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(Salon)   "I knew Amazon was evil and is killing bookstores. Then, I got a Kindle...and suddenly, I loved Amazon"   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Amazon, Kindle  
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9336 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Nov 2012 at 1:03 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-18 02:03:25 PM  

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Another one of the evils of Capitalism. They need to nationalize all bookstores! That way, taxpayer-supported bookstores won't have to worry about making profits and can carry thousands of books that otherwise would never be read.


You mean like... libraries?
 
2012-11-18 02:04:17 PM  
Find all free (or cheap) books in Amazon: eReaderIQ
 
2012-11-18 02:06:16 PM  
I'm gonna log off here and go wank to a Club magazine.
 
2012-11-18 02:07:27 PM  

ladyfortuna: The only time I can deal with audio books is when I'm on a long drive. Otherwise I eventually tune it out unless it's a really great story, and sometimes even then. Something about working at the mall all those years, I think. Also I read far more quickly than any audio book can deliver a story, so there's that as well.


LibreVox does free audio versions of public domain works if you do need one. I'm not a big fan of audiobooks, but when I do need "free" is a really good price point.

Link

Like Project Gutenberg for your ear holes.
 
2012-11-18 02:07:37 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: My hierarchy has remained unchanged:
1) Used-book stores
2) Amazon
3) Independent book stores
4) Chain book stores

I suppose if I were into E-readers, I might bump Amazon up. But I really like combing through used books and finding little gems tucked into the shelves. I found an anthology of quasi-science essays from Analog magazine at a used-book store for $6 and it was a terrific read. Just got a copy of How to Lie With Statistics for $4. The esoteric collection at a used-book store is great.


Agreed.

I used to live in Tucson. Bookmans was my favorite store in town, and I made a point of popping in at least once a week. I found all sorts of cool, used books--fiction and nonfiction--there. For example, I have a copy of the CRC Standard Mathematical Tables that I got for $6. Its integral table and table of Laplace/Fourier transforms are much more extensive than anything I've found online.
 
2012-11-18 02:07:45 PM  
I searched all the local used book stores for a specific out of print book. Several of them would give me a call if they ever got it in.

Ten years later I picked up a Kindle. After a short search I had the book i was looking for.

I've been sold on e-readers since that time.

/I still love the used bookstores
 
2012-11-18 02:08:34 PM  
kiyote: some books just *have* to be printed page books. Samuel Delany's Dhalgren, for example, which requires a lot of flipping back and forth, e.e. cummings poetry. I'd hate to see what an e-reader would do to that.

Yes, but, there's already a markup language specifically made to handle exactly such things brilliantly, and, in fact, it works brilliantly. The concept is called 'hypertext', and the markup language is called HTML. It's not perfect, but it's far superior to most of what's widely used today.

I know this sounds snarky, but I'm being flatly honest. If you've ever read a novel properly formatted in HTML and then had to hassle with something similar half-assedly rendered in bloated PDF or AZW or the like, you can probably see what I mean. But the paranoia over DRM and whatnot, added to the rabid stupidity over content-free bells and whistles, has largely buried HTML.
 
2012-11-18 02:08:48 PM  

Jubeebee: mr_a: I love my Kindle. I find it easier on my eyes than books, and much more convenient.

But for the love of Guttenberg, how hard could it be to run a spell checker on Kindle files?

A lot of Kindle books are crap. Poorly written, poorly edited, poorly formatted. That's the tragedy of removing the gatekeeper.

However, if you sample liberally before you buy, you can usually avoid the stinkers. As an author myself , I'll sample any book I see. I just send them to my phone and see what I'm dealing with. I've found some really excellent books for really cheap; you just have to have the patience to discard 80% of what you sample in order to find the gems.


"It was a dark and stormy night"
 
2012-11-18 02:09:00 PM  

DoctorCal: Kimpak: DoctorCal: FirstNationalBastard: See, I can't throw support behind a device that will allow someone to delete books I paid for on a whim.

