- Nov 2, 2007
- Reaction score
The big publishing houses are claiming that they cannot sell e-books for $9.99 profitably, but they DO sell mass-distribution paperbacks (which, although cheaper to produce than hardcovers, are more expensive to produce than e-books) for that much or less.
You are missing the point entirely.
There is a value, for some people, to buying a book when it comes out. That's why most people buy hardcovers, according to market research--the "buying soon after release" is a larger selling point for hardcovers than "likes the format."
So this is why publishers have routinely published the higher-priced hardcover first, then the lower-priced paperback. It's the same reason that car manufacturers drop the prices of the 2010 car models when the 2011 car models become available.
Macmillan wants to retain that advantage--to give people a choice to buy the new Dan Brown book or whatever for $24.95 list hardback or $14.99 list e-book during its first weeks and months of release. Then, when the $8.99 paperback becomes available, they may or may not choose to drop the e-book price to match that or go lower than that.
Amazon says "Nah, we're the biggest retailer, and we're going to set your prices or not carry any of your products."
"First, if Macmillan is issuing some e-books priced at $5.99, clearly the claim that they cannot make a profit issuing them at $9.99 is untrue.
Again, you are missing the point about TIMING.
"Second, if they are pricing the books from $12.99 up "at first release, concurrent with a hardcover," the obvious reason why they are doing so is to avoid competition between their two products. The same reason why some other publishing houses are delaying e-book issuance for some months after issuing the hardcover (although evidently Macmillan isn't one of those). It has nothing to do with the cost of production of the e-book, and to suggest that it does is disingenuous. Both the pricing of paperbacks, and the lower-end pricing of e-books issued by publishing houses, prove that what you're saying about cost of production and pricing necessity is untrue.
Again, you are missing the point that TIMING and the calculation that there is a market of people who are willing to pay a premium for quick access to new releases ARE A PART OF THE ENTIRE PROFIT AND FEASIBILITY PROJECTION PROCESS.
The actual per-unit physical production cost is only a small fraction of what it costs to put a book on the market. Yes, e-books have a somewhat smaller per-unit production cost, but it's not as much smaller as your argument implies.