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(CNN)   DOJ doubles down on anti-Apple ebook derp   (tech.fortune.cnn.com) divider line 121
    More: Stupid, Apple Inc., DOJ, e-books, cherry-picks, public comment  
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7388 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 Jul 2012 at 8:56 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-24 12:24:09 AM

Riche: RexTalionis: ApatheticMonkey: I like physical books; They look good on the shelf. Also, I'm not sure what a hardcover with DRM would look like.

All the pages are printed with a scrambled code that looks like a massive, complex QR barcode.

The pages are unique and can only be unscrambled by a unique key that can be installed into only one person's head mounted display.

Once the unique key is installed on reader's head mounted display, the head mounted display replaces the scrambled code with text via augmented reality.

Tada - DRM'ed printed hardcover books.

Actually, a "D"RM hardback book would be a book kept in a locked away area in a special library. To read "your" book, you have to show ID to the librarian and, if your name is on the authorized list, then you are allowed to read the book-- but only in a specific locked room. No taking the book with you when you leave, of ourselves.


Does that make the Ferarri FXX the first DRM car?
 
2012-07-24 12:28:09 AM

Dear Jerk: Apple is forcing competitors to compete on something other than price,


such as what?
 
2012-07-24 12:35:03 AM
User experience.
 
2012-07-24 12:48:38 AM
What do they actually, you know, do these days? I mean, promotion, fine, and also editing, but there are other ways to do both. Even more than record companies, it seems to me that publishers are in a business that has no future. They provide no essential services and the artists they depend on don't really need them.

You pretty much nailed it - editing and promotion. Yes, it's easy to self-publish... but how many self-publishers are skipping the editing process entirely, or just having a friend/relative give it a "once over?" A good editor was worth their weight in gold before the self-publishing revolution... I'd value them at platinum now.

Maybe that's what will replace publishing companies. Instead of a handful of big-box publishers, we'll have a couple hundred small "labels" for ebooks. Each "label" would focus on certain types of books/certain markets, their editors will be the best at editing books in those categories, and everyone within the label works together to promote themselves and each others' work.
 
2012-07-24 01:01:50 AM

Dear Jerk: Apple is forcing competitors to compete on something other than price.


I think the point here is that Apple isn't allowed to say to competitors: "You're not allowed to compete on price".
 
2012-07-24 01:19:35 AM
annika.mu.nu
 
2012-07-24 02:14:19 AM
Apple fanboyism or DOJ derpiness aside, Apple and many others broke the law in a significant way, here. It's not more complicated than that. Saying, "A competitor has a monopoly!" does not give legal grounds to violate existing laws.
 
2012-07-24 02:40:09 AM

Dear Jerk: Apple has a right to set their terms. No publisher is forced to sell through Apple. Publishers recognize that Apple's platform is where profit lies, and Apple is forcing competitors to compete on something other than price, which they can't. There is no collusion. Apple simply kicked everyone's butt.

I don't buy e-books. They're too expensive. I have yet to regret not having an e-copy of some book.


Pretty sure publishers appear to be making more or less the same amount. When iBook began, it was a well known fact that the book were sold at a higher price, but publisher were getting less money due to Apple's cut. But they did it anyway because they hate Amazon.
 
2012-07-24 02:56:02 AM

ApatheticMonkey: My point is, if Kobo goes under, any books I have with them, I most likely won't have access to. If my Kobo breaks, and I want to get a Kindle, I won't have access to any of my epubs, because the Kindle can't read them. If I buy a hard copy, I'm good as long as I take care of my stuff. (And no, I'm not reading on a tablet.)


Shrug.

I read on my Android. Works fine. Aldiko.

InmanRoshi: Here the publishing and book industry has been blessed with this manna from heaven. A way to make books more accessible and relevant than ever ... and instead they price themselves out of the public's entertainment dollar. The publishers and distributors don't seem to grasp they aren't competing against each other, they're competing against every alternative for a customers finite amount of money and time. Absolutely no reason why Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com shouldn't have something the equivalent of Steam's Summer Sale promotion where people are allowed to stock up on eBooks 75% or 80% of cover price just to make books relevant and on the tip of people's tongues again. I neurotically check Amazon's ebook deal of the day daily, and that's just for the sale of one book.


