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  1. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by sullivan_riyria View Post
    How do publishers lose money on e-book sales?
    My answer: publisher sells 1 copy of an e-book after spending thousands of pounds/dollars on editing, typesetting, proofreading, promotion, etc.

  2. #272
    Creator of Worlds sullivan_riyria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juliet View Post
    My answer: publisher sells 1 copy of an e-book after spending thousands of pounds/dollars on editing, typesetting, proofreading, promotion, etc.
    Well there's that ;-) But I was asking Kat as the profit to the publisher on an ebook sale vs paperback. It seems that the money into their pockets on either is approximately the same and the overhead component BEYOND the editing/proofing (which should be accounted for and spread over all formts) is not substantial.

  3. #273
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sullivan_riyria View Post
    No matter how cheap they are...they are in decline.
    Yes, as I explained earlier, the wholesale market shrank long before e-books became an issue, in the 1990's. The print market as a whole also shrank long before e-books became a factor due to a decrease in number of book retail vendors as well. Where before in say 1990, a mid-list author could almost automatically expect a 25,000 copy net sale run with high returns (high gross sales) and to have books in hundreds of venues from news kiosks to department stores, by 1999 -- eight years before Amazon launched the Kindle -- the amount of a good mid-list sales run had dropped to 10,000 copies an author. To get on the hardcover bestseller list in 1990, you'd have to sell 200,000 copies. To get on the hardcover bestseller list in 1999, you'd have to sell only 100,000 copies and there is higher turnover on the list. Nor was it a great decrease of interest in the concept of reading. Publishers were in fact opening up a wider global market and mid-listers who never could get foreign sales before were getting them. But because there were fewer vendors, books were less widely available and visible and so people bought them less. (Do you remember when we talked about the Waldenbooks mall stores issue?)

    Also, again, because big players like club stores, chains and Amazon insisted on massive price discounts from publishers, revenues, while still profitable, were less than they had been before. All of this, again and for the umpteenth time, had nothing to do with e-books. The current problems with mass market also have only a small part to do with e-books. The decline chiefly has to do again with the loss of retail vendors, the continued smallness of the wholesale market, the deep discount issue, and above all the global recession and its effects on the whole economy.

    E-books were launched by Amazon with the Kindle to build a retail electronic market and Amazon sold them and continues to sell them at a loss to do this. Publishers, faced with demands to digitize their full lists as quickly as possible and with more players coming in, had to spend quite a lot of start up money on staff and infrastructure to do this in what for publishing is a very short period of time. They sold e-books at a loss. The agency model that Apple insisted on -- and which publishers eventually decided worked better for them because it returned electronic rights and control to them -- nets publishers less than the print price model for e-books did. When you self-publish, you do the work on one to a few books for free. Publishers can't do that. Tech people have to be hired at full salaries and benefits. Tech companies have to be hired for fees. Additional accounting people to handle the complicated e-books accounting and collection stuff have to be hired at full salaries and benefits. Additional sales people to sell and deal with electronic vendor accounts have to be hired at full salaries and benefits. These are all, again and for the umpteenth time, additional costs specific to e-books, and with the e-books being 1%, 3% of the market, meant publishers lost money initially.

    As e-books have rapidly grown to now around 10% of the market, and the infrastructure and staff are more in place and formats have standardized, the initial capital invested, losses are coming down and profits growing up. But, it's not a see-saw with print. E-book sales are not going up because paper sales are going down (especially mass market paperbacks which sold mainly to the middle class.) E-books are bringing in additional sales, which is good. But the issues are first off 1) there are not enough e-book vendors. Apple coming in and the tablets was very good, but Amazon is ruthlessly trying to hold on to its monopoly and it's slowing things down. More vendors, more sales. So even with the phenomenal growth of the e-book market, looking ahead, the question is can e-books produce and sustain if we can't get more vendors. And 2) e-books are limited to a certain income segment of audience which is less than the broad spectrum of income audience. That again means if it's e-books only, books are then less widely available, leading to fewer sales, especially over time with the novelty of e-books of the first years wearing off.

