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Letter of Complaint: Fictionwise Doesn’t Deliver

Dear Fictionwise:

I am a long time customer and a big pimper of ebooks. Listen to me. I have some important business advice to impart. Part of the whole deal with ebooks is instant gratification. That means when the book is out, we readers want to buy it and read it. Maybe you haven’t been paying attention to readers, but alot of online romance readers (you know, the ones who actually buy ebooks v. the offline readers who don’t) are pretty savvy. They know when books are released. It’s on Tuesdays. Every NY publishing house releases books on Tuesdays. That’s the day after Monday.

I have emailed you a number of times about this, but it hasn’t seemed to sink in. Your reply to me is always “we release books on Monday.” Why would it be so difficult to change your release date to Tuesday so I don’t have to wait an entire week to buy the “new” releases. Because by the next week, I have already bought the new release from some other bookstore. Like Powells.com or eReader.com. You should, in fact, release your books as soon as soon as the street date hits. At both Random House and Harper Collins, you can buy and download a new release at midnight EST of the Street Date.

Oh, and Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts which is a book that you promised me via email would be released on the Monday following the Tuesday release date is still not at your store. Look, I appreciate the multi formats you offer, the Buywise club, and the eternal bookshelf but I am spending more and more of my ebook dollars elsewhere because you can’t seem to get with the program. It’s Tuesdays. The book week starts on Tuesdays. So should yours.

Readers, comment on the one thing that you wish any ebook publisher could do better and I’ll enter you in a contest to win one of the following books: The ARC of Christine Feehan’s Conspiracy Game or a New and Unread copy of Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

37 Comments

  1. Angie
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 06:58:55

    I’ll tell you, I wish I could puzzle out how Fictionwise decides which books from publishers to carry.

    Here’s my example: Mandy Roth and Michelle Pillow seem to be big sellers at Fictionwise. Their books are regularly on their bestseller list. When their books released from Samhain back when we first opened, Fictionwise didn’t pick them up, but picked up other releases from us that released the same time or after their books.

    So I wrote to Fictionwise (as a customer) and asked them when they’d get them in (I was trying to puzzle out how this worked). The customer service wrote back and replied that it was up to the publisher as to whether or not Fictionwise carried a book. Uhhh…since I work for the publisher, and I know how this works, I knew that Fictionwise was flat out not telling the truth. Not only is it not up to us, but we don’t deal with Fictionwise direct in any way. We don’t make suggestions, we don’t direct provide them books, nothing. What we do is upload them to a “database” of sorts (Lightening Source). It’s the same place that all ebookstores grab much of their selection from. We upload them there, and any online retailer can “buy” them and make them available on their stores. That’s it. No controlf from us past making sure they’re uploaded. And they’re uploaded regularly.

    So why did Fictionwise tell a “customer” this? I have no idea. But it appears to be their standard answer, from what I can gather. They don’t want customers to think they bear the responsibility for anything, so they direct them to write the publisher and tell them they want a book on Fictionwise. Go ahead Fictionwise customers, but as publishers/booksellers, we’re going to point you to OUR bookstore to purchase the book (and this is, in fact what we do when we get these type of emails. Right after we explain we have no control over Fictionwise). It only makes sense, we’ll take the larger profit. *blowing raspberries at Fictionwise*

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  2. Kim
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 10:19:15

    I’d like to see the all the ebook publishers standardize the book length systems they use. Some sites use word counts. Some use page counts. Some just use novella, category etc. What is called novel length, depending on what site you go to, could be a book that has 30,000+ words, 45,000+ words or 90,000+ words. Big difference. Some sites just don’t tell you. Or, in most cases, you have to search the site to find the detailed description of the system they use and it’s often not in an area that’s out front. You have to dig and dig.

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  3. Robin
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 10:51:39

    As a newbie to ebook reading (I’ve only purchased two of them so far and am reading them on my lapto since I still don’t have a handheld device), if it weren’t for this blog, I would have no idea what format is what. I wish these ebook sellers would provide some kind of “first time here” link for dweebs like me.

    In terms of ebook publishers, I’d like to see more clarity about whether books are released in print AND ebook, and when which version is released (for example, the new JD Robb book is out now in ebook format — for 25 bucks! — but the hardback isn’t released until November). And in terms of buying, I wish all the epresses were hooked up to PayPal or something similar so I didn’t have to scatter my credit card number all over the place. With so many different presses and variations among online ebook sellers, as well, that really bothers me.

