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Amazon has given in to publisher Macmillan in a pricing dispute, agreeing to raise its e-book prices 30 to 50 percent on bestsellers. Price increases on standard titles and on works from other publishers are expected to follow in the near future.  (Source: Amazon)
Amazon isn't happy but it says it has to play ball with Macmillan Books, adopting up to 50 percent price increases

Amazon, originally an online bookstore, has thrived off of the ever-expanding retail offerings its core business unit provides.  However, the company has also enjoyed significant success as an electronics company, producing the best-selling Kindle series of e-Book readers (manufactured by Foxconn).  The Kindle series currently owns over 60 percent of this emerging market.

However, all is not well for Amazon's e-Books division.  Traditionally, bestsellers have retailed for about $10 in electronic form, with the early chapters being provided as free samples.  Recently, however, pulled Macmillan from its store over a pricing dispute.

Amazon wanted to stick with its lower prices.  However, Macmillan wanted up to a 50 percent increase on prices of its bestsellers.  Writes Macmillan CEO John Sargent, "Under the agency model, we will sell the digital editions of our books to consumers through our retailers. Our retailers will act as our agents and will take a 30% commission (the standard split today for many digital media businesses). The price will be set the price for each book individually. Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99. At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99. E books will almost always appear day on date with the physical edition. Pricing will be dynamic over time."

He talked about the decision to pull the books late last month, writing, "I regret that we have reached this impasse. Amazon has been a valuable customer for a long time, and it is my great hope that they will continue to be in the very near future. They have been a great innovator in our industry, and I suspect they will continue to be for decades to come."

Now Amazon has given in to the publisher's demands, but not without doing a lot of complaining first.  Writes the Kindle team in their forums:

Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the "big six" publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative.

Kindle is a business for Amazon, and it is also a mission. We never expected it to be easy!

Thank you for being a customer.

Now that Amazon has bowed to Macmillan's wishes, though, it will be hard pressed to block other publishers from demanding similar increases.  Ultimately, this will likely have a trickle-down effect, raising e-book prices as a whole around 30 to 50 percent.

That's bad news for this nascent market.  While e-books have significant appeal -- in terms of portability (you can bring thousands in your book bag) -- there's still many downsides as well.  With electronic books, you're at the mercy of your current formats and devices -- once they become obsolete, there's the chance you may lose your book forever.  And many people enjoy the look and feel of an old fashioned book.

Through competitive pricing, Amazon and other e-book vendors were able to help customers overlook the downsides and embrace e-books.  With that pricing advantage vanishing, it should be interesting to see if the industry's growth slows.  Amazon's CEO has boldly predicted (several times) that e-books will soon surpass sales of print books -- however that is under current pricing.  Will e-books that are 30 to 50 percent more expensive be able to take control of the market in the same way?



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On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 10:56:13 AM , Rating: 5
...anyone who buys one of these things, opting for convenience over their own rights and priveleges, is a sucker.

1. You don't own the "book" you bought...you get a license, which can be rescinded at the whim of Amazon (or whoever) as has already been demonstrated.

2. You can't resell or transfer such a license, as you can sell/trade/gift a book.

...what happens if Amazon drops the service someday? Or some other future occurrence that prohibits you from accessing your "purchased" "books?"

It's handy - I get it. Smaller to carry than a stack of books. Such an arrangement will never appeal to me though, or others I know, because of the ownership rights and potential problems with perpetual access to the content you bought. I don't get how people find that to be an equitable trade-off.




RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Lonyo on 2/1/2010 11:18:40 AM , Rating: 5
And yet people love Steam, which is basically the same thing, but for PC games.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By keegssj on 2/1/2010 11:27:15 AM , Rating: 1
That is precisely why I haven't opened a Steam account yet.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By DM0407 on 2/1/2010 11:42:28 AM , Rating: 5
You can make local backups and play offline.

Everything eventually loses support and your forced to make due (still got that 386 humming away with Win 3.1? Pissed you can get DX11 on it?). Its more likely any DVD games you buy will become scratched or lost way before Steam dies.

Not to mention they have amazing deals that make it worth the lack of physical media.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Ryanman on 2/1/2010 4:17:27 PM , Rating: 4
And you know what? Steam still beats out physical disks in longevity.

When I first got a Steam account, I swore I would never buy anything but the Half life/Counter Strike series. Then the Orange box came along and I reluctantly bought that for the service.

I started gaming about 6 years ago and amassed quite a collection of disks. After building a new machine last month, i went back home from college to collect them and begin to install them.

It was a disaster. I had lost a key, or one of the five disks, or it had incredible DRM that I knew would slow down my entire machine.

While I struggled to organize my gaming history, Steam continued to download. And before I'd even found one complete set of disks and a key, I'd already downloaded TF2. By the end of the night the rest of my Steam games were on my hard drive, safe. I spent another week torrenting software I'd already bought and dealing with .iso mounters to use what I'd paid for years ago.

The end result: Steam being a necessary evil. I have faith that Valve will last longer than I can keep my disks in order. And that makes it the more attractive alternative.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 5:01:49 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
And you know what? Steam still beats out physical disks in longevity.


