Kindle Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
711 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so in a perfect world, the entire publishing world has gone digital. Everyone has an e-reader, most every book ever published is available for the Kindle Dxxxx9, the Sony Prs5200, and any other -ereader on the market.

At this point, production costs are very low; no more physically making, transporting, stocking, physical books.

This brings me to the point; how much is a book worth, if the only cost in it lies in the author's work? 2 dollars a book, for something someone may have worked years on? 5? If they are a more famous writer are their books worth more? Who determines it?

With all the other costs stripped away, how much should an e-book, what we're really paying for, the story, really cost?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
I guess the most reasonable answer is that a book is worth as much as people are willing to pay for it... Which, by the looks of things, will stay the same for quite a while. Noticed how iTunes isn't much cheaper for digital music downloads? The record labels don't want to make any less money on an album, despite overheads being much lower for downloads. And look how successful it is. People will pay for it. My guess is that the publishing industry will follow suit.

Perhaps in 5 - 10 years we'll start to see some real changes, but who knows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,141 Posts
There may be no physical production costs, but (hopefully) there are still people other than the author that make a book that lots of people want to read.  I still think that the physical aspects of a book are a relatively small percentage of the price, so I hope we don't see career authors forced to do other things because no one wants to pay for their creations any more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
711 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
x_X yeah.

I posted this thread also at the amazon forums and people are biting my head off for having the audacity to suggest that one day, we will only be paying for the content. I know that there will always be other costs involved, but I was just focusing on the story itself!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
marianner said:
There may be no physical production costs, but (hopefully) there are still people other than the author that make a book that lots of people want to read. I still think that the physical aspects of a book are a relatively small percentage of the price, so I hope we don't see career authors forced to do other things because no one wants to pay for their creations any more.
Published authors will never receive 100% of the profits made on a book, though. So I think that's a different argument altogether. The price of digital books has the potential to drop considerably without it affecting the profits going to the authors for their works. But as I said, publishers don't want to miss out on their profits either. If people are willing to pay $10 for an eBook, why would they consider charging any less? Ultimately, the market will decide, but I honestly don't think the prices will change for quite some time regardless of the popularity of eBooks in the future.

I think the thing to remember is that this is all experimental. Just as with digital music downloads, the industry is in a state of change. No-one really knows anything for sure. Things are still evolving and fluctuating, and will be for quite a while yet.

Going back to the original question - paying just for the content and how much is that really worth - consider value for money based on how much enjoyment you're going to get out of it over time. I don't know about over in the USA, but here in Australia it's quite expensive to go to the cinema at about AU$17 for an adult ticket. I don't consider that particularly good value for money when I'm only going to be able to watch the movie once for that price, and it lasts about two hours in total. So I only go there to watch certain movies I'm really interested in. A book, however, can be re-read countless times and lasts several hours for just a small price. I don't mind paying US$10 for a book that I'm really enjoying. I think it's quite a good price point. Books are much more expensive in Australia, part of the reason I bought the Kindle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
I have no experience with the major publishers, but I'm sure their accumulated expenses (legacy expenses?) are staggering. I'd rather not know.

I have no head for business, none. On the other hand, I came up with an original story and wrote it down. It took twenty years to come together. People like it. I like it that people like it. I feel I deserve something for that, but I have no interest in seeing how much I can squeeze out of it. Amazon would probably like more, but I have no complaints.

That's why the Kindle is such a boon for independent readers and independent writers. The problem is always how to sort out the gold from the dross. Word of mouth, like here on the Boards, and respectible review sites like PODBRAM, are a big help. If enough indie writers feel like I do, maybe we can put the brakes on the big guys' race to find the upper limits of how much a book is worth. Readers will save some dough!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
marianner said:
There may be no physical production costs, but (hopefully) there are still people other than the author that make a book that lots of people want to read. I still think that the physical aspects of a book are a relatively small percentage of the price, so I hope we don't see career authors forced to do other things because no one wants to pay for their creations any more.
But there are physical production costs. The disk space the book takes up on the server, server resource for downloading the book, bandwidth costs, overhead for the sysadmin, etc. They may not be close to what production costs are on a DTB, but they are there, none the less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,141 Posts
Gregor said:
But there are physical production costs. The disk space the book takes up on the server, server resource for downloading the book, bandwidth costs, overhead for the sysadmin, etc. They may not be close to what production costs are on a DTB, but they are there, none the less.
Good point :) There is always a cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,633 Posts
I'll bet they're miniscule. A computerized system selling 300,000 books for serious money?  We're not talking manufacturing SUVs here. The publishers/authors do all the formatting/preparation work. The computer won't even accept a book unless it's ready to go. (Proofreading is a notorious exception.)