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  4. Bev (BB)
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 12:01:12

    Well, I have a beef at the moment with both eBookwise and New Concepts because I got all but one of Pillow’s Lords of the Var books from eBookwise but they don’t have the last in the catalog. Yet, when I checked the publisher, NCP, they don’t say what format it’s in so I have no idea whether I need or even can convert it to the eBookwise format. I’m especially leery since Powell’s had the book but only in Adobe for downloading . . . will that even convert to something the eBookwise reader can use?

    I did decide to go on and get the eBookwise Library software because I do have some older ebooks in html format that I want to put on the new reader but still. What’s up with the publisher not even saying what format their books are in? I couldn’t even find a page on the NCP site that said what formats they sold, which really surprised me.

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  5. Angie
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 12:17:08

    From the NCP FAQs:

    What formats are your books in?RTF, HTML, MS Reader, and PDF.

    I just bought an ebook from there earlier in the week, so I remember that you don’t choose your format until you’re checking out (same as Ellora’s Cave). You add the book to your cart, not a book in a particular format. Then, when you’re entering your billing info, you select the format.

    RTF or HTML will work for you on the Ebookwise, Bev, but you’ll need the librarian software so you can convert it, I believe. I don’t know how to do it without the librarian software.

    And yes, you can do Adobe, but you have to have an updated Adobe Reader version that allows you to select all the text and copy it into a Word document, where you save it as RTF (or HTML) and then let the Librarian software convert it to the Ebookwise format. If there’s another way of doing this, I don’t know it, but it’s possible there is a program that converts PDF just like the program that converts LIT. But truthfully, this way of copy and paste is so easy, I don’t see the point of using a program.

    Microsoft Reader will also work, but that’s an even more complicated process, involving a program called the Amber LIT converter, which converts LIT to other formats. And if it’s a SECURED MS Reader book, well then, that’s still another program, in addition to the Amber converter that you need to use. It all sounds very complicated, but in reality, once you know how to do any of this it’s a breeze and a matter of a few minutes, you have the book on your Ebookwise.

    (sorry to hijack the comments, Jane.)

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  6. Kim
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 12:39:22

    “And yes, you can do Adobe, but you have to have an updated Adobe Reader version that allows you to select all the text and copy it into a Word document”

    This works only if the PDF file is set to allow copying. I know Changeling Press locks their PDF ebooks so you wouldn’t be able to convert.

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  7. Bev (BB)
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 13:56:59

    Angie, I had a feeling the format choice would come up with checkout but you’d still think they’d say something before that. Oh, and I thought I checked their faq page but will again.

    You know, if it’s not one thing it’s another, though. So far I’ve got the old ebooks converted using the library software but can’t seem to get them to show up on the reader.

    As to Fictionwise, I don’t know that I’ve ever even checked out their main site, only the eBookwise catalog. Do they overlap or are they completely separate? The reason I ask is that the eBookwise catalog seems to me to be a really weird combination of ebooks only authors and print authors with ebook versions available.

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  8. Jenny
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 15:16:33

    I wish they all include the exact word count of the book like Fictionwise. Some ebooks are just too expensive for the length. My worst experience was spending $2.99 on a 3K word story.

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  9. Phyl
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 15:21:16

    Amen Sister! It is so frustrating to wait to buy something everyone else has their hands on already. I have been dying to download Jo Beverley’s To Rescue a Rogue and JR Ward’s Lover Awakened. Both were released on the 5th. I’m a member of Fictionwise’s buyers club, so I haven’t investigated buying them elsewhere. They darn well better be available tomorrow.

    I’d like to see a lower price on new releases. Ebooks shouldn’t be listed at the same price as print editions. Because the publisher is saved printing and distribution costs for the copy I buy, they’re making a larger profit on it. The author doesn’t get a bigger cut.
    Phyl

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  10. Jenny
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 15:32:18

    Kim is right about Adobe. I know several other publishers like Mundania and Triskelion also lock their PDF. The cut and paste thing is also not perfect. You lose italics and lines within the same paragraph are not truly joined so if you enlarge the font, they will appear broken up.

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  11. romblogreader
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 15:48:55

    I’d like a better idea about word count. I remember recently buying a book in a catagory (and what is up with the cutesy word count designations) where the range was 45,000 – 70,000 words. It seemed kind of light, so I did a word count function (happened to buy it in HTML, just cut and pasted into notepad) and it was like, 45,098 words or something like that. Now, it’s not the extra dollar that something in that catagory cost, but I expectd something novel-ish, and 45,000 is bordering on novella, not even catagory.

