The Sky Is Falling, On Ebooks!

The Sky Is Falling, On Ebooks!

The sky is falling, the sky is falling on ebooks!

Hardly a day has gone by in recent years when the major publishers haven’t complained about ebooks, ebook prices and ‘the sky is falling’ on ebook prices.

These almost daily portents of doom are always to be found in mainstream media, which of course are all in one way or another owned, or are a subsidiary company of the big five publishers.

The latest tale of woe I read was this article on CBS Money Watch, with the corny and doomsday-like title of, The plot may be unravelling for e-books.

It takes only a few lines in this piece of drivel, to understand what the problem is all about. Greed.

Ebook sales are not falling, and the sky is still nicely blue for Amazon Kindle, self-publishing authors and for readers too. This is because the value of an ebook, and therefore the price, is well understood by all of these.

But the big five stick to their old concepts of publishing, which are so far from ebook reality, it’s laughable.

Try this little excerpt from the CBS Money Watch article, and see if you can resist laughing until your sides split:

In some cases, e-books have higher prices than the hardcover editions of the same book. The last novel from Terry Pratchett, a British writer who passed away earlier this year, is selling in e-book version for $11.99, while its hardcover copy is $10.65.

Now, if you can find an ounce of logic in this ridiculous pricing, I’ll eat my hat! But wait, there’s more!

The average price of books sold in the Kindle bookstore from the five biggest publishers — which include Hachette and Simon & Schuster (a division of CBS, parent of CBS MoneyWatch) — cost an average of $10.81 this year, while e-books from smaller publishers sold for an average of $4.95, according to Codex.

In the quote above we can see firstly, proof of my earlier statement about the relationship between mainstream media and the big five publishers. Here we have CBS doing the grunt work for their own companies, Hachette and Simon & Schuster.

Secondly, the price difference between big and small publishers explains why the article then says:

Sales of e-books have slumped 9.3 percent from January to July 2015, according to data from the Association of American Publishers.

But this data is only relevant to the big five, and not to the rest of the ebook publishing world.

So why are CBS writing articles of gloom and doom about ebooks?

Easy, because they hate the bloody things. They never wanted, accepted or adapted to the ebook, because it upset their old ‘lock keeper’ business model.

By pricing their ebooks at close to, or even above the price of the same paperback or hardcover title, they will certainly lose ebook sales, but they can then claim that the sky is falling on ebooks.

What a sad little bunch of champagne addicted book floggers they are.

But with the power of mainstream media behind them, it is easy to keep spinning the same old story (lie), if it is told often enough. Ebooks are dead! The sky is falling on ebooks!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

2 thoughts on “The Sky Is Falling, On Ebooks!

  • I, too, have been baffled by ebooks from the major publishers barely dipping below $10. And it’s completely ridiculous because we all know production of an ebook doesn’t warrant such an exorbitant price. Yes, it does take skill and effort and man hours to format and make the product ebook ready but the overhead is a drop in the bucket compared to producing physical books. And these high prices tend to keep me from purchasing their books which then hurt their present and future sales. These publishers truly need to alter their business models or the sky will be falling on them (if it hasn’t already started).

    Reply
    • In a perverse way, Jeffrey, I think the big 5 are intentionally making ebooks too expensive to buy, so that the argument can be created that ebooks are a failure. One thing is for sure, they would prefer life without ebooks, so why not create a negative image in the market?

      Reply

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