THIS.

Christ. My aunt got a Kindle for Christmas and asked me to look up The Firm for her (whatever). It was $12 iirc, and in her hand she had a paperback copy she had bought for a freaking dollar. She juts wanted the portability + having extra books so she only had to take one thing with her to Florida snowbird house. In the end, she decided that wasn't worth the $10 difference. Don't blame her.

I download books that I already own, because I fly through them and generally enjoy a second read (if I didn't I would've sold the physical book after the first read anyhow). Don't feel terribly guilty about it, and that plus public domain has me pretty well covered.

But if there was a summer sale promotion, goddamn, I'd probably drop $100 easy if it meant I could get 25 books at least.
 
2012-07-24 03:26:32 AM

Rincewind53: But at the same time, I can tell you that the publishers had all of their lawyers seriously going over this thing and were well aware of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and at the rate they pay those guys I'm pretty confident the agreement itself, the contract, probably ...


So what you're saying is that you've never worked in the operating levels of any industry, ever.
 
2012-07-24 05:18:12 AM
Hey Apple, what are you doing, you can't fix all those farking ebook prices
 
2012-07-24 06:56:19 AM
Wait, people are actually dumb enough to defend Apple in this?
 
2012-07-24 06:59:53 AM
i'm still waiting for school textbooks to go digital and be... at most... $5

until then, don't care about ebooks
 
2012-07-24 07:34:26 AM

MithrandirBooga: Wait, people are actually dumb enough to defend Apple in this?


But look at my chart! You see if you add in all the free, really cheap and fan fiction books by no name authors, we can see that prices didn't shoot up like people are saying.
 
2012-07-24 07:53:58 AM

GAT_00: RexTalionis: Hard to see how that's derp.

You forgot the key thing. Someone dared to speak against Apple.


^^^^
this

How many of those letters the DOJ 'snippily' dismissed were iFans proclaiming submission to the nation of iJobs?

They just want them to Leave Steve Alone (waaahhh)
 
2012-07-24 07:55:20 AM

Herr Flick's Revenge: ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.

So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?


Naturally, you have a citation available that shows that publisher profit margins have been reduced to zero or below, right? I was able to find articles for Penguin and Simon & Schuster that seem to discount that theory.

So, let's be truly honest here. It's not the publishers being hurt, nor is it Amazon. If you want to feel bad for someone, feel bad for the author who generates less royalty via eBooks than traditional physical models. Need a source? Fine, take a gander. Or maybe another one?

I should point out I'm not an author in any way, and hate Amazon, Apple, and the DoJ equally. My real vested interest is to see my eBook prices reduce back to where they were when I first purchased eBooks, something approaching reasonable.
 
2012-07-24 08:03:50 AM
is price fixing illegal?

I thought it was the main business model for most large companies these days.
 
2012-07-24 08:08:19 AM
Apple totally molested the book market, and acted unlawfully, and generally dicked off against customer interest.

This isn't in debate by anyone who has looked at the facts.



(authors, incidentally, adore Amazon.... it's their publishers who don't. Just give it 10 years... those authors will be being published, paper and digitally, by Amazon, get a 70% cut, and those publishers simply won't exist any more).
 
2012-07-24 08:12:05 AM

Mad_Radhu: E-books aren't a scarce resource with a limited supply. The variable cost of an e-book is a tiny, tiny fraction of a penny, based on Amazon's web services pricing of less than a cent per GB for storing and transmitting that data on their servers. For a 3G Kindle, it might cost a tad more because they have to pay Sprint or AT&T for the mobile data bandwidth, but they probably have a good deal set up where they are paying pennies per book. E-books are as pretty close to infinite supply as you can get, so demand should do have no effect on the pricing at all in the demand curve. If anything, pricing them lower should allow you to sell more copies.