    That annoyed me, and I suspect that happens more often than not. Give me an honest wordcount, at least to within 5k, up front, that’s something I’d like them to do differently. I understand why they’d do this, but that doesn’t make it feel any less cheesy when I catch it.

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  12. Alyssa
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 16:57:54

    Like many others who have already commented, I would love it if publishers would be more precise about word/page count.

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  13. Michelle
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 17:12:02

    My complant is the cost of e-books now is very close to what a hard copy is. It is no longer a savings.

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  14. Keishon
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 19:06:03

    It is furstrating having to wait an entire week for a new release from Fictionwise, I agree with you there. I am also fustrated in the incomplete backlists of some authors where half of their backlists are in ebook format while some are not. What gives? Also the price of say a book that is available in paperback and hardcover but yet I see you all are still going to charge me for the hardcover price? How does that make any sense?

    There are a lot of books out there I’m willing to buy and read if it were only available to me in ebook format which has become my preferred format. I am fustrated as a reader that many publishers are not jumping on the bandwagon and making more books into ebook format. This is gold mine here yet they do not yet realize. WAKE UP!

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  15. Jenny
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 20:49:10

    From my observation, if a book is only available in hardcover, the ebook is also hardcover price but it comes down when the massmarket version is put out.

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  16. Chelle
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 23:20:18

    I think that there should be standardized length categories, with a reasonable/realistic word count range for each AND that they should be priced accordingly. The book length as listed by the publisher should be accurate and rounded to the nearest thousand.

    $2.99 for a 3K story is too much moolah for too little story, IMHO.

    I also think that they should get rid of those horrid poser covers.

    And, in the case of the Robb book especially, let’s release all formats on the same date (or at least the HC and Ebook) and give buyers a true choice. I can’t afford to buy the ebook now, and then the HC and PB for my collection as well.

    *sigh* My money tree is obviously not big enough…

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  17. Robin
    Sep 10, 2006 @ 23:47:32

    From my observation, if a book is only available in hardcover, the ebook is also hardcover price but it comes down when the massmarket version is put out.

    Since I keep hearing that one of the reasons for increasing book prices is the rise in paper costs, it makes no sense to me that ebooks are just as expensive as their traditional counterpart. Can anyone explain the reasoning behind the pricing? I mean, seriously, 25 dollars for an ebook? That is an incredible insult, IMO, especially coming from a publisher that hasn’t impressed me overmuch with its production values. That’s the kind of thing that will drive me to buy that particular publisher’s books used.

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  18. Miki S
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 01:22:19

    It’s funny that you raise this topic now. I received a request to participate in a poll for Fictionwise (seems like I get these once a year or so), and one of the questions was to comment on what one thing I would change there if I could.

    In past years, I’ve commented about the hardback vs. paperback pricing (they’re slow, slow, slow about lowering their prices on books newly released in paperback from hardback). I’ve commented about authors’ backlists – especially if only a few books in a series are available, and even more especially if they’re not in order!

    This year, I suggested that they consider releasing books all week long, rather than once a week (on Mondays). I made the same comment you did about seeing books at eReader and having to wait at least a week, if not longer, to see them available on Fictionwise.

    I’ve actually noticed that even when Fictionwise gets the same books as eReader, they aren’t always available in eReader format at Fictionwise until the next week or later. It makes me wonder if eReader had made special arrangements with publishers to have books released there first.

    For the posters who have complained about the latest JD Robb book at eReader, I’ve also suspected that releasing the ebook earlier that the print book is a sneaky way to get people to “bite the bullet” and try ebooks (because they’re so impatient to read this next installment of the series). Yes, it’s ridiculous that the book’s priced the same as the hardback. But – boy! – it’s been tempting. So far, I haven’t succumbed to that temptation, but it’s been close.

    Finally, I strongly agree with Kim and Jenny who say that what they’d most like to see ebook publishers do is standardize – and honestly publish – their book lengths. While it’s true that print book publishers don’t give us word counts – they give us page counts – it’s also true that I can flip through that book at the book store and see if it’s been padded with wide margin and doublespacing, or if it’s tightly packed with smaller fonts. I can make an informed decision. I can’t do that with ebooks.

