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Interesting articles.

We've talked about this boycott tagging practice before, and while I do think it's silly and a bit extreme, I'm all for it if it ends up being a wake-up call and gets us lower prices in general. A book should not go up in price from $10 to $13. I can understand price fluctuations if something is temporarily on sale for $4 and then goes back up to $10. That's understandable. But going from $10 to $13 (or whatever) is unacceptable to me.
 

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This nonsense has been on the Amazon discussions for a while, and there is a lengthy thread on Mobileread about this....

eBooks, like anything else, will be priced according to what the market will bear. No doubt they will play with the pricing for some time until they figure out the best structure for the majority of purchasers.

Myself, I prefer to spend less than $6 per book, but if I really want to read one, I will pay more.
 

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Well, the way I see it Amazon pricing is better than others for e-books. I've looked at other sites, like Sony and Mobipocket, and they frequently ask the same price for an e-book as a retail store would for the currently-available edition of the dead-tree version.

For example, take this sample of "Fletch" by Gregory Mcdonald.

Mobipocket price : $13.95 (digital edition list price)

Books on Board price: $10.50 (discounted price)

Sony eBook Store price: $12.55 (discounted price)

Borders (brick & mortar store) price for Trade Paperback edition: $12.95 (cover price)

Amazon.com Kindle edition price: $9.99 (discounted price, with wireless transfer)

Now, in this case I will point out that the publishers are being JERKS because the digital edition list price is actually one dollar more than the trade paperback edition, despite the fact that they don't have to pay for distribution, stocking, printing, transportation, etc. The publisher is essentially ripping people off here, and they're putting DRM on it to boot.

I love my trade paperback edition of Fletch, as well as the hardcover editions of the other Fletch books, but I think it's an insult to the customers to sell non-physical, DRM-laden eBooks to people for the same price as the codex edition.

It's not Amazon's fault that the publishers are being greedy, and we should thank Amazon for doing a good job of beating almost every other eBook seller's price (and cutting well under the publisher's dream-price) for digital editions. I'm sure it's a struggle for them to get publishers to accept the $9.99 price point on a book that they're used to selling for more than that, but this is new to the publishers and they're testing the water to see how much they can get out of us.

I think a boycott on most books over $9.99 is a fair way to show them they can't get away with much, but then we all have that book that we're willing to pay more for, just to have it. The publishers know this.
 

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I think books priced above the printed book price should be tagged.  I'm not saying it's Amazon (it probably isn't) but somebody's set the price too high.
 

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I came across Tana French's "The Likeness" and was considering a purchase until I saw that the Kindle edition was priced at a shocking $14.27. What was so ridiculous was the $10.20 paperback version costs $4 less.
The pre-order price for the paperback of The Likeness is $10.20. It will be released on May 26, 2009. You can't buy it right now. The current hardcover edition is $17.13, or $2.86 more expensive that the Kindle edition. That said, the Kindle price is a little on the high side, but still cheaper than the hardcover, and more than the magic $9.99 price point.
 

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Wow - thanks to your post I just found out that Fletch was added to the Kindle store!  When I first got my Kindle and was looking for books it was one of the titles I searched for,  but was not available.  Looks like they added it on March 25.  

I had read a friends copy years ago and really wanted to get it to read again.  Guess I will not be participating in the boycott as I will be purchasing this great book later this evening.  Hopefully they will soon add the rest of the Fletch series to the Kindle store.
 

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Nix Cadavre said:
Now, in this case I will point out that the publishers are being JERKS
I agree, indie shrimp that I am. In my case, setting the price was MY decision. I first thought, "Hey, half the price of the paperback." But then I realized, "There's no paper, no printing, no shipping...what is it but electrons and ideas, after all? OK, a quarter the cost of the paperback." Then, Amazon cut that 20%, and there we are: a bargain book. I'm happy, but then I ain't no giant literary-industrial complex either. Those folks are no longer the big kahoona. Increasingly, readers are. As a reader myself, that's just fine with me.
 

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I haven't quite figured out why some people get so upset about this.  Amazon, the publishers and whoever are doing nothing illegal and are free to price their product at whatever they want. Just as the consumers can choose to buy or not.  Prices will sort themselves out via market forces eventually.

Consumers are certainly entitled to their little protests but I find it all a bit silly.
 

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Forster said:
I haven't quite figured out why some people get so upset about this. Amazon, the publishers and whoever are doing nothing illegal and are free to price their product at whatever they want. Just as the consumers can choose to buy or not. Prices will sort themselves out via market forces eventually.

Consumers are certainly entitled to their little protests but I find it all a bit silly.
Of course the free market is working this out--of course. Consumer protest is a natural part of that. I don't find it silly at all, any more than a labor-management dispute is silly. It's the natural order of things.

Readers may not fully recognize how the publishing world is being shaken recently--very recently, day by day, practically. Books, print media, and e-media and ebooks are all in a gi-normous tussle right now. I, as a both a book lover and author, am intimately interested in this. My guess is that the independent publishing movement is going to make huge dents in what I earlier referred to as the literary-industrial complex, and may well change it completely.

