Friday, March 9, 2012

Five big-name publishers colluded to fix e-book prices

First off, go read this article over at the BBC.

The five publishers are Simon and Schuster, Hachette, the US arm of Penguin, Macmillan and HarperCollins Inc.

Damn, those are the biggies!

The European Commission is also investigating the same five publishers and Apple over ebook prices.

That's never good...the DOJ and the EC looking into your business practices!

"The perception is that publishers are saving a fortune because they are not physically printing a book," he said. Actually, said Mr Evans, printing costs were a small fraction of the total outlay required to produce a book.

Bullshit. When a book--any book--is made, it's first written, and in these days that means on a word processing program like MS Word, MS Works, Libre or OpenOffice, AbiWord, etc. Printing costs to the publisher are zero.  Then the book is edited, again electronically, also costing nothing. Then it's sent off to the layout department, where the final form of the pages are designed and the "galley" is produced. Then that's sent off to the printer where the physical pages are printed, compiled, and assembled with a cover.

Physical items cost more than virtual ones. You know how you know they're lying? If they were telling the truth, all e-books from the "Big 6" would cost exactly the same as the print version of the same book. But they don't, they cost less. Significantly less, in fact. (As it ought to be.) 

"All the costs are the people in the publisher's HQ and the writer's mortgage," he said, adding that these had not changed significantly with the rise of ebooks.

Partial bullshit. If the "writer's mortgage" is a big factor, how come it's less than 20% of the total cost? They're just obfuscating the truth: they want to charge more for producing less material. Their revenues go up, their costs go down. In essence they "win" until they were busted by "the man." (lol)

I have to say, there is no reason that an e-book should cost close to the same as the physical, print edition of the same text. There's all kinds of costs that apply that do not apply to an electronic edition. And I, for one, am glad they were busted for their baloney. 

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