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  19. Nora Roberts
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 06:43:32

    Twenty-five dollars, for an e-book! Jesus. Don’t do it.

    I didn’t know they were releasing Born In Death in e-format two months before the paper pub date. I’m not sure if I was supposed to know. Need to check about this.

    Either way, $25 is harsh, imo.

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  20. Keishon
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 07:01:42

    As for pricing that’s a problem I have ONLY with epublishers who try to sell me a novella for $4.99 – won’t buy it. I have no issue over ebooks being almost the same price as paper because 1) authors should still earn what they make off of mass market paperbacks and 2) there are still advantages of buying in ebook vs. paper one being instant gratification. Some sites like Simon Says give excellent discounts on their hardcovers and paperbacks. Most sites do try to give discounts on most ebooks the first week of release. No matter the cost of ebooks – there are still advantages FOR ME to have them over paper. Price is a problem but only when it’s from epubs and their novella and mini shorts, heat sheets, whatever where the word count is only about 25 pages. Just my opinion.

    Oh and yes, an understood word count and book length should be mandatory.

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  21. Nora Roberts
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 07:12:14

    Obviously, I don’t know enough about this area of the business. I shot an e-mail to my agent, and will pay more attention this time. But I’d like to ask if it’s pretty much the norm to charge the same for an e-format as the hardcover edition. If so, if this is industry standard, I won’t be so wigged out. Though I’d still think, wow. Or ouch. Is it also usual for the e-edition to hit before the paper?

    I’m really going to pay better attention.

    Appreciate the information which I can add to what I hear from NY. This will give me a much better sense of how things are done in the electronic area of publishing.

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  22. Anne Marble
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 07:41:33

    One problem with getting frustrated at the distributor (Fictionwise, etc.) is that the pricing, availability, and so forth are set by the publishers (at least in the case of big name pubs). The BNPs are very reluctant to use anything but the secure formats because they’re afraid of piracy, which ends up frustrating the paying customers. From what I have heard on their mailing list, the people behind Fictionwise have tried to convince publishers that they would do much better selling their books in “multiformat” instead of secure format, but for the most part, only Baen Books does this. Also, I’ve written BNPs to complain about e-book availability, but in some cases, I haven’t even gotten a reply.

    The big publishers also set the pricing. From what I remember, for new hardcover releases, they often set the price at the same price as the hardcover because they’re afraid a cheaper edition would hurt hardback sales. You’d think they’d learn from The Da Vinci Code. That one went on sale quite often, so you could often get it for about $9.99 for the e-book even though the hardback had just come out. Last I’d heard, the sales of that hardback did not suffer. ;-)

    I usually only buy big name pub e-books when they are at the equivalent of the paperback prices. However, at Fictionwise, I have the Buywise membership, and that gives me an additional discount, and I sometimes take advantage of micropay rebates and other sales. I also like the tech support at Fictionwise much better than at eReader. Ever since Palmreader became eReader, I haven’t liked the way the site is run. IIRC they laid off the staff members who literally knew me by name. :-(

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  23. Angiew
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 07:50:08

    Ms. Roberts,

    I don’t believe it would be easy to answer this question and say there is a standard for NY publishers because their foray into ebooks is just that new. It seems to me that traditional publishers are terribly unfamiliar with ebooks and, in a way, still hold a type of scorn for them. Almost as if they’re not sure that this format will sell or that there is interest in it. And i in referencing “ebooks” I don’t mean ebooks from epublishers like mine, but I mean ebooks that they themselves produce from their traditional print books.

    Publishers like Harlequin and others seem to be reluctantly entering the electronic age. I say reluctantly because Harlequin has priced their ebooks on their website as more expensive to buy than the same book in print. This speaks to me of a desire not to have customers buy the ebook over the print book. Why? I could throw out a multitude of theories but they would all be just wild speculation :)

    It does seem *standard* thus far to price ebooks comparably to whichever print format they’re in (trade, mass market or hardcover) though a few dollars break is normally seen. One reason for this, I believe (again, this is only speculation based on my experience from the epublishing side) is because the retailers (Fictionwise, Diesel books, etc) have to make money on their end. Since the publishers (each publisher may have different standards for this) sell the books in e-format for certain percent off the cover price, Fictionwise has to turn around and sell the book for higher price to figure in their profit, and thus you end up with a book near the cover price. But that’s only reasoning for retailers. I don’t have an explanation for why publishers selling their own books in e-format would price them so similarly to print.

