May 11 2011
HarperCollins CEO doesn’t believe that consumer desire for lower ebook prices can be made up by lowered costs of production. She also believes that online purchases are driven solely by price:
“The signs are that consumers expect e-books to be priced considerably lower than physical books. There’s no easier way to drive an e-book up the charts than by massive price reductions,” she said. Whereas in a bricks and mortar environment other factors, like the look and feel of books and recommendations from booksellers, can influence choice, most of these factors are stripped away in an online environment, Barnsley argued. “So, not surprisingly, brand and price become the deciding factors.”
More stats and breakdown here.
iFlow Reader is the first ebook app to shut its virtual doors due to Apple’s impending restrictions on in app purchasing. The review, the new Apple rules require any app that allows out of app purchases to allow in app purchases. The problem is that for every in app purchase Apple wants 30%. Now consider Agency pricing wherein the retailer only gets 30% and you can see the problem. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo will either get a special exemption like Time magazine got or they will have to take some action.
- They could provide just web based reading.
- Remove themselves from the App store
- Sue Apple for antitrust violations
- Remove the buy link in the app. (This I am not sure of because why wouldn’t iFlow have just done that? )
A Wall Street Journal interview (registration requ’d) with Penguin CEO John Makinson revealed that Agency pricing was adopted to obtain customer information. As the retailer of record, Agency publishers are entitled to some amount of customer information. Makinson also acknowledged that the proliferation of self published works at the 2.99 price point meant that Penguin would have to compete while still maintaining the value of its high profile authors:
Mr. Makinson: This is a new market that can’t exist economically in print. You can’t manufacture, ship and store a book at those prices. But we as publishers probably need to participate.
We’ll look at new content that maybe we can popularize in different ways. We’ll also look at our backlist. Maybe there are customers for westerns at $1.99. What we need to be really careful of is ensuring that this new market doesn’t compromise the sales of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell and Ken Follett.
Washington Post interviews Bella Andre who will make $116K in the first quarter this year self publishing. The danger of self publishing is that it is time consuming (where are the book service companies?) and the market is getting very crowded. It’s crowded for authors using publishers too. Self publishing, in my opinion, is for the entrepreneurs of writing. Done right, an author is likely to make more money self publishing in a digitally dominant world, but doing it right is tough.
Dr. Vivanco writes a fun piece about evaluating books dependent upon how we read them.
The position of the reader, she argues, is an indication of the reader’s attitude towards what is being read. A different posture is adopted for the reading of serious, valuable texts because these are texts which, supposedly, call for a different type of reading: