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All ebooks on Amazon are overpriced - discuss!

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Showing 1-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Mar 2012 17:52:12 GMT
What Royalty rate are publishers paying authors for E-books? I am talking mainstream authors here - and is this the reason ebooks are so expensive?
It turns out this was too good an opportunity for Amazon to make so much money that they could not turn it down - its a dream come true for publishers surely as ebooks take over from paper, glue and board? But when are the prices going to reflect the vastly reduced costs associated with ebook publishing - is the truth out there? Anyone willing to spill the beans?

It would be interesting to know what literary agents are asking for their authors in terms a royalty on kindle sales - is it 7.5 or 10 or 12.5% of the purchase price like a print book price royalties or a percentage of the net returns (after the trade discount given to resellers like the mighty amazon) less production/dist costs - I am assuming it is a better figure (than the print copy royalty) on kindle sales in which case the author/agent is factoring in the vastly reduced cost of distributing kindle books - Amazon will have massive influence on the ebook pricing stucture - its their format after all so why wouldn't they want to exploit their exclusive position

If all books were only published as ebooks (as will become the case one day in the dim and distant future) then prices would crash as publishers would;d be relieved of the massive on costs of printing and binding and moving and storing bound books - dont get me wrong (un-philistine me please) I love the feel and 'hand' that comes from a well produced book but it is a thoroughly inefficient way to distribute information when we have the interweb at our fingertips 24/7

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 18:40:25 GMT
TomC says:
'But when are the prices going to reflect the vastly reduced costs associated with ebook publishing - is the truth out there?'

I've no inside information I'm afraid, but I would suggest that as with any other commodity they charge what they think the market will bear. The argument that the ebook has far lower production costs is perfectly true, but they see it from the other side: they think that the speed of delivery, zero weight and convenience of ebooks are all perfect reasons for raising the price - in some cases actually to a higher level than the paperback equivalent. The fact that a Kindle book is priced at the level it is may not necessarily indicate that there are a lot of willing buyers at that price; with a dead tree, a book that doesn't sell costs money in lost production and storage, and the price will eventually drop. Eventually the book will be remaindered, at which point the price will dive. ebooks, on the other hand, can be kept current for longer.

I think the situation will change in time though. Firstly, through competition: with dead trees, Amazon established itself by its ability to stock and deliver books in huge quantities, and by operating from warehouses they were able to undercut the high street bookshops. With ebooks, publishers could set up a server and sell direct; so could you or I, for that matter. (Authors are also producing books on a print-to-order basis, so customers have the attraction of a printed book, but with no massive costs up front, and no remaindered copies) People would still rely on information to tell them if a book is worth buying, and whether people who have bought it either like it or regret their purchase, but it would be more difficult to make money from that.

The second factor is that the people buying ebooks now are early adopters, and it has always been the case with new technology that early adopters subsidize the sales made to the latecomers. Although keeping the ebook at full price can be done for longer, because it doesn't cost anything to stock, eventually sales will slow to a dribble - not because people don't want it, but because they just refuse to pay. Amazon would rather sell at full price, but they'd rather sell than not sell. Eventually the price will drop to a level that skinflints like me will find acceptable.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 19:05:58 GMT
I as and author would wish prices could be higher because as it stands I stand to make just a dollar a copy, If you could walk a day in my shoes and if you have any idea how long it takes to produce a book and the back aches I get crouching over a computer screen to write, then perhaps the 3 bucks you pay for my book would seem too little.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 19:10:36 GMT
Little do most readers know that it costs money for Kindle to have the web site, the space it uses and the cost for a domain and hosting, all that cost money, and I think the price of my book and all other authors, give Amazon less than you think profit wise even though there seems to be no inventory, Amazon does have to pay for the folders used to store my copy so they can send it to a buyer instantly. I hope this answers some of your fears that Amazon is making a killing, clearly we are not.

Posted on 13 Mar 2012 19:12:09 GMT
M. Allani says:
I really can't believe that books are being valued in terms of trees and storage. I'm an author and am aware of the TIME it takes to write something good. Some books take years. This and the quality of the end result should determine the price of the book. As for agents, a good one should give vital editorial advice and then there's the tricky business of marketing the damned thing. If agents accomplish this task well, they're worth their percentage.

