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Old 09-03-2009, 16:36   #21
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Originally Posted by RobDickinson View Post
So how is cost and supply of books on these then?

No point in a 300quid gadget if the books cost almost the same. I'd rather have the paperback and be able to reread (anywhere, anytime) or sell on.
cost of ebooks in the UK at least currently is more than a paper book despite distribution being practically nothing and no manufacture costs.

Also I believe most are DRM'd so no lending it to friends or giving it to a charity shop once read like you would a paper book, despite the premium paid.

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Old 09-03-2009, 17:16   #22
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The idea of £300 for something with less functionality than a netbook seems somewhat crazy to me. And while it might be handy for holidays I'd much rather have the tactile sensation of holding and reading a paper book. Looks much nicer on your bookshelf and you can lend it to friends as well.
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Old 09-03-2009, 18:20   #23
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The thing to remember, is that a netbook has a backlit screen that always uses power, the likes of the Kindle, BeBook or PRS-505 all use a display that is effectively zero power use when static, and much closer to paper in ease of reading (no eye strain).
I've tried reading books from a CRT, and LCD screen in the past, and found them very uncomfortable for prolonged sessions, whilst the eink tech seems to be ideal for it (very comfortable).

ChrisM, aye the cost of UK ebooks are currently silly
Probably in part at least because at the moment we've only really got one company doing them that i'm aware of (Waterstones).

In the States there are loads of companies selling them, including Sony via their own online store - which you cannot use a non US card on* :/

However the likes of Baen books (Sci-fi publishers, with various fairly well known authors), offer the books in multiple formats DRM free and cheap, and sell to the UK (I bought about 20 books from them for about £30 the other week), there are also the likes of Gutenburg for out of copyright books, and some publishers seem to be taking the route of offering "free" ebooks of the first book a series to promote the rest of the series (Baen have been doing it for years, Tor have done it and a few others are trying it).

I've currently got about 200 or so books on my reader, admittedly 100 of them came with it, but the rest were either free or cheap - however what's available and at what price currently depends a lot on your taste (I'm a big sci-fi fan, and love some of the stuff Baen publish).
From a personal point of view, one of the reasons I went with the ebook as a relatively early adopter is because I'm running out of room for books, I still buy the hardback/paperback books of new releases, but the ereader is proving very handy for older books, and saving space


*I've heard that apparently if you have a suitable giftcard you can use that to create an account and buy the books (some are very cheap, even compared to UK paperback prices).

Last edited by werewolf; 09-03-2009 at 18:21.
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Old 09-03-2009, 18:41   #24
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Yes, about the same as iPods did for the music business.

If I had shares in any of the publishing houses I'd be offloading them now - there's already a massive library of pirate books out there and once the readers are in everyone's hands then I suspect it's curtains for traditional publishing.
Wot he said. If they do catch on, then relying on people to volutarily pay for stuff is naive. Did Stephen King ever finish his internet only work?

Quick google, no, he didnt. If he can't get people to be honest, I doubt a new author could.


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...ed-625308.html

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Old 09-03-2009, 18:52   #25
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cost of ebooks in the UK at least currently is more than a paper book despite distribution being practically nothing and no manufacture costs.
Yes, I'm an author and I wonder where the money is going too.

It's certainly not to the writer because digital royalties are about 25% of net receipts (the money the publisher receives) compared with an average 12.5% of cover price for paper copies.

Agents and authors get pretty heated about this stuff. I recently asked the MD of one of the big five publishers how they justify e-book prices and royalties and his response was simply, 'It's an industry wide standard.'

In other words, they big publishers will sign cushy deals with e-book suppliers that make them lots of money. In the long term of course, the pricing power will shift to authors and consumers as market forces take hold.
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Old 09-03-2009, 18:54   #26
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Wot he said. If they do catch on, then relying on people to volutarily pay for stuff is naive. Did Stephen King ever finish his internet only work?

Quick google, no, he didnt. If he can't get people to be honest, I doubt a new author could.


