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EBooks cost the same as printed books!

  1. Oct 5, 2004 #1

    chroot

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    I find it incredibly frustrating that publishers will charge you $80 for an electronic book, and $89 for the printed version of the same material. Surely the paper, printing, and binding costs more than $9?! Does anyone here know what fraction of a printed book's price goes to materials (paper, printing, and binding)?

    - Warren
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2004 #2
    Economic channel conflict and e-book pricing

    Is this $89/$80 book an academic book?

    Related to this, Slashdot just today linked to a Wired article talking in part about the reluctance of the music industry to drop below its arbitrary standard licensing fee level of 65 cents per track:


    • ...there's been little good economic analysis on what the right price for online music should be. The main reason for this is that pricing isn't set by the market today but by the record label demi-cartel. Record companies charge a wholesale price of around 65 cents per track, leaving little room for price experimentation by the retailers.

      That wholesale price is set to roughly match the price of CDs, to avoid dreaded "channel conflict." The labels fear that if they price online music lower, their CD retailers (still the vast majority of the business) will revolt or, more likely, go out of business even more quickly than they already are. In either case, it would be a serious disruption of the status quo...
     
  4. Oct 5, 2004 #3

    chroot

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    Yes, it's an academic book. I suppose it makes some sense that pricing ebooks much lower than physical books would put retail (physical) booksellers out of business, and that would be a bad thing. Still, it's very frustrating.

    - Warren
     
  5. Oct 5, 2004 #4

    Moonbear

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    I had noticed the same while just browsing a site for ebooks a few months ago.

    However, I don't think lowering prices will put traditional paper versions out of business at all. I still enjoy taking books with me on vacation, and have no intention of bringing anything electronic to the beach or to the pool at the hotel, and I'd be pretty bored if I couldn't read my books during taxiing, take-off, and landing on planes when you aren't allowed to have any electronic equipment turned on. Are there any devices yet available that don't have a problem of being unreadable out in the sunlight? That used to be a problem, just like laptops, that sun glare would make the screen impossible to read, so sitting outside, or even near a bright window would render it useless. Has that technology improved any?
     
  6. Oct 5, 2004 #5

    Tom Mattson

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    Yes, these technological marvels are called "three-ring binders". :rofl:

    I have printed out nearly all of my e-books, and the occupy about half the bookshelf space in my library. :approve:
     
  7. Oct 5, 2004 #6

    chroot

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    Well, Tom, I prefer ebooks because I can search them electronically, easily back them up and archive them, and because they present a tremendouse space savings. The last time I moved, I was curious and weighed my books: over 1,100 lbs. I don't like lugging around a half a ton of paper everytime I move.

    - Warren
     
  8. Oct 5, 2004 #7

    Moonbear

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    LOL! I could see myself doing that. Sort of defeats the purpose since three ring binders take more space than printed and bound volumes. :rofl:
     
  9. Oct 5, 2004 #8

    Tom Mattson

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    *shrug* Yes, but they're also a lot cheaper: $0.99 for a binder and maybe 2 bucks for the paper, plus a new ink cartridge every 10 books or so, depending on the length.

    And if you print them out at work, like I do, then you don't have to pay for any of that stuff. :biggrin:

    Now that I've said that, it may just be time for me to change my userid to a "code name"... :redface:
     
  10. Oct 6, 2004 #9

    Cod

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    That's exactly what I do. The way I figure it, the money I save buying 1 ebook usually means I can buy enough paper to print out 5 ebooks. Of course, after buying enough 3-ring binders, you still come out profiting.
     
  11. Oct 6, 2004 #10
    for that price they should come with a free reader.
     
  12. Oct 6, 2004 #11

    Moonbear

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    So are you finding a cheaper source for these eBooks than the rest of us? Chroot's original post and my (limited) experience both indicate the difference in price between print and ebooks is not enough to make it worth printing on your own paper, or even spending the time waiting for it to print. Where do you buy your ebooks?
     
  13. Oct 6, 2004 #12

    Tom Mattson

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    I don't see how you figure that. If you get an e-book, you can have the searchable soft copy and a hard copy, for less than a printed volume.

