It’s another self inflicted nail in book publishers’ coffins although I doubt they think so. France has passed the law allowing the publishers to set the price of ebooks.
Apparently “Signs are, consumers expect e-books to be priced considerably lower than physical books”. Well yes, I expect that the copy of the book that just required you to a digital copy of the book you already have should be cheaper than the one you have to send to print, bind, deliver and stock.
However unlike the music industry, I don’t think digital piracy will be the problem, self publishing will. Already self-publishing in the kindle store is make some people serious money and successful authors are moving away from the publishing houses.
The reality is, most of what a publishing house does is rapidly being replaced by the web. The cost of publishing has gone, marketing is now also much easier and cheaper, the wisdom of crowds is filtering the good form the bad and you can get yourself a copyeditor online.
A combination of self promotion and the fact that the author gets more of the book sale, means self-published books are often among the cheapest on eBook stores and end up at the top of the sales chart.
In the mean time, heads are still in the sand, and we are trying to protect the ‘independent bookshop’ by keeping the price of the digital copies artificially high.
It saddens my little heart when I pickup a book and see my Kindle lying unloved next to the bed, but until some quite fundamental things change, I think I will be do that more often in the future.
A Kindle, they're very good.
Don’t get me wrong, the Kindle is an amazing reading device, it really is one of the best thing to read on, ever. I prefer reading on it to books by quite a long way, but the efforts of the publishing industry and the reluctance of government to move with the times is beginning to get in the way of what should really be a pleasurable experience.
At the moment there are 4 main reasons why I am turning back to real books
- Tax: in the UK there is no VAT on real books, because sometime ago we decided books are a necessity for society to function and flourish, ebooks however are an electronic service, and we tax them – so all ebooks have a 20% VAT on them.
- Publishers: The net book agreement was broken sometime ago; mainly because it was price fixing, but that hasn’t stopped publishers putting a ‘pricing agreement in’ that means the publishers are setting the price of ebooks. (The EU are looking in to this)
That is why eBooks are sometimes more expensive than the print ones! – Why? It can’t possibly cost more for me to download something; compared to it being printed on paper, stuck in a van, sent to a warehouse, put on a shelf, taken of a shelf, put in a package, put on a van, sent to a sorting office, put in a bag, carried to my house and shoved through my letter box!
Publishers don’t like eBooks: That can be the only reason they are still not putting half the books they print out as ebooks.
For the ebook world this means there are loads of books, that you can just not get, because they are out of print and no one can legally scan them in and sell them to you, and because of point 3 the publishers won’t let this slip.
This to me is a bit of an economic nonsense, you are a publisher / author your 30 year old book is out of print, someone wants to without expense to you, digitise your book, then sell it online and give you some money – where previously you had none.
This (oversimplified) is what the publishers and authors don’t want Google to do with it’s Google books library project.
The net effect of all this is:
- Books that cost more as ebooks , for example Freakenomics (paperback £5.51, eBook £7.99)
- Classic Books you cannot get eBook copies of for example Catcher in the Rye
- Books that have just fallen out of print, that can’t be revitalized online.
- Books you can’t share because publishers are scared of that too.
And I am being driven to put down my kindle and start buying real books again.
I’ve been thinking quite a lot, recently, about the sorts of parents we don’t approve of. Don’t look at me like that, you know exactly what I mean.
There’s a lot of government rhetoric flying about, at the moment, concerning benefits claimants, and ways of levering people out of the benefits system. I have several problems with it. The first, is that it just rhetoric. If they were actually seeking to save money, they wouldn’t be making random gestures about people who claim more than £26,000 a year in benefits, because, actually, it’s unspeakably difficult to claim that much in benefits. Seriously, if affects about six families in West London, and however grumpy you feel about housing benefit paying for homes in places you can’t afford to live, it’s a trivial, trivial number of people compared with the overall benefits bill. Slapping caps on Housing Benefit, and overall benefit income, has a catastrophic effect on the people it affects, and saves the rest of us almost nothing. Its only possible value is as a gesture, a sop to the Daily Mail, and a position statement, and I wholeheartedly object to messing up people’s lives to make a statement. Continue reading
It winds me right up – every time anything, and I mean anything is seen as getting in the way of people being chained to their desks, it costs the UK economy. Never a mention of how driving people into an early grave or mass depression from unrealistic demands would cost the UK economy.
We worship at the alter of productivity, if something isn’t seen as productive (and who knows what that means) then it must be demonised and ultimately we must put a price on it.
Today it’s facebook at £14bn, but what else costs the UK Economy?
Google Pacman - it will cost you
- Free downloads £12bn
- Twitter £1.38bn
- Social Housing Squeeze £2.5bn
- Sickness £16.8bn – (because people wilfully get ill)
- physical inactivity £8bn
- Dementia £23bn
- Agisim £72bn
- bad weather £600m a day
- Dry central heating £200m
- Criminal Gangs £40bn
- EU Membership £60bn
- delivery problems in online shopping £1bn
- truancy £800m
- poor middle management £220bn
and Google’s Pacman doodle cost the UK $120m – so here is the link to play it some more…