    You can't get around basic math -- fewer people to buy books means fewer sales. And you can't pretend that everyone can get on the Internet and buy e-books because that is factually incorrect and the trend at the moment (which will hopefully reverse,) is going the other way with fewer people able to get on the Internet and buy books or do other vital things. So an electronic only market in a few years down the road would be very detrimental and harder for more authors to make a living. But a continued e-books and print market, even if the print market continues at a smaller rate, is highly advantageous and allows much room for growth and cross-platform work. But there are issues in retail sales of all products that effect print books. There are issues in the electronics industry that effect e-book sales. They are different markets -- it's not simply a shift from one to the other.

  4. #274
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    Also, if I may add, I buy a lot of books simply browsing in my local library, discovering titles and authors I didn't know they existed. I just don't do that for e-books, which I buy one title at the time, using the search function of the on-line store I go to.

    Somehow I don't think I'm the only one that does that, and those are revenues that without print books the publishing industry would never get.

  5. #275
    Browser Triceratops's Avatar
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    I can only comment from my own experience with a SF publisher, who brought out my book in a hard-back version first. And it was terribly expensive, due to the oil-rendered wrap-around lithograph, TOC, chapter heads and 28 illustrations. The asking price was $29.99, and still is today. In the course of a year, we sold three copies.

    Then we went Amazon Kindle for an e-book version, setting low price points and offering free trial copies. The sales exploded, landing the book in the top 100 best-sellers list for children and SF, over two dozen times, sometimes staying there for days. I don't think a trade paperback priced at 12 bucks would have changed any of the sales parameters at all. Regardless of how the decline in print came about, whether it was years ago or just recently, paper is in serious, damaging decline. I'm one of the older writers, published commercially 23 years ago, and I"ve seen the change firsthand.

    My other publisher just dumped my paranormal romance to $.99 on Amazon. Desperation? Possibly. Competition? Most likely. Desire to increase sales and make a bottom-line buck? Entirely.

    I had two titles that had flat-lined. E-book tech/production brought them back from the dead.

    Chris

  6. #276
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    That's very in line with what happened with children's picture books in the late 1990's, early 2000's, again before e-books. That segment of children's used to be its biggest, but production costs, pricing issues, school and library budget cuts, and vendor issues all led to a decline in sales. So e-books does offer an excellent opportunity. But again, it's still only that segment of children in families who can afford the fancy machines to play the beautifully illustrated picture books. So while there's certainly enough there that an individual author may do okay or even well, whether the overall industry is going to be able to do what they need is a big question. Nobody knows which way these things are going to go. What we do know is that millions of kids can't get the e-books and nor can their schools.

    Category romance is sort of the shining star of e-books. The romance publishers were putting lots of titles on line way before the Kindle. But I have romance author pals I've worked with who are now not sure they're going to be able to continue to make a living because they fear that the main publishers want to replace them with new writers whom they can pay much less and do the books only electronically. They are selling much fewer sales per book than they used to, even though they have both print and e-book editions. And again, a lot of the romance audience doesn't have access to e-books.

    So e-books are great. But they aren't Never-Never Land. And we have a real social structure problem in that books may start to become a semi-luxury product if they go only electronic.

  7. #277
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triceratops View Post
    I had two titles that had flat-lined. E-book tech/production brought them back from the dead. Chris
    Within this single sentence we have the biggest change to hit the market for books -- far bigger than the simple substitution of one delivery system for another.

    The change is perpetual stocking and availability for all titles -- at least so far. Books, like prom dresses and shoe fashions, have always had a shelf life, then they would go out of print. Ebooks, however, go "out of print" only if the author or publisher pulls them. It costs next to nothing to allow the ebook lists at Amazon, et al, to expand forever.

    It wouldn't surprise me, actually, to see the various vendors impose minimum sales numbers in order to keep books within their primary search engines' availability. Vendors may discover that an inventory of unlimited size actually inhibits sales.

    Stay tuned. Nobody knows.

  8. #278
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    And that's going to be the biggest problem with ebooks: volume, lots and lots of volume. When anyone can get published they will, those who write well and those who are still learning how to write well. Some, also, who would have never seen publication before (for whatever reason).

    Sure, there's lot of people who will give you pointers on how to stand out in the crowd, hundred of them, maybe thousands. If that many people stand out from the crowd, don't they become just another crowd?