...except in the event that Steam ceases to be. Which we may all think is highly improbable...but it's not impossible. Especially given what our down economy has been doing to other high-profile companies as of late...


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Ryanman on 2/1/2010 11:34:02 PM , Rating: 3
But here's the problem moto... in my practical experience, in a relatively short gaming career, Steam's already proven itself an order of magnitude greater than traditional distribution. It's not right, the alternatives should be there, but the FACT remains: That Steam is going to be a viable and enduring platform superior to physical media for a very long time.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/2/2010 11:09:13 AM , Rating: 2
I am sure that Steam is pleased with your fealty. However, bigger operations than Steam have died in recent memory.

...and I still have CDs that are 15+ years old, some of them copied (it is legal to copy a CD/DVD for your own backup use), and I still play those games. And if I wanted to, I could sell them or give them away.


By Cypherdude1 on 2/2/2010 5:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with the Kindles is that they are just too small for many non-fiction books. Many of the non-fiction books I own are over 11" diagonally. Even the new $490 Kindle DX is still too small. How many people here actually own the newest $490 Kindle DX? I'd wager very few. It is way overpriced! It's not even in color! It doesn't even have an external SDHC storage option! It doesn't even have a user removable battery! For $490 you could buy a 15.5" color, fully featured laptop with DVD burner!

Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device (9.7" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation):
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0015TG12Q


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Ryanman on 2/3/2010 4:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
My feelings on it are very short of fealty. Valve has gone on record saying that if Steam collapses, they can de-activate the DRM required at will - leaving me with a hard drive full of unlocked games.
This faith I have in Valve is also shared in publishers. If Steam collapses, every byte of software sold is now available in a completely unlocked state. Publishers have been willing to gamble millions of dollars on Steam, which is a huge vote in their favor.

Disk-based games, even if you copy them, still have DRM that's an order of magnitude more invasive than Steam. On my blistering fast rig, it still takes 30 seconds for Crysis to double check that the disk I have inserted is legitimate. Meanwhile a double click launches Steam games from my SSD instantly.

The oldest CD I have is of Homeworld. That's 11 years and counting. But it's a disk that is copiable by any burning program, with only a key needed for the install. You can debate all day about the ethics of using Steam, and you might have some merit in your argument, but my software is too valuable to trust to my organizational skills.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By jimhsu on 2/1/2010 6:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
You see, it's the perception of control, rather than actual control itself, that people value (same as in many other fields). Owning a CD equates to a sense of "control" over the relevant data, even though a) it typically doesn't last as long due to scratches, b) many games sold on CDs have online activation components anyways, and c) Steam stores the data locally anyways. Same as, for example, the outrage over the handful of handgun deaths by unsafe firearms in houses with children, compared to the tens of thousands of car accident fatalities every year (Freakonomics).


By Cypherdude1 on 2/2/2010 5:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Everything eventually loses support and your forced to make due (still got that 386 humming away with Win 3.1? Pissed you can get DX11 on it?). Its more likely any DVD games you buy will become scratched
Well, yes, I still have an AMD K6-2 350 stored away with 2 - 30 GB HDD's, 384 MB's RAM, etc... I also still have Win3.1 on floppies stored away. When your DVD gets scratched, you can use a machine to repair it and remove the scratches:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00008AJSQ


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By tviceman on 2/1/2010 3:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
The ship has set sail and you decided to stay on the island all by yourself.


By KoolAidMan1 on 2/1/2010 8:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
Your loss. Steam and the Kindle service are superb.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By bug77 on 2/1/2010 11:33:50 AM , Rating: 3
How many games are you planning to pass along to your kid?


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 1:32:01 PM , Rating: 1
Apparently none.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By nafhan on 2/1/2010 11:43:12 AM , Rating: 5
Steam is great, however I've never bought anything for full price - I only buy the weekend specials. If I get a game for $2-$10 and then play it for more than 5 hours, I'm getting what I consider to be my money's worth out of that purchase. Likewise, publishers need to realize that an e-book is less valuable to most people than a physical copy and price it with that in mind.
Also, as Valve has shown, price and number of sales are related not linearly but exponentially, and when you have no distribution costs that's a good thing. In all likelihood, McMillan is trying to keep the print side of things going as long as possible for whatever reason.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Suntan on 2/1/2010 12:25:02 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
McMillan is trying to keep the print side of things going as long as possible for whatever reason.


That should be pretty obvious. Why even work with a publisher if you don’t need a middle man to bankroll the costs necessary to print a large inventory of paper books?

The only compelling reason to do it would be the leverage of getting your work advertised (an individual writer isn’t going to be putting down money to advertise their books) but even that is a task that can be accomplished without the need of a “publisher” in the digital domain. As Apple has shown with their app store, independent programmers can find a place to sell their apps where a large customer base is already present and the need to spend money to advertise your wares goes down to almost zero. For e-books, Amazon can take on that roll, to the point of even signing contracts directly with individual writers/editors for their work. Publishers basically get cut out of the equation in short order.

-Suntan


By dark matter on 2/1/2010 12:09:38 PM , Rating: 2
A game is hardly comparable to a book.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: On the topic of suckers...
By bodar on 2/1/2010 2:19:41 PM , Rating: 4
Fine by me, since I don't really resell games and I usually only pay $5-$20 for them anyway. I think the most I've ever paid for a Steam game is $35 for L4D2 a couple weeks after release.

