Amazon wants publishers to slash ebook prices

  1. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Amazon's Naggar tells publishers to slash e-book prices | The Bookseller

    Low-priced books can be good for developing momentum - I know some big publishers have done this on debuts, or cut-price offers.

    But for the long-term, prices that are too low signal low value to consumers, and are best avoided IMO.

    Nice for consumers, not for authors.
     
  2. Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    I'm not sure I agree with you Brian. Before the advent of low priced ebooks I would read maybe 6-8 books a year. (A combination of price and availability -- I'm an hour from the nearest bookstore worthy of the name.) I now read somewhere between 6-8 books a month. I spend about 20-50% more on books over the course of the year because of this. Extrapolating from my experience you would have to say that authors are making more money because I'm reading more books and under the Kindle model are making a bigger percentage of the money I spend. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but whether I'm the norm or not might be difficult to determine.

    I also don't believe that "prices that are too low signal low value to consumers." That saying carries weight if you are dealing with a manufactured item like a car or a chair, where the low price means that lower quality materials and workmanship are used. But in books I have not found the same to be true. There are a few glaring exceptions, but by and large the quality of the self-published books that I've read rises easily to the level of the published works that I've read.
     
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  3. Martin Gill

    Martin Gill Well-Known Member

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    Digital changes the dynamics of access and scalability. Consumers have greater access. Unlike printing, it doesn't cost a publisher to produce "one more" ebook. If I were a publisher, I'd be experimenting. The beauty of digital is it also allows you to test pricing models very quickly, and it generates a ton of detailed data on the outcomes. Hire a data scientist, throw some different pricing models at Amazon, see what happens. Rinse, repeat. I haven't read the articLe but knowing how Amazon operates, that recommenspdation wont be made in absence of data.
     
  4. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    There area lot of ebooks that are priced comparable to - or even more expensive - than paperbacks. I find that ludicrous.
     
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  5. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Apparently there's a correction doing the rounds, as Amazon feels that Nagger was misquoted by the Daily Mail:
    Correcting the Record - Amazon's Naggar Tells Publishers to Slash eBook Prices ... to Help Unknown Authors | The Digital Reader

     
  6. Serendipity

    Serendipity Well-Known Member

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    In the big scheme of things, I would be considered an unknown-ish author certainly compared to the likes of Tricia Sullivan and Stephen Baxter. I certainly would not be happy to sell any of my e-published books at the lowest price, because for various reasons, I like to think I publish quality fiction. And price is one of the very few telltales that would suggest a book is written and published with quality in mind.
     
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  7. Stewart Hotston

    Stewart Hotston Well-Known Member

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    There's a superb piece on Amazon that is a long read but well worth your time.

    Go here: Amazon's Antitrust Paradox

    It puts any statements on the industry by Amazon (misquoted or not) in a very different context.
     
  8. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    Only way to sell books is to get people to read books. I price mine mid range but am happy to go cheap or free on offer from time to time. I have also always felt a trilogies first book should be free and very much hope to be able to do so at some stage :)
     
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  9. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Well-Known Member

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    If you cut them to $0.99, yes. But I'm always annoyed when I go to buy a book and find the paperback is $9.99 and the ebook is $14.99. So I buy the paperback, I have to go to a book store or wait for it to be delivered, and the publisher makes less money and the author probably makes less money.

    For authors whose books I've enjoyed in the past, I'll grudgingly pay up to $9.99 for an ebook. But if you're a first-time author I've never heard of, nope. Better be $4.99 or less, and most publishers won't do that.
     
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  10. ratsy

    ratsy www.scifiexplorations.com

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    I don't think this day and age, we can equate FREE or $0.99 books to less quality than a 4.99 one. I follow all the big Indie SF closely, and almost all of them launch books at 0.99, and run FREE promos, and all sorts of other things, that are cost effective to be reader magnets. Jo is 100% right. You will never sell books unless you get readers to try and hopefully like your stuff, so as much as some may balk at the idea, we have to play the game, otherwise be left sitting on the sidelines. Once you get a huge readership, then you can sell for whatever you want I suppose, within reason, but until then, we have to get visibility one way or another. And just lowering a book to 0.99 doesn't do that.
     
  11. The Bluestocking

    The Bluestocking Bloody Mary in Blue

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    Reader and e-book enthusiast from a developing nation with a weak currency weighing in here:

    I buy my e-books from Google Play* and I find that I tend to happily buy the e-book if it's mid-range in price (say, US$3 - US$5). We rarely get a US$0.99 deal here.