    There's still a certain amount of luck involved.

    B5

    BTW, I got my ebook reader on ebay for $60. It's Chinese, and doesn't wifi, but it works just fine.

  9. #279
    Browser Triceratops's Avatar
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    There will no doubt be a glut of self-published material in all genres and lengths. Yes, standing out in the crowd will be increasingly more difficult, prompting a whole new generation of marking/promo gurus to pop out of the divots and offer their services.

    ETA: Well, shut my mouth--it's already begun:

    http://writetodone.com/2012/03/17/how-market-ebooks/
    Last edited by Triceratops; March 18th, 2012 at 09:00 AM.

  10. #280
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Just came back from EPIC-con - my guild's convention. Most e-book publishers I talked to are in the black - mine included. E-books sales up 117%. Not so with most everything else.

    Still lots of opportunities for new writers - although the deluge has been telling. My publisher (Champagne Books) is booking into 2013 with all three imprints, and their acceptance rate is now only about two percent.

    Saw the bit about e-books costing so much money. Pure baloney. Been to a record store lately? That's your answer as to the blood loss in the traditional publishing arena. Great books can now be published by a mix of full and part time staff spread across the country - editors, copy editors, artists - the works. No overhead. No need to support shrinking lines of hardback novels, or support six-figure advances.

    For those interested in a guild that accepts all professional writers involved with e-books - check out EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition).

    Kerry

  11. #281
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    So the people at Champagne Books work for free, then. That's a very useful business model to have.

    I'm sorry that you think I'm lying about what happened to the print market in the 1990's, Kerry. I'm sorry that you think large publishers give out loads and loads of six figure advances (they don't.)

    But the simple reality is that the large publishers had to build large Champagne Books imprints of full and part-time employees to add to their existing companies and staff and have that imprint digitize thousands of books coming out that year and thousands and thousands of backlist titles as quickly as possible. That costs money, whether the people and companies involved work at the publisher's home office or are spread out across the country. Unless people are self-publishing, people do not do this work for free. Many small print publishers will be happy to tell you that digitizing their lists was an expensive cost, which is why a lot of them have had to do it slowly or wait quite awhile. I don't know if your Canadian publisher has a government subsidy grant to help out, but even with that, they do have expenses including electronic accounting expenses and the like, which are overhead. E-books are not made and managed by magical fairies who work for flower nectar.

    Consequently, there was a large capital outlay that had to be made to get e-books off the ground in the oughts. Which is why Amazon sold e-books at a loss. Which is why publishers spent that money to get staff and production in place when e-book sales were only 1% and thus lost them money. Which is why your publisher, which produces trade paperbacks, started with only four e-books in 2005 and built from there. They are now in the black on e-books, but that didn't mean that they started in the black or had no start-up costs for it. And they are continuing with a mix of e-books and trade paperbacks, which allows them maximum selling opportunity. If they go to e-books only, they should still do okay, as a small operation, especially as they have no mass market paperback audience and are only selling their wares to the top 25%. But that isn't a one size fits all for all of publishing. And it doesn't deal with the issue of access.

    As sales increase and costs go down after initial outlay, then the e-books on the entire list of publishers -- not just bestsellers -- lose less and less money and more of them start earning more and more money. This is what has occurred over the last seven years. This has effected print, but the bigger problems for the print market occurred some 15 years ago. A print book is not the same as a record which has to be played on a record player.

    But a book may become like a record over and over again if the market is only electronic and must be run only on equipment. That again means that people have to keep buying new and updated versions of equipment and new versions of e-books because their old e-books (records) won't work on the new equipment (MP3 players.) That's a significant cash outlay over time, and millions of people can't afford it. So if it happens, that is going to effect things and it's going to shrink the total audience, even if some e-publishers do well within it selling to the top 25%.

