The Evolution of E-books and Traditional Publishing
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Since there are no regulations on pricing for e-books yet, no one can tell how much is the fair price for everyone. I agree with you that since the text needs to be digitized only once, the price of e-books shouldn't be charged too much. Since digitized music albums or digitized movies cost lower than the original disc formats, I think the price of e-books should cost lower than the printed books as well.
After encoding in class, I can somewhat understand why eBooks are so pricey. It takes a lot of thought, time, and effort in digitizing already in-print texts. Even if they are not already in-print and are made for eBooks, different eBook readers use different formats. For instance, eBooks made for Amazon's Kindle, are not compatible with Barnes and Noble's Nook, and vice versa. Since there is undoubtedly competition, it is hard to discern a fair price for different types of eBooks, because they are made specifically to cater to certain software. However, I think that over time, eBooks will ultimately be cheaper than print books as an incentive to buy an eBook reader, and overall move publishing into the age of technology.
I know that there are a lot of legal implications regarding eBook pricing (this link), but I guess I'm more interested in what publishers and eBook makers are going to do in this transition time between print and digital. Admittedly, for the drama. Since there aren't really any standard protocols for those companies to follow, what are they going to do to entice consumers before any legal restrictions are put into place? The problem the Kindle, the iPad, or the Nook should be worrying about right now is how they can gain a competitive advantage over the others and legitimize/standardize some sort of price that wouldn't step on the toes of publishers or consumers. Sure, ultimately pricing will decide who wins but there is so much the technology can do that print can't. If one of them can somehow use the technology more effectively, there might actually might be a basis for the pricing just so it doesn't seem as arbitrary.
I never realized how much work actually went into creating eBooks, which is obviously why the prices are so high. I also never really thought about how a publisher has to render it to fit the formats of all the different eReaders out there. The lack of regulation of eBook prices is news to me. As a Kindle owner, I've never really questioned the prices of eBooks on Amazon because I've never looked anywhere else for eBooks. These articles are very good and I can't wait to see your final product.
I find it interesting how, when I was younger and mentioned wanting to go into publishing, everyone told me there was no future in it. I think your storify reiterates the idea that traditional print businesses are traveling into new territory but are still very much a presence. Beyond the debate about the prices of e-books is a suggestion that the rules regarding publishing have to be re-negotiated due to the digital world--and neither consumers or producers have a clear idea of how the changes will further develop.
I like how you've approached the topic, and you've done a really thorough job with it so far. From a consumer standpoint, it makes much more sense that eBooks should be cheaper than their print counterparts. At the same time though, publishing is a business like any other and the publishers are going to try to maximize their profit margins. I think it would be interesting to also look at independent authors, and how they approach pricing their own eBooks when using vendors like Amazon to get their work out there. I know programs like the Kindle Select Program allow work to be published in a way that helps to promote it, but with specific pricing stipulations. There are also many eBook authors who will occasionally give their book away free for a day, or at a exceptionally low price of something like .99 cents. It would be interesting to see how what publishing houses and other members of the industry have to say about this.
Sarah - Your storify has a clear, narrow focus. I like the way you take a position here and draw on evidence to support it. I'd love to see you further develop the question of what consumers are looking for. If it's mainly "the text," how much of the cost of packaging that text attractively is, in the end, relevant? I'd also love to see you find and address some opposing perspectives, or at least speak to one or more hypothetical challenges. For example, if it's true that publishers must still pay for many things they've always paid for - aesthetic packaging, quality assurance, editing, marketing, etc. - wouldn't you expect that the disappearance of other costs - paper, ink, binding, warehousing - would lead to some reduction in price?