Magda Allani

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 20:32:43 GMT
TomC says:
'Little do most readers know that it costs money for Kindle to have the web site, the space it uses and the cost for a domain and hosting, all that cost money,'

Every one knows that hosting costs money, but much of that cost is paid up front as a capital cost, and it bears no comparison to the costs of printing, warehousing and distributing several thousand copies of a book. If you're seriously suggesting that a Kindle book is priced at the same level as the equivalent paperback because it has equivalent production, storage and delivery costs, you're simply wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Mar 2012 20:36:50 GMT
TomC says:
'I really can't believe that books are being valued in terms of trees and storage. '

The reason you can't believe it is probably because that isn't what is happening.

What is being discussed is the RELATIVE cost of the dead tree version and its Kindle equivalent. We all know that all of the other elements you mention are there and have to be paid for, but they are common to both. The point of the question was why the Kindle version costs more, when the production and delivery costs are so much lower.

Posted on 14 Mar 2012 21:01:33 GMT
Benjamin says:
Firstly very little of the cost of a paperback book went on printing. The majority of the cost goes on publisher fees, writer fees, editor fees etc. Furthermore Apple forced the pricing model to be changed from variable where Amazon used to sell books at cost or sometimes at a loss in order to get people buying to a fixed price from the publisher with 30% markup.

Posted on 15 Mar 2012 07:59:12 GMT
Sou'Wester says:
Given that some ebooks are offered free, it's difficult to see how one can claim all ebooks are over-priced. However, as with all their products, Amazon will sell goods at prices the market will bear and if you think something is over-priced just look for alternatives. There's plenty of choice out there.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Mar 2012 13:45:42 GMT
Ash_Chapman says:
I think there's a reason you're just making a dollar a copy if you phrase a sentence with 'as it stands I stand', and then have the idiocy to not check over the post you've written (in fury, no less) in order to notice the grammar errors you've also made.

Posted on 25 Mar 2012 17:36:10 BDT
Gang of One I would like to read this book on my Kindle but I am not going to buy it at the price Amazon are quoting. Compare the pricing with that of the other member of the "NatWest Three", David Bermingham. His excellent book "A Price to Pay" was priced at £2.05. I bought that. Message to Amazon: Please get your act together on the pricing of Kindle editions.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2012 10:25:59 BDT
Lilian says:
I don't think ALL e-books are over-priced, but some of them are more expensive than the 'tree' version, which is just ridiculous! I buy 'tree' books when they are cheaper than Kindle books :-) I love the 'feel' and the smell of a 'tree' book and still have a veritable library on my bookshelves, but I love my Kindle and buy books for it whenever something appeals to me and is a good price :-) I got my Kindle for Christmas 2011, and have so far read 12 books on it plus another 10 'tree' books :-) I love reading and often have two books on the go at the same time :-) One thing my Kindle has done is to make me aware of new authors and I have read books that I may otherwise have overlooked or perhaps never even heard of :-)

Posted on 30 Mar 2012 13:12:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Mar 2012 13:13:39 BDT
You also have to bear in mind that Kindle books are subject to VAT, which paper books aren't. That alone means that there is an extra cost involved in producing eBooks.

Posted on 30 Mar 2012 14:19:28 BDT
J. Allen says:
My thoughts, in no particular order:

Books are a 'tangible', which means that there will always be a market for them - first or second hand. E-Books are not, thus in terms of pure 'property', there is no resale value, there is no object to be cherished or passed on (except by underhand means, of course). That's not to take away from the artistic considerations present in each, but as 'things', they are two different products completely - I don't believe they are truly comparable.

I say this as someone who, when wanting to read a schlocky crime-thriller will e-book for convenience, when I want to read something that I attach a more perceived value to, I'll buy the paper. I'm sure I can't be the only one.

Of course, I find myself amused (or consternated), when I see the same book on Amazon for £3 more than I see it in shops / online in hard copy.

As an aside, Stephen, are you really an author? Your editor must be either a saint or a mad man - misspelling is forgiveable, but cripes, I'm glad I've not stumbled upon your work.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2012 16:43:17 BDT
TomC says:
"Books are a 'tangible', which means that there will always be a market for them - first or second hand. E-Books are not, thus in terms of pure 'property', there is no resale value"

Yes indeed: one aspect of electronic media which I deplore is the producer's assumption that we will accept a product which quickly becomes obsolete so that we can be sold the same product over and over; it happened with music (audio cassettes, CD's, MP3's), with films (cassettes, DVD's, BluRay), and they want to do the same with books. One thing I love about a well-made book is that it can have a long life; someone had it before me, and when I am finished with it I in turn will pass it on to someone else.
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Participants:  11
Total posts:  15
Initial post:  13 Mar 2012
Latest post:  30 Mar 2012

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