    I do not know why pointing out that labor, new hires and new infrastructure cost money and that millions of people cannot afford e-books are such threatening statements of fact. I am a big cheerleader for e-books. It's a greatly successful emerging market. But this insistence that e-books are utopia, that issues like fossil fuels-electricity issues, educational access, etc. are forbidden to be discussed or unimportant is getting old. And the statement that e-book sales are simply shifted print sales is factually incorrect. As has been pointed out many times by many people, price is not the sole factor -- hardcover sales were not cancelled out by cheaper mass market paperback sales over the last century. And again, the initial outlay needed for an individual to buy one e-book is fairly high over simply buying print. So the market factors are far more complicated than me Tarzan, you Jane. Which is presumably why your publisher still does print books for now.

    I believe that e-books greatly enrich society and grow the market for books. But I also believe that an electronic only market at this point in society and in the near future in the current economy and educational situation would greatly impoverish society and shrink the market for books. If you have an argument about that issue that is more than simply calling me a liar, or saying that your own publisher is doing fine so there, I am as always happy to hear it.

  12. #282
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Hi Kat! Always a pleasure (tipping hat).

    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    So the people at Champagne Books work for free, then. That's a very useful business model to have.
    Did I say that? No. Of course they get paid. How much, and in what manner, is probably going to be less than a full time staffer up in NY me-thinks.

    I'm sorry that you think I'm lying about what happened to the print market in the 1990's, Kerry. I'm sorry that you think large publishers give out loads and loads of six figure advances (they don't.)
    Whoa! When have I ever accused you or anyone on this board of lying? We still have manners out here in Texas. What I do is disagree with your views some of the time. You don't have all the answers any more than I do - but that's the fun of debating. We all learn, right?

    But the simple reality is that the large publishers had to build large Champagne Books imprints of full and part-time employees to add to their existing companies and staff and have that imprint digitize thousands of books coming out that year and thousands and thousands of backlist titles as quickly as possible. That costs money, whether the people and companies involved work at the publisher's home office or are spread out across the country. Unless people are self-publishing, people do not do this work for free. Many small print publishers will be happy to tell you that digitizing their lists was an expensive cost, which is why a lot of them have had to do it slowly or wait quite awhile. I don't know if your Canadian publisher has a government subsidy grant to help out, but even with that, they do have expenses including electronic accounting expenses and the like, which are overhead. E-books are not made and managed by magical fairies who work for flower nectar.
    Such is the pain of your working off of a false assumption (still trying to figure how I suggested any of those folks worked for free.). No grants, Kat. No freebees. Everybody gets paid - which sort of takes the wind out of your sails with this argument.

    Consequently, there was a large capital outlay that had to be made to get e-books off the ground in the oughts. Which is why Amazon sold e-books at a loss. Which is why publishers spent that money to get staff and production in place when e-book sales were only 1% and thus lost them money. Which is why your publisher, which produces trade paperbacks, started with only four e-books in 2005 and built from there. They are now in the black on e-books, but that didn't mean that they started in the black or had no start-up costs for it. And they are continuing with a mix of e-books and trade paperbacks, which allows them maximum selling opportunity. If they go to e-books only, they should still do okay, as a small operation, especially as they have no mass market paperback audience and are only selling their wares to the top 25%. But that isn't a one size fits all for all of publishing. And it doesn't deal with the issue of access.
    The business model is the business model - with all inherent advantages and disadvantages. The very concept of "print runs" is heading out the window along with those who depend on them - leastwise for the mass market. Most e-pubs will do both e-books and POD through a third party vendor. The only advantage for traditional publishing is that they have succeeded in keeping most independents out of the remaining book stores, but the stores themselves are having to diversify from books in order to survive. This advantage will shrink over time, me-thinks. Access? Bah. You have a cell phone, you have access. Those few who don't - they're not the market anyway (and libraries can fill that need).


    As sales increase and costs go down after initial outlay, then the e-books on the entire list of publishers -- not just bestsellers -- lose less and less money and more of them start earning more and more money. This is what has occurred over the last seven years. This has effected print, but the bigger problems for the print market occurred some 15 years ago. A print book is not the same as a record which has to be played on a record player.

    But a book may become like a record over and over again if the market is only electronic and must be run only on equipment. That again means that people have to keep buying new and updated versions of equipment and new versions of e-books because their old e-books (records) won't work on the new equipment (MP3 players.) That's a significant cash outlay over time, and millions of people can't afford it. So if it happens, that is going to effect things and it's going to shrink the total audience, even if some e-publishers do well within it selling to the top 25%.
    Your premise in the paragraph above is way off base. If your device can support a browser, you can read an ebook TODAY. Kindle ebooks included. That's not going to change just because a new reader comes out.

