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Does the Book Industry Want To Get Napstered?
Slate ^ | July 15, 2009 | Jack Shafer

Posted on 07/16/2009 6:07:04 PM PDT by re_tail20

If the publishers force Amazon to raise prices on e-books, that's what will happen.

The book publishers are in the process of picking a fight with Amazon and other sellers over the pricing of e-books. If the publishers are lucky, they'll lose. Here's why.

Publishers generally sell e-books to Amazon and its competitors for the same price they sell paper books to retailers—about half the list price of the paper version. Amazon and the others insist on selling most e-books for about $9.99, which pleases the publishers when the e-book retail price is close to that of the paper edition: Currently, Amazon is selling the $14 list paperback of The Big Sleep for $10.98 and the electronic Kindle version for $9.99.

The publishers dislike the rigidity of the e-book price, however, when the hardcover lists for $27.95 and Amazon sells it at a loss for $9.99. Why? For one thing, the publishers worry that the e-book vendors are robbing them of their ability to set prices by encouraging customers to think that every book should be priced at $9.99 and that further down the line this will take a bite out of their profit margins.

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: books; ebooks; internet; publishing

1 posted on 07/16/2009 6:07:04 PM PDT by re_tail20
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To: re_tail20

“If publishers insist on pushing prices too high and curbing availability, consumers could rebel—as they did with the sharing of MP3s—and normalize the trafficking of infringing e-books.”

I don’t think that’s what happened. Although prices maybe were too high, I don’t know. What I do know is that people downloaded the music for free simply because they could. If you can get something for free, and have little to fear from the law, you do it.


2 posted on 07/16/2009 6:12:20 PM PDT by Tublecane
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To: re_tail20

What a stupid idea on the parts of the publishers!


3 posted on 07/16/2009 6:13:51 PM PDT by Mamzelle (OBAMA MIND TRICK)
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To: re_tail20

Uh oh. Kindle plans on hold!


4 posted on 07/16/2009 6:19:52 PM PDT by T Minus Four (I'm not Jim Thompson but I play him on TV)
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To: T Minus Four

I think I will always prefer a paper back, on a cold rainy day to an electronic thinghy,,, *shrugs* I know Boortz loves his kindle tho.


5 posted on 07/16/2009 6:22:50 PM PDT by Mmogamer (<This space for lease>)
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To: re_tail20

I have a Amazon Kindle. The first style as a matter of fact. Right now there are close to 500 books on it and the memory card I added to it.

I get books from Amazon and from Baen.com. Of the two Baen is the more reasonably priced.

I really enjoy this method of reading books and quite frankly I was running out of room for all my books. So as long as the price stays reasonable, (as in near paperback price range), I will continue to purchase books via this manner.

Actually it’s only my reference books and “How to..” books that I still buy on paper. The accompanying pictures and graphs just look better on paper.


6 posted on 07/16/2009 6:27:52 PM PDT by The Working Man (Any work is better than "welfare")
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To: Tublecane

“What I do know is that people downloaded the music for free simply because they could.”

I think it evolved into that. In the beginning stages of Napster, though, something unprecedented occurred—the instant sharing of a huge catalogue of out-of-print music. For the aficionados it was a dream come true and a spontaneous event. Reality had to break through, but that initial event was like a genie out of the bottle.


7 posted on 07/16/2009 6:29:09 PM PDT by avenir (OBAMA SAY: Sooner murder an infant in its womb than nurse unacted desires!)
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To: Mamzelle

I write technical articles, science fiction books, short stories of all kinds (and just published an Obama joke book on Amazon Kindle).

I had to argue with publishers to put Kindle editions out. When printing prices went up, Kindle sales did, too. For some titles, Kindle sales are now the only sales. I like it, because it means there are still sales.

I’d rather make less money per digital edition than no money from print.


8 posted on 07/16/2009 6:30:06 PM PDT by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Humanity's Edge" - on amazon.com)
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To: Mmogamer
I agree. I don't think the comparison is valid: recorded music by its nature is an electronic format, books are not.

I make a living designing websites, but I much prefer reading books on paper, especially fiction.

I get my news and ¾ of my information online.

9 posted on 07/16/2009 6:32:51 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (The University of Notre Dame's motto: "Kill our unborn children? YES WE CAN!")
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To: The Working Man

I’m saving my bucks for a Kindle.....thinking it will be a great way to read, so I don’t have to haul a bunch of books around with me.....and, like you, I think it’ll save room...we already have too many books that we can’t bear to part with. Thanks for your info.


10 posted on 07/16/2009 6:34:18 PM PDT by goodnesswins (WHO is Jim Thompson?)
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To: re_tail20

I can already find just about any book free online in .pdf format. Once a book is released in paperback I’ll buy it to add to my library.


11 posted on 07/16/2009 6:40:10 PM PDT by Teflonic
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To: re_tail20
I have hundreds of books. I like the idea of Kindle, and expect to buy one, or something similar, someday. However, the price is too high.

In addition to the price of the Kindle, the price per book is higher than paperbacks. I'm pretty sure that the cost of "printing" an ebook is lower than for paperbacks. I no longer buy many paperbacks, because I am running low on shelf space. I have over 150 linear feet of bookshelf space, in my house, and simply don't want to add any more.

When I start buying electronic books, I will buy many more, and the publishers, authors, and book stores, will make much more money off me. All they need to do is adopt a pricing model that is somewhat related to costs.

