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Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:32 AM

Amazon to Cut E-Book Prices, Shaking Rivals (making Amazon a Monopoly)

Source: New York Times

The government’s decision to pursue major publishers on antitrust charges has put the Internet retailer Amazon in a powerful position: the nation’s largest bookseller may now get to decide how much an e-book will cost, and the book world is quaking over the potential consequences.

As soon as the Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it was suing five major publishers and Apple on price-fixing charges, and simultaneously settling with three of them, Amazon announced plans to push down prices on e-books. The price of some major titles could fall to $9.99 or less from $14.99, saving voracious readers a bundle.

But publishers and booksellers argue that any victory for consumers will be short-lived, and that the ultimate effect of the antitrust suit will be to exchange a perceived monopoly for a real one. Amazon, already the dominant force in the industry, will hold all the cards.

“Amazon must be unbelievably happy today,” said Michael Norris, a book publishing analyst with Simba Information. “Had they been puppeteering this whole play, it could not have worked out better for them.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/business/media/amazon-to-cut-e-book-prices-shaking-rivals.html



Upon learning that Amazon's once halted monopoly was cleared to go forward, they released this statement...


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Reply Amazon to Cut E-Book Prices, Shaking Rivals (making Amazon a Monopoly) (Original post)
onehandle Apr 2012 OP
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #1
onehandle Apr 2012 #3
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #4
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #70
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #71
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #73
TreasonousBastard Apr 2012 #10
joshcryer Apr 2012 #41
russspeakeasy Apr 2012 #20
joshcryer Apr 2012 #44
onehandle Apr 2012 #84
joshcryer Apr 2012 #85
Vehl Apr 2012 #162
joshcryer Apr 2012 #163
Vehl Apr 2012 #164
2ndAmForComputers Apr 2012 #67
IndyJones Apr 2012 #105
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #103
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #117
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #121
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #124
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #128
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #129
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #130
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #131
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #132
rebecca_herman Apr 2012 #133
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #134
Vehl Apr 2012 #161
ejpoeta Apr 2012 #2
onehandle Apr 2012 #6
ProfessionalLeftist Apr 2012 #11
RainDog Apr 2012 #140
Egalitarian Thug Apr 2012 #145
GodlessBiker Apr 2012 #5
obxhead Apr 2012 #7
onehandle Apr 2012 #8
groundloop Apr 2012 #13
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #15
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #26
TiberiusB Apr 2012 #43
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #49
TiberiusB Apr 2012 #159
joshcryer Apr 2012 #93
TiberiusB Apr 2012 #158
joshcryer Apr 2012 #160
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #123
joshcryer Apr 2012 #45
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #51
joshcryer Apr 2012 #52
sofa king Apr 2012 #12
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #16
obxhead Apr 2012 #21
sofa king Apr 2012 #109
joshcryer Apr 2012 #46
sofa king Apr 2012 #107
CRK7376 Apr 2012 #18
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #19
goclark Apr 2012 #25
obamanut2012 Apr 2012 #53
pscot Apr 2012 #32
obxhead Apr 2012 #22
apnu Apr 2012 #65
Orrex Apr 2012 #9
ProgressiveProfessor Apr 2012 #14
wyldwolf Apr 2012 #17
joshcryer Apr 2012 #54
apnu Apr 2012 #78
joshcryer Apr 2012 #79
savalez Apr 2012 #90
MelissaMSmith Apr 2012 #23
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #27
MelissaMSmith Apr 2012 #29
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #30
MelissaMSmith Apr 2012 #34
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #35
WeekendWarrior Apr 2012 #112
uppityperson Apr 2012 #56
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #60
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #63
uppityperson Apr 2012 #68
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #74
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #83
uppityperson Apr 2012 #95
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #97
uppityperson Apr 2012 #98
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #99
uppityperson Apr 2012 #100
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #102
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #31
uppityperson Apr 2012 #57
TiberiusB Apr 2012 #66
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #69
kentauros Apr 2012 #101
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #106
kentauros Apr 2012 #108
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #111
kentauros Apr 2012 #113
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #115
kentauros Apr 2012 #116
joshcryer Apr 2012 #141
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #149
joshcryer Apr 2012 #150
Fumesucker Apr 2012 #152
flamingdem Apr 2012 #28
onehandle Apr 2012 #33
joshcryer Apr 2012 #47
goclark Apr 2012 #24
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #37
saras Apr 2012 #36
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #38
Bradical79 Apr 2012 #61
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #62
onehandle Apr 2012 #39
enlightenment Apr 2012 #42
joshcryer Apr 2012 #48
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #64
MelissaMSmith Apr 2012 #91
naaman fletcher Apr 2012 #92
mainer Apr 2012 #76
joshcryer Apr 2012 #81
onehandle Apr 2012 #88
joshcryer Apr 2012 #89
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #59
joshcryer Apr 2012 #80
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #82
joshcryer Apr 2012 #86
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #87
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #75
mainer Apr 2012 #40
joshcryer Apr 2012 #50
greyl Apr 2012 #104
mainer Apr 2012 #137
joshcryer Apr 2012 #139
mainer Apr 2012 #144
joshcryer Apr 2012 #147
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kentauros Apr 2012 #148
joshcryer Apr 2012 #151
kentauros Apr 2012 #157
Snake Alchemist Apr 2012 #55
patrice Apr 2012 #58
Odin2005 Apr 2012 #72
mainer Apr 2012 #77
sendero Apr 2012 #94
lanlady Apr 2012 #96
They_Live Apr 2012 #110
kentauros Apr 2012 #114
RainDog Apr 2012 #142
mainer Apr 2012 #118
joshcryer Apr 2012 #127
mainer Apr 2012 #119
Kurska Apr 2012 #120
Marooned Apr 2012 #122
joshcryer Apr 2012 #126
mainer Apr 2012 #136
joshcryer Apr 2012 #138
mainer Apr 2012 #143
joshcryer Apr 2012 #146
PavePusher Apr 2012 #125
mainer Apr 2012 #135
polichick Apr 2012 #153
RainDog Apr 2012 #165

Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:36 AM

1. are you serious?

 

This is great. You mean, we will actually get things at the best price instead of one where collusion squeezed money out of everyone? Are you in favor of the collusion apple was doing?

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #1)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:42 AM

3. Amazon has a history of dropping prices to kill off competition, then raise prices back up.

Enjoy it while it lasts, because it won't.

And when Amazon is the only eBook seller, you will pay whatever they decide you should pay.

The current model was not perfect, but it stopped Amazon from being the sole eBook seller. My only hope is that a new model will emerge that will be less restrictive on everyone, but keep Amazon from dominating all publishing (their goal).

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Response to onehandle (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:48 AM

4. I've noticed..

 

that amazon books are the cheapest now, and that amazon is who made books cheap.

I hope they do the same to ebooks.

Apple is welcome to cut prices as well.

That being said, do you think it is ok for producers to collude on the pricing of products? I thought everyone agreed that was a bad thing back in the 1800's.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #4)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:15 PM

70. I'd prefer that to Amazon being the only place to buy books

I love print books and hate e-books. If Amazon puts everyone else that sells books out of business, then they will happily let print books die to sell more Kindles. So yes, I'd much prefer that to a world in which Amazon has a monopoly on bookselling.

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Response to rebecca_herman (Reply #70)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:20 PM

71. Me too

 

But amazon is not a monopoly, and the company that was arranging the colluding, apple, is the most valuable company in the world.

Plus, simple anti-trust law can take care of monopolies should ther arise. There is no need to cheer for rich guys collaborating .

And besides, the documents show this was not a case of these guys staying in business. Rather, they wanted 30% margins as middlemen instead of 15-20. Remember as these are ebooks they don't have trucks or warehouses to maintain in order to act as middlemen.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #71)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:26 PM

73. But they are now well on their way to becoming one

In fact, our government just wasted my tax dollars handing it to them on a silver platter. Lovely.

And I don't care so much for Apple but I am 100% in support of the publishers. I love the books they publish and have no interest in self-published books. Amazon was taking a loss on the publishers' products in order to sell Amazon's products, thus devaluing the books by making people think they should always cost that little.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:47 AM

10. Amazon was, and probably is still, losing money on Kindles and ebooks simply to...

eliminate the competition. They depend on the good graces of the cheap bastards who look for the lowest price and consider nothing else-- not the least of which is that many good authors are being thrown under the bus.

When the $9.99 price was originally set, publishers complained en masse that they would lose money too. Amazon then happily threw small publishers off the site and even took the "Buy" button off MacMillan's entire list.

When Borders was in trouble, Amazon happily agreed to jump in and service their ebook market-- just a couple of months later, Borders' ebook market disappeared. And so did Borders.

But, hey, if you sign your life away to Amazon, you can publish through them and sell to people who hate to pay. You can publish through B&N. too, and maybe make more money per sale, but Amazon will do what it can to make sure you don't sell anything through them.

And, if you sell through Amazon, you can sleep soundly knowing that it now has so many operations besides selling stuff like books and blenders, that it can lose all the money it wants in the retail business without skipping a beat. It really has your interests at heart since you share the losses.


http://www.alternet.org/story/149124/is_amazon_evil_?page=entire

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #10)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:17 AM

41. Kindles are sold "at cost." They get 30% of revnue from ebooks.

They are not "losing money" on the prospect, though yes they're selling Kindle Fire "at cost" to push out other competitors.

Fuck publishers, they're a middle-man racket that fucks over the author. Amazon does not limit you to their store only except through Kindle Select which is a 90 day exclusivity period, after that you're free to publish on any other sites (B&N, Google Books).

Publishers are the bane to authors.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:27 AM

20. Yup ! It's called "The Walmart Strategy".

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Response to onehandle (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:22 AM

44. If Amazon raised prices they would be liable to class action.

They cannot raise commission that they take they can only lower it.

Amazon will likely dominate ebook publishing regardless, they were first with a proper scheme, just as Apple was first with proper tablets and they will dominate the tablet market. Both companies will eventually fall to the wayside as new developments are made (for example, I predict that as the net evolves we'll have 100% profit sharing for authors through a purely open source style ebook distributor and open hardware ebook readers, that could be a few years yet but it's the eventual outcome, no more middlemen).