    I do not know why pointing out that labor, new hires and new infrastructure cost money and that millions of people cannot afford e-books are such threatening statements of fact.
    Because they are not statements of fact - they are your opinion which you are presenting as fact. Millions of people can not afford a lot of things, but from a business viewpoint who cares? It's the millions who can at least afford a cell phone who are the market. New hires? Infrastructure? Hell, the traditional publishers have been shedding staff that they could have turned to this transition, true? Again, the smaller outfits will have the advantage on the electronic field of battle because they can get by with less. Fair? No, but that's part and parcel of why you don't have Encyclopedia Britannica in print anymore. Creative destruction.



    I am a big cheerleader for e-books. It's a greatly successful emerging market. But this insistence that e-books are utopia, that issues like fossil fuels-electricity issues, educational access, etc. are forbidden to be discussed or unimportant is getting old. And the statement that e-book sales are simply shifted print sales is factually incorrect. As has been pointed out many times by many people, price is not the sole factor -- hardcover sales were not cancelled out by cheaper mass market paperback sales over the last century. And again, the initial outlay needed for an individual to buy one e-book is fairly high over simply buying print. So the market factors are far more complicated than me Tarzan, you Jane. Which is presumably why your publisher still does print books for now.
    I never claimed everything is rosy in e-book land - it's hard as hell to make money as an author when your book sells for less than three bucks. While we can argue all day about which media is/is not impacting the other, the sales figures do not lie. Ebooks rising. Paper mass-market falling. The trend, for what ever reason, is inevitable. Still, there is the record industry as an example and the answer was clearly written for you how digital media destroyed them. Why would this be any different in the slightest? My argument is that is isn't.


    I believe that e-books greatly enrich society and grow the market for books. But I also believe that an electronic only market at this point in society and in the near future in the current economy and educational situation would greatly impoverish society and shrink the market for books. If you have an argument about that issue that is more than simply calling me a liar, or saying that your own publisher is doing fine so there, I am as always happy to hear it.
    Again, I never called you anything but "Kat" (grin). Sorry if you've felt backed up against the wall, but there are educated viewpoints in this forum that are bound to clash. No sense calling names or getting personal, eh? Now, of course, where you come from the term "baloney" might mean "liar". Not here - it simply is a derivative of "your position is questionable". If you thought otherwise, then please accept my heartfelt apology. I truly enjoy our exchanges when they happen, and would never seek to offend.

    Kerry

  13. #283
    Palinodic Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmtolan View Post
    Did I say that? No. Of course they get paid. How much, and in what manner, is probably going to be less than a full time staffer up in NY me-thinks.
    Yes, because they are a smaller operation. Your insistence that there's no difference in comparing small press and large press operations and that they face the same market factors is part of the problem we're having here. It's also not understanding that the bulk of staff that New York publishers are hiring additionally to do e-books are not in New York. Labor is still always a cost.

    Whoa! When have I ever accused you or anyone on this board of lying?
    My interpretation of you calling what I said baloney was apparently incorrect. You dismissed the information I provided about what happened in the 1990's as false. That's usually what we term calling someone a liar. However, since I'm saying you're stating various facts wrong too, we'll concede the point.

    Such is the pain of your working off of a false assumption (still trying to figure how I suggested any of those folks worked for free.). No grants, Kat. No freebees. Everybody gets paid - which sort of takes the wind out of your sails with this argument.
    No, it proves my point. You're running around saying that there are no costs and no additional costs to producing e-books (i.e. that people work for free.) I'm pointing out that people do not work for free as you are presenting the costs, that you are disregarding labor costs that are specific to e-books and had to be added to sell e-books. You're also trying to claim that the labor costs to your small publisher which does a mix of print and e-books with its smaller list should be the same for large publishers with larger lists, more e-book clients and a great deal more work to get done by paid labor. You claimed that I lied that publishers (and Amazon) lost money on e-books. I'm pointing out that like a lot of self-publishing and small press authors, you are not being realistic about business and labor costs involved in making e-books and thus ignoring that financial data in preference of numbers you think should be the cost rather than are actually the cost. If you mean that you think big publishers are stupid to lose money on e-books, say that, rather than that big publishers didn't lose money on e-books.