No one will be deleting my paperback copy of a novel because some bullshiat terms of service changed or a licensing agreement ran out.

Or because you stopped paying a subscription fee

Or, you could...you know back up the file from your kindle. If amazon pulls the licence you just load the thing back on from your back up and turn wireless off till you finish it.

Oh. So....steal it? I don't need a kindle to do that.


Well simply put, yes. You're on Fark, I don't think you'll find too many people on here that would feel any kind of bad about that. And no you don't need a Kindle to do it, any portable computer will do. I prefer kindle (or nook, they're both fine) because its the ideal tool for the task of reading a book. (aside from an actual physical book of course). My kindle battery lasts well over a month w/o recharging, and as long as I have at least a cell signal or wifi I've constantly got a 24hr/365 bookstore at my beck and call.
 
2012-11-18 02:12:38 PM  
you guys are missing the point, get outside to a used bookstore, all the fun people hang around there. I got Suttree for 2 bucks as opposed to 15 or so online.
 
2012-11-18 02:15:35 PM  
I love my kindle, but I will never give up hard copy books. Kindles are great for travel, and hard copy book are excellent for lending out to friends.

I'm a bit intrigued on the new kindle Fire, as my first generation Kindle is showing signs of hard living these days. E readers are great tools and additions to the reading experience,but nothing takes the place of a hard copy regular ol' book.
 
2012-11-18 02:16:43 PM  

Girion47: TuteTibiImperes: I have a nook, but I still prefer real paper books. eBook prices are far too high, oftentimes very close to the price of a real physical book.

My preference overall is still the library. I can just log onto my county library site, request the book I want, and depending on if it has to be transported from another branch or not, walk in anytime from an hour to three days later to pick it up at the counter, all for free. It's a beautiful thing.

That's why I pirate. The only problem is getting files converted to work on my Kindle in a format I can read it. Even harder is getting the file names to be searchable on the Kindle menu. If it's part of a series I've found I'll have 3-5 files that all start the same and I can't tell the book unless I open it and back out.


I just want to find out here. Are you copying books you don't have in another form? Or you just going out and getting what you want without compensation for the content owner?

If you have a book, but not in any epub format, I am ok with it. That is fair use in my book. Same for stripping DRM from it so you can copy it to multiple readers you own. Fark the DMCA. Shifting the content you have purchased from one medium to another so that you can use shouldn't be illiegal.

Now where I have a problem is when people want something for free that they haven't otherwise paid for. (which is why I have problem with toll roads: use the farking tax money you have already taken, if it isn't enough raise taxes. Roads are public infrastrucure, but I digress) When someone (or someone's dog) wants steak, should they just walk down to the grocery store and take what they want without paying for it? How about gas? Or a car? What about walking into a book store and walking out with the physical copies?
 
2012-11-18 02:16:56 PM  

Kimpak: DoctorCal: Kimpak: DoctorCal: FirstNationalBastard: See, I can't throw support behind a device that will allow someone to delete books I paid for on a whim.

No one will be deleting my paperback copy of a novel because some bullshiat terms of service changed or a licensing agreement ran out.

Or because you stopped paying a subscription fee

Or, you could...you know back up the file from your kindle. If amazon pulls the licence you just load the thing back on from your back up and turn wireless off till you finish it.

Oh. So....steal it? I don't need a kindle to do that.

Well simply put, yes. You're on Fark, I don't think you'll find too many people on here that would feel any kind of bad about that. And no you don't need a Kindle to do it, any portable computer will do. I prefer kindle (or nook, they're both fine) because its the ideal tool for the task of reading a book. (aside from an actual physical book of course). My kindle battery lasts well over a month w/o recharging, and as long as I have at least a cell signal or wifi I've constantly got a 24hr/365 bookstore at my beck and call.


Books are so historically cheap, I don't understand why anyone would steal them. It used to cost me five or six hours of near minimum-wage work to buy a hardcover. Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage -- not to mention how cheap things are online and in e-book format. Though I do sympathize somewhat with the idea that it's not significantly different from going to a library, I guess (some reservations with this argument still, but I understand it).