The current model is publisher based rent sharing (the pure capitalist model), the Amazon monopoly model isn't all that much better but it guarantees 70% revenue to the author, with no other middle men, so it's closer to a socialist / capitalist collusion. The final model will be a purely socialist model where people pay what they can and people copy freely. It's the only outcome to this.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #44)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:56 PM

84. LOL! Amazon = Walmart. Don't trust them. nt

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Response to onehandle (Reply #84)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:14 PM

85. LOL! Apple = Wal-Mart! Don't trust them for music!

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #85)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 07:59 PM

162. good one! :) nt

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Response to Vehl (Reply #162)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 08:06 PM

163. Where's the thread about Apple contributing the most CO2?

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #163)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 08:27 PM

164. Or the greenpeace protestors protesting on its roof!

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Response to onehandle (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:33 PM

67. While the saintly Apple would never ever do such a thing, ever.

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Response to 2ndAmForComputers (Reply #67)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:42 AM

105. But, but....it's no fair when someone else does it!!!

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Response to onehandle (Reply #3)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:14 PM

103. What people forget or don't realize is

that Amazon has single-handedly saved many authors from losing their livelihoods. The Big 6 publishing companies pay authors 17.5% of each ebook sale, taking the lion's share of the profit for themselves. During the economic crunch, many midlist authors (think mystery and thriller writers) were let go by the publishers so that they (the publishers) could continue to pay their staffs and promote the big name authors.

Many authors found themselves unable to make a living (although most authors have day jobs) until Amazon offered them a doorway, and a chance to not only re-publish their backlists, but self-publish new work. This has been a boon to many authors I know, because Amazon pays 70% royalties on their ebooks.

That's 70%. And the AUTHORS set the price of their books based on guidelines set by Amazon. And many of them have been able to quit their day jobs, thanks to Amazon.

As a result, self-publishing authors are now taking the lion's share of the profits and are able to actually make a living doing what they do best.

All Amazon has done is remove the middle man. The big 6 are bitching and moaning because they have a dying industry and they're doing everything they can to keep themselves relevant and pumping up prices so that they can maintain their Manhattan office suites and staffs.

Books are vastly overpriced because there's a middle man who needs to be paid. Eliminate the middle man and both readers and authors benefit.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #103)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 02:59 PM

117. Opinion, not fact

I don't consider books overpriced and publishers at least filter it somewhat to get rid of the really bad books. I wouldn't trust a self-published book unless I had previously read a traditionally published book by the same author. Not worth my time or money.

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Response to rebecca_herman (Reply #117)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:18 PM

121. It's a FACT

Last edited Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:52 PM - Edit history (1)

that midlist authors are now making thousands of dollars a month by self-publishing on Amazon. I know this because a) I'm a multi-published author; and b) I have many, many friends making more money now through Amazon than they ever did through their traditional publishing deals.

The publishers are not interested in helping authors make money. They're interesting in helping authors make THEM money. But thanks to Amazon and ebooks, authors can now make money on their own, without the need for a gatekeeper or middle man.

And how could you possibly know which books are self-published and which are not? These authors hire professional editors, copy editors and cover artists to design their books. The only difference you'll notice is the PRICE, which is considerably lower.

That YOU aren't willing to read them does not negate the fact that they are making more money now, selling THOUSANDS of books, thanks to Amazon.

EDIT to add this: Why do you need a middleman to tell you what to read? Readers don't need a gatekeeper. All they have to do is SAMPLE a book—which Amazon allows you to do—to decide whether or not the book is something you'll like. The same way you sample a book in a bookstore before buying.

Why on earth would you want to leave that decision to a middle man? The Big 6 publishing houses put out PLENTY of crap. Are you saying a book by Snookie is something we should all celebrate?

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #121)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:56 PM

124. You make some pretty big assumptions

First, you wrongly assume I read ebooks. I only read print books and I do not believe that will ever change. I find reading a print book to be a significantly more enjoyable experience and I truly love my collection of books. Even if it's an author I previously loved, I will not read it if there's no print version.

Second, I am quite familiar with the various publishers and their imprints. I could look at a book for ten seconds and tell you exactly who published it.

Third, I am not a robot. Nobody is telling me what to read. There are certain themes and genres I do not enjoy and I will not ready them no matter who publishes them. But I have consistantly enjoyed the majority of novels I have read that were published by traditional publishers. I enjoy about 90% of what I read and only hate about 1%. Chances are that if I choose a traditionally published book with a story and genre that appeals to me, I will most likely enjoy it. They provide a good product that I truly enjoy, so why would I stop buying those books just because some people feel the publishers add no value to the product? I think they do, and I am quite happy to pay their prices, and would even pay a bit more than I pay now.

Fourth, I STRONGLY disagree with Amazon's business practices and will never provide them with another cent of my money. They have quite enough money on their own and it disgusts me that my tax dollars are being used to help them when they are quite financially capable of fighting their own battles.

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Response to rebecca_herman (Reply #124)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:41 PM

128. You've got it wrong, your tax dollars

are NOT going to help Amazon. Your tax dollars are being used to stop the Big 6 publishers from price fixing, which is illegal. The byproduct may be that it helps Amazon, but it also helps consumers, as well.

As for print books, I love them, too, and have shelves full of them in my house, but I can also see the writing on the wall. Print books will become more and more rare over the next few years, reserved only for the Big Names. The midlisters I've talked about—who write the majority of books—are already being squeezed out, which is why so many of them are moving to ebooks.

Ebooks are already outselling both hard and paperback books, so you might as well get used to the idea that print versions will be harder and harder to get as the decade wears on.

As for you being able to recognize publishers and their imprints, color me skeptical, unless you happen to be in the industry yourself. But most readers couldn't give a flying flip if a book is published by Random House, Little Brown or St. Martins. They just want a good book. And usually written by someone they've read before. Authors tend to jump from publisher to publisher (I've been with three myself), so I'm not sure what difference knowing the imprint makes.

And, trust me, all three of those houses I mentioned have put out quite a few clinkers—so their gatekeeping strategy isn't flawless. It also has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE QUALITY OF THE BOOK. The books they choose are ultimately chosen based on whether or not they think they can make money from the book. There ARE exceptions to this rule, but they're rare. Which would explain why we have so many horribly written books getting snatched up. Fifty Shades of Gray comes immediately to mind.

The trend in traditional publishing right now is toward big blockbuster type novels. Many houses are even developing books the way movies are developed, coming up with an idea, hiring a writer and tweaking it until it's something they think they can put big money behind.

So I think you'll find, in the future, that the best books come from those authors who are self-publishing. I've certainly found quite a few gems over the last year.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #128)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:57 PM

129. Amazon can afford to fight their own battles

Last edited Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:39 AM - Edit history (2)

I believe the publishers are 100% justified in preventing Amazon from devaluing their products by selling them at a loss in order to sell more of Amazon's products. Ebooks also do not currently make up the majority of sales so I believe you are completely incorrect. Print books are here to stay for a while. Amazon is selling more ebooks than print books, but Amazon does not have the entire print market. I believe it is false to compare ebook vs hardcover and ebook vs paperback instead of ebook vs all printed books - some of those ebooks have a print hardcover, some a print paperback, so it is unfair to lump all ebooks together while separating categories of print books. Total revenue for print is definitely higher. I will try to find the most recent numbers I've seen.

And no, I do not work in the publishing industry. I'm an unpaid book reviewer (it's something I do for fun), so I read a lot of books and am familiar with all the publisher names and imprints. By the way, 50 Shades of Gray was originally self published, so I'm not sure that's the best example to use when complaining that self publishing produces better quality books.

Personally, I think ebook gains are going to start to slow down. Most of the people who want to read ebooks are already doing so, many who are not, are not because they just aren't interested. I suppose we'll see who is right in a few years. But if print does go away, nope, I won't be reading ebooks or self published books. I overbuy and probably have enough books in my house to last the rest of my lifetime. Either way, I predict it will be a while before we know who is right, there is some evidence ebook gains ARE slowing down: http://www.teleread.com/paul-biba/are-ebook-sales-reaching-a-plateau/

Edit: Most of the recent articles about the lawsuit are reporting that ebook sales account for 20% of the market, and print still has 80%.

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Response to rebecca_herman (Reply #129)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:06 AM

130. Fifty Shades of Gray

may have been self-published originally—as Twilight fan fiction—but the point I'm making is that the Big 6 stumbled over each other in a feeding frenzy trying to get the rights to the book, just as Hollywood went crazy trying to buy it as well. Proof that the so-called gatekeepers are interest in MONEY not quality.

But you obviously missed that point completely. If you want further proof, just pick up any book by the biggest selling author in the world right now, whose books are produced factory style by a stable of co-writers.

I understand that you may hope that ebook sales slow down, but each month the sales grow. This past year, there was an explosion of ebook sales and anyone in the industry will tell you that they are the future. You only need to look at music and movies and the success of iTunes and Netflix to realize that digital content ultimately wins in the end and hard copies are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

I'll also note that the the article you linked to is strictly conjecture and not backed up by any kind of statistical study. Nor is your belief that most people who want to read ebooks are already doing so. Kindles and Nooks are flying off the shelves and people—like myself—who swore never to read books on an ereader have discovered that it's actually a very convenient way to read books. I now have two Kindles.

The bottom line is, the method of delivery is not nearly as important as the content itself. Which is why the talented authors who are self-publishing now are finding such success.

And the numbers don't lie. But to clarify my earlier statement: ebooks are already outselling both hardback and paperbacks on Amazon, and the second biggest retailer of paper books—B & N—is struggling to stay alive.

The trend is clear. And it's not about to slow down.

But regarding your statement that "Amazon can afford to fight its own battles"—I repeat, this isn't Amazon's battle. This is the government going after publishers who are price fixing, which is ILLEGAL.

Amazon isn't breaking the law.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #130)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:40 AM

131. What Amazon is doing should be what is illegal

They are engaging in predatory pricing to try and become a monopoly. They are allowed to do this unchecked and even worse, are now helped by the government, while those who try to PROTECT a product THEY PRODUCED are punished. It's completely backwards. Amazon should not be able to destroy the value of something produced by someone else in order to make more money on Amazon's products. How would Amazon like it if someone else started selling something Amazon produced for an extremely cheap price, thereby causing people to refuse to pay Amazon's preferred price? I bet they'd feel EXACTLY as the publishers do now.

If not for the internet obsession, I high doubt any publisher would have touched 50 Shades with a ten foot pole. I've yet to see many other traditionally published books with such poor writing.

And actually, ebook sales are slowing down. They are no longer growing exponentially. Whether they will continue to grow slowly or just even out at some final number, we don't know. But you do not know for a fact that it will end up as you predict. It could go either way at this point.

And yes, that link is speculation based on sales data - but so is your viewpoint. Market research was done, people can speculate what it means but yes, at this point it has slown down. It may keep going up at a very slow rate, it could get fast again, it could plateau. To assume your preferred or assumed outcome is the only possible one is ridiculous. That you claim is wasn't backed up by any study shows you didn't even bother to read it.

"And the numbers don't lie. But to clarify my earlier statement: ebooks are already outselling both hardback and paperbacks on Amazon, and the second biggest retailer of paper books—B & N—is struggling to stay alive."