    However, when publishers charge more for e-books than they do for a hard copy (and some of those prices are RIDICULOUS - even more expensive than a new hardback edition), I stick it in my wish list to wait for the price to go down and then go look for some other book in the same genre that's priced more reasonably (and I buy that book instead).

    So if you're looking that the issue from a worldwide perspective, lower pricing works but that doesn't mean slashing the price down to nothing. It means being reasonable and setting moderate/middling prices that are maybe two to three dollars or pounds less than the hard copy edition.

    Readers want to support their favourite authors but we don't have bottomless bank accounts, especially readers in countries with weak currencies, so pricing it out of our range (and everyone's range, really) does nobody any good.

    * Google Play is the only major e-book retailer that's easily accessible in Southeast Asia at the moment because Amazon has really just set up an office in Singapore about a couple of months ago and trying to buy books and a Kindle is an expensive and circuitous palaver at the moment.

    The selection is not as wide-ranging as Amazon's selection but we make do...
     
  12. Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    That's pretty much exactly how I behave, particularly the walking away until they drop the price to something reasonable, which doesn't have to be as low at 0.99 (though that's always nice!). I'll do this even with an author I know and love, frustrating though that may be; there's plenty more good books out there waiting for me to read them.

    I would also add that a low price short term offer of say £0.99 will attract me as a buyer (especially to sample a new author) but a book whose price is permanently that low makes me suspicious. Pretty much every book priced that low, as opposed to being on offer that low, that I've bought and read (or tried to read) has been a major disappointment. I'm sure there are going to be some books priced that low that are good and worth reading but the only thing that'll get me buying them will be overwhelming recommendations from people I know. As an example my first Bernard Cornwell was a cheap introductory offer and I'm now quite happy paying £4-£6 for his books.
     
  13. Edward M. Grant

    Edward M. Grant Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's the difference. A $0.99 promo looks like a good deal. A novel that's permanently priced at $0.99 looks like a dumping ground.

    People often think that pricing as low as possible gets you the most customers. But, when I worked in the consumer electronics business, we often found we'd sell more by raising the price, because people who were looking at gizmos in the $200-300 price range weren't even considering our gizmo at $150, even though it was just as good as the others.
     
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  14. Chanel

    Chanel Member

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    I just posted a thread regarding this same subject, where people from other articles/threads on other sites were saying a low priced ebook means low quality. I think 2.99-3.99 is good for most ebooks with less than 200 pages. Longer books, I think 4.99-6.99 is good. I would never pay more than $8 for an ebook though, and that's from a known author. list prices of .99c-1.99 are good for short stories or children's books or running a sale.
     
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  15. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    I find it's authors and publishers mostly saying low price = low quality. I really haven't seen many readers saying this.

    As a reader, I wish ALL ebooks were 99 cents!! :D

    As a self-published author... I don't agree with that statement. ;)
     
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  16. Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    Perhaps you should say "at this time I would never pay...." because inflation and circumstances change over the years. ---- Not so many years ago I would never have imagined paying someone to deliver softener salt to my house, a few days ago I just signed on with such a service. (age and more available cash has changed my mind.)
     
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  17. Chanel

    Chanel Member

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    You're right about that. I just think it's odd when eBooks are priced high. paperbacks, I can understand because more work goes into those (printing/shipping ect) but eBooks, not really, so the only thing to really consider is page length, if one decides to be pricey. If your paperback is $15 and your eBook is 7.99, I'll just get the paperback.
     
  18. Parson

    Parson This world is not my home

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    There is more to consider than just page length. To produce an ebook you still have advertising and editing, and most of the other costs of a book other than the paper and printing. So an ebook half the price of a paperback might not be such an illogical cost. On the other hand I would almost always buy the ebook rather than the paperback. First, because they are almost always at least somewhat less expensive. Second, I find physical books a nuisance to carry around and store. And Third, I love having my latest novel on my phone to listen to or read whenever I have the chance.
     
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  19. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    My problem is when the paperback is $8.99 and the eBook is $11.99!!!
     
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  20. Chanel

    Chanel Member

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    If you're publishing a paperback along with an ebook, I wouldn't factor the cost of editing into an eBook price. If you ONLY have an ebook, maybe. I Prefer hardcovers and paperbacks. I don't read ebooks. I only went with that format because I know its popular, and they will sell in the long run. But my paperbacks are outselling my ebooks right now when it comes to customers I know personally who have bought a copy.
     
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