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...ed-625308.html
That was 9 years ago. Back in 2000 the only place bands put their music up was http://www.mp3.com and then you'd consider 128kbps to be hi-fidelity and wait ages for a download. That article I linked to showed that a fairly unknown author was able to get cash doing such a trick. Moreover King made what would now seem a strange stipulation, that 75% or more were paying.

Reading the 1000 Fans example it was only a cost-per-chapter that had to be met so that you only needed a selection of fans to make it happen and everyone else benefitted for free. That's the sort of solution that could and would easily.

Last edited by TheoGB; 09-03-2009 at 18:56.
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Old 09-03-2009, 18:55   #27
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The e-book thing could very easily work if they get the payment model right.

They just have to (a) make the "buy new books" interface so simple, accessible and convenient that nobody wants to go anywhere else and (b) make the price of the books so trivial that people will pay it without a second thought. Like 45p or maybe 75p at absolute most, comparable to a daily newspaper or mars bar. So that it is cheap enough that people are willing to take a chance on a book because if they don't like it, at 30p or 45p etc, it doesn't matter, they haven't lost much. If they go above the £1/€1/$1 mark then it becomes a tangible amount of money that people think more about whether they want to part with it.

Even if only 20p from each sale goes to the author he or she will still make a decent amount because there will be thousands of sales a day or week to people that are happy to pay the trivial amounts rather than look to pirate sites.

This model is working amazingly well in the iphone appstore at the moment and there are people making $10,000's out of games and apps that they're punting on the appstore for tiny amounts that are below the threshold at which people start caring about the expenditure.

Of course the above is quite utopian. It'll never work in practice because you always get corporate muscle like Sony thinking they know better and wanting a significant slice of every sale.
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Old 09-03-2009, 20:58   #28
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Interesting concept for the authors really. If they're only getting 12.5% of the total price then that's at most £2 a book, even at RRP. When it gets to paperback it becomes more like 50p.

I wonder what the response would be if an author set up their own website and charged £1 for a new book, with the price dropping to 50p after six months? They'd get the lot themselves and it would encourage people to be a bit more adventurous with their reading. I also wonder what impact it will have on libraries. Maybe the library could download ebooks to peoples readers, with some kind of code that erases or encrypts the book after a month.
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Old 09-03-2009, 21:33   #29
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I'd love an ebook, and would buy a sony tomorrow - if I could pay a monthly fee and "borrow" books like a library.
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Old 09-03-2009, 22:01   #30
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Incidentally, it seems ironic to be discussing book piracy when our high streets are full of shops selling second hand books where none of the revenue goes back to the author.

With ebooks, sales revenue might actually increase as people will still be paying the original publisher if they want a book a while after release, rather than just buying it second hand.
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Old 09-03-2009, 22:13   #31
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I'd love an ebook, and would buy a sony tomorrow - if I could pay a monthly fee and "borrow" books like a library.
That's already happening in some US universities and towns, from what I understand the necessary technology/servers etc are available and do work well at providing such a service.

I suspect we won't see such a thing here for years, despite it possibly being quite simple to arrange, as most libraries have public computers, and at least in Bedfordshire you can already log into the service from anywhere with your ticket number and pin to renew/reserve/search for books, so it wouldn't be a huge leap forward to link two such systems.
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Old 09-03-2009, 22:24   #32
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Originally Posted by R-T-C View Post
Incidentally, it seems ironic to be discussing book piracy when our high streets are full of shops selling second hand books where none of the revenue goes back to the author.

With ebooks, sales revenue might actually increase as people will still be paying the original publisher if they want a book a while after release, rather than just buying it second hand.
Difference there is that someone already at least paid for the original copy and now its changing hands, same as cars, games, toys, garden tools or anything else second hand that gets sold. It's not like second hand shops are publishing copies of books themselves from one original copy.
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Old 09-03-2009, 22:45   #33
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http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/kindle.png
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Old 09-03-2009, 22:47   #34
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would i get one? nope. Could i read it in the bath? probably not going to risk it. I have 1000 books in my flat, they are ornaments i suppose, i like to see what books i have and re-read them. Not have them all in one place.