Well, people are obviously buying paper books somewhere, because print remains 80% of the market. Ebooks are only 20% of the market. When all formats of print are combined from all retailers, they outsell ebooks. Ebooks being cheaper in some cases does not come anywhere close to making up for the fact that print has 80% of the market.

I think it's a great shame if B&N dies, and should that happen I actually would probably only by used books at that point as I refuse to support Amazon. I still mourn Borders. The bookstore was my favorite place as a child. I want my child to be able to experience that someday. Although since no one wants ebooks for children, I suppose somwhere will have to remain to sell children's books (since ebooks are a pathetic 5% of the children's book market).

Either way - it is a fact that ebook growth HAS CURRENTLY SLOWED DOWN. Since you are so big on facts, how else can you interpret the fact that the increase last year was smaller than the year before? The increase was 120% in 2010, down to 60% in 2011, at that rate, there is in fact a good chance it will eventually plateau.

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Response to rebecca_herman (Reply #131)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:01 AM

132. Amazon isn't destroying the value of anything

Amazon is actually GIVING value to the people who should REALLY be making the money—authors. Do you really care more about the middle man than the actual content creator? Do you think record companies deserve more money than the bands who make the music? I mean, SERIOUSLY?

I've said this countless times, Amazon is giving authors who have been unceremoniously DUMPED BY THEIR PUBLISHERS a chance to not only earn money, but to make more money than they ever did under publishing contracts that took the lion's share of the profits, even though those publishers did the least amount of work.

Amazon is paying authors 70% royalties. The publishers pay 17.5%. So WHO exactly is predatory?

And OF COURSE the sale of ebooks has slowed. The sale of all books slow during the tail end of the first quarter after the boom of the holidays. If you seriously think that ebook sales are somehow going to tail off and eventually fall behind, you're in for a very severe shock.

The bottom line is that Amazon is no different than any other business. They're trying to dominate the market—just as Apple tries to, just as Google tries to, just as Safeway Supermarkets try to—with one difference: you don't see Apple, Google or Safeway giving 70% of their profits to the content creators.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #132)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:12 AM

133. You aren't even reading what i'm posting

It was comparing ALL of 2010 vs ALL of 2011. Not end of year vs beginning of year. But the entire year. The growth was slower in all of 2011, than it was in all of 2010.

Personally, I think it's perfectly fair that the authors get less from the publisher, because the publisher pays for editing, design, marketing, etc, where a self published author would either have to do without those things, or pay for those services with his or her own money and time.

And yes, when Amazon is selling products created by someone else at a loss in order to sell more of Amazon's products, YES, I believe they are devaluing someone else's work and unfairly creating expectations in customers as to what those products should cost.

Did I ever say that ebook sales will go lower than they are now? Nope. But I believe there will be a point that they plateau and stay at that number, basically, at least in my lifetime. There are a lot of people that are just not interested, period, and until those people are all dead and gone, I believe that print books will continue to remain easily available. And just because someone has a tablet doesn't mean they are reading ebooks on it, and tablet/reader sales can be an upgrade/replacement for someone who already had an old model (which would explain why despite high sales of tablets and ebook readers, only 3% more people were buying ebooks after the 2011 holiday shopping season). My mother has a tablet. Why? Because she finds it easier and less confusing to use the internet and email on it vs a computer which does more things. She doesn't read any ebooks at all. Also, many ebook sales are of traditionally published books, which indicates many people believe the publisher adds value to the book.

And personally? I'm a lot more concerned with a company having a monopoly on selling books - particularly when that company is one that wants to destroy something myself and many others love and consider to have a great cultural value - than having a monopoly on selling loaves of bread. Perhaps you only spend time with others who love ebooks and self published books, but as someone who reviews books for fun, I spend a lot of time with other readers online on various reading-related sites, and most still buy tons of print books and want bookstores and physical books to survive for the rest of their lifetimes.

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Response to rebecca_herman (Reply #133)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:47 AM

134. Amazon is not and never will be a

monopoly. Publishers can easily open their own online bookstores and offer Amazon competition. There's nothing stopping them from doing that. And there are several other online bookstores out there. Amazon's popularity doesn't make them a monopoly. And Amazon is popular because they offer outstanding customer service.

But what I really have to take issue with is this statement, which shows your complete lack of knowledge about the publishing industry:

Personally, I think it's perfectly fair that the authors get less from the publisher, because the publisher pays for editing, design, marketing, etc, where a self published author would either have to do without those things, or pay for those services with his or her own money and time.

First, yes, publishers DO pay for these things. But the cost of such things is actually minimal. The self-published authors I speak of also pay for these things and it costs them a mere fraction of their sales and is a FIXED cost. Once the editing is done, it's done. Once the cover is designed, it's done. Publishers (and authors) pay no additional money for these things.

As for marketing, there was a time when publishers did a lot of it. Nowadays the marketing scheme with the publishers my friends and I have dealt with (and I'm talking Big 6) usually amounts to telling the author to hit the blogs and the social networks and talk up their book. The publicity department sends out advance reading copies to reviewers, who are now usually easily accessible bloggers, because newspapers review books less and less. While a lot of marketing dollars may be pumped into an author who is already a bestseller or the one or two books that the publisher decides to push, most of the time the author is left on his own.

That's a fact. And any author will tell you this.

Yet you think authors should get LESS than the publisher? You think authors should only get 17.5% of ebook sales? It's even LESS for hardcovers and mass market paperbacks (10% and below in most cases). Publishers are taking a HUGE cut of sales for a contribution to the project that basically amounts to minimal fixed costs per book. In their defense, they DO offer advances, but in most cases that's only a few thousand dollars.

Yet, for this, you think they DESERVE that higher cut? You're siding with the middle man against the actual person who sits down and creates a story out of nothing, creates characters out of nothing, builds a world for the reader (you) to get lost in, and works seven days a week for MONTHS, sometimes a year, to write that book?

I can only assume that you're a middle man yourself who has nothing but contempt for creatives, or you simply don't value the person who makes the most significant (arguably the ONLY significant) contribution to the work. What other explanation is there?

There was a time when authors had no choice but to, basically, become SLAVES to the publishing companies because the publishing companies controlled the printing press—and, more importantly, distribution. Do you realize that most authors have day jobs? Yet publishing companies employ hundreds of staffers and pay them living wages, while offering THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEIR BUSINESS POSSIBLE far, far less. Yes, there are a few millionaire authors out there, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

But thanks to Amazon, that's no longer true. Authors who until a couple years ago had to scrape to make a living are now able to make a damn good one, thanks to the Kindle and Amazon's generous royalty structure.

Yet you accuse Amazon of being predatory and give the publishers a pass. You think authors should get the smaller cut because, I assume, you think their contribution to a book is far less important. ????

I truly can't fathom why else you would say such a thing.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #1)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 07:58 PM

161. For some Apple Fans, Price fixing is ok if Apple does it

nuff said.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:37 AM

2. a few years ago they had a price war with etoys and

cut the prices of toys on their site. personally I wonder what makes the government decide to go after someone for anti trust... there seem to be plenty of places to go after companies that they don't.

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Response to ejpoeta (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:20 AM

6. There go after who they can get away with going after.

Oil companies, for instance, are way too protected by lobbyists and politicians.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #6)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:50 AM

11. +1000 n/t

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Response to ejpoeta (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:19 PM

140. the real issue is the govt telling a business they cannot price their own goods

publishers are the ones who are being told what they can charge for their goods - by Amazon, with support from the govt.

of course Amazon offers opportunities for writers who might not find a publisher - or those who choose to work without one as already established writers.

that situation has nothing at all to do with the current dispute b/t publishers and Amazon. This dispute started long before e-books with Amazon strong-arming publishers to give them (Amazon) preferential discounts - which is an unfair trade practice, btw. Amazon has been trying to force publishers into unfavorable contracts for years.

Amazon is here to stay.

Publishing houses - those who develop relationships with writers and create imprints to focus on particular genres (such as non-English language writers in translation, who can afford to publicize these writers - are facing the same crisis that so many sectors of the economy have faced as technology has altered the cultural landscape.

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Response to ejpoeta (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:24 PM

145. Government stopped enforcing Sherman Act violations (except for political enemies & extortion)

 

under reagan. Ma Bell was the last monopoly to suffer prosecution and remedy from the government and that was longer ago than half of us have been alive.

Since then it has only been used to extract some blackmail from time to time such as when M$ stole Netscape's $2B market and paid off the government with a $70M gratuity.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:51 AM

5. In the meantime, government establishes a minimum price for milk.

Oh, what a tangled web...

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:24 AM

7. I've been saying for the last couple of years that ebook prices are outrageous.

Think about it. An ebook for just a $1 less than a traditional paper book price?

An ebook doesn't have any of the printing, warehousing, and shipping costs associated with a traditional book.

Now should Amazon get a monopoly, no I don't believe in that either. I simply think ebooks while very cool, have been severely overpriced for the overhead involved vs paper books.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:37 AM

8. I agree. But now the Feds have handed the game to Amazon, giving them total control.

There were discussions going on to solve the pricing issues. But now Amazon has absolutely no reason to deal with anyone.

Yes, prices will drop substantially for a while, but it won't last. Amazon's model is to get buyers hooked, kill off competition, then raise prices randomly and slowly back up.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:08 AM

13. This didn't hand anything to Amazon

I heard a story about this case on NPR yesterday - Apple and the others involved had been having backroom meetings where they agreed on what to set prices at. That's illegal, and that's what this case is about, and I think it's entirely appropriate for the Justice Department to pursue this.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #8)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:13 AM

15. What stops other companies from opening an e-book store?

Amazon is not the only option

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #15)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:00 AM

26. nothing

 

It's amazing that DU'ers support businesses colluding with each other on price. In this case to earn 30% solely for being middlemen on an e-product.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #26)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:18 AM

43. Who said that?

I must have missed it, because all I am seeing is concern that Amazon is going to corner the e-book market as a result of the government pursuing legal action against a few publishers and Apple. That's not the same as endorsing Apple's heavy handed 30% cut back room deals (which, no doubt, is part of why e-book prices are about 30%, or more, too high).

Take a look at how Amazon runs its app store:

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/amazons_growing_appstore_problem_android_developer.php

Take note of how Amazon gives away free apps to lure buyers with no compensation to the developer. It's this type of "destroy the competition at all costs" that people are lamenting.

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Response to TiberiusB (Reply #43)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:34 AM

49. That's what this Is about

 

Apple and others were colluding illegally. Justice department steps in so that consumers pay less. Everyone here is upset about that.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #49)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:41 AM

159. That's simply how you see it...clearly

First, I assume you mean Apple and others are ALLEGEDLY colluding. Second, "everyone" is not upset about that. A small minority maybe, but nothing close to "everyone." A significant number of posts do seem to break down into two groups, "Amazon bad" and "Apple bad."

