Tag Archives: Ebook pricing

More Restriction leads to higher Piracy!!

One thing that publishers have to start understand is that the tighter control they try to put on the ebook industry by

1. Controlling the release of the books as ebooks

2. Controllling the price of ebooks

3. Controlling the ebooks access through DRM

would give users enough motive for pirating these contents. Several experiments in the music and Movie has clearly shown that together control on the distribution of these media content lead to an increased activity on P2P sites. Read this paper on SSRN

Publishers should work with Authors and Retailers to come up with a economical model that would duly compensate everyone without restricting the end users much.

Read More here

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3 Reasons Why E-Book Failed In 2000 And What It Means For 2010

There is no doubt that 2010 has a lot to gain from the e-book industry. There are six e-book devices (Kindle, Nook, iPad etc) in the market and more soon to be released. As per predictions from a major business magazine up to seven million of these devices will be offered for sale next year.

Moreover, one of the major consulting firms have predicted that e-book sales will account for close to 10 percent of the the publishing market in five years. Clearly that indicates the rate at which more and more publishers will switch to electronic book publishing.

But this was not the case in the year 2000. Here are a few reasons for what went wrong in 2000 for the e-book industry and how could those mistakes be avoided in2010.

1. Lack of sufficient e-books – One of the mindsets that users of e-book devices had and still have is that if they don’t get to read all the books (literally all books under the sun) on their device then the worth of the device starts losing its value. If voracious readers are asked how many books would they like to read on their e-book device they would just say all (else there is no point spending hundreds of dollars on the device).

But in 2000 there weren’t much e-books available. They were expensive to covert to an e-book format and publishers were too reluctant to think in those terms. Today, the scenario is different – far better (although much scope to improve). Almost all of the top 10 New York Time Bestsellers were available in e-book format. Although some issues around the availability is the timing. Barnes & Nobles had 15 books i its Coming Soon List but made only 6 out of those 15 were made available in eb–k format the same time as the print release. That still is and will continue to be a huge concern for users and this is somethig the ebook industry should be careful about.

Another concern that needs to be addressed is the gaps in the way the books are available. For example many of the books of popular authors are not available in the Kindle store but are available in Nook device. There needs to be some consistency here in order to increase the e-book adoption rate.

2. Pricing – In 2000 many of the ebooks were priced the same as their print versions. But the way a user percieves a hardcover book is different from the way he would look at an e-book. Hardcover  books gives a nice feeling, has more substance and they can keep it in their book shelves to show how tasteful they are. But all of this is missing in an e-book. Moreover, due to the same reason the cost of publishing an ebook is much lower as compared to  a paperback/hardcover.  So why not pass on that cost saving to the users. keeping the same price is definitely not justfiable.

Amazon had been trying to resolve this by pricing the ebooks much lower than their print versions but this arrangement could not be carried on due to challenges raised by Macmillan. And now Apple also in a way supporting what Macmillan had been asking for the industry is shifting towards agency model pricing (where the publisher and NOT the retailers decide the price of the ebook at which the retailers will have to sell to the end users).  Pricing still remains a big topic of debate in 2010.

3. Poor Marketing – One of the ways by which a market for tech prodcucts are created is by identifying a groups of users and some of the problems they are facing and then trying to solve their problem with the product. I am not sure if ebook had succeded in filling up this gap back in 2000. But even now I am not sure if that need for an ebook device/reader is felt very highly. I think most of the buzz and envestment in the ebook industry is still being driven a lot by strategy than by user needs. Its just that ebooks are considered to be a huge area of oportunity and so all publishers and electronic companies are jumping into making their own device just to be sure to take full benefits of the opportunity. I think the need/benefit for an ebook needs to be better pronounced. Check out Amazon’s announcement of why one should use kindle – Point to see is that it lists all the features but not the benefits to the users.

