• Another good point, is because Europe has VAT on e-books but not print books.

  • sven coolkayaker

    Dear Michael, if the traditional publishers priced their ebooks at $1.99, you’d label that ‘predatory pricing”, too, for eating into the sales of grandma’s self-pubbed e-book about her pet Chihuahua.

    No win for traditional publishers in your illogical world.

    Bottom line in the real world: every consumer item is priced based on supply and demand. The demand for vetted, edited, well-written, reviewed and awarded ebooks allows sales at the current traditional publisher prices. Simple, really.

  • Sonja

    Not true, in The Netherlands we have 6% VAT on print Books and 21%(!) VAT on ebooks.

  • If you look at what Kindle Unlimited is doing. Authors used to get paid from a pool of funds, some months it was higher, some lower but they got some good money. Now, its all about pages read, if you read 5 pages and move on, author hardly makes anything, where is the allure to try and make money in this program? Where else do indie authors submit content to? Kobo Writing Life or Nook Press? I know lots of authors who say those 2 platforms do NOTHING for them? Where is left? Google Play Books? They closed their registration system 3 months ago and its still closed. Apple Books via Smashwords? That is solid.

    Many indie authors while publishing with Smashwords used to have a ton of lucrative distribution contracts with Scribd and Oyster. Oyster is RIP and Scribd culled their smahswords romance catalog because Scribd wasn’t making any money.

    Not only do consumers have it bad with high e-book prices, but self-publishers are finding themselves with fewer options to sell their stuff, because everyone is scaling back or going out of business.

  • Your right, I was referring to the UK, I think France also has no vat on books, same with Poland.

  • Galbraith Deighton

    Except that the publishing business has an extra factor: the copyright monopoly.

    If a book is only available through 1 publisher, and that publisher decides to ask $9,99 for a hardcover and $14,99 for an e-book, including a lot of restrictions in use (i.e. drm), a lot (if not most) customers will buy the hardcover.

    For one, it’s cheaper. Secondly, they can resell it if they don’t like it, or are done with it. Thirdly, they have no other choice since this book cannot be bought from another publisher that might offer it cheaper (competitive prices).

    So supply and demand do not decide everything in the book industry. The industry itself can manipulate the market.

    The only way to get an honest market, will mean government intervention. As in, protection of the consumer from unfair business practices, brought about by amongst other things the copyright monopoly.

  • John

    I have heard that publishers have a higher profit margin with ebooks versus hardcover and paperbacks.I am guessing this is more about Amazon. It appears that publishers are willing to make less money if at the same time they can hurt Amazon and undo the ebook revolution.

  • Jim

    The September issue of Fortune puts the lie to many of the numbers listed in th I s story. E-Books are alive a n d well.

  • Spector

    Just a cotton pickin’ second here — this apocalyptic article is thin on facts and heavy on opinion.

    If the book publishing companies are conspiring to crush competition, there are anti-trust and other laws that should be used to try and stop them.

    What are e-book vendors doing to combat the price gouging? Just closing their doors?

  • Reader

    Good point. Editing costs would be about the same for e-books and hard copy books. Once the electronic copy is made- and these days an electronic copy is what is also used for printing- the cost of producing an e-book would be close to nil. Download the file. By contrast, the costs of producing a hard copy would involve the printing equipment, the paper, and the labor for same- to mention the main costs.

    From the NYT in 2010: Math of Publishing Meets the E-BookThe article estimates publisher costs and profits for hard copy versus e-books.

    On a typical hardcover, the publisher sets a suggested retail price. Let’s say it is $26. The bookseller will generally pay the publisher $13. Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about $3.25 to print, store and ship the book, including unsold copies returned to the publisher by booksellers.

    For cover design, typesetting and copy-editing, the publisher pays about80 cents. Marketing costs average around $1 but may go higher or lower depending on the title. Most of these costs will deCline on a per-unit basis as a book sells more copies.