Many are simply concerned about the potential for abuse by Amazon, as laid out in this discussion on another blog:

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/04/understanding-amazons-strategy.html

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Response to TiberiusB (Reply #43)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:25 PM

93. The same way Apple cornered the digital music market?

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #93)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:23 AM

158. What does that prove?

Last edited Wed Apr 18, 2012, 01:00 AM - Edit history (1)

Again, the issue is not whether Apple is the patron saint of e-commerce, it's whether Amazon is accruing too much influence in the realm of e-books. Whether Apple has engaged in similar practices with regards to digital music sales is irrelevant. Amazon doesn't get a pass because Apple my be pulling similar shenanigans in another market.

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Response to TiberiusB (Reply #158)

Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:46 AM

160. What do you think of all the indie musicians who were saved by iTunes?

Do you think that Apple's hegemony hurts them?

It doesn't.

As Amazon's won't with authors.

Amazon and Apple both will fall to the wayside eventually.

Sooner if they both do start to misbehave.

And they know this.

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Response to TiberiusB (Reply #43)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 05:58 PM

123. Amazon allows authors to do the same thing

With Amazon Select, self-publishing authors are free to give away their books for free for a certain period of time (5 days total during a 90-day period). When authors do this, THOUSANDS of their books are downloaded.

You would think this would hurt authors, but the result is exactly the opposite. If the book is good and the author has a product worth buying, his sales increase substantially. I've seen this happen again and again with author friends. The giveaways FUEL sales. So it doesn't just benefit Amazon, but the content creators as well.

I imagine it's probably the same for apps, if they're any good.

The publishers are trying to sell the bullshit that lowering prices somehow hurts the content creators and that's complete nonsense. The content creators—the authors—are BENEFITTING from lower prices. The only reason publishers are crowing loudly about this is because of their fear that they are becoming irrelevant to the process.

And they are. As people migrate from paper to digital, 80% of what a publisher does becomes pointless. As a result, they have no room to bitch and moan about lower ebook prices. Digital costs them virtually nothing.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #26)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:24 AM

45. This is actually a "free market' analysis. This is what "free marketers" dream about.

Colluding with other businesses and raping the consumer through cartel monopoly.

Yes, we're replacing one monopoly with another but at least we have more control over Amazon as far as ebooks are concerned.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #45)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:36 AM

51. I don't think so

 

We are replacing a cartel with less prices that may in the future lead to a problem if anti trust laws Are not enforced

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #51)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:40 AM

52. Yes I am saying that the cartel is a "free marketers" wet dream.

Anti-trust laws are a bane to the "free marketer." They want to be able to privately collude with other companies behind the scenes.

BTW, what's even more amusing about this? They're comparing high profile publishers to mom and pop stores down thread. What the fuck!

The mom and pops are the individual authors who are making hundreds of thousands selling their books!

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Response to obxhead (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:58 AM

12. It's making some independent authors a good living, though.

Somewhere I recently read that one current best-selling ebook author never appears on any sales lists, because his sales are all through his own website. His ebook is priced at $3.00 and he will be able to retire on the past year's sales, because he has no agent, no publisher, and no giant corporate e-tailer extracting a 500% profit from the sale and still paying the author jack.

Three bucks is apparently enough to cover all his sales expenses and still pay him more per book than Tom Clancy gets.

I don't think I'm full of crap, but heck if I can remember where I saw the story. So don't take my word for it until I or someone else can provide a link!

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Response to sofa king (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:15 AM

16. Several of us are trying to push something like this on college campuses

Its hard since there are contracts between the bookstores and and the publishers.

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Response to sofa king (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:38 AM

21. That's a completely different animal.

Not only is that a fairly priced ebook, but it's going to the author.

What I'm taking about is a published author (lets say Stephen King) and the price of a paperback only being $1 more than an ebook. It's simply outrageous.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #21)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:02 AM

109. Yes, I understand.

Interestingly enough, I saw a similar thing happen in the music industry, with Ian Mackaye's Dischord Records. Back when grunge was cool every label in the country wanted to sign Fugazi, but Ian kept saying, "you say I need a job? well I've got my own business."

With no line of middle-men between Ian and his records, he fixed the price of his label's CDs at $10 post-paid for around twenty years, I think, and he still makes a good enough living to run one of the last decent record stores in DC.

It never cost more than a dollar to make a CD, so the 1800% markup for one represents mostly profit for everyone who handles that CD after it's printed--except of course the musicians, who usually get ripped off. It's even more ridiculous with ebooks. They cost a fraction of a penny to store forever, don't require a fancy $400 reader (though Amazon is doing a great job of snookering people into thinking they do) or an army of jaded book-industry hacks rejecting everything that doesn't come from an Ivy League author with ties to the industry.

Just like the recording industry, the book industry has a huge investment in controlling the market at every stage of the process. Now that 90% of the process is irrelevant and unnecessary, they're trying to convert that 90% saved effort into 100% pure profit--just as the recording industry did when digital recording made everything cheaper but the price of music doubled.

I'm willing to bet that the next step the publishing industry will take is to go back to the thousands of rejected manuscripts they have on file, identifying the ones written by now-popular independent authors, and trying to claim publishing rights over the manuscripts they previously rejected.

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Response to sofa king (Reply #12)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:26 AM

46. There's a guy who watches the list closely, here's a link to a forum posting about it:

http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33796

I am not posting his website because, while I appreciate his efforts, his site has a lot of ads on it. But the link is in that forum post.

I'm about to publish my first book through Amazon Kindle.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #46)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:09 AM

107. There's the guy! John Locke.

http://lethalbooks.com/

Over a million ebooks sold in five months, self published.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:19 AM

18. My family gave me a Nook for Christmas

and I enjoy it, mostly it lets me surf the internet, but I haven't read many books with it yet. I have a hard time paying for books in the first place when a public library is close by. So I try downloading the free or really cheap books. I too have a hard time with ebook prices at Amazon, B&N and the others. If I'm going to shell out $14-15 I want a hard copy of that book. Old dinosaurs are hard to change.....

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Response to CRK7376 (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:25 AM

19. Your public library has ebooks for download

You can do it from home, onto your Nook and/or computer. They probably have tens of thousands of ebooks for loan.

A staff member at the library can show you how to do it if you can't figure it out. It's really easy.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #19)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:57 AM

25. I'll check this out with my library right away

Last edited Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:27 AM - Edit history (1)

Thanks!

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Response to goclark (Reply #25)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:41 AM

53. Like print books, ebooks can already be checked out

But, you just put a hold on it, and when it's available, you just download it. If you know how to use iTunes, you'll pick up Overdrive (which is probably what they use) in a snap. Just go to the Reference Desk and ask for some help (take your Nook!).

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #19)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:24 AM

32. Amazon is my public library's

ebook provider. It's kind of like being caught in the tentacles of a giant vampire squid.

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Response to CRK7376 (Reply #18)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:40 AM

22. I agree.

I'm in no way bashing the ebook or any of the devices used for them. I think they are a great idea in fact.

I just hate the price gouging associated with a majority of ebooks.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #7)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:25 PM

65. Yes these things are true but the author gets paid a % of that sale price.

So when you drop a book to $1, the author only sees a couple of pennies. Most authors are midlist authors, so dropping these prices is, effectively a Amazon ordered pay cut because they're only going to sell a few thousand copies of their book (print and ebook combined).

Not to mention the publishing industry which provides a valuable service in terms of quality of books being published. The general editors, copy editors and proof readers also have to take a pay cut (rather the publisher will take the hit and just fire those people to make up the cost). Not to mention the industry of agents who are the ones who do the discovery of talent and polish it up for consideration by the publishing houses. And then finally there's the publisher's advertising department which makes sure the book is presented to the targeted audience (or genera as its called).

So yeah there are savings with ebooks in terms of running printing presses, shipping and storing mountains of books, but to drop a paperback from $7.99 to $.99 is too big of a slash in cost and doesn't even come close to the production costs of one professional book.

Sure you can self-publish, because there are critical problems with the large publishing houses. And the small houses have trouble getting books to market and can't afford very much advertising. So, the self-published author loses access to a stable of professional editors and proofers plus has to manage all the advertising alone. That's a daunting list of tasks for any author. If you look in the acknowledgements of most books, you'll see authors thanking their editors and agents for the invaluable service they provide. Also, when dropping the price of a self-published book to $1, you can't afford to hire an agent or editor on your own dime. There have been some people who have been very successful with cheap self publishing, but they're few and far between. Most self-publishers don't earn enough to quit their day jobs.

Now, in this whole mess, enter Amazon as a monopoly who will can control the whole process of self-publishing besides the initial content creation. They can then tell the author, "You're book will cost 'x' and you'll get 'y' percentage of 'x.' If you don't like it, piss off." And believe me, given time Amazon will. They have a proven track record for abusing their suppliers, their own warehouse staff and customers.

My point is: Amazon controlling price is very bad for everybody but Amazon. The big house publishers are idiots for colluding against Amazon in such a open and public maner, and that's bad. But they need to do something quick or they'll die out. Already the loss of Borders in the United States has left a moon-sized crater in the industry and B&N just doesn't have the assets to pickup that slack. Thanks to big-box bookstores, all the little stores are long out of business, now more than half of the big-box stores are gone with the loss of Borders. There are whole cities in the US without a bookstore now, so where are people going to buy books? Online, that's where. And they'll buy from Amazon who has the cheapest prices. And these prices are dictated by Amazon, not the publishers.

This is a big problem for the publishing houses. They're dying and they know it. They're trying to figure a way out to survive and they're doing a poor job of it.

Why they have not attempted to sell ebooks from their own websites is beyond me. The Kindle supports all manner of book formats, and the Nook and iPad even more than the Kindle. They could easily publish their books and make them compatible on any and every e-reader that exists today and in the future. Granted they have a piracy problem to overcome, but they have that problem now and its rampant. Breaking Amazon's ebook format it technically trivial if you're Google-fu is decent. So even Amazon's vaunted copy protection isn't all that.

Please don't be offended, I'm not attacking you. I know several people working in the publishing industry and I thought I'd share some of the things they talk about and worry about.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 08:37 AM

9. How does this make Amazon a monopoly?

Perhaps this is some basic legal concept that's escaping me, but it seems to me that Amazon only "holds all the cards" insofar as it's the biggest seller. Publishers are free to go with whichever vendor they choose, and if they're not happy with the selection well they can go fuck themselves; consumers have been enduring that same kind of restricted access for decades.

Apparently (at least according to publishers) it's only a monopoly when it helps consumers.