Not to mention, aren't a lot of multiplayer games unable to be resold once the key is used online or is that no longer the case?

For me, the benefits far outweigh the shortcomings. Some games will actually store your game saves in the cloud, so you won't lose them if your hard drive goes.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By jimhsu on 2/1/2010 6:49:12 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Steam goes away (possible, but not very probable) - outrage. You get a virus, CD get scratches, hard drive suffers a head crash w/ no backup (far more probable situations that online distribution helps prevent) - people hardly care by comparison.


By ArcliteHawaii on 2/1/2010 2:35:51 PM , Rating: 3
Yup, and one of the big draws of Steam is lower prices on games a year or more old. I have picked up most of my games in the $5-10 dollar range, which is 80-90% off retail: Unreal Tournament 3, Bioshock, Battlefield 2, Crysis, Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead, Street Fighter 4, and many others. These were best selling, AAA titles when they came out. If Steam goes away after I play these, then no great loss, since I got them at such a bargain. I won't get into ebooks until the same thing happens for this very reason. Of course, I can't borrow games from the library, but all the books I'm interested in end up there eventually.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By ExarKun333 on 2/1/2010 1:27:14 PM , Rating: 1
Rip-off.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By artemicion on 2/1/2010 2:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you assume that the people who buy e-books are ignorant of these pros and cons? Why are you so arrogant that you assume that your subjective appraisal of the value of e-books is some immutable truth, and that anybody who buys an e-book is a "sucker".

1. Is something most intelligent consumers are already aware of. And most intelligent consumers are also aware that the probability of a license being rescinded for any given book is extremely low, and if it does happen you'll probably get a refund.

2. Is also something most intelligent consumers are already aware of. Except for Nook owners, because I believe it is not entirely true as applied to Nook owners because IIRC you can share Nook books with other Nook users.

What happens if Amazon drops their service someday?

What happens if Blizzard stops supporting WoW? What happens if Sony stops supporting the PS3? What happens if Microsoft stops supporting Windows? What happens if the movie industry stops supporting DVD/Blu-ray? What happens when they stop making coffee filters for your coffee pot? Sheesh, stop acting like you're some clairvoyant that is privy to secrets to the universe that everybody else is ignorant of. These are risks that we are all aware of.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 2:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. Is something most intelligent consumers are already aware of. And most intelligent consumers are also aware that the probability of a license being rescinded for any given book is extremely low, and if it does happen you'll probably get a refund.


Firstly, no I don't believe that the vast majority of potential e-book consumers are aware of/have thought that through. And while the likelihood of a license being revoked after the sale may be remote, it is a physical impossibility if you actually bought the book itself.

quote:
2. Is also something most intelligent consumers are already aware of. Except for Nook owners, because I believe it is not entirely true as applied to Nook owners because IIRC you can share Nook books with other Nook users.


Again, I seriously don't think most people have thought that through. I am not an expert on the Nook so I don't know if you can share those e-books or not...but it would seem to be counterproductive to their sales model to do so.

quote:
What happens if Blizzard stops supporting WoW?

Then you can't play WoW, since it has no non-MMORPG component. On the other hand, I occasionally play Heroes of Might & Magic III, which I originally bought on CD probably, what, at least 10 years ago. And it can never go away. You are correct to point out that this issue exists with WoW and other online games.

quote:
What happens if Sony stops supporting the PS3?

You keep playing your PS3 until it physically dies, and then you either sell your games and accessories or you get another PS3 used/refurbished, rinse and repeat.

quote:
What happens if the movie industry stops supporting DVD/Blu-ray?

Nothing. Eventually maybe people stop making new DVD/BD players, in which case you're into the aftermarket. Or, since you have the original movies etc. you can sell them, or maybe rip them to translate them to newer formats so that you always have access to them. You can still buy a cassette player though...so I won't be worrying about DVD players going out of production for, oh, at least 20 years or so.

quote:
What happens when they stop making coffee filters for your coffee pot?

...if you bought a coffee maker that requires non-standard, proprietary filters, then you are a sucker, and you deserve what you get.

Ultimately, you are making the presumption that everyone in the world thinks through all such issues when they make a purchase decision. I firmly disagree - I am extremely confident that the vast majority of consumers do no such thinking through of their buying behavior. Perhaps you should stop acting like everyone in the world applies (apparently) the same due diligence that you do - because they don't.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By namechamps on 2/1/2010 2:33:38 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like there is a lot you don't know.

You can share books via the nook just as you can a physical book. when you "lend it out" it becomes unavailable in your library. The nice thing is unlike a physical book you can set a max time (like 30 days) before it returns automatically to your library.

Any number of people can share a book they can just only read it one at a time (just like physical book).

Also amazon revoked exactly 2 titles out of hundreds of thousands and gave people a 100% full refund plus a credit on future book. It turned out due to a licensing mix up amazon never had the right to sell the book to begin with.