    Let’s not forget the author, who is generally paid a 15 percent royalty on the hardcover price, which on a $26 book works out to $3.90. For big best-selling authors — and even occasionally first-time writers whose publishers have taken a risk — the author’s advance may be so large that the author effectively gets a higher slice of the gross revenue. Publishers generally assume they will write off a portion of many authors’ advances because they are not earned back in sales.

    Without accounting for such write-offs, the publisher is left with $4.05, out of which it must pay overhead for editors, cover art designers, office space and electricity before taking a profit.

    Now let’s look at an e-book. Under the agreements with Apple, the publishers will set the consumer price and the retailer will act as an agent, earning a 30 percent commission on each sale. So on a $12.99 e-book, the publisher takes in $9.09. Out of that gross revenue, the
    publisher pays about 50 cents to convert the text to a digital file, typeset it in digital form and copy-edit it. Marketing is about 78 cents.

    The author’s royalty — a subject of fierce debate between literary agents and publishing executives — is calculated among some of the large trade publishers as 25 percent of the gross revenue, while others are calculating it off the consumer price. So on a $12.99 e-book, the royalty could be anywhere from $2.27 to $3.25.

    All that leaves the publisher with something ranging from $4.56 to $5.54, before paying overhead costs or writing off unearned advances.

    The article goes on to point out that increasing e-book sales will result in costs associated with print sales , such as warehouse space, would “be spread among fewer print copies.” The reply to that is a no-brainer: reduce warehouse space. Easy peasy.

    It seems to me that the strongest reason for publisher’s wanting to jack up e-book prices is to preserve retail bookstores. The article, from five years ago, points out the bookstore angle.

    “If you want bookstores to stay alive, then you want to slow down this movement to e-books,” said Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, a consultant to publishers. “The simplest way to slow down e-books is not to make them too cheap.”

    After I finished my university studies, where I usually had no choice but to purchase a new hard copy book, most of my purchases of hard copy books have been from used books stores, many for $1, which is cheaper than most e-books. Which didn’t make many publishers happy, I imagine. But not so unhappy to try to dictate used book prices to used book stores.

  • Publishers only recently got the ability to set their own prices on e-books. This is primarily due to the Justice Department fighting Apple the last few years for colluding with publishers to set a uniform e-book price, so their iBookstore and other stores could all compete with the same price on a digital title.

    When the publishers ALL settled out of court and renegotiated all of their deals with Amazon, B&N, and Kobo the gist of it was that publishers now could set the price on e-books, instead of Amazon. Almost overnight e-book prices went from 5.99 to 9.99 for a new bestseller, to $12.99 to $17.99.

  • SpringfieldMH

    The Kindle vanishing? Perhaps the physical device, though not likely. Basically, the Kindle is going virtual. It is now available as an app, for most every smart phone, tablet, PC/Mac, and most web browsers… basically, everywhere… with no need for presence in or sales by physical bookstores. It’s everywhere.

  • Author earnings is just Hugh Howey’s way of trying to be the worldwide Indie Author Spokesman.

  • Who cares about Fortune? Good e-Reader has been chronicling the e-reader and e-book industry for the last 8 YEARS! We have been talking about e-books and rise of them since Amazon released the original KINDLE! We were there when Barnes and Noble announced the 1st Nook, and knew about Kobo when they were formally known as Short covers..

    A lowly Fortune article means nothing to me.

  • testify!

  • You forgot one thing. First edition print books, go for big bucks. 1st edition e-books = valueless

  • Nirmala Erway

    From Wikipedia: “Predatory pricing (also undercutting) is a pricing strategy where a product or service is set at a very low price, intending to drive competitors out of the market, or create barriers to entry for potential new competitors.”

    I don’t think predatory pricing is what you seem to think it is….

  • SpringfieldMH

    Just keep wishing… and clickbaiting…

  • Nirmala Erway

    Your final conclusion makes no sense: if Amazon already sells about 65% of ebooks, then how does the digital format get annihilated when Amazon is still around? If all of the other ebookstores closed tomorrow, everyone would still buy their ebooks at Amazon. No annihilation involved.

    From dictionary.com: Annihilate: to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; to destroy utterly

  • Nirmala Erway

    Fortune magazine has been around since 1929. They may know a thing or two more about business than you do.

