[ubuntu-uk] Book costs (was Re: e-books without Adobe Digital Editions)
rjs1064 at u.genie.co.uk
Wed Nov 10 10:20:50 GMT 2010
On 10/11/10 08:17, Neil Greenwood wrote:
> On 9 November 2010 19:53, richard<rjs1064 at u.genie.co.uk> wrote:
>> On 09/11/10 15:40, Neil Greenwood wrote:
>>> On 9 November 2010 13:13, pmgazz<pmgazz at gmx.co.uk> wrote:
>>>> Most of all, I'd love to know how it is that digital book production and
>>>> distribution - which has to be much cheaper than print surely - wants £16
>>>> per copyrighted book when I can get a print copy physically mailed to me for
>>>> less than 25% of that price? Well, I mean, if you don't want people to steal
>>>> stuff . . .
>>> Most of the costs are not down to distribution and printing (think
>>> editing, marketing, copy-editing, artwork, etc., etc.). Also, there
>>> are economies of scale that bring the price of physical books down. So
>>> the actual differential is much smaller than you'd expect. There can
>>> also be differences in the contract with the author that affect the
>>> price of the digital copy.
>>> I agree that the example you quoted is extreme though. The price
>>> *should* be about the same.
>> All the editing etc has to be done for the print copy anyway, and an e
>> book has none of the costs of physical book. Such as distribution,
>> handling, printing, staffing the shop, pulping the ones that don't sell!
>> E books should be considerably cheaper, only trouble is the book world
>> is scared stiff of them.
> That's not how it works though. The publisher will amortise the costs
> of editing, copy-editing, marketing, artwork, printing, warehousing,
> distributing, author advance, etc. across the expected print run
> (including physical and digital editions). Then of course, they add a
> healthy profit on top. A significant chunk of the profit they attempt
> to make on one title goes towards acquiring future titles (kind of
> like R&D expenses in software development).
> There would be no point in a publisher applying the costs of the
> physical book just to the physical book and then trying to sell the
> electronic version for the unique costs it attracts (which still
> include some production costs, distribution, marketing, etc. Bandwidth
> is not free), since they would shoot themselves in the foot, sell
> maybe 50 physical books at $10 and thousands of electronic ones at
> $0.10 (random figures, and very poor sales), and make a massive loss
> on the title.
> The major problem *is* that a lot of publishers are scared, but a
> minority have actually learned something from the debacle that the
> music industry went through (and is still suffering). O'Reilly and
> Apress, among others, publish electronic versions of technical books.
> Some of them even come without DRM. In the fiction world, Baen, Tor
> and Subterranean Press - OK, I'm a sci-fi geek :-) - are doing good
> things for readers and authors alike.
> A lot of this is just my opinion after reading blog posts from various
> authors (Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, maybe
> others) who have gone through the process. And it has a very
> US-centric bias because of that. I'm not aware of any UK publishers'
> actions, good or bad, when it comes to electronic books.
I know nothing about publishing but if you look at the banks, an online
account is usualy a better deal because the costs are lower. There will
always be sales for paper books, because sometimes it is nicer to hold a
nicely made book in your hands, but when there are enough kindles etc
out there e books will be a market on their own, selling at a discount.
That is just my prediction, and what do I know?
The other aspect that occured to me was that the distribution of books
is in fewer hands every year, with a small number of shops choosing the
titles that they think will make them the most money. If you are an e
book only seller you have a usp right there.
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