Umm are Ebooks not selling at the higher price? If so, then people find the Ebook worth more than this "inflated" price.

The cost of producing something does not make the price.
 
2012-07-24 08:12:25 AM

cirby: For all of the whining about high ebook prices, it's funny how nobody mentioned that the high prices are due to the publishers who really control the content, not the distribution network.

Amazon lets you self-publish very easily, and they give the author a HUGE cut of the price - about 75% of the sale. Even selling an ebook for $4 means you get almost as much profit per copy sold ($3) as a successful author usually makes off of a $25 hardback.

Most publishers will lose interest in you if they can't sell 20,000 copies of a book. "Only" selling half that - 10,000 copies - would easily make writing a profitable business for a lot of new authors.

It used to be that a new author would hope for a huge initial print run and a lot of sales over a few months (before the books were yanked off of the shelves and remaindered). Now, they can put out a book, make a moderate amount of money on a very low initial sales burst, and keep making money off of the same books indefinitely. "Out of print" should be a thing of the past...

I've known a lot of authors who put out six or seven novels before they got popular - and by the time they hit it big, you couldn't get their original stuff at all. They always had to wait for years for reprints (that had to fit in the publisher's PR schedule), while people could not get any of those original books.

This is what the publishers are mad about, not the "collusion." The big publishing houses are on the verge of being useless except as publicity departments - and a lot of them aren't even good at that.

There's a huge untapped market for old books that are sill in copyright, but are basically unavailable. There are literally thousands of old science fiction novels out there that you can't get without extensive searches - someone could make a killing by rounding up the reprint rights and selling them for $2 or $3 each (and the authors would make more money off the ebook "reprints" than the old books used to fetch at retail prices).

O ...


There is a young kid who made over a million dollars writing short, not very good, vampire stories, selling them on Amazon for whatever the minimum prices was, ($1.99?). She had enough to retire before she was 18. I bought one just to see, not good, but good enough for a small following that would not be worth a traditional publishers time.

So Amazon has democratized the publishing business.

So far as reprints of old still copy-righted books, Barnes and Noble was doing something like that with a bunch of books I used to pick up in their stores. Though I forget how many were public domain and how many might have still been copyrighted. Might be all were PD, so not to your point.
 
2012-07-24 08:17:03 AM

clkeagle: You pretty much nailed it - editing and promotion. Yes, it's easy to self-publish... but how many self-publishers are skipping the editing process entirely, or just having a friend/relative give it a "once over?" A good editor was worth their weight in gold before the self-publishing revolution... I'd value them at platinum now.

Maybe that's what will replace publishing companies. Instead of a handful of big-box publishers, we'll have a couple hundred small "labels" for ebooks. Each "label" would focus on certain types of books/certain markets, their editors will be the best at editing books in those categories, and everyone within the label works together to promote themselves and each others' work.



Pretty much this. though some of the editing I have seen in books lately has been atrocious. Clear misspellings, syntax errors, sentences where you know what the author meant, but garbled the line that should have been corrected.

e-publishing would bring more competition and therefore probably more competence to the editing field, at least after a shakeout.
 
2012-07-24 08:17:06 AM
My real vested interest is to see my eBook prices reduce back to where they were when I first purchased eBooks, something approaching reasonable.

Do you still purchase ebooks at the current prices? If so, then why are the prices unreasonable? Are you an unreasonable person?
 
2012-07-24 08:19:18 AM

MugzyBrown: ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.

Supply & demand. The demand for ebooks has risen, so the price has also risen. It's that simple. To think of a monopoly in e-books is silly. There is no reason for government interference.


You are conveniently ignoring the fact that as soon as we start talking about ebooks, the supply is infinite. Any limits on supply are totally artificial, designed to keep the prices high.
 
2012-07-24 08:23:29 AM

cutullus: You are conveniently ignoring the fact that as soon as we start talking about ebooks, the supply is infinite. Any limits on supply are totally artificial, designed to keep the prices high.


Then don't buy them. If people don't buy them, then the prices will come down.

If I'm selling a product I want to maximize the ratio of volume/price. It doesn't matter my production cost.