Consider: if I had published Distant Cousin traditionally, in 2005, it would have had one printing run, sold tepidly, and gone out of print. The publisher would own the copyright, and that would have been the end of it. Instead, I published it myself. It has been available, freshly printed, to anyone who was willing to pony up $21, ever since. And now comes the ebook movement, lead by the Kindle, and the book can be had for $4, and suddenly it's selling like hotcakes and serious numbers of people are enjoying it and talking about it. If a publisher had put it on Kindle instead of me, it would cost twice as much, or more, and it would still be an also-ran, instead of one of iUniverse's top titles for months and months.

I could have priced the Kindle edition at $21 and it wouldn't have sold many copies at all. That would have been legal. Pricing New York Times bestsellers at $9.99 in the Kindle edition is legal. Aren't Kindle owners legally entitled to be upset about that, and not to buy books that expensive or buy rarely if they wish? You bet we are: it's the free market, and let's just see what happens as a result, shall we?
 

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I refuse to pay more for the Kindle edition than I would for the DTB version. That's my guiding star... What would it cost me to hike down to Borders and pick it up? I also keep in mind the usual 20-30% discount I can expect on brand new stuff at the brick n' mortars, as well as coupons and whatnot from the rewards programs.

Basically it does boil down to $9.99 being about my top threshold for Kindle books. If we're talking paperbacks, that $6.29 price is about my upper limit.

Sooner or later the publishing industry is going to have to play ball... Amazon WANTS Kindle editions to be "cheap" and easy impulse buys, and they have a huge hammer to swing at the publishing houses.

Despite the vitriol that the boycotters spew, I'm in favor of tagging books that are priced "wrong." Go taggers!
 

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I actually think a little competition from one or more other brands of ebooks might help Amazon focus better on us consumers. The Kindle itself is right pricey. You gotta know it could sell for under $200 if there were other choices out there. Free market, where art thou?
 

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Actually, I think the "boycott" is counter productive. Here we are trying to get publishers to adopt this new technology and give us greater choices and we're going to threaten not to buy?  ???

That just doesn't make sense to me.

Now, I admit that I don't buy books over $9.99, but that is just me setting my own market value. The threat to boycott is something quite different and, IMHO, something potentially harmful to the ebook marketplace.
 

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Honestly, I can't say I'm especially surprised that this happened. Having said that, people need to realize that Amazon and every other company in existence, are going to charge what they feel the market will bear.
 

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L.Canton said:
Honestly, I can't say I'm especially surprised that this happened. Having said that, people need to realize that Amazon and every other company in existence, are going to charge what they feel the market will bear.
Pretty much.

As long as there are people like me who don't mind paying full price when something I want comes out I don't expect the pricing model to change much anytime soon. Lets face it certain authors command a premium which is why they get to go the hardback route first and after the 1st run of people who are willing to pay a premium has run its course the price is dropped and the paperback is released. I don't see why the publishers/authors would be willing to or be expected to give up this revenue.

The real trick for them is to determine what a fair price differential should be between DTB and e-formats, keeping in mind the negatives associated with DRM. Personally I would like the entire savings of production between DTB and e-format to be passed on the consumer. I don't think that is going to happen, but it appears to me a significant portion of it is being passed on.
 

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I with one of the above posters in saying that this "boycott" is a little ridiculous and silly.  Just buy what you think is priced fair.  If it's more expensive than you feel is necessary, then don't buy it, simple as that.  This "boycott" is nothing more than to get people to join their cause and drink the kool-aid.  I agree with people choosing what they want to buy and what they think is priced fair, but trying to get people to riot down the street with you with pitchforks and torches is stupid.

How about everyone pay what they want to pay and be done with it?  Just because some of you think e-books priced over $9.99 is too high doesn't mean I want you posting around the internet telling me such.  In my eyes, you're no better than the religious folk who come knocking at my door every month to hand me a pamphlet and try to get me to join their cause.

And one last thing, I don't understand why people have this psychological barrier with the $10 mark.  If something was priced at $10.50, is that really something to get up in arms about?  Had Amazon priced New York bestsellers at $14.99, this boycott would probably be for anything over that amount.  The boycotted amount is completely superficial.
 

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MikeD said:
Actually, I think the "boycott" is counter productive. Here we are trying to get publishers to adopt this new technology and give us greater choices and we're going to threaten not to buy? ???

That just doesn't make sense to me.
Very good point. I agree.

L
 

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"I with one of the above posters in saying that this "boycott" is a little ridiculous and silly.  Just buy what you think is priced fair."

What you aren't taking into account is that the whole ebook market IS new and rapidly changing.  If people simply don't buy because they think the ebook is overpriced, then publishers and authors may think their customers really don't want ebooks that much and there's no reason to invest much in this new technology.  What the boycotters accomplish is letting publishers and authors know that there IS a market for the ebooks (or a bigger market, since there seem to be some of you who have no problem with paying as much or more for the ebook as for the hardcover or paperback), just not a market at the high price they've set.


 
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