As far as the Kindle goes, seriously, if you haven't checked out the Paperwhite, do so. I picked it up assuming I'd just return it if it weren't that much different than the Kindles I already have, and I have touched the other Kindles since, giving two of 'em away as presents for Christmas. I
/plus, it fits in even the smallest pocket!
 
2012-11-18 02:16:58 PM  

sfpfc: you guys are missing the point, get outside to a used bookstore, all the fun people hang around there. I got Suttree for 2 bucks as opposed to 15 or so online.


Its a 45 min drive to my closest used bookstore, over an hour for a regular book store. Prices are not a concern for me.

That being said, I do enjoy trips to the closest Half Price Books when I'm near it.
 
2012-11-18 02:17:08 PM  
I'm the devil because Kindle is part of the vast network of Amazon, whose goal is pretty much to destroy everything I hold dear in my brick-and-mortar culture. And they employ a morally reprehensible scheme to do so....
Yes, yes and yes, but I'm notoriously hard-headed about these things. I get it in my transom that some company is too powerful, and I get this sour feeling in my stomach, which makes it all but impossible for me to support them. It started when I was eighteen and decided I'd never eat at McDonald's again, claiming they were too big, too greedy.


It's rare that someone with this type of psychosis will actually admit to being wrong, or at least as close as this comes.

So I guess he deserves a golf clap.
 
2012-11-18 02:23:54 PM  

FitzShivering: Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage


National minimum wage is 7.25. It's rare to find a new hardback with a list price under 25.
 
2012-11-18 02:24:34 PM  
By the way, don't ever buy a cover for a Kindle on Amazon unless you find a steal. All the sellers wanted $15-$20 for decent ones, but I found a leather one (real as far as I can tell) from some guy in NJ for $6 with free shipping. It's lovely, and does a good job protecting the screen from the other crap in my backpack. He had about 100 more in stock, so that should tell you something about the markup on those damn things.
 
2012-11-18 02:26:00 PM  

RyansPrivates:
Now where I have a problem is when people want something for free that they haven't otherwise paid for.


Reasons I am occasionally OK with getting one for "free" that isn't already free include:

I already own one or more copies of the physical format of it
The book is completely out of print and cannot be purchased in any way (same here regarding music).
If the author sends me a copy of the e-Book for free (they aren't normally allowed to do this)

Outside of that, I think it's kind of ridiculous to steal books. I know people will make the same jumping jack gyrations mentally to explain why it's OK, how they'd never have paid for them anyway, and all other such nonsense.
 
2012-11-18 02:26:37 PM  

12349876: FitzShivering: Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

National minimum wage is 7.25. It's rare to find a new hardback with a list price under 25.


That's a load of bollocks, or you haven't been in a book store in about 10 years.
 
2012-11-18 02:27:22 PM  

12349876: FitzShivering: Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

National minimum wage is 7.25. It's rare to find a new hardback with a list price under 25.


I find it rare to find a bookstore selling books for the actual list price. Anyway, I think most people buy the paperbacks. IMO hardcovers are great to have the author sign and look awesome on my bookshelf, but they suck balls for actually reading. Given that most of my reading is done somewhere other than my actual library room.
 
2012-11-18 02:27:52 PM  
FitzShivering: It used to cost me five or six hours of near minimum-wage work to buy a hardcover. Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

Um, no, not if you live in the US, not unless you're talking about buying used books. We stock new books for certain titles, and, for instance, one of our best sellers is Casual Vacancy. Its list price is $35, although we sell it at 20% off. Minimum wage here is $7.40 before taxes.

In 1985, a similar book would have cost around $16 new, and minimum wage was around $3.30. Adjusted for inflation, nothing much has changed. In 1970, the book would have cost around $6, and minimum wage was about $1.60, so adjusted for inflation books were significantly cheaper back then.
 
2012-11-18 02:28:23 PM  

FitzShivering: 12349876: FitzShivering: Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

National minimum wage is 7.25. It's rare to find a new hardback with a list price under 25.

