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spinbaby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:18 AM
Original message
Why do e-books cost so much?
I downloaded the Kindle app because I spotted some Bobbsey Twins available for free. Free is good. Then I went in hunt of some Terry Pratchett and was shocked to find that they want as much for an e-book as a paper back--$7.99. $7.99 and they don't have to print it or send a truck to deliver it. A lot of other recent popular books seem to have the same pricing strategy. I think my Kindle app will be mainly for older out-of-copyright stuff that's available cheap or free.

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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. They claim that it's the price that you pay for "content, " but...
they charge pretty much the same whether the content is good or crap.

It's kind of like downloading music; it still costs about $0.99 per song even when the album came out 40 years ago and the companies have already recouped their costs a hundred times over.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
2. It's called supply and demand. Only monopolies price out products based on production costs.
I too find the laws of nature annoying at times. But my beef is more with gravity than microeconomics.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. How is it supply and demand?
The supply is essentially unlimited, while demand is finite. The price should be very low, except insofar as distributors artificially constrain the availability of the product.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. No, supply is not "unlimited" with e-books.
As you point out, "the distributors artificially constrain the availability of the product," which is the exact opposite of unlimited. What they're offering is a unique experience, because there's only one version of that particular book. That creates a rather high level of Demand, depending on how much the consumers in the market want to pay for that book. I forget the ratios required for labeling something a luxury, but I'm sure an in-demand book would qualify. It's comparable to movie tickets. If you go to the art house, you pay more that at the matinee at the multiplex, because that particular movie is in limited circulation. Sure, they could show it more often and extend the run of the particular movie in order to lower the price. But then that diverts their finite inputs away from other movies they show. Lowering the price would also lower the prestige of the entertainment product, which has a knock-on effect for future entertainment products they place on the market.

Anyway, my central point was that in a market economy, it's demand that drives pricing, not supply. Supply-side economic decisions always leads to market inefficiency. You have to base pricing decisions on what the consumer wants, otherwise you choke up your capital flow (cf: Reaganomics, the Bush tax cuts, and the centralized planning regimes of the old Soviet Union).
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Your central point is exactly correct, though it would be nice if the media ever mentioned it
As to the "unlimited" supply of e-books, the supply is unlimited except insofar as it's artificially restricted by monopoly holders. That differs fundamentally IMO from a commodity whose availability is constrained by independent, practical limitations, such as the ability to manufacture only a finite quantity of physical objects at a given time. If we were talking about physical books, then I'd agree that it's a "unique experience" of which there's only one version of any particular book.

There is no justification for charging a comparable amount for an e-book as for its hardcopy equivalent, because nearly 100% of the cost is eliminated in producing the e-book. It's much like photography; what used to require hours in a dark room is now achieved in under five seconds with Photoshop, yet the photographer still charges at least as much for the finished product. It's an entirely artificial price structure based not on the actual value of a work but rather on what the monopoly distributor has decided to charge for it.

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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
4. ya. mostly i just get the free or under dollar books from kindle. the new release? buy at store
walmart seems to be the cheapest. grocery store isnt bad. but at least a 2 dollar saving.
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
5. You want to see more books by the author?
They need to make money. Digital or not, the info still needs to be stored somewhere. Storage costs money.

Or, you could always go to your local library... before the disappear due to digital books.
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Life Long Liberal Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
6. If we stopped buying them the price would drop.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. or the supply would dry up.
Or rather the supply would shift toward the servicing of those customers who don't boycott.
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Life Long Liberal Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Charging the same for a Kildle edition as a printed one is almost criminal.....
I can't share it or donate it to a library. It goes away.

If the price is even close I buy the printed one so I can allow other people to enjoy it like book should be.

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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. I just shop abebooks.com
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 10:55 AM by bif
It connects with thousands of local booksellers and I find books very cheap there.
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Blue-Jay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. Thanks for the link.
:thumbsup:
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dimbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:44 AM
Response to Original message
13. Plenty of new stuff going for free, but not the really big name authors.
Small timers trying to make names, mostly. ( The classics you can find all over the place. )Or the first book of a trilogy is free, or even the middle book of a trilogy. Unsettled ground. :)

The biggest advantage of ebooks: they dispose very nicely. Poof. And when the price is zero, no trees die. No money dies. Only bits die.
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