    Most e-pubs will do both e-books and POD through a third party vendor.
    Which again has costs and then there is the issue of number of vendors. There are a number of different business factors involved in the e-book market.

    The only advantage for traditional publishing is that they have succeeded in keeping most independents out of the remaining book stores,
    Okay, so we're not going to talk about the actual market here. We're going to talk about fantasy Star Wars.

    Access? Bah. You have a cell phone, you have access. Those few who don't - they're not the market anyway (and libraries can fill that need).
    You mean the libraries they're more and more closing and slashing budgets on? The key part here is "they're not the market anyway." It's true, they aren't the market. The top 25% are the market. But that means that the audience for books shrinks with electronic only and the number of new readers and book buyers continues to decrease. And lower income schools become at even more of a disadvantage. Obviously, worrying about other people's kids is not an obligation of anyone, but excuse me if I don't particularly like that outcome. Especially as a mix of print and e-books has the opposite effect -- even greater access of more people.

    If your device can support a browser, you can read an ebook TODAY. Kindle ebooks included. That's not going to change just because a new reader comes out.
    How old a version of a browser and for how long? Can you play your video tapes? Your floppy disks? Can you operate the original Microsoft Windows software to get everything you want? My computer works peachy, but I can't open docx files. To do that, I have to buy a new version of Word. Right now, e-books is an emerging market and so the emphasis is on building infrastructure and tech to make it easy as possible to get people into the market. But tech doesn't make its money over making it easy for people to hold on to old equipment, software, cellphones, etc. for the long term. They want to force you to get the new version, the new type of machine, to upgrade all your files. Think about how much money you've spent on tech over the years, how often you've needed to upgrade or switch. That all increases the cost of being able to buy e-books for people over time, even if you don't always buy the latest thing in tech.

    Which you already acknowledged, Kerry. You said who cares if these people have access, they're not the market. The reality -- the fact -- is that these people cannot afford e-books. But they did sometimes buy mass market paperbacks. And we would lose them as book buyers if the market is electronic only. You may not care that we are losing them, but it is still factual that those sales are lost and will not necessarily be off-set by e-book sales, meaning that the market is likely to be smaller with electronic only than with a combined print and electronic market. Are you saying that the market being smaller is wrong when you've just agreed that it's correct, that millions of people who have access to print don't have access to e-books and so could not buy in an electronic only market?

    Because they are not statements of fact - they are your opinion which you are presenting as fact.
    "labor, new hires and new infrastructure cost money" -- This is not a fact? You just said that you agreed that people don't work for free. Now you are saying that it's a fact that they do work for free?

    "that millions of people cannot afford e-books" -- This is not a fact? Oh wait, you just agreed it was:
    Millions of people can not afford a lot of things, but from a business viewpoint who cares?
    So no, it's not my opinion or interpretation. It is a fact that labor and infrastructure cost money. It is a fact that millions of people can't afford e-books. And I presented them as facts.

    It's the millions who can at least afford a cell phone who are the market.
    But that number is less than the number of people who can afford computers and/or cellphones and the number of people who can't but can at least afford print books. That is a fact, which you are agreeing is a fact. You are simply saying that you don't feel that outcome is important. I am saying that in terms of authors making sales, it has a less beneficial effect to have only an electronic market than to have an electronic and print market. And you agreed with me.

    New hires? Infrastructure? Hell, the traditional publishers have been shedding staff that they could have turned to this transition, true?
    Nope, false. Publishers let go staff in the wake of the Great Recession which occurred right before e-books really started growing and were only 1-2% of the market. A lot of the staff they let go were executive, and in any case the staff they had could not be turned into tech people or tech companies needed for e-book production, the sales people may be able to sell to e-vendors, but reps who work in the electronic industry were needed, and the accounting people to deal with the complications of the e-book market had to be mostly added. They were not simply adding a print imprint. They were building an entirely new industry that has in the last five years become more and more streamlined and more and more profitable and large. But it didn't spring into being fully that way in 2008 or 2009. There were costs. There are still costs, which again is why many smaller presses are only now being able to afford to turn their list to e-books.