  • Here is the thing with Amazon, have they gained any customers from so many other online stores closing? Lets take Scholastic Storia has an example.

    Scholastic is a big education company, likely one of the largest kids publishers. Their footprint in the school system and via bookfairs is quite large.

    They could not make an e-book store work for them, even with millions spent on development and further millions into marketing. Everyone who bought an e-book over a two year period had their app suddenly stop working and was unable to access any purchases.

    How jaded do you think the average customer was to find out anything they bought was gone? How many do you think switched to Amazon vs the people who decided to forgo digital at all and buy print? I would surmise more people bought print than gravitated towards another online platform.

    how many times do people have to be burned with stores closing and you losing all of your content because digital is classified as a service and not a product before you abandon e-books all together?

    My thesis statement rings true, publishers are raising the prices of e-books, and putting stores out of business. People will continue to buy less digital content because of being burned by stores closing until there are just a few players left standing.

  • No, i meant what I said.

    They are raising the prices to such a degree that people are unwilling to buy the e-book and buy the print edition. Because of the higher prices, online bookstores are selling less and putting lots of people out of business.

    When suddenly you as a digital bookstore cant discount e-books anymore, can’t run promotions, you are in trouble.

  • Wyldphyre

    I suspect you’re right that there will be some serious consolidation of digital book stores if the publishers continue to price books in such a silly fashion. Looking at it from the outside it seems the only likely reason for making the ebook cost more than a print book is to push readers towards physical books instead of digital. Although, even if we’re left with just two big sellers, I have a feeling that availability will remain similar to what it is today.

    I guess raising the cost of ebooks will work for some (quite possibly many), but it’s quite annoying for people like myself who prefer digital because of the reading experience and many benefits, and not because digital saves us money. It’s true that we once had the benefit of saving money, but avoiding purchasing physical books is something I’m willing and (fortunately) able to do. I suspect there are many ebook readers like myself that just don’t want to deal with physical books and are willing to pay to do so, but I’d love to know what percentage of current eReader owners that would be.

    I hope that at some point in the not too distant future the publishers come to their senses and charge more reasonable prices (say, a little less than a physical book), but I’m not going to hold my breath on that one. And, since I’m wishing for things, maybe they’ll drop DRM while they’re at it :).

  • Karin Wikoff

    As a librarian at an academic library, and head of Technical Services, where we buy and license all kinds of resources (print and electronic books, databases, print and electronic serials, multimedia, and some services), I find this article odd. (First, the grammar is messed up in several places, making it a little hard to follow.) But, that aside, some of the terminology shows a lack of real understanding of some of the issues. The difference between an e-book and a print book is not that one is a product and the other is a service. It’s that you can buy a print book and you own a physical item, giving you privileges under copyright, such as “First Sale” — which allows you to do what you want with your physical item, and which includes allowing libraries to lend books to patrons. But the best you can do with an electronic book is to buy a perpetual license to the content. The seller (usually a publisher, but sometimes a middleman, such as Amazon, for example), can control the terms of the license. When you agree to the purchase of the license, you are agreeing to the limits they set on the use of the content — limits they could not impose if you had purchased a physical book. So the basic difference between the two is that print books are purchased and owned, while e-books are licensed, and not owned.

    Publishers are understandably nervous about books in the electronic format, because they are so easy to copy and share in a way that is impractical and unlikely with print books. While I have no doubt there has been manipulation of the market with regards to electronic book pricing, in libraries we find that has more to do with fear than trying to destroy the competition, Amazon, of course, excepted. Publishers are afraid that e-books, with their ability to have many multiple readers simultaneously, will decrease their sales. If a library can buy one electronic copy of a book being used as a course text with a unlimited multiple simultaneous user license, then no student in the class has to go buy the book and the publisher loses all those sales. So — they identify texts which are likely to be used as course texts and either don’t offer multiple simultaneous user options, or they jack up the price to something outrageous.