What would all those books bring in, $300,000 a day? A million? Sure they have expenses, but they'd be trivial against the income. With a huge outfit like Amazon, it all feeds into accounting, against the losses for free shipping, the profits for this, the costs for that, but how can the Kindle division not be a gold mine?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,578 Posts
I think at of the day, the consumer decides the price. What they are willing to pay and be satisfied with it is what it's actually worth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,079 Posts
There are also costs for someone to edit the book, proofread the book, etc. Some books would never have made it to a readable form without a editor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,566 Posts
The cost of printing a book is tiny compared to all the other overhead associated with getting a book into distribution (thinking traditional publisher, not indie or self published; a $25 hardback book only costs around $2 to print.) With eBooks the only things eliminated, really, are print, distribution, and shipping, and those will be replaced with storage, server maintenance and disbursement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,391 Posts
Something to think about:

Certainly we agree that the costs of actually printing the physical books and their distribution to retailers can be eliminated for e-books. However, paradoxically, as e-book sales take a bigger chunk of the market, that would tend to increase the per-book printing costs for paper books, as much of the cost to print anything is in the set-up time and associated overhead costs. Therefore the smaller a print run, the higher the per-item cost; so if the publisher does not want to increase the prices of the printed books, they will probably need the e-book costs to absorb some of the print costs. So unless/until printed books go the way of the dinosaur, I think traditional publishers will probably need to at least have new release e-books priced to help support the printed books to some degree.

At the other extreme we have the indie author publishing only via the e-book medium. Only the author can determine what his/her time was worth to produce a book (divided by expectations of numbers of sales). And what additional costs will those authors have? Will they pay professional, experienced editors to help them ensure their book is coherent, well written, and in conformity with market expectations for the genre? Will they hire professional proofreaders? How much will they pay a graphic artist for a suitable, eye-catching cover image? How about advertising and promotional costs? As a reader, would you rather pay $6.99 for a book that has been through a thorough editing and proofreading process and effectively typeset for the Kindle, or would you rather pay $2.49 for the same book that is not quite so well written, has numerous typos and some grammatical errors, and has a number of annoying layout problems on your Kindle?

Well, those are lots of questions with no answers from me. ::) I think that personally I am still too new to the whole e-book experience to throw out any hard and fast numbers. Certainly if there is a book I really want to read, I'd probably pay pretty close to the print version cost to get it on my Kindle. On the other hand, for new, indie authors I know nothing about, it's hard for me to imagine I'd want to pay more than something in the $2.00 - $3.00 range unless there is really good "buzz" about one of their books and it appears to fit in one of my "sweet spots" as far as genre and subject matter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,897 Posts
One of the things everyone has to learn the hard way is that you can't decide how much you want to charge for something, price it that way, and force people to pay that much because that's how much you want or need.  If people don't agree that what you're producing has that much value and won't pay that much, you either lower the price or go out of business.

So it is my hope that with ebooks, the fact that indie presses and authors are willing to price ebooks more in line with what readers are willing to pay will increase the indie market as the traditional market shrinks.  The big publishers are evidently afraid that cheaper ebooks will steal sales from their traditional hardcover and paperback books.  In the end what will happen is their high ebook prices will help the indies steal sales from what the big publishers are putting out in any form.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
78 Posts
Books with DRM are worth considerably less to me than non DRM books.

It's frustrating that I cannot sell, loan, give or borrow Kindle books to people not on my account.  I'd pay more for non DRM books.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,391 Posts
Gregor said:
Books with DRM are worth considerably less to me than non DRM books.

It's frustrating that I cannot sell, loan, give or borrow Kindle books to people not on my account. I'd pay more for non DRM books.
While I understand what you are saying, you would first need to propose a viable means for transferring your copy to someone else while maintaining the copy protection. Otherwise the first Stephen King novel to be released without DRM or other copy protection scheme would appear on every file download and P2P site on the web within minutes of its release. You would need some way to essentially "uninstall" it from your Kindle and then be able to transfer it to someone else's account, and in so doing make it impossible to install on your Kindle again (e.g.: from a back-up copy on your PC) without first either re-purchasing it or having the person you transferred it to transfer it back to you.

Certainly not impossible, but I can imagine many hurdles would need to be overcome. For one: the publishers would probably not be in favor of it since they'd prefer -- of course -- that everyone who wants to read it would have to buy it. Maybe some sort of "throttle" on the transfer mechanism that would limit how often and/or the max number of times it could be transferred? Realistically, though, I suspect that most publishers will not go for that, or if they did, then they'd want to keep the retail price higher to account for the lost sales they would expect as a result.

But this whole thing is still in its infancy. It will be interesting to see how the book publishing industry deals with it. Hopefully they will be smarter and more flexible than the music recording industry and find a way to keep both product quality high and product cost affordable and keep all of us readers reasonably satisfied.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top