    Who waits? Not me. I hit "print" and then leave. All you have to do is make sure there's enough paper in the printer beforehand.
     
  14. Oct 6, 2004 #13

    Moonbear

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    Okay, now I see where you're coming from. So, I guess an ebook makes sense for text books or other academic publications, so you can search them, especially if they are ones that don't have an index. If I just want a novel to take to the beach with me, and don't need to search it, it's about the same to buy a bound version (or slightly better because I don't have to lug around a 3-ring binder and risk pages coming loose and escaping). I guess another advantage to an ebook, then, is if you can highlight on the screen (I think that's possible, right?), and then when you realize you've turned your entire book yellow highlighting too much, you can unhighlight it much more easily than with a traditional bound version, or just print yourself a clean copy if you did the highlighting on the bound copy.

    How large are most ebooks? Can you copy them to CDs easily if you don't want to fill up your hard drive with books?

    Soon, science geeks won't even have the exercise of lifting those heavy textbooks to help keep them in shape (that's what I told the student in our lab when I saw her lugging in a stack of books from the bookstore that looked heavier than she is - when she spends all her days in the lab, at least she can weightlift her books to keep in shape). :rofl:
     
  15. Oct 7, 2004 #14

    chroot

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    An average electronic book (with illustrations) is on the order of 10MB or so in pdf format. You could fit hundreds on a single CD.

    - Warren
     
  16. Oct 7, 2004 #15

    Moonbear

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    Wow! I didn't realize they'd be such small files, though, I guess I should have since they are mostly just text. Hmm, sure would save me the cost of new bookshelves, not to mention the cost of a new house to fit all the bookshelves in. :biggrin: I'm not sure I'm ready to completely give up on bound books, but you all are making a convincing argument to consider them for at least some reference volumes (those really heavy ones especially). Though, you might want to check your math on how many are going to fit on one CD with a 10 MB average file size :wink: :rofl: Maybe about 75? Even so, that's a considerable space-savings, one CD vs one bookcase for storage!
     
  17. Oct 7, 2004 #16

    chroot

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    Most ebooks that I have are actually more like 3-4 MB. I didn't say an average of 10MB, I said on the order of 10MB. You can put 100+ on one CD, and I have in the past.

    There are some books that I have in print simply because I am proud of them, and, well, want to show them off. There are some books that I have in print because they are pleasure reading, and reading them off a computer screen is a drag. The rest -- all my reference books, particularly -- are on CD.

    - Warren
     
  18. Oct 7, 2004 #17

    Tom Mattson

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    Yes, but that's not what brought me into this conversation. What did it was Moonbear's question of, "Can we have a version of an e-book that we can read in the sun and that won't bring an airplane crashing down?" (paraphrased, of course :wink: )

    The answer is of course "yes". You can print it out for super cheap. And if you want rid of your copies when it's time to move, you simply dump them into the recycle bin or whatever. It is still less expensive than printed volumes.

    And as I said, whether you make hard copies or not, you still have the CD from which to do electronic searches.
     
  19. Oct 7, 2004 #18

    Moonbear

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    Or run them through the shredder when done and you'll have plenty of packing material for the fragile items.
     
  20. Aug 30, 2005 #19
    Nice discusion. Do we exchange e-books links through this forum. I'm a newbie.
     
  21. Jun 13, 2007 #20
    I don't think that the production costs for a hardcopy book are much more than $9, but I don't know for sure.

    I have never bought an e-book, but I have read parts of the free ones. When I read a textbook, I write extensive notes in the margins. There is a program called jarnal that allows me to do this for e-books. This would be the perfect application for my tablet PC, if it weren't for the fact that my tablet is old and not powerful enough. I am not considering buying a new one anytime soon, but someday I will and when I do, I think I will have the perfect platform for reading an e-textbook. Until then, I continue to read hardcopy.

    I too would find it torture not to be able to read while sitting on the tarmac waiting for the pilot to sober up. However, even if I was reading an e-book, I could also bring a hardcopy book to read for that particular eon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2007
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