If I can sell 10,000 at $10 or 11,000 at $2, it doesn't matter if it costs me $.01 to make each unit. I want my $100,000 instead of my $22,000.
 
2012-07-24 08:33:24 AM

Bungles: Apple totally molested the book market, and acted unlawfully, and generally dicked off against customer interest.

This isn't in debate by anyone who has looked at the facts.



(authors, incidentally, adore Amazon.... it's their publishers who don't. Just give it 10 years... those authors will be being published, paper and digitally, by Amazon, get a 70% cut, and those publishers simply won't exist any more).


This. So much this.
 
2012-07-24 08:47:21 AM

MugzyBrown: Then don't buy them. If people don't buy them, then the prices will come down


Actually, when the number of people purchasing something goes down, companies for some reason tend to increase the price in an attempt to make up the profit. So relying on prices coming down by not buying them isn't really a winning strategy (even if A) the company knew you weren't purchasing because of price, and B) there were sufficient other people not buying them because of price).
 
2012-07-24 08:57:13 AM

clkeagle: What do they actually, you know, do these days? I mean, promotion, fine, and also editing, but there are other ways to do both. Even more than record companies, it seems to me that publishers are in a business that has no future. They provide no essential services and the artists they depend on don't really need them.

You pretty much nailed it - editing and promotion. Yes, it's easy to self-publish... but how many self-publishers are skipping the editing process entirely, or just having a friend/relative give it a "once over?" A good editor was worth their weight in gold before the self-publishing revolution... I'd value them at platinum now.

Maybe that's what will replace publishing companies. Instead of a handful of big-box publishers, we'll have a couple hundred small "labels" for ebooks. Each "label" would focus on certain types of books/certain markets, their editors will be the best at editing books in those categories, and everyone within the label works together to promote themselves and each others' work.


I'm sure there will be a bunch of "help-you-publish-for-a-flat-fee" companies coming out that will charge you like $500 to take your manuscript, edit the shiat out of it, put it in the various formats, produce a professional-looking cover, post it to the different sites, and then maybe even have a hard copy sent to you so you can put it up on your bookshelf.
 
2012-07-24 09:00:59 AM

AdamK: i'm still waiting for school textbooks to go digital and be... at most... $5

until then, don't care about ebooks


Ever notice how the name on your textbook frequently seems to be very similar to the name of a professor at your university? It's almost as though they're requiring you to purchase a textbook knowing that doing so puts $50 in their pocket.
 
2012-07-24 09:19:30 AM

meanmutton: I'm sure there will be a bunch of "help-you-publish-for-a-flat-fee" companies coming out that will charge you like $500 to take your manuscript, edit the shiat out of it, put it in the various formats, produce a professional-looking cover, post it to the different sites, and then maybe even have a hard copy sent to you so you can put it up on your bookshelf.


Lulu already offers something similar to what you're describing. Link As does Amazon via CreateSpace. Link

I'm thinking of something even simpler than that - around 100 people per "label." Take Sci-Fi for example. You could have 40 SF novelists, 40 SF short fiction writers, 10 editors, 3 layout/design folks, 2 cover artists, and 5 people to serve as web administrators/forum moderators/etc. Each of those 100 people, by joining that label, agree to help market each others' work in every way possible.

For example, every time one author publishes something, all 99 others post about that item on their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and any related web forum they visit. So in this example, all 100 authors get exposed to areas they normally wouldn't. If I was one of the short fiction writers, I'd post everything the label publishes on the miniature gaming boards I visit. I'm not personally a video game guy, but since others on that "label" probably would be, they would in turn expose my work to potential fans in video game circle.

Let's say that "label" publishes through Amazon. Under the terms of that "label," something like 30% will go back to Amazon, 60% to the author, 5% to the editor, 2% to the artist, 2% to the designer, and 1% back to the "label" for its own web fees.

I'm just a layman, but I don't see any reason why that couldn't work. And I think it would work equally well for nonfiction, textbooks, reference books, or even downloadable compilations of popular web comics.
 