    Likewise, in a public library, a print book can only circulate so many times before the owned physical object starts to get worn out and the library has to buy another copy (though the library could also just mend/repair/rebind the book, which would bring no profit to the publisher). But an electronic book can circulate indefinitely with no diminishment of quality — it won’t ever need to be replaced if it has heavy usage. So, once again, the publisher/reseller either jacks up the price, or puts complicated conditions in the license. One model allows only so many uses per year. If the e-book is not very popular and only circulated half a dozen times, no problem. But if it is popular and exceeds the licensed number of uses, the library has to pay for the same book again, as if it were a physical object. The publisher doesn’t lose sales, but the library loses privileges under copyright because the book is licensed, not owned.
    In my academic library, I have seen absolutely no push back towards print materials. Users are showing an increasing preference for electronic, and some publishers, mostly of serials, have informed us they will no longer be producing their resources in print — if we want them, we will have to license the electronic version.

  • Karin Wikoff

    It’s crazy with serials. Because of the VAT on electronic but not print, we hear of European libraries which end of buying print+free online subscriptions so they can avoid the tax (because they are buying print). Then they throw away the print and just offer their users the electronic version — which is what they wanted in the first place, not to fill up shelf space. It’s very wasteful, but it’s what they have to do to be able to afford academic serials (which cost a fortune and have price increases which way outstrip library budgets).

  • Galbraith Deighton

    With regards to losing your purchases when a store goes belly-up.

    How many of these people, will continue to read e-books but will be unwilling to pay for them and start using NZB or torrent alternatives, or will go to ebook suppliers that allow them to download the file to local storage. Once you have the file on your own machine, removing the drm is simple as pie.

    If you control the actual file, any store that goes belly up will not mean that you lose access to the material you have bought. (Once burned, etc.etc.)

    Publishers complain about piracy, but this kind of practices (making “bought” materials dependent of “permanent” server-availability at the store) will drive people to pirate or modify material (they have already bought).

  • HomerTheCat

    As a publishing insider. I say: Seriously? Why would a publisher ever actively try to remove a sales outlet? They are trying to sell books, not to restrict the sales of books to only booksellers they admire.

    I suggest that the online sales outlets referred to may not have had a sales model that worked. Or the behind the scenes day to day business accument wasn’t in sync (you know, the gossipy stuff where you diss the business partner or are touting your worth far above what you actually accomplish in a day,a month, a year, etc.). Much of what you study in the first couple of years in Economics is about business models that didn’t work, and from those failed attempts, one tries to go forth and design a new business model that will work. And even then, despite all best attempts and study and preparation, or not, sometimes the consumer just isn’t there and it doesn’t work out.

    BUT why o why, in this 21st century competitive landscape, would a publishing company shoot the hand that feeds them? They want to sell as many books as they can. I’d argue that this argument makes no sense.

    Publishers are generally not big evil manical entities sitting in boardrooms rubbing their hands together in glee plotting not to sell books. If you really feel this to be true, then I propose that you be defiant and show them who’s boss. Go and buy something to read in any format you can and from any outlet you chose. That’ll show them.
    But dude, businesses fail, sad but that’s how it is.
    Finally, Good E-Reader may have been following the tech trend for 8 years, but I can attest that Good E-Reader is short on statistical facts. Clearly Good E-Reader hasn’t been privy to all the publishing sales data out there so maybe add a caveat next time that states that these are just your opinions based on the incomplete information provided, then, list the statistics outlets … Then you might seem to be more credible and your opinion more valuable. Wouldn’t be hard.
    But then, this is just my opinion.

  • Galbraith Deighton

    This comment shows the basic problem with ebooks/copyright/publishers.

    Ebooks are “sold” (or so the public is meant to think), but the buyer owns nothing but a non-transferrable usage license. If you look at all the ebook-stores “selling” ebooks they use the word BUY. Not rent or something like that, but BUY.

    In stead of selling an ebook (usage license) it should really be some kind of rent agreement (like when you rent a library-book) if the publishers do not want to transfer any rights/ownership to the buyers. But then the publishers would only get library lending charges for each rent agreement.
    Alternatively, they can transfer certain ownership-rights to the buyer.