Also, this whole situation has shed some interesting light on the fact that Steve Jobs was, in fact, something of an asshole, considering his "let them spend more" attitude toward his victims. I mean customers.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:11 AM

14. It doesn't

It guts a Steve Jobs price fixing approach, which is a good thing.

Publishers have a business model that needs to die. It keeps costs higher than needed and the authors get a pittance unless they are the next JK Rowling (Harry Potter author). Textbook costs are abominable.

I currently have multiple books in print, with another coming soon. Until the big publishing houses are broken down and restructured, it is still going to be very hard to make books affordable. E-books are going to be the way that happens. Amazon may not be perfect, but it is much better than the Apple's cozy price fixing arrangement with the big publishers.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #9)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:16 AM

17. I chose the Nook Tablet because most reviews rated it higher than the Kindle Fire... BUT...

...I immediately found out that most e-books are priced higher at Barnes and Noble.

http://plymouthdailynews.com/big-book-price-differences-between-ebook-sellers-14970

One trick I learned is if you complain to B&N, they'll send you a generic "too bad, so sad" reply, then within 48 hours they reduce the price of the ebook to be competitive with Amazon - proving they can absorb the price differences. And a company the size of B&N SHOULD be able to compete with Amazon.

And... with a N2A card, you can run full Android apps on the Nook, which include an Amazon one - allowing me to download from both Amazon and B&N (or I could just get an iPad...)

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Response to wyldwolf (Reply #17)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:44 AM

54. All of these companies get 30% of the proceeds, with digital the costs are astronomically...

...insignificant compared to the cost to make a given thing. It takes an author months to write a book (and if they're self-editing longer than that). Takes a few months more for and editor to go over it. Then a few weeks to get a cover, the amount of labor that goes into it is really massive, it goes though dozens if not hundreds of hands before it's published (unless you do it all yourself of course).

Apple colluded with these publishers to make them not have to compete with the market overall, so that could get 30% on top of the 30% that Amazon already got. Talk about pure cronyism!

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #54)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:40 PM

78. Your description of the book publication is accurate.

The only difference between print and ebooks is the physical printing, shipping and warehousing of the physical copies. This, I would expect, should reduce the price of the ebook somewhat, but some people (and some prices in the online stores) call for ridiculous price reductions to a buck or less.

However, the price of ebooks being at or near trade paperback or hardcover prices is outrageous. Apple, B&N, and Amazon are guilty of this action.

I think the actual production value, plus a healthy cut for the seller, publisher and author should be in between the two extremes. I don't think $5, $6, or $7 is a bad price for an ebook, but $9, $10, $15 and $20 is highway robbery.

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Response to apnu (Reply #78)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:42 PM

79. Yeah I think half what it'd sell for is quite reasonable.

So $5-7 for an ebook that you'd pay $10-15 for a paper book. Of course, once the sunk costs are in I would encourage them to drop the price of the ebook (say an author sold 100k ebooks it wouldn't hurt them to drop the price to $3 or so).

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Response to Orrex (Reply #9)


Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:48 AM

23. Amazon is not the hero you think

They have a history of unethical decisions you would not deem acceptable from a smaller retailer. We forget the unpleasantness of the past in favor of easy accessibility.

http://antitrust.booklocker.com/
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html

Amazon does not take into consideration the laws and ethics that others abide by. If you do not use their POD-Print on Demand service, they will not list you on their website. That MAY be their right, but they will also list authors and books who have NOT given their permission to be listed on Amazon in the first place.

http://www.thedigitalshift.com/2011/11/ebooks/authors-guild-weighs-in-on-amazon-lending-library/

The shady business practice has been around for quite sometime. And as for throwing the word Monopoly around, this too, is nothing new.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/26/100426fa_fact_auletta

A lot of things need to be revamped here, but placing Amazon on a pedestal is not only wrong, it is hurtful.

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2011/11/cutting-their-own-throats.html

http://www.jimchines.com/2012/02/amazon-ebook-price/

You shop online for the convenience, however, is the tradeoff really that great? We sacrifice so much for one-stop-shopping, and don't think of the consequences.

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:02 AM

27. Yes, it's great.

 

I love it, and so do tens of millions of other americans.

Why do you think that I should pay more and waste more time in order to buy things?

Is there a simply answer to that you could please explain to me?

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #27)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:16 AM

29. It's called supporting your community

In order for the economy to survive, there need to be a diverse business community. Mom & Pop store, Brick and Mortar. There are important to the individual cities, towns and villages that they belong to, as well as the rest of the nation. When you buy local, 3x more money stays in that community. That means there is money for stores and initiatives to spend in the community and for it residents. That means money for scholarship, grassroots organizations, CREATING JOBS, ability to donate to non-profits, and the list goes on. I'm not saying buying online is evil, just try to support your neighbors as well. Money is tight for most people. Make sure it does the most good it possibly can.

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #29)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:19 AM

30. Why support mom & pop?

 

I remember mom & pop when I was a kid.. outrageous prices.. crappy hours, having to ride around with my mom while she went to five different stores looking some something... asking if they have it "in back".. waiting 4-6 weeks to have it shipped if not.

Those mom & pop stores made a killing gouging customers.

Mom & Pop can go and F**k themselves, as far as I am concerned.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #30)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:25 AM

34. There is no talking with people like you

Apparently it never occurred to you that waiting times may have changed since you were a child. As for the "making a killing" comment, you clearly have never worked for a small independent community driven business. And by the way, Amazon has been accused of creating monopolies more times than yo can count. Don't worry, independents won't miss your money.

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #34)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:28 AM

35. They haven't changed... they have gotten worse

 

I never worked for a "small independent community driven business" but I shopped at them. The record store guy who used to gouge me as a kid was a member of the local country club. I'm glad he's out of business.

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #34)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:33 AM

112. Maybe you should take into consideration

that Amazon is opening doors to countless mom and pop businesses—THE AUTHORS—who can now self-publish their work and offer it directly to the reader. Many of those same authors were abandoned by their publishers as soon as times got tough.

Now those authors are making thousands of dollars a month through Amazon. If that doesn't help the economy, what does?

Times are changing, technology is changing, and as such changes occur, people need to learn to adjust or they risk being left behind.

I feel sorry for all those milk men and ice dealers who were laid off when technology took away their jobs, but the world adjusted. And it will again.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #30)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:56 AM

56. Our local mom & pop used book store is great, wonderful people, selection, prices.

They take orders and look for particular books for customers. Their prices are better than amazon's used or new books and their book quality is good. Not to mention the free-book boxes in their entrance which typically has pulp paperbacks but often you can find a real gem there.

It is too bad they are going out of business. 10 jobs will be lost. We will not have a decent second hand bookstore anymore, just Goodwill. I'll let them know you are glad of this and they can go f* themselves.



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Response to uppityperson (Reply #56)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:11 PM

60. My horse and buggy shop always had the best geldings. nt

 

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #56)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:23 PM

63. yep,

 

I like a good book store sometimes as well. But, most people don't. Therefore it will go out of busines.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #63)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:34 PM

68. Ours is very popular but the town is small and rent rose dramatically. "Outrageous prices, crappy

hours" did not drive them out of business but the recession has.

Same as our locally owned dry goods/dime store. They couldn't get funding, loans to buy stuff to sell when banks cut funding. Walmart has enough stores to be able to bounce money around but locallly owned stores don't. So, out of business for them and "f* them", right?

"Mom & Pop can go and F**k themselves, as far as I am concerned. "

Why shop local, why keep jobs and tax dollars local when you can simply buy elsewhere from a larger place? "Mom & Pop can go and F**k themselves, as far as I am concerned. "

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #30)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:30 PM

74. YTes, because the world revolves around you!

Fuck everyone else!

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #74)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:53 PM

83. no,

 

fuck the people who want to gouge me.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #83)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:41 PM

95. I say f* the people who want to take my friends and neighbor's jobs away by not giving them

business because they got gouged somewhere once.

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #95)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 06:10 PM

97. I don't want to take anybodys jobs away...

 

I want to buy things at a good price, at a time that is convenient to me.

I would bet that you are the same way 95% of the time, but like to pretend that you are different.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #97)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 06:15 PM

98. I bet you assume a lot. eom

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #98)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 06:17 PM

99. Nope. nt.

 

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #99)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 06:22 PM

100. You have proven you do. eom

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #100)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 07:04 PM

102. Well

 

That didn't prove that I assume "a lot" but at the same time when you assumed that I assume a lot you have proven that you like to assume as well

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #29)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:23 AM

31. Let me elaborate

 

This morning I ordered lots of stuff from Amazon including dish and laundry detergent that I am out of. Books for my kindle to read on a trip I am taking next week, and toys for my son's friends birthday party that is coming up. Then, I went outside to work in the yard (came in for a coffee break).

I enjoy working in the yard. I am getting stuff done and when it warms up this afternoon I will have a few beers when I put down my shovel.

You would rather have me drive around all day in traffic so I can get gouged by mom & pop. no thanks.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #31)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:58 AM

57. Good grief, don't you know Walmart online would give you a better deal? Why are you wasting money?

I'm series!!111 As long as you want to cut your area's tax income and put your neighbors out of work, why not go all the way and simply order from Walmart?

No need for them uppity people in your area to have jobs.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #31)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:29 PM

66. Yes, just like Walmart, cheap prices MUST be a universal good

Last edited Wed Apr 18, 2012, 12:55 AM - Edit history (1)

Have you ever considered the consequences, beyond your own comfort, of course, of relentlessly pursuing lower prices for everything? How do you think Amazon gets the price down? They use their size and purchasing power and large consumer base to negotiate, and more than occasionally "negotiate" means "bully", suppliers into lowering their costs. Over time, this forces many suppliers to suppress wages and benefits until they can no longer afford to hire American workers and they then are forced to move their operations offshore. This has all happened before with Walmart being the most obvious example. Did it occur to you that the "gouging" by Ma and Pa was a result of their small size and higher operating costs? Can Ma and Pa afford their own lobbyists? Did you read any of the links provided by others in this thread illustrating Amazon's heavy handed business practices? Do you really think this type of concentration of corporate power doesn't affect you in some way, even if it isn't immediately obvious? Take a look at how compromised agencies like the SEC and FDA and FCC are now. Do you think Ma and Pa had a hand in that? What do you do for a living? Does it depend in any way on Americans having disposable income to spread around?