2012-07-24 09:29:40 AM

Riche: Actually, if Amazon is charging $14.99 for a DRM'ed ebook copy of something in the public domain, and you were to download a cracked copy for free off of BitTorrent, is that pirating?


Usually the public domain books that cost money have better formatting, notes, illustrations, etc. - but you can usually find the exact same book (maybe with a worse translation or no chapter breaks) for free on Amazon.
 
2012-07-24 09:36:47 AM

tomWright: There is a young kid who made over a million dollars writing short, not very good, vampire stories, selling them on Amazon for whatever the minimum prices was, ($1.99?). She had enough to retire before she was 18. I bought one just to see, not good, but good enough for a small following that would not be worth a traditional publishers time.


Didn't 50 shades of grey start off as an ebook because its written so poorly that no one wanted to publish it? Looks like she's laughing all the way to the bank as well...
 
2012-07-24 09:51:53 AM

cirby: One last thing: a few publishers are going a different route. Baen Books, for example, makes a lot of their line available for FREE online in electronic versions - they make money off of the paperback and hardcover sales, and use the ebooks for publicity. I think that's going to change in the near future...


near future? It's been years since I bought a physical baen book. Meanwhile they've gotten over a grand from me in webscriptions.

At the $2-3 price point for book, I'm too lazy to visit the library and am willing to take the chance. Getting me to spend $10 is much more difficult.

ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version.


That's only if you pay MSRP for physical books. I like to say that I'm not trying if I'm paying more than 75% of MSRP.

Take the first 'monthly pick' at Amazon - "Shadow of the Night" by Deborah Harkness. List is $29.95. Currently on sale for $16.31 and you can get free shipping. Get it on Kindle for $13. Savings of $3.69. But that's a hardback vs kindle. What about publisher's back catalogs? Robert Jordan's Eye of the World in paperback is $6 vs $7 for the kindle. Shadow Rising, $9 each, Fires of Heavon $8 each, etc... And that's before I get the 10-30% off from coupons, store discounts, etc...

Though I'll admit that they're closer than last time.
 
2012-07-24 10:53:36 AM

Rincewind53: Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.

I've got family that works in the publishing industry that have been increasingly infuriated with Amazon and their brazen and false claims of victimhood in this case. So I will admit to not being 100% unbiased on the issue.



Oh, the big publishers in New York have hated Amazon for years and years because of their low pricing. They sells new books at used book prices, they believe they abuse review copy policies, they screw up the royalty system with authors .... but probably the most egregious crime in their eyes is that Amazon just generally refuses to play ball with the publishing big boys.

It's hardly a surprise that they're using a "But ... but ... but ... Amazon" as their defense when they get caught red handed participating in blatant price fixing.
 
2012-07-24 11:02:33 AM

RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.


It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.
 
2012-07-24 11:04:33 AM

Swoop1809: I was going to buy a copy of the Great Gatsby the other day. I go to amazon and see the ebook price at 12.99, which by itself is ridiculous for an ebook. But next to it is the paperback for 9.99. I decided the publisher doesn't deserve any of my money.


Pretty much why I don't give 2 shiats about ebooks. I see no reason for any e-book to cost more then 5.00. That data is just so damn expensive after all.
 
2012-07-24 11:16:49 AM

cirby: Amazon lets you self-publish very easily, and they give the author a HUGE cut of the price - about 75% of the sale. Even selling an ebook for $4 means you get almost as much profit per copy sold ($3) as a successful author usually makes off of a $25 hardback.


FYI: That "75% royalty" stuff is a bunch of baloney. Amazon's 30% cut doesn't include the "Average Delivery Cost" which can be $2.58 on a $9.99 book.

I still agree that self-publishing is going to be the future, however. As stated above, the biggest value-adds from publishers are editing and publicity. I could easily see small editing houses start up with a few people who work through manuscripts and then take a cut after publishing.