    Alas, for things are to change it will be for the politicians to step in. The Industry is unwilling or incapable to implement such changes themselves.

    Customer and library protections are desperately needed in the ebook industry.

  • Nirmala Erway

    Personally, once I have read a book, especially fiction, it is no big deal if I lose access to that book. How many times can you read the same novel?

    And Amazon reports that their sales of ebooks are up this year in both units sold and revenue, so they are getting more customers from somewhere.

  • Nirmala Erway

    It still is not “predatory pricing”, even if your overly simplistic view of why those stores are going out of business has some basis.

  • Albin

    Very interesting perspective. I hadn’t thought of the limited lifespan for loaner paper books, which can get pretty well thumbed. While I’d guess the publisher’s markup for library use of 25 loans of an ebook far exceeds the single-copy price of the same book, I’d also be curious about the capital and administrative costs of housing and handling / shipping especially in a large multi-branch system, that don’t exist for electronic loans.

    I personally gave up on borrowing hardcopy getting a local library card – three of my first ten items were temporarily “lost” after returns, a nuisance for me that required follow-up by paid staff before they “turned up” somehow. In one case I had to tell a senior manager that I must be their closed circuit TV in my jogging shorts at a time certain handing the book over the counter to an identifiable staffer. Ever since I’ve confined library use to OverDrive and Zinio.

  • Steve H

    I also prefer to avoid purchasing physical books and vastly prefer reading on a e-reader. After awhile they just take up space…and preferring a minimalist lifestyle I choose to avoid print. I expect that market forces will force publishers to change their pricing strategies…MONEY IS MONEY.
    What many publishers do not get is that they are changing our behavior; they have created new habits for many of us. I now buy some budget books and borrow e-books from the library. They have increased price and I have almost stopped buying at the new 14.99 normal. I AM NOT SHIFTING TO PRINT.
    Sales Lost

  • Liz

    The publishers are so myopic in their view. If I have to go back to paperbooks, I will be spending a whole lot less because I don’t have the storage to accommodate paperbooks. I buy more ebooks and since I read a lot of series books, I just wait about a year until the latest book comes out. Yes, I am a book behind but I refuse to pay more than $10 for an ebook.

  • Steve H.

    Digital books will never disappear. When MP3 music came out it took years to fully develop that industry change and evolution to streaming music. The economics mandate it:
    1) Profit ratio is sky high compared to physical books. At some point publishers will come to their senses…probably after much erosion of their market share and revenue.
    2) They are able to profit from books that are long out of print. In a bookstore if it is not on a shelf people don’t buy it. They can resurrect any out of print title with little expense.
    3) Quick acquisition of e-books(tops 60 seconds) make impulse buys as easy as clicking on the buy button.
    4) No returns
    5) Minimal distribution costs

    Please remember newspapers. It took years for that market to plummet to it’s current lows. After awhile some of the big name authors may shift to some of the independent publishers for better terms. These new prices are not in the book author’s best interest.
    The push to digital is rarely stopped-it can be slowed but the tide is inevitable. Let another year of lessened sales, profits and market share continue and watch publishers start to change–hopefully well before then.

  • Wyldphyre

    Yep. The market might shrink depending on how nutty publishers act, but I think it would take something fairly catastrophic to kill ereaders entirely.

  • Wyldphyre

    Good point. I’m certainly less inclined to just grab a new book at the higher prices, but I don’t find it to that big a deal when there are still plenty of books for sale on special or at much lower prices by lesser known authors. If you want to read cheaply there are still lots of options, even without resorting to piracy.

    And so what if a new ebook costs the better part of $20? Here in Australia paying the prices the publishers are currently charging is often still on par or better than what I’d be paying for a new physical book. See here for a quick example search I just did, https://www.dymocks.com.au/search-results/?str=robert%20jordan&IsAdv=false.

  • The point is about authors. How will new indie authors, be able to make money selling e-books if the vast majority of people are buying print again?

  • I run out of storage for print too, which means I am reading less because I refuse to pay more than 10.00 for an ebook.