Regrettable yes but not the end of the world. No consumer "lost" anything. They received the exact amount of the book back plus a credit and could have used that money to buy a physical book if they wanted.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 2:46:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You can share books via the nook just as you can a physical book. when you "lend it out" it becomes unavailable in your library. The nice thing is unlike a physical book you can set a max time (like 30 days) before it returns automatically to your library.


That's nice. Can't sell it though, or trade it permanently with some one else...or permanently gift it.

quote:
Also amazon revoked exactly 2 titles out of hundreds of thousands and gave people a 100% full refund plus a credit on future book. It turned out due to a licensing mix up amazon never had the right to sell the book to begin with.

...the point I was making was that it would be physically impossible for it to happen, ever, with an actual book - regardless of how rare it is with e-books.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By fic2 on 2/1/2010 3:56:40 PM , Rating: 3
Actually Amazon has revoked 5 books that we know of.

There was a student that had made page annotations on his Kindle for 1984. He sued Amazon and they settled out of court for $150k. I am guessing Amazon's lawyers thought it could have been much more.

For an interesting look at electronic "rights" see:
http://www.slate.com/id/2223214/pagenum/all/


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By artemicion on 2/1/2010 3:31:13 PM , Rating: 3
Um, do you not realize that your rebuttals for half of the examples I gave are the exact same thing that would happen in the event that Amazon stops support the Kindle?

Amazon stops supporting Kindle: No new titles come out, you can still read your old titles.
DVDs go obsolete: no new titles, you can still watch your old titles.
PS3 goes obsolete: no new games, you can still play your old games.

My point being that if that deters you from buying a Kindle why the hell wouldn't it deter you from buying anything that depends on future support. Or do you actually think that if Amazon abandons the Kindle, it's going to flip the license switch and revoke everybody's content licenses? Can you point to any language in the licensing agreement that suggests that that is the case?


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 4:41:34 PM , Rating: 2
You missed some important points then, if that is the conclusion you came too...

...like the ability to trade/sell/gift a real book, which cannot be done with a an e-book. Apparently you might be able to temporarily share it, but that's not the same. Same goes with DVDs, PS3 games, etc.

...also, if I buy a book, Amazon can't come to my house and take it back - regardless of whether or not they refund my purchase price.

...and if my Kindle breaks after Amazon stops supporting it...? Then what? Buy all the books I had bought as e-books again? With DVDs and games, I still have the original, no matter what happens.


By Tigerwraith on 2/1/2010 2:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
Then you have not looked at Barns and Noble, yes they have an E-reader the Nook, but before that they have a program that works on your pc, blackberry, and a few other devices. I have it and loved it. Ive been buying books for around 7.99 and some new releases for 9.99. B&N also allows you to loan a digital book to a friend. They get it for 2 weeks i think, and during that 2 weeks you can not open the book but your friends can read it provided they have the B&N reader. Theres other e-reader programs out there besides amazon.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Oregonian2 on 2/1/2010 2:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. You don't own the "book" you bought...you get a license, which can be rescinded at the whim of Amazon (or whoever) as has already been demonstrated.


One does "independently own" the copy if one makes a backup copy through the USB connection -- even if Amazon should go against their current policy and decide to delete one's copy (and even then, that could be avoided by turning off the 3G connection).

Amazon had mistakenly deleted books that folk had purchased from them (because the 3rd party seller on Amazon was doing so illegally), but even then those with backup copies could just reload it themselves anyway. In any case Amazon has stated they're not going to do that anymore (but it's always still a good idea to do backups).

quote:
2. You can't resell or transfer such a license, as you can sell/trade/gift a book.


One can sell the books in one's Kindle if the Kindle is sold. The books on a Kindle don't go away when it is sold (although still a good idea to keep backups as mentioned above). The books archived online probably aren't transferable, but then a paper-book doesn't have such an archive for additional copies to begin with -- lose the copy and it's gone.

Unlike paper books, with Amazon one can purchase a single copy of a book and have it loaded onto six Kindles simultaneously. A family simultaneous read.

quote:
...what happens if Amazon drops the service someday? Or some other future occurrence that prohibits you from accessing your "purchased" "books?"


Then one would be stuck with the books already purchased, much like DTB's (Dead Tree Books). All books purchased would still be readable on the Kindle, and probably ALL books one has purchased can be on a kindle at the same time (my Kindle 1 w/8G SDHC card holds about 20,000 average sized books) it shouldn't be a problem even if Amazon's archiving goes away someday (and even then, they can all be backed up onto any other computer over the USB cable where the books show up in a USB-drive filesystem).

Even without Amazon, one still could add PD books of course. Although the instant access to books over the built-in free 3G link is really neat and easy, it's not a requirement. Copying books over the USB link works fine too (and there's wonderful free software like Calibre that'll convert quite a few formats, including ePub, over to one of the Kindle native formats).

quote:
I don't get how people find that to be an equitable trade-off.


You might join or read Kindle forums (like KindleKorner on Yahoo)to find out about such issues you have questions about. I think the problems you have are covered.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 2:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
One does "independently own" the copy if one makes a backup copy through the USB connection -- even if Amazon should go against their current policy and decide to delete one's copy (and even then, that could be avoided by turning off the 3G connection).