That's a load of bollocks, or you haven't been in a book store in about 10 years.


To be fair, it is actually true at Walmart and certain grocery stores (unless Wegmans is the only one that does that). But I don't call those bookstores.
 
2012-11-18 02:28:45 PM  
fark Amazon. Proprietary ebook files and readers are some of the worst things to happen to publishing and the exchange of information since the Stamp Act of 1765. It wouldn't be so bad if we could trust companies like Amazon to keep their devices relatively open and compatible, but that's about as likely to happen as living on space colonies on the moon within the next five years. The very fact that people would actually support such regressive practices because it's "cheap" and "convenient" further highlights how hopeless our society is. Wonder what it'd be like to live in a world where you couldn't read anything without first buying some bullshiat device to read it? Keep purchasing your Kindle Crap, and sooner than later you won't have to wonder.
 
2012-11-18 02:29:43 PM  

Toshiro Mifune's Letter Opener: >:-/

*says something disparaging about the Steve Guttenberg printing press from afar*


Hey lay off of Steve. That boy is a saint!
 
2012-11-18 02:31:20 PM  

Kimpak: 12349876: FitzShivering: Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

National minimum wage is 7.25. It's rare to find a new hardback with a list price under 25.

I find it rare to find a bookstore selling books for the actual list price. Anyway, I think most people buy the paperbacks. IMO hardcovers are great to have the author sign and look awesome on my bookshelf, but they suck balls for actually reading. Given that most of my reading is done somewhere other than my actual library room.


There's often some discount, though I don't think I've seen anything bigger than 10% for those who aren't part of the club/membership/rewards. I get plenty of hardbacks for under 10 bucks in the bargain section or used.
 
2012-11-18 02:31:37 PM  

12349876: FitzShivering: Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

National minimum wage is 7.25. It's rare to find a new hardback with a list price under 25.


Let me re-phrase that, and try to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you're just being technical. No one, including the largest chains, sells their books for list price, and if you've been in a bookstore recently, you know this. Additionally, used bookstores rarely sell books for more than 20% of their list price. The list price is lot like the price on a car -- if you're paying the sticker, you're probably a gigantic moron.

With the rise of online purchasing, it's easy to compare prices. I haven't paid more than $20 for a hardcover book that was not a collector's item or a small batch printing in a very, very long time. I very rarely pay more than $15.
 
2012-11-18 02:31:56 PM  

Professor Horatio Hufnagel: fark Amazon. Proprietary ebook files and readers are some of the worst things to happen to publishing and the exchange of information since the Stamp Act of 1765. It wouldn't be so bad if we could trust companies like Amazon to keep their devices relatively open and compatible, but that's about as likely to happen as living on space colonies on the moon within the next five years. The very fact that people would actually support such regressive practices because it's "cheap" and "convenient" further highlights how hopeless our society is. Wonder what it'd be like to live in a world where you couldn't read anything without first buying some bullshiat device to read it? Keep purchasing your Kindle Crap, and sooner than later you won't have to wonder.


Soo.....all of these .pdf, epub and mobi files I have on my Kindle are just working by magic? I find that my Kindle is remarkably 'open' and not at all propitiatory.
 
2012-11-18 02:32:10 PM  
RandomAxe
I know this sounds snarky, but I'm being flatly honest. If you've ever read a novel properly formatted in HTML and then had to hassle with something similar half-assedly rendered in bloated PDF or AZW or the like, you can probably see what I mean. But the paranoia over DRM and whatnot, added to the rabid stupidity over content-free bells and whistles, has largely buried HTML.

Naw, you don't sound snarky at all-- it's actually a lot of good information!
 
2012-11-18 02:34:10 PM  

RandomAxe: All_Farked_Up: Amazon is actually one of the better ones as individuals can sell their own books without a publishing contract.