    As to your question of pre-release before print, it has been done. As an example, Wen Spencer’s Wolf Who Rules was released in ebook format from her publisher (Baen Publishing) a good three months before its hardcover release. But I haven’t witnessed it to be the “norm” for publishers to do this, though we all know publishers are always trying new things to test the waters in various ways ;)

    Last, clearly I wouldn’t dream of giving Nora Roberts career advice, lolol, but I have noticed that a number of NY published authors have, in the past, paid little attention to how their contract handles ebooks and royalties/release associated with this format, because those rights had been minimally utilized by publishers. I have seen some publishers taking advantage of this and royalties offered on ebooks are the same as (or less than) what authors make on print books. As the popularity of ebooks increases, and more publishers start releasing their books in both formats, as seems to be the case now, I would speculate that this is going to be something that will becme a new point of negotiation, as authors become more aware that ebooks are a viable format which their publisher is going to utilize.

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  24. Nora Roberts
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 08:00:04

    Thanks for the quick information. I’ll say my agent’s been interested in ebooks for years. She’s always interested in new ways to produce books, and this was something she talked to me about long, long ago. I’m the one who hasn’t paid enough attention.

    I don’t worry about sub-rights and so on all that much. That’s what I have an agent for. But clearly, I should know more than I do when I’m clueless about price points and availability and formats.

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  25. Beth
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 08:31:01

    The reason I ask is that the eBookwise catalog seems to me to be a really weird combination of ebooks only authors and print authors with ebook versions available.

    What else would be in an ebook catalog? The only other category I can think of is “print-only authors” and I wouldn’t expect to see their books in ebw. :)

    I would love to see more ebooks in non-DRM formats. I’ve “lost” access to books I paid for w/MS Lit and have had to “reset” Mobipocket secure access more than once–a huge pain. Dealing with different, non-convertible formats in and of itself is problem enough w/o having them lock up content I’ve legitimately purchased.

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  26. Bev (BB)
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 12:35:31

    [quote comment="3813"]

    The reason I ask is that the eBookwise catalog seems to me to be a really weird combination of ebooks only authors and print authors with ebook versions available.

    What else would be in an ebook catalog? The only other category I can think of is “print-only authors” and I wouldn’t expect to see their books in ebw. :)[/quote]

    Yeah, well, I knew when I said that that I wasn’t actually sure what I was trying to say. It just seems like an odd collection of titles and authors and I’ve been picking up ebooks almost since they came out. I think the thing that struck me was that some print authors seemed only to have out-of-print backlists available and some had brand new books, but I only noticed a couple that seemed to have their full backlist represented, more or less.

    And then there was the fact that several purely e-authors that I’d really liked in the past only had the odd book(s) available instead of everything they’d written.

    Like I said, a weird collection. Put it this way, I have this suspicion that I’m going to be buying the bulk of my ebooks elsewhere because they don’t seem to have the books I’m looking for – even though they might have the authors. Just seems oddly selective if nothing else.

    It may only be a publisher or formatting issue like someone else mentioned but since that’s not readily apparent it’s hard to tell at first glance.

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  27. Stacy
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 16:45:47

    Well, I know what the answer to this one is going to be but here goes anyway: I really wish it was possible to lend encrypted e-books. I love ebooks, but I swap books with my sister, so I have to buy anything we both like in hardcopy. What I’d really like to see is the capability to ‘give’ the license to one other person. Then I could ‘lend’ her the book, and when she was done, she could give it back to me….just like we do with hardcopy books. Of course, I understand that publishers and authors would prefer that we each buy our own copy, but people have been lending each other books as long as books have been around, and that’s not going to change. I’d buy a lot more ebooks if this were possible!

    Also, just as you said, I’d buy a lot more ebooks if the ebook version came out at the same time as the hardcopy. When I’ve been waiting for a book, and I see it hardcopy at Wal-Mart, and I know the price is probably better than I’m going to get on-line, guess what I do? (The answer isn’t ‘wait until Fictionwise gets around to making it available in ebook format! :->)

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  28. Jane
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 20:44:52

    These comments are all so interesting and illuminating about what is holding the ebooks back: price (so wrong, imo, for the digital copy to = the print copy price); availability; differing formats; lack of ability to lend/sell the copy.

    Baen sells a book each month, I believe, that is an ARC (which was how Wolf Who Rules was made available). SimonSays and now Harper Collins does ebook releases in advance of the paper back release for certain books.

