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 Post subject: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Saggy Butt

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I have a cookbook addiction, and I like to support bloggers I enjoy by buying their e-books, but they seem to be so much more expensive (on a per recipe basis) than physical cookbooks! This makes no sense to me. Today I ran across the Love Raw blog, and her amazing-looking chocolate torte thing: http://loveraw.blogspot.com/2010/07/god ... _7113.html. I want it. But the e-book is $24, for 20 recipes! Few physical raw dessert books cost that much, and they'd have a lot more recipes. If it had been $10, I'd have bought it, but not at that price. Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:59 pm 
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Has Isa on speed dial
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I have no idea i always thought the idea of an e-book was that u could have it with u wherever u went AND that it was cheaper than a physical book. I'm a big fan of physical books especially when it comes to cookbooks. I wouldnt spend over 20 dollars on an e-book, i've heard good things about Ani's raw desserts cookbook and its only about 11 dollars for the physical book and hopefully cheaper for the e-book.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:42 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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I actually know this one!

For mainstream book production, they cost about the same to produce by the publisher (needs to be edited, typeset, maybe illustrated, proofed), so there are a lot of people who need to be paid along the way. This is all affects the wholesale price. On top of this, add DRM, reformatting for non-print media, rights to images again (because it's a different medium) and about 5% to swallow a credit card possessing fee (every time you pay by Visa/Whatever, it costs the seller money) and you have a tiny profit margin. So, it might be greed, but it's also because they aren't all that profitable in the first place.

In the UK, they are also currently taxed at 20% (standard VAT) while print books are tax-free (because books are awesome), so there is that as well, here.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:49 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Yeah, only a relatively small fraction of the cost is for the physical object. Even the price differential between mass market paperback books and the hardcover versions has little to do with cost of the materials, and more to do with the fact that the investment for a book has already been recouped with the initial hardcover sales.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:55 am 
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Discovered unobtainium
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It's mostly greed because even the maintstream publishers who are participating in the agency price gouging don't actually put any effort into proofing and formatting their ebooks. I have bought so many kindle ebooks that are total crap--and these have been best selling titles! Some of them they eventually fix and replace, but when I pay $18 for a new NYT best selling hardcover nonfiction as an ebook, I should not have to deal with that.

It is absurd that ebooks cost MORE than the paperback or hardback.

Whoops. Didn't mean to rant, but I'd like to switch to ebooks, but I can't as long as I can go to Costco and get the physical book cheaper. I'm on a budget here. And while ebooks have their own built in costs and don't magically produce themselves for free, I find it hard to believe that they cost more than a physical hardback book that will be sold at a discount and ultimately be remaindered for $6.

A mystery novel that is $4.39 at Target is $7.99 for the ebook.

They need to take a clue from the music industry and also allow retailers to discount. If you can discount a hard copy, you can damn well discount the bits and bytes version too.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:27 am 
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Saggy Butt

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I know the publishers excuses for why e-books aren't as cheap as they should be, but that doesn't explain why e-books, either from mainstream publishers or from bloggers selling their own, are MORE expensive than the physical books. Or why e-books have gone up in price (new Kindle books used to be $10, now they're $13 or even $15), which strikes me and many others as pure greed. And you know the authors aren't getting that extra money. For me, it means using my library a lot more, because I don't want to give them any of my money. It's stupid and self-defeating, because they should want someone who reads as much as I do to say, oh, that book's just $4/6/8/10, I'll just go ahead and buy it, rather than, hmm, that sounds interesting, I wonder if my library has it.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:43 am 
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Using your library more is not a bad thing! And a lot of libraries allow you to "check out" ebooks for free, though they don't work with kindles.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:16 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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I'm wondering if the blogger has such an expensive price on their book because developing raw food recipes are so expensive, especially desserts. I imagine cooked food cookbooks also cost a ton to develop, but I've calculated some of the more elaborate raw desserts I've run across at $20 or more to make. Mess each recipe up a few times trying to get them just right and it would really add up. I looked at the link you posted and it does look like a beautiful book. $24 does seem pricy to me, but it's hard to price your own work. If she's doing it all on her own I imagine she's not overpricing her work...sometimes I think other cookbooks I buy are underpriced.

Now the agency model that lavawitch is talking about is a whole other story and infuriates me. The only remotely logical reason I've seen to have a standard price for ebooks is to give small bookstores a chance...which if they really cared about I imagine they (publishing companies) would have done something to help small bookstores before now.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:58 am 
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Kristen Suzanne has a raw desserts e-book that is a much better value - 12.95 for 71 recipes. Her blog is at: http://kristensraw.com/blog/ if you'd like to take a look. All of her e-books are listed on the left-hand side. She has a chocolate book, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:51 am 
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Saggy Butt

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I have Kristen Suzanne's books, I bought them as a set awhile back. They're good - still not a big fan of hemp seeds, but her book helped!


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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akasha wrote:
Or why e-books have gone up in price (new Kindle books used to be $10, now they're $13 or even $15), which strikes me and many others as pure greed...


Because initially Amazon was selling ebooks at a loss, essentially subsidizing book sales with the income from the hardware. The goal was to undercut all the other ebook retailers, get everyone to purchase this proprietary hardware that can be used only with their own book format, and then jack up the price once they had cornered the market.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:39 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Dr. Apricot wrote:
Using your library more is not a bad thing! And a lot of libraries allow you to "check out" ebooks for free, though they don't work with kindles.

They're talking about this being an option by the end of the year. I hope so!

