Great NYT article on the e-book price controversy

Discussion in 'iPad' started by samcraig, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. GSV macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2007
    This article seems to imply that the result of the ebook price battle will be only higher prices. While true new releases will go up to 14.99, the prices will come down over time, to as low as 4.99, mirroring the price trend paper books follow. Don't want to pay more? Then just wait for the price to come down. Read something else while you wait.

    This is the problem. In many cases, Amazon was selling those ebooks at a loss, giving customers like this lady the impression that the book is only worth that much.

    I'm skeptical of what, if any, impact the indignation of these ebook buyers will have on the market, given that they make up about 1.5% of the market. There are millions of potential ebook buyers that have no experience with the old pricing model.
  2. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    This is the reality. For all intents and purposes the e-book market has not started yet. The number of people buying ebooks is much smaller than almost everyone thought. So what happened before is irrelevant, and people claiming they will not pay more than 9.99 are kidding themselves, if the product is more than that.

    The real marketplace will likely ramp up this year. However the other reality is there is not a real demand for ebooks and the marketplace never take off and books just turn into a small trickle niche market.

    I think the iPad will sell enough devices for the publishers to find out what the real market is for e-books. Kindle has not moved enough units for that to get fleshed out yet. With the combined sales of those devices and other devices, the truth will finally come out whether or not ebooks are viable and desired.

    Up until now the number of people buying them was so small as to be irrelevant. I include myself in those numbers.
  3. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Personally, I don't care too much about the price of the book. What I really can't wait for is the unification of the books to one central location. Right now Amazon does a good job, but it is far from complete. When I'm looking for a book, I want to go to one place find it, download it, and read it without having to jump through hoops getting books at different websites and for different readers and in different formats.

    I can't wait! Sure, maybe new books will be a bit higher, but the ease of finding and using books will be nicer.
  4. niuniu macrumors 68020


    Mar 29, 2009
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    At 14.99 I'm just not going to participate. Paperbacks are more enjoyable to hold and are tradeable via eBay or what have you when you have a clear-out.

    I was thinking more around the 5 or 6 dollar price and doing away with the Publishers with the digital media being used to massively boost the independant market using customer reviews and a rating system in the same way as Apps for example.
  5. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    I hope that the $14.99 price will only be for new books. Older books should/could be $4.99 or $5.99.
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    This is nice in principle, but look at the limited data available:

    1) Bookstores may discount books that get old and don't sell, but aside from publishing lower quality versions (e.g., paperback), there's no real history of the publisher lowering the price -- jacket price on a hardcover bestseller from 2000 is not substantially lower than the jacket price on a 2010 h/c bestseller, is it? And it's the publishers who are controlling the price in this agency model, whereas the store owner equivalent -- like Amazon -- now don't control the price.

    2) The closest digital analogy to this situation is variable pricing in music, and the dearth of $0.89 songs in the iTunes store seems to argue against anyone's intent to discount pricing to maintain sales.

    If it happens, then fine, I'm okay with it. I just don't trust the publishers to do this at all. Meanwhile, when I bought new hardcovers, they had an average price around $10... I didn't pay $15 for hardcovers. I'm fine with variable pricing, but in the case of the iTunes store, variable pricing just meant the average price went up, whether you buy old songs or new ones. I'm not okay with that. If the publishers will really discount progressively, I'll believe it when I see it.
  7. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    If I do a search for a popular artist on iTunes, their most recent album is 7.99, with previous albums being 4.99 or lower. It makes business sense to lower pricing over time. I'd be very surprised if the publishers chose not to compete on pricing.

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