If I set up a website now, and solicited manuscripts from anybody on the internet, do you think people would email me the novel they've got parked on their hard drive? If I just picked out the best ones and spent a few months on each working it over before setting it up and putting it on Amazon, do you think they would allow me $0.20 a copy of a four dollar book?

Of course, the idea behind this isn't new or original - I'm sure lots of people have come up with the same business plan, and there's already probably people setting this up. The real trick is going to make it so that you know that I'm worth my 20 cents - that I'm not just some teenager at a keyboard that will hold onto your manuscript for six months without communicating with you, butcher it to pieces by adding vampires or something, and then still expect to get paid when you undo all of my laborious work. It would be better for some kind of marketplace - writers looking for editors, where everybody is peer reviewed and the writer knows that the editor they're signing up with is actually qualified.

Anyway, somebody give me some money to start setting something like this up.
 
2012-07-24 11:26:46 AM

malaktaus: Honest Bender: If they just can't save themselves, then maybe we don't need middle-man publishers anymore.

What do they actually, you know, do these days? I mean, promotion, fine, and also editing, but there are other ways to do both. Even more than record companies, it seems to me that publishers are in a business that has no future. They provide no essential services and the artists they depend on don't really need them.


Editing, typesetting & layout, cover art, advertising and in some cases PR related duties. Even going straight to e-book with no need to layout the pages for printing there is a lot of tidying and tarting up of a manuscript before it ever makes it to market.

You'd be surprised just how much editing and how many revisions it takes for that well crafted book you enjoyed to appear from it's original draft.

I can see publishers changing their form but I can't see them going anywhere soon, self publishing is nice but... unless you are shiat hot in the required skills AND can write like a demon you aren't going to get anywhere.
 
2012-07-24 11:34:27 AM
Self publishing and the democracy of digital books is one of those "Be careful what you wish for" things for book consumers. It reminds me a lot of Nick Lowe's comments on the state of music...

"Sad to say, it seems everyone can make a pretty good record in their bedroom today. You go buy the kit and you can make a pretty good record. 'Pretty good' is the new 'terrible.' In a tsunami of 'pretty good' stuff, you can't find the really good stuff. So I've kind of given up looking."
 
2012-07-24 11:35:20 AM

ApatheticMonkey:
My point is, if Kobo goes under, any books I have with them, I most likely won't have access to. If my Kobo breaks, and I want to get a Kindle, I won't have access to any of my epubs, because the Kindle can't read them. If I buy a hard copy, I'm good as long as I take care of my stuff. (And no, I'm not reading on a tablet.)


I actually had this happen to me with video games rather than e-books but the situation is comparable. I basically brought a Sins of a Solar Empire (and it's two expansions) from Stardock's Impulse system. They sold it to Gamestop. Last month I tried to reinstall SOASE (and GalCiv2) and neither Stardock's new system or Gamestop's re-branded Impulse had any record of my account and purchases. I went through every e-mail address I had and their "lost username/password" forms and it spat each one back as being invalid/non-existant.

About £80 down the drain all told. It makes me... dubious about things like Steam to be honest; sure Valve have said they'll send an unlock patch if they ever shutter the system but they've never clarified if that's ALL purchases or just THEIR products.
 
2012-07-24 11:39:06 AM
TFA: My bias may be showing...

Yes, it is. Next...
 
2012-07-24 11:49:50 AM
I could see a case for tiered pricing for e-books

All my kindle books are reference manuals or text books. These are the types of books that go for $50-$75 for the soft cover, or $45 for the e-book. /sigh

Standard pdf of these books should be about $5.

Bells and whistles, custom format. Can do everything an e-book should to make it as easy to use as a paperback reference manual, maybe 1/2 the price of the paperback.

You lose a lot of convenience when you put a manual onto an e-reader, you shouldn't have to nearly the same price as a standard book.
 
2012-07-24 11:53:43 AM

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Shrug.

I read on my Android. Works fine. Aldiko.


I'm sure it works fine. I just prefer reading on an e-ink device. My eyes don't hurt as much after prolonged periods of time. Personal preference.
 