Yes, but this is ridiculous on its face. You ought to be able to buy content directly from the individuals, online, or through any licensed third-party merchant. Piracy is obviously an issue, but proprietary formats that consumers are slaved to are bullshiat. Kindle owners, for instance, generally don't realize how they've tied their genitals to Amazon until Amazon decides to drive off in a huff.


None of the content on my Kindle was purchased or processed through Amazon except a few web articles I emailed to my @free.kindle.com address so I could pull them over wifi instead of connecting the USB cable for a few hundred kb of data. This 'tying yourself in' stuff is nonsense.

And as for your gripes about how e-ink readers should be video ready by now: WHY? That's not what they're for. I have a full-color LCD display on my computer for that. The only things that I give a fark about with e-readers is that they're readable and the battery lasts longer than my cell phone's.
 
2012-11-18 02:35:43 PM  

RandomAxe: FitzShivering: It used to cost me five or six hours of near minimum-wage work to buy a hardcover. Now you can pick up even good ones for about 1 to 2 hours of minimum wage

Um, no, not if you live in the US, not unless you're talking about buying used books. We stock new books for certain titles, and, for instance, one of our best sellers is Casual Vacancy. Its list price is $35, although we sell it at 20% off. Minimum wage here is $7.40 before taxes.

In 1985, a similar book would have cost around $16 new, and minimum wage was around $3.30. Adjusted for inflation, nothing much has changed. In 1970, the book would have cost around $6, and minimum wage was about $1.60, so adjusted for inflation books were significantly cheaper back then.


Selling it for 20% off, you're sending it out at 28. And you are running a premium with a store front. The same book is available with no price shopping whatsoever for $20 straight off Amazon on.

Regarding your numbers you gave above, adjusting them for inflation at the same rate, you actually made my argument for me. I don't think I need to do the math for you to show how 1.60 or 3.30 turns into 7.25, and how moving from 6 or 16 to what would be "today's prices" shows exactly what I already said: books are cheaper. Your own numbers show that.
 
2012-11-18 02:36:44 PM  
I'm the devil because Kindle is part of the vast network of Amazon, whose goal is pretty much to destroy everything I hold dear in my brick-and-mortar culture. And they employ a morally reprehensible scheme to do so.


That's all it took to overthrow your moral principles? That was easy.

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-11-18 02:37:01 PM  

FitzShivering: Books are so historically cheap, I don't understand why anyone would steal them.


True for everything except textbooks. My God, do they gouge the living shiat out of textbooks. And E-textbooks still cost 90% of the hardcover book price for some reason.
 
2012-11-18 02:38:24 PM  
3.bp.blogspot.com

I LOVE THOSE 1-X ROBOTS!!
 
2012-11-18 02:39:27 PM  

FitzShivering: $20 straight off Amazon on.


That's still almost 2.75 hours at national minimum wage as opposed to your 1-2 in your original post, and you'd have to pay for shipping or shell out more money for Prime or buy something else for Super Saver and possibly wait a while for it.
 
2012-11-18 02:39:49 PM  
I bought a kindle last year for my mother because the library has kindle books you can borrow. It's really nice. They also have epub and pdfs but I chose the kindle root because its easier to get books that way for a technologically inept person, like my mom. I read kindle books on my phone, white text on a black background is easy on my eyes.
 
2012-11-18 02:40:00 PM  

RandomAxe: buttcat: You're right - we would all be paying $12.99 for a book from Apple's bookstore then a few years later, an additional $2.99 to make it DRM free.

Well, it's optimistic of me, but I think that competition and greed would keep the ebook prices lower.


You'd be wrong to think that. The Big Four publishers, with the help of Apple, stripped e-tailers (including Amazon) of the ability to set their own prices by using the "Agency Model". But, since Apple and the publishers recently lost a price fixing lawsuit we, the book buying public, may see a return to Amazon's predatory pricing (yay!).
 
2012-11-18 02:40:23 PM  

RexTalionis: The fact that I no longer have to waste time flipping pages with my Kindle has meant that my reading speed is dramatically quicker.


If you really want to increase your reading speed, give this a try.