12 posted on 07/16/2009 7:33:33 PM PDT by 3niner (When Obama succeeds, America fails.)
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To: 3niner

I’m waiting, too. I don’t believe that it will be long.


13 posted on 07/16/2009 7:37:04 PM PDT by bannie
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To: re_tail20

If amazon is paying half the list price for e-book versions, as the article indicate, then using a list price of $27.95, amazon is paying approx $14. If amazon is selling this book at $9.99, which I doubt, then they are losing money.


14 posted on 07/16/2009 7:37:08 PM PDT by rawhide
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: avenir

I loved finding songs like the original “The Big Rock Candy Mountain”! There were things on there which I believed might have disappeared. It was amazing.


16 posted on 07/16/2009 7:40:12 PM PDT by bannie
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: re_tail20

Anyone who buys an E-book for the same price as a real book deserves what they get.


18 posted on 07/16/2009 7:58:27 PM PDT by wafflehouse (RE-ELECT NO ONE !)
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To: rawhide

Not if the purchaser picks up one or two of the millions of other items Amazon sells.

http://listverse.com/2008/01/29/top-10-bizarre-things-you-can-buy-on-amazon/


19 posted on 07/16/2009 8:04:00 PM PDT by listenhillary (90% of our problems could be resolved with a government 10% of the size it is now.)
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To: The Working Man

I’ve got the Sony eBook. Actually, I’m on my second one because I got the new model for my birthday and handed the old one down to my wife. There’s nothing better for someone like me who travels a lot. New releases cost around $14, tens of thousands of free books are available, and most of my reference books come with electronic copies.


20 posted on 07/16/2009 8:04:26 PM PDT by Doohickey (I try to take my days one at a time, but occasionally several days attack me at once.)
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To: richace

I’ll give you $9.99 for it.


21 posted on 07/16/2009 8:05:11 PM PDT by listenhillary (90% of our problems could be resolved with a government 10% of the size it is now.)
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To: rawhide

re: “Amazon sells it at a loss for $9.99”

The article says Amazon is selling at a loss.


22 posted on 07/16/2009 8:43:52 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (God Bless America!)
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To: bannie
re: I loved finding songs like the original

Amen! I used to spend hours perusing the offerings looking for things I recall from my days in AM radio during the early years of my life.

And from a purely technical standpoint it was truly amazing, especially for those days! Too bad it was used so widely to flaunt intellectual property rights. It's one thing to share a very rare, otherwise totally unavailable, recording and something else entirely to deprive the writers, producers and performers of their due.

I guess there's actually very little that can be used for good that can't also be used for bad. Call me Capt. Obvious.

I use the current Napster and happily pay for the access provided. I have several playlists, each designed for a different mood, occasion or task. I rarely look for a song I can't find. The latest being the original One Tin Soldier.

23 posted on 07/16/2009 8:51:38 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (God Bless America!)
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To: jwparkerjr

I missed that. Thanks.


24 posted on 07/16/2009 8:52:30 PM PDT by rawhide
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To: rawhide

Just shows you have a good grasp of the business! I only pointed it out to confirm your suspicions.


25 posted on 07/16/2009 8:59:15 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (God Bless America!)
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To: Tublecane

When Napster started offering downloads the music industry did not even offer downloadable music. Your choice was to get it from Napster or not at all.


26 posted on 07/16/2009 9:03:57 PM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: jwparkerjr

Do they have the really old, good stuff????

:-)

(Did you know that our very own Freeper’s Canteen shares great stuff on Saturdays!)


27 posted on 07/16/2009 9:40:06 PM PDT by bannie
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To: bannie
re: really old, good stuff????

Not really. They have only cuts that are currently available. They certainly have enough to keep me happy, but I've found nothing as great as the original Napster. Another thing I liked about Napster back then were the forums. You could get help remembering a song. Just describe it and almost certainly someone, somewhere would know and usually even give you hint as to where to find it.

28 posted on 07/17/2009 4:21:48 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Palin Must GO! to the white house)
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To: goodnesswins

Oh, Yes! I did forget to put in this part.

I can read FreeRepublic.com Anywhere, Anytime. (Where I am in range of a cell tower that is!) And I don’t pay extra fees for that ability.

So just for that capability the Kindle is worth it’s price to me. And the new ones are only $299. Quite frankly it’s that price that tends to make a person very responsible when using a Kindle. Who wants to break it or leave it laying around for someone to take. (Like the Kids!)


29 posted on 07/17/2009 4:37:24 AM PDT by The Working Man (Any work is better than "welfare")
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To: Mmogamer

There is nothing like a real book, I agree. But I may do some traveling in the coming years. And I would like to have several translations of the bible with me all of the time.


30 posted on 07/17/2009 7:34:39 AM PDT by T Minus Four (I'm not Jim Thompson but I play him on TV)
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To: re_tail20

Kindle sucks.


31 posted on 07/17/2009 7:35:48 AM PDT by Antoninus (I hereby pledge not to allow media whores to pick the GOP candidate in 2012.)
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To: Antoninus

Agreed. I prefer real books and a library card, thank you very much. Just keep me away from the bargain tables.


32 posted on 07/17/2009 7:44:16 AM PDT by Desdemona (True Christianity requires open hearts and open minds - not blind hatred.)
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To: jwparkerjr
Yes...and talking to others about the good old stuff would ignite a memory, leading to another almost forgotten song. Alas...I thought it would last forever. ;-)

A perfect storm: They're hard to find.

33 posted on 07/17/2009 9:25:00 AM PDT by bannie
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