  • Bookstores like Amazon, B&N and Kobo basically act as agents to sell digital licenses.

  • Arphaxad

    I have found thousands of really good ebooks for under $5. I read ten times what i used to before digital. I can’t remember the last time I bought a corporate publisher’s book, there are just plenty of indie books to read that are just as good quality, if not better.

  • Arphaxad

    Where you are wrong is that by over pricing their ebooks people are buying less books of any kind from the corporate publishers. They are buying more and more indie authors. Predatory pricing will not kill ebooks, just corporate contracted authors.

  • Arphaxad

    “people are unwilling to buy the e-book and buy the print edition” – that is a false assumption. Data shows that people are not buying the ebook from the corporate publisher and in stead are spending their money on indie authors. This practice is only hurting the authors that are stuck in bad contracts with these huge corporate publishing companies.

  • Arphaxad

    The only time this site gets any hits is when he tries to put down indie authors. Check any other blog post here and you see there are 1 or 2 comments at most. Time to ignore this troll and stop giving him hits.

  • Arphaxad

    My 6 month old niece knows more about business than this clown.

  • hat72

    The specious assumption here is that the drop in ebook sales for major publishers is an indicator of anything beyond consumer backlash. If you raise prices just for the sake of raising prices, sales go down. Shocker.

    On the other hand, indie author sales have gone up. It’s too early to say why, but I’d assume it’s because people are pretty ok with buying an ebook if it’s priced right. Actually, one of the marketing strategies used by indie authors is to make a print version of the book available, price it according to the market, and put the much cheaper ebook price next to it. Perceived value takes care of the rest. People see they’re getting a bargain when they buy the ebook.

    Apply that same principle to what the Big Four have done with their pricing model. Makes sense, right? You get a better value from the print book. And since readers follow authors, not publishers, they’re going to do whatever they have to do to get the books they want to read at a price they can agree with.

    As more readers discover truly gifted indie authors, they’ll buy the ebooks or print books produced by those authors, too. There’s actually no competition here whatsoever. Except, of course, for the competition that traditional publishing has created, pitting their OWN PRODUCTS against each other.

    This isn’t a zero sum game, no matter how badly the publishing industry wants it to be. Ebooks have never been in competition with print books. They’re a product all their own, and they have a market all their own. Anyone who doesn’t recognize or acknowledge that is likely a luddite with no desire to see things change. And fair enough—they don’t have to change. You can keep buying and reading print books all you like, while the rest of us embrace ebooks for the portability and affordability.

    Something to consider: There are emerging markets worldwide that have a real thirst for literature. African nations, Portugal, dozens of Asian provinces, and even (for a time there) Germany—all of these regions are looking to grab and read books, even if they aren’t translated. Africa, just as an example, has an immense growing market of mobile phone and tablet users. They completely skipped the desktop age and went straight to mobile. And they are reading books from those devices, buying those they can afford and ignoring the rest.

    So no, the ebook market isn’t going anywhere. I think the predictions of this post could more accurately reflect the fate of traditional publishers. I predict that within the next five years, the Big Four will be the Big Two, and those two remaining publishers will embrace ebooks for salvation. And it will be too late. The market they could have owned and dominated with their author lists and book catalogs will be completely owned by the authors themselves. You’ll see many traditional authors embrace indie publishing, because they realize they can undercut the publishers, make a 70% royalty instead of 10% or less, and own all rights to their work.

    Sorry, Michael. You just have no idea what you’re talking about. Those unnamed, off-the-record sources you alluded to are desperate, and they earnestly want someone to believe their delusions. I’ve interviewed hundreds of professionals in both traditional and independent publishing, and the realities of this scenario are far different than what you portray here. The industry just cut its own throat, and is trying to convince itself that all that red means things are looking up.

  • hat72

    Proof that raising ebook prices past $10 is a huge mistake on the part of publishers.

  • hat72

    First, Scholastic ebooks are still available. You can buy them on every digital platform right now. Are you referring to a specific app? Did Scholastic try to go it all its own and invent its own marketplace? If so, I have a theory as to why it failed.