Consider a different afternoon for someone in your area. They've closed their family store after many years in the community because the cost of doing business is no longer in reach. Now they find themselves in a severely depressed job market, combing the newspaper and the internet for any sign of work. They've already sent out dozens of applications with no success. There is unemployment to help pay some of the bills, but it isn't enough and it's going to run out in a year or so. The mortgage hasn't been paid in months and the threatening letters and calls from the bank are starting to come in. Birthdays and Christmas aren't a total loss, thanks to friends and relatives, but obviously there's less to go around and it doesn't alleviate the crushing sense of failure that seeps into their every waking moment as they become increasingly dependent on others just to survive. The weather has been mild, which has been a lucky break, as they need to keep the house and yard in some kind of presentable shape for the inevitable short sale...if they can get it. The fridge is nearly bare, though, thankfully, there's enough to keep everyone from going hungry, at least for now. Tap water is the beverage of choice, with the odd bottle of tea or soda as the rare treat. Of course, the tap water tastes, well, a bit "funky", though nobody knows, or won't say, why. Maybe it has something to do with the rig set up by the gas company a mile or so down the road. Maybe it's just crappy pipes. It doesn't really matter. There's no health insurance, so any problems caused by bad tap water or the flu or falling down the stairs will get the usual dose of frontier medicine, which amounts to "suck it up and push through it", in the hope that nothing "hospital serious" happens. A bill for the internet recently came in. At $45 a month, it's too expensive to sustain on only a few hundred dollars a month in government benefits. Unfortunately, with only one major provider in the area, there aren't any cheaper options. At least there are a few free wifi spots in town. It's a bit of a hike, with gas so expensive, and it makes email less convenient, which might mean lost opportunities, but it's better than nothing. Besides, with all the stuff they are trying to sell on Ebay and Craig's List to raise some money, they can't be without some kind of net access. The sun is starting to set, so they gather themselves together and head out to mail some more job applications and meet the kids at their bus stop. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Enjoy your beer.

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Response to TiberiusB (Reply #66)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:56 PM

69. Thanks, i will. Nt

 

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #29)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 06:33 PM

101. So, as an aspiring author,

I'm supposed to just go with the industry model in order to support brick & mortar stores with physical books? Why?

Why would I purposely hand over the majority of my potential income (70% royalties versus a maximum of 17.5%) to people that live and work in New York City when I could have more money to spend locally? And before anyone can point to that question and say that I'm in the wrong party, let me state a few things here.

As a Democrat, am I supposed to make less money than a republican in the same field? Am I supposed to live in poverty in order to be a "good Democrat"? What's so bad about me making a good living for myself? You do realize that if I can make more money with eBooks than print books that I'll have more money to give to Democratic candidates, right?

How about the fact that physical books are far less environmentally correct than eBooks? No fuel needed to cut down the trees, no fuel needed to ship the logs to the paper process, no fossil fuels needed to power that paper plant, no fuel needed to carry the finished paper to the printer, no fossil fuels (or nuclear) needed to run the printer, no fuel needed to ship the finished product to warehouses and no fuel needed to ship the finished product to brick & mortar stores, not to mention the potential fuel you use to drive there. And yes, physical electronic readers require fuel and energy to produce, store, ship and deliver, but once it's done, that's it. All books are delivered electronically, and my guess would be for far less total energy than physical books over the life of each.

When I publish my book (fiction, once I finish writing the dammed thing! ) it will be in eBook format only. I'll publish through Amazon, and if I feel the need to self-publish through a website later, once I've established a fan-base, then I'll go with that and bypass Amazon entirely. They make a great place to start, but I don't have to remain with them, unlike with a legacy publisher.

I'd rather make a decent living self-publishing, than to have a book series barely supported by a legacy publisher and still have to work a "day job" for a republican in my current field of oil & gas drafting. What's so bad about that?

By the way, I highly recommend this blog for those that want to research this subject further: Joe Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

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Response to kentauros (Reply #101)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 06:37 AM

106. I think your analysis of paper books versus e/publishing and electronic readers is a bit off..

I'm buying all my non-blog type reading material at the second hand store/flea market, being long term unemployed I have no choice, many of the books I buy are decades old, quite a few have been read many times, it's obvious from their condition. The e-reader you buy today will be supplanted in a few years with an "improved" model or will just break or wear out, in any case it will be replaced at some point.

Physical books are around for a long time, if computers are any indication of how e-readers are going to go, a decade old e-reader will be ancient and probably obsolete, meanwhile the paper book will still be sitting there on the shelf or in the box.

If I had put a bunch of books on 5.25" floppy discs I'd be SOL trying to read them today unless I had converted them to some other format probably at least a decade ago, 3.25" disk readers are still around on older computers but they too will be gone fairly shortly.

On the other hand it's still possible to read a Gutenberg Bible with no format conversion necessary.

People for the most part don't back up their data, those e-books are going to be ephemeral in many cases, gone with the first borked e-reader.

I'm not saying the e-reader is not superior in many ways, I'm just pointing out that the situation is not quite as unbalanced as your analysis might indicate.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #106)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 08:22 AM

108. I guess I'm not "most people."

I make back-ups of any book I download (I'm not a fast reader, so I don't buy very many books, print or otherwise.) Plus, I've got software on this computer that's twice as old as it is (computer is five years old, some programs are almost 12 years old) and I still use them. Everything is backed up, and I can read things I've had since 1993, when I got my first PC. Txt, rtf and pdf are pretty standard formats and I can always convert them if newer software can't read them.

I noticed that you avoided my point about paper deteriorating over time. Sure, some books won't fall apart as fast, but, unless it is specifically "non-acid paper", it will deteriorate. I "renew" my digital copies every time I get a new external drive for back-ups. Drives also deteriorate, but you can anticipate that as well and plan ahead. Burnable CDs and DVDs don't deteriorate anywhere near as fast, so you can use them as archival storage for a longer time. And you can always back up your stuff in cloud-storage. That's still far less lifetime energy consumption (by my best guess) than for the same wood-pulp books.

As for buying books secondhand and so forth, I've downloaded (for free) many Golden Age science fiction titles online (I'm currently reading some old A.E. van Vogt I haven't read in decades.) The Gutenberg Project has been around much longer than eReaders, and there's probably more there available for free download than any one person could read in a lifetime. Same goes for the Internet Archive. The list is growing every day for what's available online for free. Maybe we need to compile a list for a thread somewhere, like the Writer's forum or one of the book forums here. And I would suspect that people will find a way of sharing or selling ebooks, just like with any other "used" media.

You might want to look for my post in the GD forum on this same subject. For those not wanting to do that, I admit that I'd like to see pretty much my entire library converted to digital. Other than an almost literal handful of coffee-table type art books, signed books, and antique books, I'd rather not have a home "library" in the physical sense. That's probably one of the major reasons I haven't moved in over fourteen years; it's too much of a hassle to box and carry all these damned heavy books!

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Response to kentauros (Reply #108)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:48 AM

111. Other than flashlights and such we went for a week without electricity winter before last..

We have a generator but mostly use it during power outages to run the well pump and recharge some batteries, then we shut it off, until you use one it's hard to credit how fast you can burn ten gallons of gas.

I had paper books lying around that I could read while iced in, the electronic stuff wasn't accessible except for the couple of hours a day the generator was on and maybe another hour or two on the batteries, without the generator we'd have been completely without electricity. When the generator was on I had other things I had to do than read.

That's the second time in my life I've unexpectedly spent a week or more in an urban setting without mains power, the previous time was in 1972.

I just don't want to have to buy, haul around and keep track of another electronic gadget for casual reading, I've downloaded some books but I sometimes find myself like the donkey stuck between two piles of hay that starved to death. If I go to the thrift store, which I do anyway, and see something I think I'll enjoy it's easier to make a yes/no decision with the physical book in my hands. I've read everything I like the Baen Free Library but a lot of it doesn't really appeal to me.. http://www.baen.com/library/









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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #111)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:47 AM

113. I have also spent time in an urban setting without power.

That's part of life on the Gulf Coast. However, for us, it's hurricanes, not ice/snow storms.

In 1983 Hurricane Alicia knocked out power for our neighborhood for a full week. That's no electricity and no generator in Houston. In August. I don't remember doing any reading during that. We didn't have time. What we did have was next to no damage to our home while our neighbors had trees on top of their houses. We had two chainsaws, the equipment for doing tree removal, and the skills to match. Even with all that physical labor, we still didn't get much sleep at night. Have you ever tried to sleep in hot, humid weather without a/c? I don't recommend it.

Yet, in 2008 I lived through Hurricane Ike, and while our apartments were without power for only 24 hours, our neighborhood went without for three weeks. The place was deserted, too. Most people left town while the electricity was out, if they had the means to do so (this neighborhood seems more affluent than others in the surrounding area, thus why it was deserted.) Even then, I still didn't do any reading of books while the power was out. No, I went walking around here taking pictures while I still had power for my camera. My phone had already died due to txting my ex-wife in Bellingham while I was going through the worst of the storm the night before. She kept me calm through the scariest storm I've ever lived through

Even with practically nothing to do, I didn't want to spend time reading. It was an event not worth "missing" by wasting it away in a book. Plus, when you don't have the luxury of a generator, you spend more time outside, talking with neighbors, or walking around. Some disasters aren't as conducive to wiling away the hours reading as some would believe...

Thanks for the Baen Library link. I thought I had it in my bookmarks, but I know I do now

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Response to kentauros (Reply #113)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:23 PM

115. We couldn't go anywhere, the tree that took out the power blocked the road too..

We live one lot from the end on a dead end road, no other way out and there were only about half a dozen of us without power so we were a low priority repair. The roads were really treacherous for at least four days since Atlanta really isn't prepared for major winter storms like a lot of colder places, I wouldn't have gone anywhere even if our road wasn't blocked.

Ice storms aren't quite as predictable as hurricanes, you usually only get a few hours warning if that and not that many people can leave, it's just not physically possible for the roads to take them all.

When it's freezing ass cold outside and a bit warmer inside you tend to stay inside, when it's sweltering hot without AC you're better off outside and in the shade at least in the daytime through evening. Here in Atlanta we get the best of both worlds, the occasional ice storm/blizzard (1992) in the winter and near-Gulf-coast heat and humidity every summer.

I camped in a tent from New Orleans to Key West to Myrtle Beach every hundred miles or so following the coast one summer so yeah, I've tried to sleep without AC on the Gulf coast.

After midnight..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #115)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 12:45 PM

116. At least you know about camping, too :)

I grew up camping every month, whether with family or in Boy Scouts, so I know the worst type of camping is on the beach. Don't do it, if it involves sand!

Hurricanes are also only predictable to a point. Remember Hurricane Rita in 2005? After the total disaster that was Katrina, those that evacuated Houston and Galveston when Rita was bearing down found that they might have been better off staying and "sheltering in place" like my ex-wife and I did. We would have evacuated, too, but waited too long. Hearing reports of 24 hours on the road to Austin when it's normally a 3-4 hour trip made us stay. That and how it became deadlier for some versus if they had stayed.

I do remember that the evacuation before Ike went much better, thanks to better planning and learning how to turn the freeways into one-way outlets.