...or instead of going through all those electronic shenanigans, you can actually buy the book.

quote:
One can sell the books in one's Kindle if the Kindle is sold. The books on a Kindle don't go away when it is sold (although still a good idea to keep backups as mentioned above).

...it boggles the mind that you think that's a solution to the problem of not being able to sell a book that you paid for...sell the whole Kindle? And if i have a dozen books on there, and I only want to sell one of them? Also, I would presume that Amazon (or whoever) can verify by your user account that you're not supposed to have those extra e-books on your Kindle and delete them anyway...if not now, they could decide to in the future.

Anyway, it seems apparent that you're perfectly OK with giving up these rights and priveleges - so I guess more power to you. But if you're suggesting that since you are OK with giving away your rights and priveleges, then everyone should be OK with giving away their rights and priveleges, then I could not more firmly disagree.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Keeir on 2/1/2010 3:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
Motoman.

You started off by calling anyone who purchases a E-Book, "a sucker".

Your the person who started to insist that everyone should dislike ebooks. Not the supporting insisting you should like them.

On a side note:

Yet, it seems the only significant issue is that its currently impossible to resell a book. (In the future, it may be possible, especially if one looks at the current Nook borrowing feature as a model)

Don't you think this relatively small convience (after all, how much would you get for a 10 dollar book if you read it a few times? 2 dollar? 3 dollar? Which could totally disappear if E-books became cheaper... like they should since there is no paper/shipping involved) could actually be offset for large numbers of people who -aren't- suckers.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/1/2010 4:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You started off by calling anyone who purchases a E-Book, "a sucker".


Giving up your rights of ownership and other privileges for convenience is always a sucker play. The inverse arguments are not equivalent.

Ownership rights are important. Ultimately, that is the important point here. The whole thing boils down to that.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Oregonian2 on 2/1/2010 6:10:55 PM , Rating: 2
You must really love the idea of Netflix or perhaps even a public library with no ownership of any sort whatsoever.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/2/2010 10:53:48 AM , Rating: 2
Renting != owning in any case. When you rent something, you never had any ownership rights in the first place.

Libraries are fine - the books are owned by the community, and it costs the consumer nothing (outside of taxes you have to pay anyway) to have access to those books.

Neither of those are pertinent to this discussion.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Oregonian2 on 2/2/2010 12:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it does. One pays for access to materials and you demand total unrestricted ownership of the copy. I pay for library books, I pay Netflix for copyrighted materials. Both give me, as you point out, zero ownership which is what you gave me a bad time about above.

They are VERY pertinent to the acceptability of paying for a copy of material and not getting as much ownership as you demand.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/2/2010 1:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
If Amazon positioned the e-book thing as renting an e-book, rather than buying an e-book, I'd be fine with it.

Hell, if they called it "licensing access to" an e-book, I'd be fine with that.

Purchasing something implies that you own it.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Oregonian2 on 2/2/2010 8:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
We're more arguing what "owning" means. Even in your example of paper-made books, one does not TOTALLY own it (which you seem to imply one does) because one isn't allowed to copy it. Content access is being licensed to the owner of the paper book. Difference with eBooks has to do the the way that license is transferable and/or copyable (Amazon allows six Kindles to simultaneously have a one-time purchased eBook).


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By artemicion on 2/1/2010 7:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
I gave up "ownership rights" to rent my house, instead of buying it. I made an informed decision about the pros and cons of renting vs. ownership and chose to rent.

I gave up "ownership rights" to my e-books, and chose to purchase e-books instead of buying the tangible alternatives. I made an informed decision about the pros and cons of buying e-books vs. buying paper books and chose to buy e-books.

Again, you are arrogantly attempting to impose your own values on others who have already considered your arguments. WE KNOW WE CAN'T SELL OUR EBOOKS. How is this not flagrantly obvious? Do you really think we didn't think this through? How many people do you think put an e-book up on eBay, allowed the auction to go through, and then suddenly realized, after he bought a shipping box and packing peanutes, "duhhhhhh what do I put in the box?"


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By Motoman on 2/2/2010 11:17:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I gave up "ownership rights" to rent my house, instead of buying it. I made an informed decision about the pros and cons of renting vs. ownership and chose to rent.


...I would be quite surprised to learn that building no equity with your rent money is a better decision than owning a house, but that may be a topic for a different thread...

quote:
WE KNOW WE CAN'T SELL OUR EBOOKS. How is this not flagrantly obvious?

It is flagrantly obvious. To you & me, and probably almost everyone else on DT. However, you & I are not representative of the vast majority of consumers who simply don't think things through.

quote:
Do you really think we didn't think this through?

Frankly, yes. I believe you came to the wrong conclusion, which is that it is acceptable to give up your ownership rights for the sake of convenience. Therefore, we disagree.

quote:
How many people do you think put an e-book up on eBay, allowed the auction to go through, and then suddenly realized, after he bought a shipping box and packing peanutes, "duhhhhhh what do I put in the box?"

While your over-the-top example is rather, well, over-the-top, such a situation plays out in real life. As in, people buying an e-book for their Kindle and thinking they could give it to someone else, and then discovering that they can't - because they didn't think it through.

