Sunday, April 05, 2009

What would you pay for an e-book?

Oh I like this question...because to be honest there is no way I would pay almost 10 dollars for an e-book. There is no cost in transport or storage (physical...I know, web space isn't cheap) or printing. I know, the authors must be paid and the publisher and retailer must make a profit, but like extended service contracts....I am not going to buy something that is excessively over priced.

Meanwhile, according to a posting on SF Signal, new genre publisher Angry Robot Books will be producing eBook versions of every title they publish. They are trying to determine a fair price. To that end, they have posted a survey.

So if you're interested in e-books and want to have a say, possibly, on the cost of future e-books, take a jaunt over to the questionnaire at

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Y4iB2688Jzn_2bZiJ69a3AIQ_3d_3d


8 comments:

Beam Me Up said...

The article mentioned that type of fee structure and ultimately realized that it was a system predetermined to failure. For the "dead tree" version you have a price that is set by production which in the ebook does not exsist nor does distribution, or materials. To roll these prices back into an ebook is going to incur exactly what Amazon is already finding out. Buyers are all but boycotting the 9.99 prices. My family has been in wholesale and production for years. We learned long ago that if you try to make you money on high price low volume you will fail. The only way an ebook is going to pay everyone and pay everyone very well is to move as many units as fast as you can and that means pricing the hardware AND the software low. Look to the successful business models already in place. Politicking and soap boxing aside, the reason they are successful is in volume.

Hikaru said...

Took the survey. Can you say stupidly created with stupid questions and leading answers. One of the questions was how much are you willing to pay for a ebook. $1, $2, $3, $4, and so on. How stupid. The answers is, it depends. A 400 page paper back, that the paper retail copy list for $8 or so dollars, maybe $1 or $2 dollars. For Twilight, Amazon wants $6.04 for the ebook or the paperback book. Let's get real here. For $6 bucks, I'll take the paperback. For $1 or $2 dollars I'd go with the ebook. For textbooks costing $100, maybe I'd go to $20. Definitely buy at $10, maybe even buy both. ebooks should cost a lot less. There is no printing costs, distribution costs, stocking costs, shelf space cost, etc, etc. Pass the savings on to the consumer, and the consumer will respond. Price at stupidly high prices, and the consumer either downloads it for free, or gets the paper copy. Enough said.

Beam Me Up said...

Ok, maybe a bit simplistic in the questions, however without a reference point, those new to the concept of ebooks may not conceptualize where the expenses are truly generated. At one point remember car prices were considered on how many horses they replaced based on the horsepower of the engine. (I know, grossly over simplified but you can see the point I am aiming at) without some sort or equity consumers really can't make an informed decision. I really think it is all moot though because in the end the price WILL be market driven. And that will be relative worth. A hundred dollar text book that can be had for 20 as an ebook...sure! Basing the cost on pages will not work though - just because it's an antiquated system based on tangible goods. Now if you are buying a hard copy then yes...a large book will have to cost more than the average tome.

Mr.H said...

I think most consumers see e-books as highly ephemeral things... more like really long emails or pay-per-view movies. I think something close to the retail DVD price vs. the pay-per-view movie price is around the right ratio. That's somewhere in the range of 1/4th to 1/6th of hard-copy pricing, so a $30 book should run you $5 or less as an e-book. Any more than that and I think consumers are going to (mostly) take a pass...

zysmith said...

The easiest way to price e-books would be to take the printed version, subtract fixed cost to find profit, add fixed cost of storing/distributing the e-book and viola! Same profit at a lower cost to the consumer. Anything more is simple profiteering, anything less is the public looking for a handout. Profit on printed books is pretty tight but more people will buy with the greater acceptance of e-books so you end up making more in the end.

Beam Me Up said...

Pretty much my thoughts ZY.
Its still going to be volume over shot term gain though. Striking while the irons hot so to speak. I am still wondering about people buying the hard version if they are exposed to the e copy first. Of course there will always be those that, as in the movie industry there are those that will buy a dvd after seeing the movie, will buy the book in hard copy as well. I am willing to bet that this would be the exception though.

zysmith said...

Beam,

I am one of those who buys the DVD and would likely purchase hard copies of some books. I would read a more eclectic variety if the prices of e-books were low. It would, IMHO, allow people to try new authors and genres.

Beam Me Up said...

ZY
that is the way I am approaching it now! If I didn't have the electronic editions of an author's work, I suspect that I would not even be aware of some of the authors that are now regulars on the program. However if the electronic versions are only a few percentages of the hard price.... Well to be honest, I am not likely to try either. I was hoping the large digest science fiction magazines would have thought this aspect through. I was very excited when I heard that Analog and Asimov's were going to be offering electronic versions. But when I found out that the prices were not that dissimilar, well, to be honest, I don't get either now.