We've had ice storms here, too, the most recent one in early 2011, I think. All I know is that there were almost 800 accidents that day, and all due to iced-over bridges. The regular surface roads were fine, but people were driving as if everything was iced. I saw plenty of white-knuckled drivers on streets there were merely wet. Sometimes getting out is more dangerous than staying home, due to universally ill-informed residents.

Maybe you ought to write up your adventures and sell it. On Amazon

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #106)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:46 PM

141. The cloud retains everything.

If there was a book that I had as a kid I can find it trivially through digital means (and not necessarily have to pay for it).

The technology to access and read the data is unimportant, it's that the data exists that's important.

Your paper books might outlive you, that's cool.

The digital copies of your books will outlive the sun unless we destroy ourselves as a species.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #141)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 08:06 PM

149. We live in an unfriendly universe..

There's any number of scenarios that could topple modern civilization without killing the human race entirely, we are actually pretty hard to kill off completely but modern civilization is much more fragile. Rise and collapse is pretty much the story of civilization.

Environmental collapse, meteor strike (particularly an ocean strike), a more energetic version of the Carrington event, even disease.

I'm on the last few pages of Kim Stanley Robinson's "Sixty Days and Counting", he posits a modern FDR who comes in and saves civilization through swift and radical action when environmental collapse begins in China, I'm not so sure that we have another FDR in us, our political system is too venal and corrupt now, worse even than the gilded age. In the book the N Atlantic has already been artificially salted to restart a failed thermohaline cycle, Europe is in a deep freeze that would have headed to at least a mini ice age and they're just starting to pump seawater back up onto the East Antarctic plateau to freeze and into dry basins worldwide to counteract seawater rise from the melting and sloughing of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

I don't think it could happen the way Robinson puts in the book, he posits too much cooperation, we're just too fractious a species for that level of kumbayah-ness. Just look at DU if you doubt how divided we are..





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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #149)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 08:22 PM

150. I love KSR, thanks for the (incidential) recommendation. :)

I like a feel good story, as it appears you're making it out to be.

I agree that there are certainly fail states where books could outlive a collapse and actually be useful after the fact (not necessarily bashing fiction or entertainment style books here, mind you, as culture can also help rebuild after a collapse, and non-science type books provided that narrative). I know you didn't state that outright but I think it's implied that basically current technology could be rendered effectively useless. I don't deny that such scenarios exist. This is one reason I dream of a Technological Rosetta Stone that is made of some very tough material (perhaps diamond coated tungsten or platinum). It'd have its own basic language in mathematics or something and could allow one to rebuild all current technology with the right resources (not necessarily relying on fossil sources at all even starting from scratch). Just a neat idea in any event.

For what it's worth I think that Amazon is going to become obsolete in due course, they just had a hegemony on book delivery and took it to its logical ends (they would've been a poor company to not do that, all these other companies saw that digital distribution was the future). I wrote a little post about how I think it will go in my journal if you're interested. Basically I think open source distribution will take over, one day. It will take awhile though. Authors previously getting 17.5% are happy to get 70%. It will be awhile until they decide that they want 100% (or 95-99%). Open (likely P2P or grid based) distribution is the only way to achieve that, outside of the government mandating it (and even then the government couldn't do it without open source I would argue).

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #150)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 08:57 PM

152. I kind of suspect that books are going to move toward an "edited by" strategy to an extent..

People will look not so much for authors as editors who choose authors they like, that's what magazines do really, the editors set the tone, find and groom the authors and fine tune the pieces. Paper magazines are in trouble right now but I suspect it's going to be like vinyl records, they will carry on in somewhat higher average quality and a more limited distribution appreciated by aficionados. There are still ten thousand dollar turntables on the market and probably a lot higher than that if I bothered to look.

Book on demand publishing has been around and some people have made it work for them.

I've been reading Don Lancaster for instance for probably three decades and have bought two books from him.

http://www.tinaja.com/

http://www.tinaja.com/glib/stezine.pdf

I even subscribed to Midnight Engineering for a while but it went away..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midnight_Engineering

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:13 AM

28. Another nasty Amazon move came after they bought Createspace

Createspace used to allow authors and filmmakers to get the emails and I think addresses as well of buyers. This allows a self distributor to create the all important marketing list. They took that away in spite of protests. Now no one knows who is buying when their products are ordered on demand through Amazon. Why stay with them? No one else can compete and people "trust" the name.

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Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #23)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:25 AM

33. Agreed. Amazon is the enemy of creativity. No hero there. nt

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Response to onehandle (Reply #33)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:29 AM

47. I suppose you'd say that Apple iTunes was an enemy of creativity...

...which is total nonsense, but the same situation only as it relates to music. Apple iTunes has helped a lot of independent musicians make waves. It's been great.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 09:56 AM

24. All I know is my Kindle Fire - however




One of the main reasons I got it was to be able to read my magazines on it.

Wrong!
I wanted to get TIME and PEOPLE ~ now I can not get either one unless I have a subscrition from home ~ People is about $4 per week x 52 weeks at the news stand.

When I got my Kindle Fire about a month ago, I noticed that PEOPLE would be about 50 cents ( I may be wrong on that amount) an issue on Kindle.
Now the only way to get it on Kindle is to have the home subscription than you can get an app - forgot the cost of that but it is lower.

I noticed that I was not the only one that gave PEOPLE only one star and we were mad as hell.

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Response to goclark (Reply #24)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:31 AM

37. I suspect

 

that is Time and People's fault, and not amazon's. but I could be wrong.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:29 AM

36. This mindless seeking of cheap prices regardless of consequences is the CAUSE of our problems...

 

...what the fuck is with DUers arguing, apparently in all seriousness, that they UNDERSTAND how monopoly works, and they're going to SUPPORT it anyways, and they want cheering and support from DU?

Fuck you, you're in the wrong party. I hear there's plenty of room for you in the right one.

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Response to saras (Reply #36)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:40 AM

38. This is not a monopoly

 

So, 1. We don't agree this is a monopoly.
So 2. Therefore, we don't support monopolies.

You however support price-fixing and collusion. Since when did Democrats support big business getting together and fixing price to gouge the customer? Perhaps you are in the wrong party.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #38)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:18 PM

61. Do you understand how monopolies come about?

No, Amazon is not a monopoly yet, but it's not hard to see how an Amazon monopoly could come about. A good first step is being able to lower prices to a point that makes it impossible for smaller businesses to compete, driving out most "mom and pop" stores... who generally don't price gouge and live the high life despite what your extremely limited experience may tell you. The real reason most mom and pop stores will sell for higher prices is that they lack the infrastructure and funds to order and sell thousands or millions of an item. The more you can buy, the lower the initial cost of that item. A place like Amazon is able to sell so much of something that they can sell at a lower price than most mom and pop stores can get before their own markup.

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Response to Bradical79 (Reply #61)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:21 PM

62. the answer to that,

 

is anti-trust laws that limit Amazon's market shared. In this case of e-books, apple can compete with Amazon, they just didn't want to. They wanted everyone to have to pay 30% to them as a middleman.

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Response to saras (Reply #36)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 10:57 AM

39. Wait... The Walmart model is Not good for America? nt


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Response to saras (Reply #36)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:18 AM

42. Honestly?

You are using this situation as an excuse to tell DUers that they belong to the wrong party?

That is beyond lame.

When did liberals become the 'my way or the highway' party, anyway?

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Response to saras (Reply #36)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:31 AM

48. That is not what is happening here. It's being against price fixing.

Price fixing, in fact, is the real cause of all of our problems.

DUers arguing in support of Amazon are arguing in favor of authors, not in favor of Amazon. Amazon will die, it is the eventuality, just wait and see.

I'm more astonished that we're arguing in favor of price fixing and publishers colluding.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #48)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:24 PM

64. It's stunning, isn't it.

 

Really what this is about is Luddite nostaligia for "mom and pop stores" who I have noted gouged everybody with high prices, low inventory, and shitty hours.

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Response to naaman fletcher (Reply #64)


Response to MelissaMSmith (Reply #91)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:25 PM

92. If what you were saying was true,

 

they wouldn't be going out of business. That you resort to personal attacks just reveals the quality of your argument.

And what kind of research do you want me to do? I'm a shopper like anyone else.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #48)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:37 PM

76. It's not about price-fixing. It's about undercutting the competition...

waiting for them all to go under, and then raising prices again because you're the only game in town.

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Response to mainer (Reply #76)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:46 PM

81. Apple did that. Went from $0.99 to $1.29.

But the commission for artists was still 70/30.

Amazon has a set minimum of $2.99 for ebooks at the 70/30 royalty rate. You have to accept their 30/70 terms to be able to set your price at whatever you want (if you're a Kindle Direct publisher). If they increase the minimum by too much then authors will jump ship and go to other services. They want their works to be read. Many authors release their books for free for a time period.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #48)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:25 PM

88. It's about making Amazon the world's publishing monopoly. They greased the right wheels.

And we will all pay the price ultimately.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #88)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:27 PM

89. Amazon is but a blip in technological terms, as is Apple.

They're both facilitating creativity in media creation, but it will only last so long until the creators tell them both to fuck off and take the full product of their labor.

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Response to saras (Reply #36)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:10 PM

59. It's just like iTunes. 99 cents a song killed creativity. Those songs should be 4.99 a piece! nt

 

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #59)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:43 PM

80. Haha. :) And what about the record industry? Those poor record execs... they are mom and pops...

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #80)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:53 PM

82. Exactly. If they had kept songs at 4.99 a piece then maybe the mom and pops would still be around.

 

nt

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Response to Snake Alchemist (Reply #82)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:19 PM

86. Yep this picture tells the story:

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #86)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:21 PM

87. That's what they want you to think.

 

That's like saying that digital distribution of authors will help them as well.

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Response to saras (Reply #36)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:34 PM

75. It's our atomized society, people don't think about the social impications...

...of their own behavior.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:16 AM

40. The death knell of print books and bookstores

When e-books are priced below publisher's cost to edit, design, and promote books, all that will be left are self-published e-books.

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Response to mainer (Reply #40)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:35 AM

50. Yeah, but editors will still have a job.

So will cover designers, and promotion will be done by the individuals themselves. Seth Godin is a speaker who predicted this sort of thing.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #50)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 01:28 AM

104. True. nt

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #50)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:21 PM

137. Based on the awful self-pubbed books I've read...

most self-published authors aren't using editors at all.

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Response to mainer (Reply #137)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:08 PM

139. Because they can't afford them. Amanda Hocking has an editor now.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #139)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:13 PM

144. So self-published authors will continue to produce horrible, unedited books

What a surprise.

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Response to mainer (Reply #144)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:36 PM

147. Authors can edit.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #147)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:46 PM

154. Then why are so many self-pubbed books so bad?

Obviously many of them can't edit.