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:36 pm 
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Saggy Butt

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Quote:
Because initially Amazon was selling ebooks at a loss, essentially subsidizing book sales with the income from the hardware. The goal was to undercut all the other ebook retailers, get everyone to purchase this proprietary hardware that can be used only with their own book format, and then jack up the price once they had cornered the market.


I certainly wouldn't put it past them, but that's not what happened, this was the publishers decision: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/techn ... eader.html. And you don't have to have a Kindle to read the books, there are free apps available for every device you could have.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Baking In The Flavor
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Gulliver wrote:
I actually know this one!

For mainstream book production, they cost about the same to produce by the publisher (needs to be edited, typeset, maybe illustrated, proofed), so there are a lot of people who need to be paid along the way. This is all affects the wholesale price. On top of this, add DRM, reformatting for non-print media, rights to images again (because it's a different medium) and about 5% to swallow a credit card possessing fee (every time you pay by Visa/Whatever, it costs the seller money) and you have a tiny profit margin. So, it might be greed, but it's also because they aren't all that profitable in the first place.

In the UK, they are also currently taxed at 20% (standard VAT) while print books are tax-free (because books are awesome), so there is that as well, here.


While this may be true, it acutally costs less to make an ebook, because they are more or less made from the final digital copy that the writer presents to the publisher. After that very little work needs to be done. And often the rights and other issues are part of the same contract, so you really don't need to pay for the rights a second time on any images. The DRM costs are neglible, once you get to a certain volume. The reformatting is done in a computer and it can be automated with scripts most likely, so no human contact and you only need to make one copy that other sites link to for the download.

I read something a long time ago (but don't remember where, unfortunately) that ebooks have a higher profit margin simply due to not having printing, shipping and wharehouse costs. This blog post I found from a Google search, puts things nicely in perspective (and read the comments).

http://selfpublishingreview.blogspot.co ... paper.html


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:54 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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akasha wrote:
Quote:
Because initially Amazon was selling ebooks at a loss, essentially subsidizing book sales with the income from the hardware. The goal was to undercut all the other ebook retailers, get everyone to purchase this proprietary hardware that can be used only with their own book format, and then jack up the price once they had cornered the market.


I certainly wouldn't put it past them, but that's not what happened, this was the publishers decision: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/techn ... eader.html. And you don't have to have a Kindle to read the books, there are free apps available for every device you could have.


The price increase was pushed through by the publishers (ahead of schedule), but the artificially low cost for Amazon ebooks beforehand was what I was referring to: Amazon was losing two to three dollars on every book sale just to kickstart the kindle market. And yes, you can use calibre or something to convert other file formats to a kindle compatible version (as long as they aren't DRM protected), but I imagine most kindle owners aren't that savvy: http://www.bnet.com/blog/technology-bus ... media/1180

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:21 pm 
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The cost of printing is only maybe 20% of the cost of a book, so you're not saving much by e-publishing versus print publishing, especially since you're likely paying someone to convert the final product and possibly someone to proof that work, even if they don't do a great job at proofing.

I worked in e-edition proofing for a while, and we did a terrible job because it wasn't possible to proof the amount of material we needed to do and do a good job. And I still ended up losing the job because we were bleeding money. And believe me, I wasn't well-paid and we weren't spending much on offices and supplies. I had to bring my own pen because they wouldn't supply them.

Eventually the publishing industry will switch to formatting directly for e-books rather than converting the hardcopy into an e-edition, but we just aren't there yet. People never want to pay as much for electronic versions of things, whether it's music, news, movies, or books, but it still costs a lot to make these things.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:49 pm 
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There's this pervasive assumption that the price of some good is deeply grounded in the cost to bring it to market.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:20 pm 
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Writes Vegan Haiku

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I love e-book, because it is exist digitally. Its mean, we can save that e-book as long as we want, the quality is the same. If we want to print it, just click print. That's it....
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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:16 am 
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E-books are available at our local library. Mind you a fake demand is created via only allowing one e-book to be downloaded at a time. But you should be able to process a request for a new e-book title just as you would a paper back.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:08 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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B_A_D wrote:
E-books are available at our local library. Mind you a fake demand is created via only allowing one e-book to be downloaded at a time. But you should be able to process a request for a new e-book title just as you would a paper back.


My library has e-books, too. Well, kind of. They share 2-3 "copies" of each e-book with something like 20 other libraries meaning I haven't been able to find a single book I want available and there are often wait lists of 10-15 people for relatively popular books. What I really find most intriguing about ebooks (in general) are the indie authors who are doing well sans publishers. I'm really glad for them, but I also really wonder what this means for the future of publishing in general.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:21 am 
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Yeah wait lists can suck.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:49 pm 
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Russell James is an amazing raw chef and has generously been offering his e-books according to what people can afford to pay.
I bought the entire 6 book collection because the recipes are delicious and it was too affordable to pass up.
The link to his video about why he chose to do this and where you can buy the books:
http://therawchef.com/rawfood-ebook.html


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:27 am 
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Another vote to check out your library. It probably doesn't work so well for a small blogger's book which the library has never heard of to add to their list, but I've had good luck finding more popular ones for download at my local library. I just checked out Artisan Vegan Cheeses a few days ago


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 Post subject: Re: Why are e-books so expensive?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:34 am 
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Pout. I want to see Allison Rivers Samson's book but it's $15 for 10 recipes! And that's the sale price! I kind of wish it was like buying single songs from iTunes and I could only buy the recipes I want, because I only really want two of them. But really, who would spend $15 on a tiny little flyer of 10 recipes at a bookstore? Not I. It wouldn't even be checked out of a library.


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