It's pretty amazing.
 
2012-11-18 02:40:36 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: FitzShivering: Books are so historically cheap, I don't understand why anyone would steal them.

True for everything except textbooks. My God, do they gouge the living shiat out of textbooks. And E-textbooks still cost 90% of the hardcover book price for some reason.


You aren't kidding. It is awful. I still buy textbooks occasionally even though I'm long out of school at this point, but it is ridiculous how much they cost. I usually try to find damaged ones or ones with pages missing.
 
2012-11-18 02:43:19 PM  

Kimpak: Cyrusv10: dmax: Look forward 500 years. Electricity may or may not be plentiful.

Things "written" on computers will be lost. Only things on hard copy would remain, just like we read the ancient grocery lists of our ancestors.
--

As the article pointed out, there will always be printed books. People will always buy them. ebooks won't kill that. I think that people get this notion in their minds that Kindle's and Nooks etc.. will be the end of the printed book culture and it will be forced underground a la Fahrenheit 451. Personally I think that's a little tinfoil hatty. In my opinion, I think people from now on will have a mix of physical books and ebooks. I like my kindle for when I'm away from home and don't want to risk damaging one of my physical books by lugging it around with me.


Oh, I've had three version of the Kindle. But people don't seem to understand that their computer based art, writing, photography, etc. is all temporary. Not tinfoil-hatty, but a lesson that some people will learn too late.

Already, things creating in AppleWorks, etc., are only partially retrievable. Imagine format changes in 30 years, trying to get back something that you worked on. Text might be the most safe, but one day the power will go out. (Or, alternatively, how can a society without adequate, consistent power participate in the art/literature/education?)

I've been on the net since Telnet and Mosaic, but we shouldn't confuse computers with permanence.
 
2012-11-18 02:43:21 PM  
Also might be worth pointing out that the fun thing about books is things like "average hardcover price" per year are available if you do some research, and you'll see quite clearly that the average hardcover price has been decreasing over the last decade or so (with the additional point that books have been further discounted, not to mention the lack of need to even leave the house to buy them), while wages have been going up. Books _are_ cheaper than they have ever been, with all the options available. It's hard fact. You're going to find a genre where it isn't true, or find some moron who goes to B&N and pays list (though with all the 10% off stickers, that might be a chore), but there's very little logical argument to be made that books are more expensive now.
 
2012-11-18 02:44:27 PM  
FTA: "It started when I was eighteen and decided I'd never eat at McDonald's again, claiming they were too big, too greedy. This was hard to explain to my friends, who liked cheap food, but they humored me and we ate at Burger King instead. "

Wow. The author actually typed that with a straight face. What an idiot.
 
2012-11-18 02:44:37 PM  

JWideman: Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Another one of the evils of Capitalism. They need to nationalize all bookstores! That way, taxpayer-supported bookstores won't have to worry about making profits and can carry thousands of books that otherwise would never be read.

You mean like... libraries?


Please don't feed the parasites! [JAOCHG, not libraries, those are great]
 
2012-11-18 02:46:00 PM  

Professor Horatio Hufnagel: fark Amazon. Proprietary ebook files and readers are some of the worst things to happen to publishing and the exchange of information since the Stamp Act of 1765. It wouldn't be so bad if we could trust companies like Amazon to keep their devices relatively open and compatible, but that's about as likely to happen as living on space colonies on the moon within the next five years. The very fact that people would actually support such regressive practices because it's "cheap" and "convenient" further highlights how hopeless our society is. Wonder what it'd be like to live in a world where you couldn't read anything without first buying some bullshiat device to read it? Keep purchasing your Kindle Crap, and sooner than later you won't have to wonder.


So, you guys are aware that it's completely trivial to convert your AZWs to MOBI or ePub or HTML, right? Because that makes these angry rants sound pretty silly.
 