    Second, the children’s book market isn’t much of a sampling for the ebook market as a whole. There’s still a big cultural bias on the part of parents to buy print books for their kids, out of nostalgia or maybe just practicality. Kids tear up books. They draw on them. They lose them. And, for the moment at least, it’s far cheaper to risk a paper copy of a book than to hand over an iPad.

    As kids get older, though, there’s a stunning amount of research that shows they are doing more and more of their reading digitally. Services such as Wattpad, just as one example, are seeing spikes in subscriptions from students 18 and under. Kids are doing a lot of reading on digital platforms, and new platforms are starting to emerge because of it.

    Do you have any data on how “jaded” people are about losing access to a digital book? Who has had to switch to other digital platforms? If you’re referring to people switching from platforms created by individual publishers who wanted to create their own walled gardens, again I can offer a theory as to why they bombed. But I’ll take your odds … I’m willing to bet that a very large number of users on those platforms did, in fact, migrate over to more stable platforms. If not immediately, then they did so eventually.

    There’s a reason Amazon, Apple, and Google are putting chips on the ebook industry. Only a fool would think it’s going away any time soon. Today’s kids are already used to getting all of their information digitally, so you can look for that to be the way they both expect and demand their books to be delivered.

  • hat72

    Who are these people that are being put out of business? And there are “lots” of them? Name one.

  • hat72

    Good point. I keep telling people that this guy is just a clickbait troll, so I don’t know why I keep feeding him what he wants. Wasn’t he a failed indie who decided to take up arms against the industry that burned him? Maybe I should go read his traditionally published book on the subject …

  • hat72

    I never even heard of this rag until someone on a comment thread mentioned it. How can you have been writing about this industry for 8 years and have no influence or authority on the topic whatsoever?

  • hat72

    So what exactly does “undo the ebook revolution” look like? Is it even something that NEEDS undoing? Do we also want to undo the computer revolution, the smartphone revolution, and the tablet PC revolution?

    Let’s ask this a different way: Does it matter to Amazon that the publishing industry has won the right to set its own price, when Amazon gets a percentage of the sale and not a wholesale figure?

    I’ll just answer that for you: Nope. Amazon is perfectly happy to let the publishers make them more money. The only thing being undone here is the publishing industry itself. They’ve decided they like it in their dark little corner, and they despise anyone who tries to break free. I may have to revise my estimate—it’d be a miracle if they lasted a whole five years.

  • hat72

    Which is why guys like Seth Godin are pointing out that print books are now souvenirs. People buy an ebook to read. They buy a print book to collect. Smart money is on producing both.

  • the michael kozlowski who writes fiction on amazon is a totally different guy than me.

  • Albert

    Which issue, and what page? Or do you have a link?

  • Albert

    That doesn’t make him wrong.

  • Albert

    A “lowly Fortune article”? A bit of humility might be in order. If you contest the article ( http://fortune.com/2015/09/24/ebook-sales/ ), you should say where and why. Fortune magazine has earned its respect and spot under the sun.

  • Blue Octopus

    This is the part that seems unlikely to me. Even if publishers lower their prices on hardbacks, some people will still buy ebooks just for the convenience. Plus, almost everyone will still shop on Amazon.com, since it provides a cheap and convenient way to get both print and e-books. Even a buyer shopping for hardbacks will still see e-books on Amazon.com.

  • ZanetheWise

    In my case, the only thing raising digital prices would do is have me buying fewer books overall.

  • Anon Wibble

    You know what? Screw this, I am going to De-DRM all my ebooks and upload them to torrents. If companies want to screw me over we can repeat what happened to the music industry. When they have no books left to sell, then we can return to the discussion of how much they cost.

  • Albert

    E-Books don’t have to cover production or shipping costs like paper books. You would think eliminating the cost of production and shipping would make e-books substantially cheaper.

  • Jacob Wunder

    They also don’t have to worry about used books cutting into their sales, either. You can’t resell an ebook at the moment. Or having to sell books at a discount to clear out unsold inventory. This happens even with bestselling others like Stephen King.

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