Saturday, February 6, 2010

eBook Pricing


"The inn at Harty Ferry, the Isle of Sheppey, yesterday."

Here we go again. The lunatics are now running around the asylum with pitchforks and flaming torches.

Hatchette is about to follow Murdoch-owned Harper Collins in jacking up the price of eBooks,
http://ow.ly/14l85
in order to protect the price point of hardback editions.

It is quite clear that Murdoch sees eBooks simply as a threat to traditional publishing and, along with other publishers, is convinced he can hold back the new technology. It is quite amusing when one considers how Murdoch made money originally, by using new digital technology to break the print unions who were trying to, um, hold back the new technology to preserve their traditional income stream.

I refer to my previous post about replication. The print workers lost and were destroyed because they tried to block new, more efficient, technology rather than working out how to exploit it. They were destroyed - by Murdoch. Now he has adopted their model.

There is an interesting article here:
http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20100202/news-corp-beats-earnings-revenue-estimates/

A key quote is:

"Again, it’s impossible to stress how scarring the music labels’ experience has been for Big Media. And they’re determined not to repeat the experience. Their takeaway, though, seems to be that they can stave off digital distribution by keeping prices high and inventory relatively scarce. Hard to believe consumers are going to go for that."

Well? What do you think? Are you going to go for that?


UPDATE:
Electricity storage breakthrough at Imperiel College, London University, will revoltionise ebooks (and other things).
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/5177559-scientists-have-invented-a-waferthin-plastic-that-can-store-electricity-in-it

10 comments:

matapam said...

Those who fail to remember their own history are doomed to repeat it, from the other side.

It's like driving by a wreck. You keep telling yourself you don't want to look . . .

Raise the prices, limit the numbers. The two things about books the ebooks by nature will change the other direction, and they try this?

Must check definition of insane.

C Kelsey said...

I buy eBooks from exactly one place. Webscriptions. I might consider buying eBooks elsewhere when/if those elsewhere-companies get it together in a reasonable way.

Amanda Green said...

John, I think Sarah pegged it the other day when she said the genie is out of the bottle and, no matter how hard they try, the Big 6 won't be able to push it back in. All they will accomplish by raising prices and continuing their dedication to DRM is to encourage piracy. Sure, some of the pirated e-books will be those where the drm has been defeated but -- and I know this will surprise those dinosaurs sitting in the board rooms longing for the days of linotype -- it will still come more from those who buy a hardcopy of the book and scan it, digitize it and then upload it. You'd think they would have learned from Harry Potter and others. There were pirated e-books of the last Harry Potter BEFORE the book hit the streets and there was NO E-BOOK version.

I won't even go into those authors who have been whining and, worse, condemning readers don't want to buy an e-book at more than $9.99. Whether it's panic because their books did disappear from the Number 1 on-line retailer or blind following of their publisher's line of BS or simply that they refuse to recognize e-books are here to stay and the current business model -- and the new agency model the Big 6 wants -- will not work in the long run, I don't know. But I do know they've lost readers who don't appreciate being called names and talked down to.

So, in this time of madness, I tip my hat and offer a big "Thanks" to Toni and everyone at Baen as well as to the other e-book publishers who aren't afraid to take chances and who do listen to their customers.

John Lambshead said...

Dear Pam

Ludditeism has always worked out so well in the past.

One definition of insane is repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting a different result.

John Lambshead said...

Dear Chris
Yep, Baen have got it right (and sell ebooks). These people do not even have to think creatively. They just have to recgnise a successful model and copy it. Aggghhhhhh.......

John Lambshead said...

dear Amanda

What can I say other than, yes, I agree.

John

Chris McMahon said...

Talk about forgetting history. Its hard to believe Mr Murdoch can forget his own history!

I agree the genie is out of the bottle. Companies like Baen will continue to be successful with their approach regardless how the others want to stuff around with price points, meanwhile, more are more people will be buying ebooks - just not at $9.99.

John Lambshead said...

Dear Chris
I think it's about age. In scientific research there is a point where you have to accept that it's time to leave the front line. Murdoch just does not understand the digital age.
John

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Wow, John, plastic that stores electricity. We must be living in the future.

Now all we need is a perpetual motion machine!

John Lambshead said...

Dear Rowena
This brings the electric car much closer.
No heavy batteries, you just store the power in the carpets and dashboard :)
John