    I find Penguin to be the most difficult company in ascertaining what books are available in e-format. Their “ebook” portion of their website is hopelessly outdated. If you click on ebooks and then romance, the most recent release Penguin has listed is a February 2006 release. None of the Nora Robert’s recent ebooks are listed there. Ditto with Feehan. It’s so frustrating.

    I also tend to agree with Angie W that it appears that NY Publishers have believed that ebooks are not worth their time. It’s evidenced in the way that they market the ebooks (you can hardly ever tell what books are going to be in ebook format); the fact that some books are available and some are not. It’s just seems so random and slipshod.

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  29. Bev (BB)
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 20:55:33

    Not sure how this corresponds, correlates or even applies to the ebook price situation but something I’ve never understood is why publishers don’t release hardback and paperback editions of books at the same time to begin with. Logically I know it’s not the same situation as video releases but a part of my brain wants to insist it should be because just as logically the same people probably aren’t going to buy both. Now with the ebook aspect tossed into the mix, it’s insisting it even louder that multiple release dates makes no sense at all.

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  30. Jane
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 21:13:58

    [quote comment="3839"]something I’ve never understood is why publishers don’t release hardback and paperback editions of books at the same time to begin with. [/quote]

    It’s a matter of economics. It’s called price discrimination. It is argued that each individual would be willing and able to pay a different price for a widget. This can be exemplified by those who are willing to pay $X on Ebay to obtain the ARC of a book and read it before its publication. Most people aren’t willing and able to pay $X but they may be willing and able to pay $Y to read the book earlier.

    There is another subset of people who may be able but not willing to pay $Y and are content to wait until the paperback comes out. This can only happen in a monopoly but each book is its own monopoly. It has competitors but no exact competitor. I.e., no other publisher other than Penguin is releasing JD Robb’s Born in Death. Therefore, Penguin can utilize price differentiation techniques to maximize its profit for the sale of one unique good.

    Price discrimination is practiced widely in the pricing of airline tickets.

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  31. Robin
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 10:56:11

    I.e., no other publisher other than Penguin is releasing JD Robb’s Born in Death. Therefore, Penguin can utilize price differentiation techniques to maximize its profit for the sale of one unique good.

    Which may be the answer to why the new Robb is 25 bucks for the e-version. What really frustrates me in cases like this is that the price point does not in any way seem geared toward bringing in new readers, and if the goal is to offer the book to hardcore fans of the series, it feels oh so exploitive of reader loyalty, especially when I still remember when these books were only available as paperbacks. I very very rarely pay full price for a hardcover, and NO WAY am I paying 25 bucks for an eversion of this book. At this point, it will be a miracle if I buy the book new (no offense to the author but I’m perpetually frustrated with Putnam and am tired of paying out to them).

    As for Keishon’s comment about the author’s slice of pie, didn’t someone below indicate that an atuhor takes a pre-determined portion regardless of the price of the book? Can someone clarify this part of it for me?

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  32. Darrell Bain
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 13:31:43

    My biggest complaint is that FW does not allow more than one listing for a book. Many E-books are cross genre and could as easily be in one category as another. Ereader, for example, allows three listings. I have had fans write me with this compaint. They tell me they usually look for books only in one category, e.g., suspense/thriller. Most of my books, and many others I know of combine science fiction with suspense and action/adventure, for example. Allowing three listings would also help FW sell more books!!! This is a suggestion you can not possibly lose on.

    Respectfully,
    Darrell Bain
    Website: http://www.darrellbain.com

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  33. Paris
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 15:56:01

    Some things I learned about Fictionwise that no one has mentioned…..

    The reason for the higher prices at some e-pubs is that Fictionwise (and those of their ilk) takes not only 50% of all the profits, but also charges the publisher $15 per title just to “format” the book in their “special way.” In other words, the publisher can’t simply give them a completed file (or files, for each electronic format) but is charged a “service charge” to have the book “redone.” (And discussing the matter with several Production people at my publishing house who had “broken the code” and were able to create a FW format, it turns out that FW STILL demands the $15, regardless if they need to do nothing at all to fix the files.)