...and none of which says anything about if/when Amazon stops supporting the Kindle, your Kindle breaks and Amazon winds up arguing with you about what books you do or don't own, so on and so forth.

You think you've made a wise decision to give up your rights for the convenience of using an e-book reader. There is no doubt in my mind that you have made the wrong decision, and millions of others are doing it right along with you.

Sure, it's your money and you can spend it how you like. However, as is the case when I see people spending money on homeopathy and donating to anti-vax "charities," I reserve the right to absolutely not agree with your purchase decision.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By atlmann10 on 2/2/2010 1:04:15 AM , Rating: 2
Ok this discussion has gone to crap discussion. This is not a game it is whats called a book. The issues surrounding this being Kindle is as cool as steam is no issue. A book is something you keep and may read again, or give to someone else to read if you so choose, unless of course it's an E-book. In my house last week I read 2 books, and did 2 finals for the quarter for school. My wife read 3 books cover to cover. Now if I buy an e-book and I do see the point. They would be much easier to carry store and have access to. However if I were to buy e-books they would be ones I did not insist on keeping. As many as we have and buy around here that would be fine. The issue here though is Mcmillan, and no one is even talking about this. To make there money they are wanting to market a book at higher than retail price for a paperback book. They are also doing this with no cost at all to them. There are no materials in an e-book none at all for them to pay for to put it on a shelf, nor is there shipping and, really no advertising cost either past what they would already do. SO McMillan is making the largest e-book retailer in the world raise there book prices by almost double. When it is stated at 50% in the wording it means to raise the book + half it's normal price from 10 which would be Amazons normal price to 15 for a book which they pay nothing for. This is the hugest price hike in the world. The deliver nothing physically, and then decide to make the retailer charge 50% higher. People should be raising utter he11 this is ridiculous. If I were you I would not buy anything from this publisher at all. I would in fact protest them completely. As all they are doing is practicing total greed. They see that this format will largely take over books, they are hurting financially because readers in general have declined severely. So they are propping up there print operations by making retailers charge more than there print books for e-books. I personally keep all kinds of stuff backed up on my computers anyway, these are small enough I could keep the library of congress at home indefinitely. Come on a 2TB drive is 125 buxk a 1Tb drive is less than a 100. In my house I have 4Tb of storage space 1 on the laptop 2 on my desktop 1 on her desktop. I also use acronis disk director sweet and true image. Which mean I can burn naked drive images to DVD. So I could make a library for songs strip that BS protection crap from it and copy it for a hard copy. Then if I loose a drive or buy a new one I copy it back on, no loss ever. The only way I don't have access is if the powers out. Of course if I have an e-reader or digital music player I have access then to don't I. This is McMillan trying to stab everyone in the back and over support themselves by still charging you the price of a regular book, and then charging an e-reader price plus 50% to make there pockets fatter. It is called Greed, they locked there self into it by becoming an initial supporter for the iPad. Which is a stunted runt of a device Apple is hoping to float on iPhone glory. Then to save there selves from that because now that its out and very widely criticized there afraid there going to go bankrupt.


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By jojo29 on 2/2/2010 9:40:49 AM , Rating: 2
I totally agree here atlmann10.

I will not get into my opinion on the whole DD vs PM debate, because, lets face it, thats NOT the issue at hand. The issue at hand is that a company, Macmillian, is forcibly trying to increase their prices, yes, they are trying to make money,m but they were because DD cost Macmillian nothing, and now they are trying, no, they ARE raising the prices on their books, for no reason other than greed, at NO COST TO THEM, AT COST TO THEIR CUSTOMERS, for no reason at all!!

If anything, People who KEEP BUYING MACMILLIAN books should STOP buying them, else all companies will follow...

I am more against corporate greed than any DD/PM debate...people FOCUS on the issue at hand, i have not seen a more blatant example of a company raising prices, and sticking it to their customers ass, with NO lube, for no apparent reason...


RE: On the topic of suckers...
By djc208 on 2/2/2010 9:56:15 AM , Rating: 2
While I understand your points, and agree they detract from the e-book, I think sucker is a little harsh. For most people a book is a one time consumption. They buy the book, they read it, they're done with it. It may sit on a shelf never to be opened again, or donated or sold, but they paid money to read the book. That's all they wanted out of it, and the e-book offers that experience.

But these reasons are also exactly why this pricing model can't really work long term. If you're selling me a crippled version of the media for the same price then it becomes tough to justify the expense on other than a pure convenience aspect (which is mainly where e-readers live right now). However if prices for a new release were half of their physical siblings you don't care as much. $4.99 for a new best-seller makes it a lot easier to accept the limitations of the format.

I personally would love to see a subscription type option for their service. Run a couple of tiers for books, magazines, reference sources, etc. and let people read as much or little as they want. You don't own and can't keep any of the content if your subscription expires, but would you care if you had such a huge library of content available?


The Very Reason Why I Don't Have a Kindle
By DaveLessnau on 2/1/2010 1:48:20 PM , Rating: 5
Even before this upcoming price increase, I considered the prices of these e-Books to be obscene. Paying the same price for an electronic version of a book as for a physical version is the very reason I don't own a Kindle. The publisher has much lower publication and distribution costs (heck, they might be zero for the publisher -- the distributor is the one who has to operate and maintain the server) and the user has far more limited rights to the book. That should mean e-Books should sell at a substantial discount to physical books.