    Again, the smaller outfits will have the advantage on the electronic field of battle because they can get by with less.
    Well first of all, it's not a field of battle. Your insistence that there's a war between electronic and paper is why you're having trouble dealing with market factors. And second, no, small outfits don't have an advantage over big ones and they won't. Small outfits seldom do unless they get bigger, at which point they are usually swallowed up by bigger outfits. That doesn't mean that small presses can't do very well, including e-presses. It does mean that the big publishers already have better deals in place with vendors than the small presses, and with more control. This has actually helped the smaller presses out because some terms trickle down. But Amazon, while having lost its monopoly with the bigger firms, still has an almost monopoly with the e-books for small presses, and small presses are very dependent on larger firms like Amazon and Apple and their good will -- and Amazon has decided to make itself a publisher. It has bought up other e-book vendors who've done well, reducing the number of vendors. It did the same thing to the small press distributor group that it did to Macmillan -- but that was a lot more risk of damage for the small presses.

    So again, for both large presses and small presses, it's not a matter purely of shifting everything from paper to electronic, but of dealing with developing the electronic market and getting more vendors for more sales and better terms and conditions.

    While we can argue all day about which media is/is not impacting the other, the sales figures do not lie. Ebooks rising. Paper mass-market falling.
    And the fact that mass market was falling in the 1990's due to several factors that had nothing to do with e-books and that still effect the mass market today is one that you are again choosing to ignore. That Borders going under had nothing to do with e-books is a fact that is deliberately ignored. The facts are that the bulk of the mass market buyers were middle class. The e-book market are the people who bought hardcovers and trade paperbacks mostly. It's not that there's no correlation at all. It's that your claim that it's the only and principle correlation by which things are occurring is not correct by the actual numbers and market history.

    Still, there is the record industry as an example and the answer was clearly written for you how digital media destroyed them.
    Digital media did not destroy the music industry. The music industry used computers from the beginning when they were the size of rooms. However, it is true that because people cannot afford some of the digital tech to be able to buy and play music that is transmitted only by computer and to be on the Internet, that music sales have gone down, and not just albums, and it is harder for performers to make a living from music, even as the Internet has opened up some sales and promotion opportunities to sell to the top 25%. However, the music industry has not gone only limited access because it is audio and because there are live performances, street performances, radio and music is still available at lower tech. It's not a digital delivery only industry yet, which is why it still works widely. An only e-book publishing industry, however, would have a much bigger access problem than music does.

    Why would this be any different in the slightest? My argument is that is isn't.
    Well first off because it's not a logical comparison, because we're talking about entirely different forms of product -- written documents versus audio recordings, delivery systems, retail sales, etc. but the point is that you're arguing something that I'm not arguing. My argument was that an electronic only industry would have more downsides than a paper and electronic industry right now and in the near future, chiefly a smaller audience. And also that e-books are not produced for free except by self-publishing authors to a limited degree. And you agreed with both of those points. So you're arguing someone over there somewhere mostly.

    1) Fact: The market for a mixed paper and electronic industry is bigger than for e-books alone, including creating new readers.

    2) Fact: Millions of kids will lose educationally from an e-books only market, decreasing the lucrative educational market, the currently lucrative kids/YA market and decreasing the number of new readers. This is a critical business interest for both small and big publishers, which is why they actually pay attention to it.

    3) The record player talking point remains a highly faulty analogy (also strange.) Paper books were never electronic and neither paper nor print are outdated technologies. Print is in fact necessary for e-books to exist. E-books have existed for thirty years; it is not a new or revolutionary technology. It's simply that they found the top 25% would pay for it in a retail market if they built good, cute delivery gadgets. And the money is mainly in those gadgets -- tablets, readers, cellphones, etc. E-books is just a nice decorative ribbon there.