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Ebook Pricing War Between Apple and Amazon – Who Will Win Publishers or Amazon

As we all know book publishing industry is going through one of the biggest industry defining change in last 100+ years. When the industry seemed all ready to go ahead with the ebooks (with Amazon successfully launching and selling kindle and kindle books) Apple decide to disrupt the party with its announcement of launch of iBook Store through iPad and by signing Agency model (a pricing mode were publishers decide at what price they want to sell their books to the end users contrary to the normal distribution deal that publishers had with Amazon where publishers sell these books to Amzon at normal discount on list price and Amazon can sell it to publisher at whatever price) deal with Top 5 publishers (all the top except Random House)

The ebook pricing model is going through an interesting time with Apple trying to talk to publisher (both small and big) to go for agency model (which means 70% for publisher & 30%  for retailer split) and get an assurance that they will not sell the same book at a lower price through any other retailer (read Amazon). Amazon on the other hand has made it clear that it is not going to sign Agency model deal with any one except the Top 5 Apple publishers. This has left Publishers in a dilemma.If they go for Agency model with Apple they will not be able to sell through Amazon because Apple deal will not allow them to sell the same ebook at a lower price anywhere else and if they do not sell through Apple then they are increasing the power of Amazon even more.

The solution to this stalemate is

1. Apple becomes more flexible and decides to have a mix of both Agency and normal wholesale model (offer similar revenue split for agency and normal wholesale model i.e. 70%/30%)

2. or Amazon is fine with Publishers doing Agency agreement for ebooks sales.

Next few months are going to be really interesting as Amazon will try its best to use its clout in print books to arm twist mid and small publishers in staying away from Agency model and Apple will try its best to make its ebook offering best by having as many publishers in the program as possible. The third big player in this game is Google. It will interesting to see which way will Google go with its Google Editions offering.

Lets wait and watch and enjoy the game. My bets are on Amazon 🙂

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Filed under Book Retailers, Ebook Readers, Ebooks, Publishers & Authors

What Stops Users From Buying an Ebook

American Editor recently ran a poll to figure out what stops users from buying an ebook. The results are out and no surprises.

1. 57% of the users feel that they are not comfortable buying ebooks due to DRM restrictions set by publishers

2. 26% of the publishers think that pricing of ebooks above $9.99 is detrimental in them buying an ebook. This seems to support the argument given in a recent NYT article about ebook pricing which was condemned by publishers.

3.  8% of the respondednt think that price  greater than $4.99 is an issue.

Clearly, the sweet spot for ebooks lies somewhere between $ 3.99 and $9.99. Now its upto publishers, Google, Apple and Amazon to use their brain power to figure out what price they want to support.

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places to get ebooks from for your ebook readers

1) Mobipocket

Catalogue :  65,000 titles
Price :$14
Formats : Mobi
Exception: Nook, Sony Reader

2) Project Gutenberg

Catalogue: 30,000 titles
Price: Not Available
Formats: ePub, Mobi, HTML
Exceptions: None

3) CyberRead

Catalogue: 310,000 titles
Price: $14
Formats: ePub, PDF, Mobi
Exceptions: None

4) Waterstone’s

Catalogue: 21,000
Price: Not Available
Formats: ePub
Exceptions: Kindle

5) eBooks.com

Catalogue: Unknown
Price: $14
Formats: ePub, PDF, Mobi
Exceptions: None

6) Cambridge University Press

Catalogue: Small
Price: Not Available
Formats: ePub, PDF, Mobi
Exceptions: None

7) Diesel

Catalogue: 1.4 million
Price: $14
Formats: PDF, Mobi
Exceptions: None

8 ) Powells

Catalogue: Unknown
Price: $12.43
Formats: ePUB & ACS4
Exceptions: Kindle

9) Penguin

Catalogue: 3171
Price: Not available
Formats: ePUB
Exceptions: Kindle

10) Epic

Catalogue: Unknown
Price: $14
Formats: Mobi
Exceptions: Nook, Sony Reader
source

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Ads in ebooks?

People in industry are already trying to come up with alternative pricing model for the ebooks. Most of the players in the indstry do not believe that Amazon’s $9.99 pricing would duely compensate authors and publishers. Dont be surprised if you soon see ads possing up when you are reading your $9.99 book on your reader.

“Newspaper, magazine and blog publishers will also be able to sell and integrate display advertising alongside the content that Skiff delivers, adding value for consumers and marking the maturation of e-reading into a mainstream media type.”

Full Story here

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