2012-07-24 11:55:22 AM

InmanRoshi: Self publishing and the democracy of digital books is one of those "Be careful what you wish for" things for book consumers. It reminds me a lot of Nick Lowe's comments on the state of music...

"Sad to say, it seems everyone can make a pretty good record in their bedroom today. You go buy the kit and you can make a pretty good record. 'Pretty good' is the new 'terrible.' In a tsunami of 'pretty good' stuff, you can't find the really good stuff. So I've kind of given up looking."


There in lies the problem, you can build a half-way decent recording studio yourself and your band might well be talented and capable of commercially viable music. But without the guy who knows how to run the mixing desk & Ableton (or Logic or whatever) you're going to sound shiat nor can you just go "fark this expense" plug everything in to the line-in on your cheap-ass Walmart PC and hit record in Audacity whilst hoping the for the best.

To all aspiring bands, your producer and audio engineer aren't middle men to be avoided, they're good friends who'll junk a shiat session before the public ever get a sniff of it so you don't look like idiots.
 
2012-07-24 11:57:00 AM
Most of the public comments were meaningless because the average person doesn't understand Anti-Trust Law.

I would guess that at least half of the public comments were from people complaining about DOJ picking on Apple

I find the idea that the Publishers get to pick the prices/margins that retailers sell the product to be repugnant. The agency model is bad for consumers
 
2012-07-24 12:10:38 PM

Nem Wan:
It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.


But Apple then told the publishers that they could not sell through any other channel at a lower price. That is collusion. Amazon do not do that.
 
2012-07-24 12:59:51 PM

The Banana Thug: RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.

Done in one. Subby's an idiot. Ebooks are overpriced thanks to Steve Jobs, and being an Apple fanboi is not worth defending that.


Ebooks were overpriced well before Jobs, but you keep right on going there, cupcake.
 
2012-07-24 01:09:18 PM
phyrkrakr:
FYI: That "75% royalty" stuff is a bunch of baloney. Amazon's 30% cut doesn't include the "Average Delivery Cost" which can be $2.58 on a $9.99 book.

If you manage to rack up a $2.58 "delivery cost" on a book, it's because it's HUGE. They charge fifteen cents a megabyte in the US, and similar amounts in other markets. The guy at the link is whining because his eighteen megabyte book with 50 photos in it cost a helluva lot of money, when compared to a text file.

For example, a nice medium-sized 100,000 word novel would run a massive half a megabyte or so - which means the "delivery cost would be (rounding up)... EIGHT CENTS.

So at the 70% rate, a $4 book would gross $2.80, minus $0.08 = $2.72. Which ain't bad. Not as much fun as $3 per book, but not bad.
 
2012-07-24 01:12:33 PM
Flint Ironstag:
But Apple then told the publishers that they could not sell through any other channel at a lower price. That is collusion. Amazon do not do that.

From Amazon's terms:
"You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book."

In other words, they actually do do that, in a slightly different way.
 
2012-07-24 01:20:30 PM
Vaneshi:
To all aspiring bands, your producer and audio engineer aren't middle men to be avoided, they're good friends who'll junk a shiat session before the public ever get a sniff of it so you don't look like idiots.

...except the producer and audio engineer aren't the labels - who do the most damage and take the most money out of the stream.

There are a lot - a LOT - of good, solid independent producers and recording engineers setting up shop nowadays. Some of them used to work for the big labels until they asked for more money, or got "too old" to get along with the 25 year olds who are trying to run things now. So they bought a few thousand bucks worth of gear, set up a small studio in their homes or in cheap warehouses, and started working with new bands. They get less money up front, but they can do pretty well in the long run.

I know a couple of guys just like that. They record whenever the band can show up, they have time free on weekends to go gig if they want to... and they're making a good bit of money while having a lot of fun working with bands they like, instead of whatever the flavor-of-the-week is.
 
2012-07-24 02:38:14 PM

MugzyBrown: ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.

Supply & demand. The demand for ebooks has risen, so the price has also risen. It's that simple. To think of a monopoly in e-books is silly. There is no reason for government interference.


what you did there, I see it
 
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