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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
One of my biggest complaints about actually buying ebooks (aside from the fact that I could probably find them on a newsgroup if I looked hard enough) is that many companies try to charge the same amount for the ebook as for the hardcopy. They act as if they are doing you a favor by letting you download the ebook as a convenience, instead of having to wait for the hard copy to show up.

Give me a break! If I buy an ebook, it should be significantly less than the cost of the hardcopy edition. Further, if I order the book online, why not let me download the ebook also at no additional charge?

I received an email today from Profantasy (they make incredible cartography software) offering a new book for sale. These guys totally have the right idea. They simultaneously released an electronic and hardcopy of the book, with different prices. In fact, they offer a PDF download, a mail order CD (same price), a softcover edition (roughly 2x the cost of the PDF) and a deluxe hardcover edition ($10 more than the softcover I believe). The CD contains the PDF (naturally) and I think the hardcopy comes with a CD too (containing the PDF)!

Now THAT's the way to do it! You other companies should take note... Don't gouge me on the price of a stupid PDF file... if I like the PDF, I will always buy the printed edition, no contest... unless you've already charged me full retail of course. Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 1:35 PM General Interest | Back to top



Comments on this post: ebooks vs hardcopies

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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Right on! I've found quite a few ebooks here and there once I looked hard ;-) for the books I thought I would like. Almost always I have ended up buying the hard copy since I find that much more convenient..and that's how I'd like to read books :)
Left by Imran Koradia on Jul 12, 2005 5:38 PM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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You're overlooking one point in book publishing...the largest cost of producing a book does not come from printing the book...its all the salaries, bonuses, royalties, distribution fees, etc. that add up along the way. Realistically, a publisher could only knock off a few dollars if they did not have to actually print the book.
Left by OwenG on Jul 12, 2005 6:43 PM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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actually I'm not. Many of the books I'm referring to are published in house. I'm not talking about buying the latest Steven King novel here... I'm referring to specialized works.

Also, FWIW, printing the book is not an insignificant part of the cost based on conversations I've had with publishers.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 12, 2005 7:17 PM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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The Profantasy eBook seems to be worth the price, too. I got the marketing email, and bought the book yesterday. I only glanced through it, but it seems to have a huge section devoted to CC2 Pro, and large sections devoted to their ancillary products(which the manual totally ignores). 518 pages, too!
Left by Cullen on Jul 13, 2005 6:30 AM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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I love their stuff, and own many of the products. I'm getting book on Payday.
Left by BlogusMaximus on Jul 13, 2005 7:25 AM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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In mid-2002, when I coauthored "Learn Visual Basic .NET in a Weekend" for Premier Press, the printing costs were very low compated to the retail price. At the time Premier Press was a relatively small publisher, they have since been bought by Thomson/Course Technology.

I seem to remember something being said about it costing somewhere between $2-$3 to print the book, which retailed for $30.
Left by Jay Miller on Jul 13, 2005 7:55 AM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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Besides having written published books, I've also worked for a book publisher a few years back.

Some ballpark figures for costs to print books (in quantity): $1.50/book for a paperback novel. $6/book for a hardcover novel. A little over $10/book for a typical 650+ page computer book.
Left by OwenG on Jul 13, 2005 7:57 AM

# re: ebooks vs hardcopies
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Left by pills on Nov 08, 2006 2:06 AM

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