Sunday, 22 August 2010

Why you should have to buy eBooks but what should you really expect to pay?

Many publishers have been asked to quantify why they charge what they charge for eBooks and many are keeping quiet.

There is a misconception that eBooks cost nothing to produce and it could not be further from the truth. There is physical costs in time, effort, production and distribution associated with eBooks. Each eBook has to be totally reset for eBook publication and conversion into different formats, this is a time consuming and expensive process.  And that is before we begin to include other costs such as promotion, advertising and marketing. Even more expensive.

Because we have lived in a world where up until now there has been availability of many free eBooks and many sub-standard eBooks which have had very little cost associated, consumers have been happy to download them for free and this has led to a false expectation that all eBooks should be free or only cost pennies.  The market has grown up considerably in the last six months and consumers have to make the transition too.  Quality products which are well produced and marketed have to have a reasonable cost attached.  The cost per title also includes the cost to the reseller usually between 35 and 60%. Authors have to be paid for their hard work and publishers should also be rewarded for their hard work too. So £4.95 for an eBook which retails at £7.99 for the physical paper version is a good balance.

Some publishers are charging too much for their eBooks and consumers will vote with their wallets and rightly so but an eBook which costs a third to a half less than the paper version is a price which will make the market sustainable and allow strong growth, leading to more choice for consumers.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

POD and Pad…Welcome to the future of publishing

There is an interesting and level-headed article in this week’s Bookseller by Tom Tivnan exploring the virtues and adoption of POD.  Something we at Caffeine Nights have been extolling since we began.  It would appear that many major publishing houses are now finally looking at the benefits.  Like all environmental changes for good it won’t be driven by a need to make the world a better place but by finance and the market.  For smaller publishers such as us, POD is actually a more expensive option per title with lower financial returns but we are driven by other motives such as the desire to change the industry.

What is driving this change among the establishment is linked to the arrival of the iPad, the new Kindle and the buzz around eBooks.  Publishers are waking up to the fact that they need to be able to respond and compete. Having thousands of copies of titles sitting in warehouses with no prospect of knowing if a demand will ever be created to sell those titles is not efficient.  We have sais this for years.  The truth is our way of working is harder and requires a more consistent approach with the media, stores and the buying public to ensure we create and sustain demand.  We like hard work and know what is required.  It will be interesting to see who else does.