    It would make more sense to say that e-books are like microwavable plates, especially designed for cooking in microwaves (the gadgets.) But people continue to use stoves, hot plates and open pit fires (barbeque,) to cook as well. That way, you get everybody, including the microwave users. Whereas only microwaves significantly limits and effects the cooking. Those are real factors that business people have to deal with, especially when it comes to printed text because printed text is not just about entertainment and entertainment is not books' only market.

    4) Fact: Labor to do anything costs money. Big publishers have larger lists that take more time to digitize than small presses.

    5) Fact: Vendors like Amazon and Apple and many publishers large and small lost money on e-books willingly to build the market. Those losses are declining or gone, depending on the publisher and situation, as the market grows, but they occurred, still do occur and e-books is still an emerging market. People do not work for free, so saying e-book has no costs or additional costs is not factual, even for small presses.

    E-books is an emerging market, not without cost, and a successful one. It is my hope -- not my contention -- that we remain a mixed market of paper and electronic for the near future instead of an electronic only market because that has the most upsides, whereas an electronic only market has significant downsides, chiefly a smaller market that excludes more and more kids and people, which is something that books will survive but not thrive on.

    Now, you may not agree with that hope. You may not see removing books from millions and millions of people's lives -- effecting their education, livelihoods, future prospects, etc. and restricting and controlling information thereby in society as very important. You may not be concerned if it becomes significantly harder for authors to get sales in an electronics only market to a more limited audience. But it's a concern I have about an electronics only market and which you've now agreed exists.

  14. #284
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    Kat G, quite seriously, I wonder why you are trying so hard to flog life back into a quite dead, and very smelly horse?

    All revolutions occurred (partly) as a response to the repression of an underclass which perceived its rights to have been violated. The evil overlords of the print paradigm have kept the talented writers of the world unpublished due to their microeconomic manipulation of expenditure and risk and the connivance through pricing structures of allied industries (like bookshops, distributors and printers).

    That manipulation made it uneconomic for the industry to invest in new voices and now, via new technologies, they are paying the price.

    Get with the program Kat G...or are you a printer in disguise?

  15. #285
    Author and Game Designer Taramoc's Avatar
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    Oh boy, I have to agree with KatG on this one.

    All she is saying is that at least for the foreseeable future, an hybrid of printing and digital distribution will be around, and gives some good reasons why and some even better reasons why it's beneficial to have both for the general public and the writers themselves.

    Quite frankly, I'd be very sad as a writer if the old way of publishing is completely gone. As a stay at home dad of three young girls, the time I have to dedicate to my books is very limited, and I haven't write a single line of new material since last November. Why? Because I've been setting up my website, prepared a bunch of short stories for self-publication, worked with an artist to come up with a cover, research where I should self-publish or which e-publishers I should submit my stuff too, editing the sh*t out of the countless marketing blurbs I need, and a lot of more stuff I need to do to jump on the e-book opportunity and promote myself. In a nutshell, everything but WRITING.

    I did it because I have to, not because I enjoy it. I'd love to have an agent that negotiates a contract for me with one of the big publisher, gets me an advance (no matter how puny, my wife is going to be the main bread winner around here for a while anyway), brings in an editor, some marketing, and everything else that being part of the publishing machine entails, so, once again, I can concentrate on WRITING.

    That is way I'm still going to submit my fantasy novel through the traditional channels, after five years of working on it to bring it to the standard I believe is necessary to at least have a shot.

    I do realize that the odds are overwhelming against me, but it would be simply stupid not to try given the possible reward, once again just spend my time WRITING. And if in two years, after hundreds of rejections, I don't make it, I will still have the opportunity to go indy or self publish if I decide to give up.

    Also, people keep mentioning the music industry. Well, with a little research (e.g. Google), you can find out that only this year downloaded music is projected to outsell physical CDs, and not by much. Also, go figure, vinyl is making a come back. Yes, you read it right, as for a not insignificant portion of the market (mainly passionate listeners, you know, those that spend a lot of money in their hobby) still thinks the the mp3 sound quality is not at par with CDs or vinyl (something I do agree with, btw).

    I do realize that it feels good to be ahead of the market and doing well with ebooks, to the point of dismissing traditional publishing, but there is a reality out there that is not going away no matter how much you choose to ignore it.

    Taramoc

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