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Book production costs [Mar. 1st, 2010|03:07 pm]
...or, how to reply to the "authors should sell ebooks directly to readers" or "why are ebooks so expensive?" arguments. This post by Charles Stross lays out the details. Read some of the comments if you've got time - they're very informative, and involve a lot of back-and-forth between Stross and his readers.

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[User Picture]From: branchandroot
2010-03-02 05:14 pm (UTC)
*has to stop giggling at Barnes & Noble's alleged 'discount' before she can answer*

Whew. Okay. Looks like they've mostly steadied down to only half again as much as the paper price, by and large, but not across the board. If you look around Fictionwise, for example, you'll see a fairly large spread, and plenty of books that don't get sold "hardcover" at all which are going in the 15-20 range. I have yet to see any ebook going cheaper than the paper. Even the short story sales are .50 to 1.50 bucks (Elizabeth Waters appears to have more sense of proportion than Misty Lackey).

When the outlets like B&N bill something as discounted, they look to be taking the highest possible price of any form the book has been published in and then offering the ten buck version as a "discount" from that. *wrinkles nose*
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[User Picture]From: celtic_elk
2010-03-02 05:29 pm (UTC)
I agree that there needs to be some proportional pricing for ebooks - older books or books that were never published in hardcover could easily be priced lower. When Amazon or B&N marks an ebook as "List price $24 - discount price $9.99!," what's actually happening is that they're paying the usual half-list to the publisher and then selling the ebook *at a loss* in order to drive hardware adoption. This is a big part of the reason, I think, that prices for new ebook releases have tended to vary, and that the hardware-tied stores have sold at lower prices than other online sellers.
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[User Picture]From: branchandroot
2010-03-02 05:38 pm (UTC)
*snorts a bit* And so we go around on the proprietary hardware merry-go-round again. Though I suppose this time, at least, most of them have been smart enough to leave off the proprietary formats.
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