2012-11-18 02:46:18 PM  
One piece of unabashed genius that will never make the transition to eBook.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-11-18 02:47:53 PM  

MrHelpful: FTA: "It started when I was eighteen and decided I'd never eat at McDonald's again, claiming they were too big, too greedy. This was hard to explain to my friends, who liked cheap food, but they humored me and we ate at Burger King instead. "

Wow. The author actually typed that with a straight face. What an idiot.


I'm sure he also fights the good fight against commercialized coffee franchises by skipping Starbucks and getting his coffee at Dunkin Donuts instead.
 
2012-11-18 02:49:42 PM  
FitzShivering: No one, including the largest chains, sells their books for list price, and if you've been in a bookstore recently, you know this. Additionally, used bookstores rarely sell books for more than 20% of their list price.

I don't know where the hell you shop, but this is absolutely untrue anywhere I've been, or at least it's exaggerated. Barnes & Noble, for instance, routinely sells some books at loss-leader prices well below list, and they offer various other kinds of discounts, but nothing that would justify the kinds of generalizations you're making.

Similarly, I know dozens of used book dealers and have shopped at hundreds of used book stores, storefront and online, and most routinely charged more like 20-50% of the list price for a typical book. Yes, there are tons of books you can get for a penny (plus often exorbitant S&H) online, but those represent a small fraction of the inventory available.


Regarding your numbers you gave above, adjusting them for inflation at the same rate, you actually made my argument for me. I don't think I need to do the math for you to show how 1.60 or 3.30 turns into 7.25, and how moving from 6 or 16 to what would be "today's prices" shows exactly what I already said: books are cheaper. Your own numbers show that.

I don't think I want you to do the math. Even without a constant-dollars calculation or adjusting for taxation, you can see that $1.60 is 22% of $7.25, while $6 is only 17% of $35, which proves my point, not yours.
 
2012-11-18 02:50:29 PM  

RandomAxe: Disclosure: I manage a used book store that's perpetually on the verge of going out of business.

Amazon is not why bookstores go out of business. Mismanagement of bookstores and the idiocy of the US publishing industry are among the top reasons that bookstores go out of business. Amazon is terrible in many, many, many ways, as anyone bright who shops with them frequently will notice, but that's beside the point. And they stay in business because they're very convenient and have few real competitors.

Ebooks are also not why bookstores go out of business. That said, current e-readers are terrible -- their design is driven by marketing crap, not technology or usability, and consumers will continue to get stuck with crap readers if they never hold out for something better. In fact, the trend that seems likely is that tablet computers will eat the reader market whole, and a few years from now you'll be slightly embarrassed to admit that you shelled out actual money for a Nook or Kindle.

I never liked Steve Jobs, but if he were still alive very few people would be buying a Nook or Kindle. Or paying as much as $5 for a typical ebook. I'm just saying.


You're making too much sense. Get off teh intarwebs!
 
2012-11-18 02:51:51 PM  
dmax: One piece of unabashed genius that will never make the transition to eBook.

Why? A good e-reader could display that in HTML, one page or several pages at a time, in any arrangement, properly formatted, in ways germane to the text but which a standard paper format can't match.
 
2012-11-18 02:54:38 PM  

FitzShivering: Also might be worth pointing out that the fun thing about books is things like "average hardcover price" per year are available if you do some research, and you'll see quite clearly that the average hardcover price has been decreasing over the last decade or so (with the additional point that books have been further discounted, not to mention the lack of need to even leave the house to buy them), while wages have been going up. Books _are_ cheaper than they have ever been, with all the options available. It's hard fact. You're going to find a genre where it isn't true, or find some moron who goes to B&N and pays list (though with all the 10% off stickers, that might be a chore), but there's very little logical argument to be made that books are more expensive now.


A counterpoint to this would be the view that hardcover books years ago were too expensive for what they were, and while prices may have declined, are still too expensive.

For example, I would not consider any novel hardcover book worth more than $10. That they have apparently gone down to $20 means it is still 100% overpriced.
 
2012-11-18 02:55:20 PM  
They charge less than what a book actually costs them,

All that reading, and the author can't write properly.
 
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