RE: The Very Reason Why I Don't Have a Kindle
By Oregonian2 on 2/1/2010 2:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
Because authors are paid a percentage, I understand, I gather then that authors will then become paid substantially less for their work in a world of dead-cheap eBooks. So why bother write anything?


By namechamps on 2/1/2010 2:38:44 PM , Rating: 3
No publication costs, no remainders, no stocking costs, no shipping costs.

Face it. It could be a win for authors too. The book never has to go out of print. No unsold books which are destroyed and charged against revenue by bookstores. No bargin discount books ($0.99 books, etc).

Given the publisher's role is much less in a digital world their cut should be less and authors cut more. So sale price goes down but % of sale price to author goes up and it is a wash.

No this is simply publisher trying to stay alive just like record labels did when it came to CD vs mp3s. It had nothing to do with artists and this has nothing to do with authors.


By Keeir on 2/1/2010 3:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
Errr...

What do you suppose an author typically gets paid today (per book?)

My sources has always indicated to me that even a successful author rarely earns more than 2 dollars a book (1 or less for mass-market paperbacks). 5 dollars per book should fairly pay an author, an editor, and the electronic content distributor. Perhaps lets throw an extra 1 dollar for marketing?

Authors need to get together and demand the much more fair 25-50% of an e-book fee. As it stands now, Publishers should be salivating over e-books. Pretty much 50-75% of thier costs disappeared but they still get full pay!


By ZachDontScare on 2/1/2010 4:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Authors should be getting a far larger percentage of the cover price for ebooks. As other have pointed out, there's near zero per-unit cost on an ebook. No shipping, no printing, no paper, no distributors,... and that makes up most of the book's final cost.

If they are getting the same percentage on ebooks as they do printed boods, they're the real suckers.


By Oregonian2 on 2/1/2010 6:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, suckers who will stop writing books.


Guess what?
By corduroygt on 2/1/2010 10:52:50 AM , Rating: 5
Many people like me, prefer physical books that we can throw around carelessly, or read in the gym or bathtub without worrying about it getting broken, or running out of batteries. With physical copies, nobody will bother to pirate them, but with e-books, piracy is so easy.
I still don't believe in e-books taking off, the tech is not ready.




RE: Guess what?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 2/1/2010 11:07:18 AM , Rating: 5
Jerry: Hey, you're not giving it to me, man. What's wrong?
Kramer: I just took a bath, Jerry. A bath!
Jerry: No good?
Kramer: It's disgusting. I'm sitting there in a tepid pool of my own filth. All kinds of microscopic parasites and organisms having sex all around me.
Jerry: Well, you used to sit in that hot tub.
Kramer: Jerry that was super-heated water, nothing could live in that.


RE: Guess what?
By Dribble on 2/2/2010 6:06:53 AM , Rating: 2
I have book shelves full of books, they take up a lot of space. If I could get rid of all of them and have digital copies instead I would.

Seems like publishers haven't learned the lessons of all the other digitised media and we're going to have to go through that pain all over again with books.


I'll make a prediction...
By blckgrffn on 2/1/2010 10:58:15 AM , Rating: 5
The sales of the higher priced books will fall. This will be blamed on piracy. In order to hit profit projections, prices on the e-books will rise or stay the same, despite this being against any form of rational economic thought.

While I don't believe piracy will be the primary reason sales will taper off, I think it is certainly true that if something is cheap enough then it becomes more trouble to pirate than to buy it. e-books seem right now to be a reasonable price for convenience vs what you tangibly use. Making them more expensive doesn't make that trade off any more attractive.




RE: I'll make a prediction...
By jwilliams4200 on 2/1/2010 4:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
Personally, I am actually happy to see this. I expect I will be buying more e-books at the higher prices, because I will have more e-books to choose from. Currently, I am often disappointed that I cannot find an e-book of a book I would like to buy -- but if the authors/publishers made more money from their e-books, I'm guessing the selection will increase. Also, traditionally hardbacks are around double the cost of a paperback, and new releases are exclusively hardback for around a year. But the cost of publishing a hardback is not a lot more than a paperback. The publishers are just taking advantage of higher demand to charge more for new releases. If they cannot do something similar for e-books, than e-books will not be available as soon as hardbacks. I want the e-books ASAP, so I am willing to pay more.

What I would really like to see going forward is to eliminate the middle man. Have authors publish directly to e-book, and set their own prices. Then I could patronize the authors who write good books at a fair price, and I know that most of the purchase price is going to the authors.


RE: I'll make a prediction...
By fic2 on 2/1/2010 6:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the last part. There is a CNBC special about the music biz. One of the bands they talk to is Bare Naked Ladies. They self-publish now. They said they sell less CDs/songs, but make more money than they used to. I can't believe that more bands haven't gone this route when their contracts are up. I would think this is the model that will be moved to as bands coming up now do it just to get their music out, then get signed and realize they are getting ripped off, then go back when their contracts are up.