    Additionally, some publishers have been on the receiving end of nothing short of blackmail, with FW threatening to dump them if the e-publisher ever prices books lower on their own websites than at FW. So not only does Fictionwise demand that their website offers the lowest price (with their “club prices” always in play on top of it!) but then gives the publishers (which, in turn, means the authors and the staff at e-pubs) more than 50% less in profits than if a customer purchases directly from the e-pub sites themselves. So, for example, an author might make 35% or 40% of $4.00 of a book if it sold at their publisher’s website, but 35% or 40% of less than $2.00 if the same book is sold through Fictionwise, and sometimes that percentage is cut even more, considering that additional $15 surcharge…and if FW offers a sale???….then the author/pub gets next to nothing, since Fictionwise can make their sale prices anything they want them to be and the publishers can’t say “boo” about it! With the costs of everything from formatting and cover art and editing fees to ISBNs and Shopping Cart services and website costs and all the extra overhead, not to mention places like Fictionwise demanding more than 50% of the profits, it’s no wonder that the majority of e-publishers go out of business within the first year or two.

    Also, a comment regarding PayPal….based on their “acceptable use policy” and their history of freezing the accounts of both publishers AND customers who dare to buy books considered “offensive” (ie. there’s “sex”) by some stuffed-shirt on their staff, most e-pubs can’t offer PayPal as a payment option. Those e-pubs who are still offering PayPal (and the customers who use it to make purchases from them) are at risk of having their accounts frozen and their money taken at any time. If you think I’m kidding, do a poll and discover just how many e-pubs have been shut down and how many customers have had their PayPal accounts frozen without warning, only since someone over at PayPal decided the e-pub was just too “risque” to be considered acceptable for their “acceptable use policy.”

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  34. Jane
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 21:41:42

    [quote comment="3855"]As for Keishon’s comment about the author’s slice of pie, didn’t someone below indicate that an atuhor takes a pre-determined portion regardless of the price of the book? Can someone clarify this part of it for me?[/quote]

    Unfortunately, as Angie W noted, NY Publishers do not always pay the same royalty rate for ebooks as they do print books. I suspect it may depend on the power of the author (ie I doubt Ms. Roberts is getting screwed like this and I do believe that it is a shafting of the authors when this happens).

    It seems patently unfair to me that a book can sell in paper format for anywhere between $14.49 (what I paid for Angels Fall) and $25.00 (retail price in bookstores for hardcovers) and the author receives the same royalty rate but not if it sells in ebook format.

    Oh, and talk about frustrating Penguin releases. I saw that Angels Fall is just now released in ebook format. For $25.00 at ereader. I could just scream. I would have loved to have the ebook version and would have paid some amount higher than I paid at Costco to have it in that format. Price discrimination works on me. But as I have already bought the book in the damned paper format, I can’t buy a second copy, particularly at $25.00. I would end up paying almost $40 for a book which, as much as I liked it, seems a bit extreme.

    One more rant and that is Harper Collins’ website actually charges tax on its ebooks. Since that charge appeared I haven’t bought one Harper Collins ebook from its website.

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  35. Chelle
    Sep 15, 2006 @ 12:24:19

    Anyone notice that the E-book version of BID is nowhere to be found???

    I can’t find any info on it anywhere all of the sudden.

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  36. Bob
    Apr 15, 2010 @ 11:35:26

    I have never been more frustrated with a company. What happened to customer service?
    A phone number to call and a person to speak to would be nice.

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  37. Lynn
    Apr 15, 2010 @ 12:50:06

    Call Barnes and Noble CS. They own Fictionwise. They resolved a FW problem I had a while back. I noticed Fictionwise has dropped some of my favorite authors, so I’ve gone elsewhere now.

    Here’s my two cents for the giveaway what epublishers could do better for me to get and keep my business.

    If I have to pay the equivilant price for a ebook as I would for a tanglble paper copy, I expect the same quality.

    No more sloppy formatting and lack of editing.

    If you are not going to edit a ebook properly, don’t sell it at the same price as a paperback much less a hardback(shudder).

    IMO they’re not worth the same price quality wise…yet.

    And keep your DRM’s to yourself. Unnecessary and only provides false security to the authors and publishers IMO.

    If you’re thinking of adding extra fluffy content to ebooks, such as videos, pics, and music, fine. Just don’t charge me extra for it. Have two versions one with the upcharge for the extra content, but give me the choice. And straighten out the formatting FIRST and foremost before you get grand ideas of how to make more money off me with extra content because I won’t bite.

    Clean it up and I’ll give you more money.

    *off soapbox for now*

    And thanks for asking btw.

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