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Response to mainer (Reply #154)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:48 PM

155. Because there are more bad authors than good authors.

Why isn't fanfic used for TV shows or movies?

There's more fanfic out there than TV shows or movie scripts ever made.

So what? Who cares?

Can't people be creative?

What's the harm in that?

Good authors are making good money on epublishing, far more than they would if they went through archaic publishing houses.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #155)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 10:54 PM

156. On this, we can agree on.

A survey published in the NYT revealed that over 80% of people believe they have a book in them -- and that they should write it.

So if everyone who actually DID write it self-published it, we would have, oh, 100 million books on Kindle to wade through. Most of which would be the same blathering nonsense that's now published on far too many blogs.

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Response to mainer (Reply #144)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:48 PM

148. By the sound of things,

it will be no great loss not having you as one of my potential readers and/or fans.

I will self-publish and likely use my girlfriend's experience in communications and editing as needed. Other writers here have said my wring won't need much editing and I trust their opinions more than those of your average "reader." And you might be surprised at how forgiving the masses are in this regard.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #148)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 08:33 PM

151. To be sure, while editing can be as much as half or more of the process...

...if you're writing and have a good vision an editor is not going to be necessary. Go and look at something like Twilight, or heck, even the lauded Hunger Games where a friend of mine points out that continuity was missed by the editor (one point Katniss says it's stuffy on a train car and a little while later they're in an open air car is one example, no editor worth their salt should've overlooked that).

For me I have learned that story-boarding is a really effective way to maintain cohesiveness. Initially I did not want to approach it so systematically because I just wanted the words to flow, but after 10-15k words you start to lose track of things. Since I began taking the entire process in a more methodical way the thoughts that I've had flow more clearly and less juvenile (the first draft of my book got to over 50k words and it was worse than fanfic as I look back, I actually deleted it because it was so bad, I did keep a few quirky one liners but they make up less than a few thousand words). It also serves as a Bible of sorts because as the trees expand outward you can automatically see where connections can be made and where various plot points can more easily go. I also find that it fits well with my imagination as I can quite literally close my eyes and "see" what is happening.

UML book writing! It's the future.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #151)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 03:17 AM

157. I think I'm going to have to do something like your example

for the second book, once I get to that point. I have a long synopsis written up, and will use that as a guide. I'll probably still need to snatch little things form the first book where I know I'm setting up things for later stories, just with no further explanations there.

And continuity as well as contradictions are my biggest fear of getting through. I'm doing much of my own editing, catching very little stuff as well as getting reminders of things I missed or forgot.

My next-biggest problem has been that while I have done as you mention, writing tens of thousands of words and then forgetting what I've written, my creativity also "jumps around" within the story, and I feel like I have to put it down or lose those particular thoughts forever. Thus, it's now a bunch of "parts" that I have to edit together. That isn't as hard or bad as it sounds, only the bit about deciding what to lose, what to keep, and where it all goes in the timeline

Oh, and I thought for sure my previous post in this subthread would have garnered the interest of the grammer/speeling naazies for the one misspelled word up there (I wrote it on my Kindle DX while out to eat )

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 11:53 AM

55. The outrageous prices of e-books will be coming down? Oh no!!!!!!!!!! nt

 

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 12:09 PM

58. So? How much regulation will be necessary to get Amazon to put people before profits?

Can't they just CHOOSE, ethically, to not do the worst thing?

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:21 PM

72. Teddy Roosevelt wept!

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 01:39 PM

77. Get all the 99 cent e-books you want on Amazon!

If price is all that matters to you, there are plenty of those available, by self-published authors.

Trouble is, most of them are awful.

So, yes, you do get what you pay for. A book is not a book is not a book.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:37 PM

94. Welcome to Capitalism American Style.

... companies don't compete on price and quality, they put all of their effort into creating monopolies so there IS no competition.

We USED to have "anti-trust" laws that were enforced to curtail this activity but the "deregulate business" crowd (you know, the ones that crashed our economy) didn't like that much and they had the money to put an end to it.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 05:54 PM

96. will Justice ever find time to go after America's greatest monopolists...

the cable companies?

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:28 AM

110. What about the implications for Public Libraries?

And children being able to check out books?

For that matter, ME being able to check out books.

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Response to They_Live (Reply #110)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:54 AM

114. While the paper books last,

we'll likely still have libraries. I haven't checked in a long time, but I know I read of DUers that download eBooks from their local libraries all the time. They are adjusting to the changing times and will probably grow their online presence as budgets allow.

I think the biggest hurdle libraries face, though, is republicans. They would just as soon close all libraries anyway, whereas I'd like to give them as much money as local budgets allow, if not more. Personally, I wish my local library was open 24 hours. I find going there to write a much better environment than at home, where I have the annoyances of the phone, Internet, television, and noisy neighbors with ultra-loud vehicles. If I could sit in my library at 3am, writing, I'd be in Heaven

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Response to They_Live (Reply #110)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:49 PM

142. At this time, people still prefer print books for children

I could go find the link, but if you google, you'll see a recent study about this issue. People also prefer to own rather than borrow library copies - simply because they can share books they've enjoyed with friends. E-books have increased their share of the market, but a lot of people still prefer to have a bound, paper copy of a book because they own it, no question. Paper books don't require special devices to access and their format is very stable (i.e. the book won't go away when a platform changes.) Reading paper books is easier on the eye, as well.

but libraries have been able to supply e-books to patrons for a while now. the agreements varied by publisher, but most of them allowed people to check out e-books for x amt of time before the contract on that book expires. then libraries have to purchase another ebook copy. the reason for this, of course, is to keep publishers from going bankrupt.

initially, Amazon didn't want to let libraries offer e-books. they changed their minds after the publisher agreements.

libraries still offer paper books. their budgets, however, are impacted by the costs and demand for e-books and more and more funds will be allocated toward the purchase of that media.

Unlike the assumption - librarians manage data, its acquisition, and its storage in whatever format it appears.




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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:08 PM

118. Readers will be the ultimate victims if this suit succeeds

The federal suit, if successful, will allow Amazon to gain back that monopoly, and the biggest victim will be readers. Start off with e-book prices. Amazon can sell e-books at less than the price they pay publishers because they want to increase Kindle sales, and put competitors out of business. Once it's done that, though, it won't sell e-books at less than cost. It'll jack up prices, and given that it won't have any serious competitors, it'll raise them higher than if it had competition. So you may pay less for e-books today, but you'll pay more in the future.

An even bigger problem will be the choice of books you can buy, and where you can buy them. Retail book stores will be hurt badly, particularly independent ones that typically stock hard-to-find books. Lorraine Shanley, a publishing consultant, told this to the New York Times about the suit's effect, if successful:

"It will look like blue skies. But in the longer term, competition erodes as the spread between e-books and physical books grows greater. There will be fewer retail stores."




http://blogs.computerworld.com/20022/readers_are_the_ultimate_victims_in_the_federal_suit_against_apple_and_publishers

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Response to mainer (Reply #118)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:15 PM

127. The same shit was said about iTunes.

It was bullshit.

At least Amazon is sticking with open standards.

Apple's newest format is a lock in, proprietary, only works with Apple Author which will need to be reverse engineered.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:17 PM

120. Godbless Amazon, take it to these fucking greedy publishing rats.

I won't believe a word of their propaganda, Amazon has done right by me for years, those other guys just screwed me and screwed me.

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Response to Kurska (Reply #120)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 04:40 PM

122. +1

 

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Response to Kurska (Reply #120)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 09:13 PM

126. +1! Glad you are getting somewhere!

I hope to be there too, just as a hobby more than anything, but yeah.

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Response to Kurska (Reply #120)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:37 PM

136. No matter what, authors will be fine

because content is king and no one's figured out a way to improve on human storytelling.

HOWEVER, as every book at Amazon gets dropped to the same 99cents to $3.99 price, and the publishers start to go under, the consumer will be faced with MILLIONS of self-published ebooks to choose from, most of them utter garbage.

Come on. You can't tell me that the average self-published novel is equal in quality to the average conventionally published novel. You CAN NOT say that with all seriousness.

Publishers will probably still survive, if only because they will be the gatekeepers for readable books, in whatever format. And the consumer will fall back on using them as a filter to determine good books vs awful books.

It's bookstores that will go under, as print disappears.

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Response to mainer (Reply #136)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:07 PM

138. So "quality" should a barrier to the market? Rowling was rejected by TWELVE publishers.

If you're not "good enough" you shouldn't have access to the market?

That's what Publishing Houses used to do. Only the best of the best could get their ideas out there.

There are many authors who have been rejected. J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is the most remarkable because she was rejected by twelve publishers before someone finally accepted her.

Publishers are doomed in a conventional sense.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #138)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:12 PM

143. Quality was never a barrier to the market

God-awful writers can self-publish anything they want.

Don't forget, JK Rowling WAS accepted by a publisher. She didn't go the self-pub route, did she?

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Response to mainer (Reply #143)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:36 PM

146. JK Rowling didn't HAVE the self-publishing option that Amazon gives you.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 07:34 PM

125. $9.99 still means the e-books will be more expensive than paperbacks...

 

and they'll be more limited in DRM.

Nice for traveling, or military deployments, otherwise... meh.

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Response to PavePusher (Reply #125)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:33 PM

135. But once a book goes into paperback

the ebook price drops too, usually down to $5.99 or $6.99.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 09:10 PM

153. Ever since Amazon stopped their $9.99 deal and allowed publishers...

...to set prices, they've lost a lot of business - including mine.

These days I only read newspapers on my kindle - recent high prices for novels sent me back to the library.

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Response to onehandle (Original post)

Thu Apr 19, 2012, 01:45 AM

165. The cost difference b/t ebooks and print books is minimal

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012/consumers-upset-and-confused-over-e-book-pricing/

What many people in publishing know that consumers generally don’t is that most of the cost of a book, even an e-book, comes from the cost of acquiring and developing the content – which, if the book is trade fiction, is mostly words.

“We still pay for the author advance, the editing, the copy-editing, the proofreading, the cover and interior design, the illustrations, the sales kit, the marketing efforts, the publicity, and the staff that needs to coordinate all of the details that make books possible,” said Bob Miller in February 2009 on the HarperStudio blog (which has been defunct since April 2010 when the publishing start-up folded) when he was president and publisher of that company; he is now president and publisher of Workman Publishing. “The costs are primarily in these previous stages; the difference between physical and electronic production is minimal.”

...At a large publishing company with a dozen or so product managers at various levels, the costs can easily be estimated at over $1 million a year. Of course, larger publishing companies are more likely publish more books and could have a lower cost-per-book.

Another hidden e-book cost is that of distribution. According to Panchanathan, e-book distributors typically take a cut of 2% to 9% of every sale.


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