And am sure it would make your eyes tired to read it all the time, in bed with poor lights etc. And would you want it on the beach?

Nah, i shall stick to my paperbacks. Luddite that i am.
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Old 09-03-2009, 22:50   #35
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How do you read a paperback with poor lights?
This is supposedly as close to paper/ink as you can get and I'm also guessing better for bright sunny days, no reflection.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:52   #36
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Yes, I'm an author and I wonder where the money is going too.

It's certainly not to the writer because digital royalties are about 25% of net receipts (the money the publisher receives) compared with an average 12.5% of cover price for paper copies.

Agents and authors get pretty heated about this stuff. I recently asked the MD of one of the big five publishers how they justify e-book prices and royalties and his response was simply, 'It's an industry wide standard.'

In other words, they big publishers will sign cushy deals with e-book suppliers that make them lots of money. In the long term of course, the pricing power will shift to authors and consumers as market forces take hold.
Hilarious naļvety on their part. Have they not seen what has happened to the music industry? The very idea of a cheap, simple music distribution network would have made the ******* in the music industry a fortune. Instead, they're left chasing shadows (PirateBay et al), with little prospect of making any real money back.

Why are these major industries represented by utter, utter morons?
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:36   #37
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Why are these major industries represented by utter, utter morons?
They're represented by middle men who add virtually zero value to the end 'product'.
The probelm is that the power has moved into the hands of primarily the consumers and secondarily the artists (not the way round it should be in my opinion).

Quote:
Originally Posted by R-T-C
Incidentally, it seems ironic to be discussing book piracy when our high streets are full of shops selling second hand books where none of the revenue goes back to the author.
The same argument was raised about music way back when.
The core problem is that we MUST find a way to pay artists. I suspect the sponsor model (be it an individual, a large group or even the State) is the only workable one with the Internet. I'm including 'shareware' and the Radiohead 'pay what you want' model as sponsorship.

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Old 10-03-2009, 09:49   #38
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Most 'artists' don't get paid. The kid in a local band, the ageing hippy at the folk club, the members of the district art club, the lonely poet. Maybe they sell a painting once a year or get a free beer. But most people create art for nothing. Heck, who paid J K Rowling to write Potter?

I've always been happy to monetarily recompense people whose work I enjoy and admire. But the irony is the work that's affected me the deepest and has stayed with me is more often than not that which has been created when money has not been a major issue in its creation: the band's first album, the author's first book, etc.

Long term career artists are often more about the industry that surrounds them than real artistic longevity.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:26   #39
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Most 'artists' don't get paid. The kid in a local band, the ageing hippy at the folk club, the members of the district art club, the lonely poet. Maybe they sell a painting once a year or get a free beer. But most people create art for nothing. Heck, who paid J K Rowling to write Potter?

I've always been happy to monetarily recompense people whose work I enjoy and admire. But the irony is the work that's affected me the deepest and has stayed with me is more often than not that which has been created when money has not been a major issue in its creation: the band's first album, the author's first book, etc.

Long term career artists are often more about the industry that surrounds them than real artistic longevity.
That's your personal view, but I would like a method so that we can have people doing what they're good at.
I don't want my favorite writer (Pratchett in my case) spending time doing a day job like working as a press officer for a nuclear power plant when his time could be better spent writing novels.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:31   #40
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Wow interesting reading on the fee for a virtual library of sorts. I'd like an ereader but I'd either wait for the Kindle 2 or this super secret Apple Tablet. My problem is how would these things work cross platform? Amazon only seem to cater for kindletastic ebooks and I'm not sure what the sony ereader does for its files.

I'd like to think Amazon will get off their bums and release the kindle in the EU even if to begin with folks have to upload books using a USB connection but that's never gonna happen. Me thinks christmas will see the Kindle and other ebooks hit the shelves here.
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