Friday, February 19, 2010

A new 99c Kindle book. Publisher says E-reader buyers can afford higher book prices.

New Kindle book offerings in the news - PR releases, maybe of interest:

Essondale - by Canadian psychiatrist and novelist David Laing Dawson.
  "Is this hell, or just a psychiatric hospital? Dr. Robert Snow isn't sure.  Waking from a drunken stupor in a small green room, the doctor finds he's on the other side of the diagnosis..."
  Description from PR release.  The book is a small one, at 207 KB file size, so you may want to get a free sample first.
  $0.99  (The paperback is $19.95 and a Used copy is offered for $29.)

by UK Author B.J. Kibble
  Full description from PR release.
  His expensive paperpback, Dry Rain, has 4 customer reviews and 5-stars average from regular readers, so it may be worth trying a free sample of Legion.
  $5.56   (The paperback is $13.95.)

The Consumerist's Chris Walters reports on what a publishing industry expert advised in a piece about e-book pricing written last weekand and, worse, what he said about people who buy e-readers.

 Walters' article links to a summary of Professor (and publisher) Michael Cader's piece written for Publishers Lunch's paywall area.  The Consumerist article is quite long and interested readers ought to go there for the full piece and for the link to a summary at (which consults for the publishing industry), as it's too easy to take things out of context in a very polarized atmosphere.

  Having said that, I will quote a bit from Walters' piece to give the gist of the Consumerist response.
' Among [Cader's] advice to the industry is this one:

"People who can afford an ereading device can afford all proposed ebook prices."

By that, Cader means that it's unreasonable for a consumer to say he can't afford to pay more for an ebook.  Cader and other publishers may be justifiably upset that Amazon rolled their products up into its own marketing for the Kindle, but the truth is that there are plenty of customers who indeed bought a Kindle to save money over the long term.  The idea is to invest in a special device that can serve as the physical manifestation of any book you load onto it.

On a more basic level, what consumers are willing to pay for a device and what they're willing to pay for an ebook are two different matters and can't be compared.  But since Cader is doing so, let's take a look at them... [ A good listing ]
So you're right, publisher;  maybe I can afford to buy an ereader device.  That doesn't mean you can jack up the price on your crappy digital copy that currently offers less usefulness than a physical copy, and then hide behind the device's potential and cry, "I want to be treated like I make expensive baubles too!"  Because you don't.  You currently make poorly proofread digital files stripped of most of the qualities that make digital content awesome. '
Then Walters gives some great advice to publishers.

The next point is especially strong:
' For example, the fourth Twilight book came out in August 2008, but as of February 2010 the publisher feels the digital version should cost the same as the hardcover--an astounding $22.99.  (And yes, that publisher's owner is one of the companies arguing for more control over pricing.)

It's true that in the recent spat between Macmillan and Amazon, the publisher pointed out that it would price new releases at $15 or less--but based on past pricing patterns, there's no reason to believe that any publisher would subsequently drop the book to a $10 or less price point after it's been out for a while. '
Do go read this.  And, in the meantime, maybe write acknowledgement notes to Random House for supporting customers against the 'Agency' plan.
  Random House's imprints include Crown, Knopf/Doubleday, Ballantine, Bantam, The Modern Library, Fodor's Travel, and many others.   See the Kindle Community Forum topic for the full listing.

  As ever, here is the ongoing set of links for various Searches for free or low-cost Kindle-compatible books. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. Chris Walters made very good statements indeed. Thank you for pointing to this article.

    The discussion is also worth reading. I do like the JohnQPublic's post "I bought glasses; Does that mean I can afford to pay more for regular books?"

  2. I bought a car, so I should be willing to pay more for gas? I have a refrogerator and a stove, I should pay more for food. His analogy is so poor it is laughable.

  3. Since buying my Kindle three months ago, I have more than recouped the price in savings over paper books. That's the benefit of the Kindle to the reader, and, I suspect, what the traditional publishers are afraid of--fewer dollars spent on reading more books!


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