RE: I'll make a prediction...
By atlmann10 on 2/2/2010 1:23:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah jwiliams4200 you have the valid view here. This publisher Mcmillan is so stabbing the general public in the back with this. I get what your saying, but the reason this is being done is because they signed on as a specific publisher in the new iPad and are afraid there gonna loose there butt's. Since the pre-release the iPad has been criticized even by the MAC faithful, the PC people are crucifying it. However this is one of a few publishers that signed on pre-delivery (I think there were 4), and this thing has blown up in there face for now. The publisher is doing this on a property (an e-book) which probably costs them less than zero to deliver. They still make full price on their print books (and readers on print books from what they say are dwindling faster than dry leaves in a camp fire), so jack up the price on the e-books and there still getting fat paychecks (the publishers not the authors). This is utter greed and fear from them because there books will also be available on the app store for free or a couple bucks. This means an iPhone user downloads it they make nothing, if an iPad reader downloads it they get paid but the market is predicted as exceptionally limited for that specific device. Either way it is the executive directors trying to get mega bonuses nothing else. This publisher should be banned and protested.


EWW
By lenardo on 2/1/2010 11:23:50 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is if all publishers jack up the pricing, then the sales WILL fall.

250 dollars for the ebook and then having to pay Essentially retail (normal book)costs, no thank you.

oh and just get a program like calibre- it converts ALL e-book formats to different e-book formats.. so you can never end up with an obsolete format.

one of the first things i do with my ebooks (i read on the computer not an ebook reader, is convert & save a version to PDF format. even if the main book gets "recinded" i still have my pdf format version.




RE: EWW
By The0ne on 2/1/2010 11:30:46 AM , Rating: 2
Ohhhh....you're so gonna get sue! :)

/sarcasm off


RE: EWW
By DM0407 on 2/1/2010 11:44:24 AM , Rating: 3
Your sarcasm switch must have been on for a while.


RE: EWW
By The0ne on 2/1/2010 5:20:46 PM , Rating: 2
yes, very long in fact. I kinda have to to get points across to people like you. Want more?


RE: EWW
By ATC on 2/1/2010 7:13:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
oh and just get a program like calibre- it converts ALL e-book formats to different e-book formats.. so you can never end up with an obsolete format.


Yeah, Calibre is great. I've used it quite a bit, converts just about any ebook from any format to Kindle (mobi). And it's free.


By T2k on 2/1/2010 2:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
By aguilpa1 on 2/1/2010 2:39:47 PM , Rating: 2
It is all pure greed. An ebook is nothing but a file on a server somewhere you download stuck to a database license, that now has your credit card and personal information. There is no cost of printing, binding, storing or transporting. Greedy as the year is long that Macmillan or whoever should want to sell you that file at or near the cost of a real book. I am waiting for the the pirates hack their databases and sink them.


Advantages / Disadvantages
By jdietz on 2/1/2010 6:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While e-books have significant appeal -- in terms of portability (you can bring thousands in your book bag) -- there's still many downsides as well. With electronic books, you're at the mercy of your current formats and devices -- once they become obsolete, there's the chance you may lose your book forever. And many people enjoy the look and feel of an old fashioned book.
Another advantage is lower price. The lower price can offset some of the disadvantages because it is a better value.

People who enjoy the look and feel of regular books are not going to be Kindle customers anyway.




RE: Advantages / Disadvantages
By Johnmcl7 on 2/2/2010 2:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
To begin with you have to fork out for the reader itself which is $250 or more if you want the bigger version. The cost saving on each book seems marginal at best if you're buying new books and if you're buying older books the Kindle price can be quite a bit higher. That's of course assuming the book is even available in the first place.

I don't mind reading books on an e-ink display and the idea of being able to take a good selection of books away with me on holiday without bulky books is appealing. However it's not something I'm prepared to be charged through the nose for especially given the costs for distributing an e-book are considerably lower.

John


hah!
By PascalT on 2/1/2010 8:44:40 PM , Rating: 2
Well I was starting to be interested in e-books but at $14.99, no thanks. I'd rather just buy the real book then. Thanks McMillan for saving me money.




RE: hah!
By jwilliams4200 on 2/1/2010 8:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
Most hardcover new releases are more than $14.99, so if you are buying paper new releases, you won't be saving money on each title.

I guess that things will work out so that e-books cost around $15 for their first year (new releases), then go down to the $5-$10 range after a year.

If the publishers get tricky, they might release e-books a little ahead of hardcovers (since e-books should be quicker to publish), and charge very high rates, like $99, until the hardcover is out, and then $15 after the hardcover is out, and then $6 after the paperback is out.


By Bateluer on 2/2/2010 6:11:59 AM , Rating: 2
I was hesitant to buy a Kindle before, but this really sets in back. Ebooks should and need to cost less than physical books and there's no reason they shouldn't. Raising ebook prices 50% is going to cause a major slow down in sales, especially considering the current economy.

Too bad, they had an opportunity to explore and develop a new market, reaping the rewards. Instead, they follow the failed example of obsolete organizations like the RIAA and MPAA.




They don't learn, do they?
By pepito perez on 2/2/2010 1:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
The music industry greed and stubbornness, sticking with the old distribution channels almost brought huge wave of piracy and almost killed them. Apparently the book industry didn't learn the lesson.




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