual book.

Not to mention having a physical copy of a book is always a win especially if you want to give it away or sell it legally.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
6,762
0
0
The problem is that the cost of producing a physical book is effectively nil; but most buyers don't realize that hardcovers and such were priced as they were for price discrimination reasons. The true cost of writing a book is in the content creation. Virtually nothing is saved moving from a physical book to an eBook.
You're getting hammered here but I think I understand what you mean. You're just mixing up fixed and variable costs.

The fixed cost are mostly the same to produce a physical and electronic book, though there are still more up front costs for printing. But the variable costs are radically different, and those variable costs comprise a big chunk of the price of a paper book.

And yes, it is a bit ridiculous for an electronic book and its paper equivalent to be the same price.
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
42,826
83
91
I can almost understand the logic behind wanting a physical and digital version of a book to sell for the same amount when first released (that's already how it works for most video games and music albums it seems)... but what really grinds me is when the e-book is more than the physical book (and often by a decent chunk when you've got an ebook listed at $14.99 and the physical selling brand new for $9.99)
 

HeXen

Diamond Member
Dec 13, 2009
7,813
29
91
i found the real books to be way, way higher at the bookstore than in the kindle app or ibooks, which had the same price. But im sure that depends on what books your comparing and where you get it from.
I ususally find what i want from the library anyway
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
42,826
83
91
my understanding is that Amazon (or Walmart, Costco, Samsclub, Target, etc...) can still sell physical books as a loss leader. it's the e-books that the big publishers 100% set the price on.
 

davmat787

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2010
5,514
24
76
Given that eBooks will likely makeup the large majority of sales for a given title in the future, I doubt the publishers want to set any sort of precedent where the eBook version is automatically cheaper. It should be cheaper, but of course they won't want to give up any margins.

What I think will be interesting is to see how the future of the relationship between authors/content creators, editors, and publishers change in the future. It seems like an author could easily cutout the publisher overhead from the relationship if say Amazon setup an easy way to publish content via eBook, and of course retain exclusive selling rights.
 

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