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Apple Raises E-book Prices For Everyone

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the here-a-penny-there-a-penny dept.

Books 327

Nom du Keyboard writes "I was informed by my publisher this week that they would have to raise my e-book prices because they planned to sell them through the Apple iBooks store. How could this happen? A lot of my individual stories sell in the $1 to $3 range, which is well within the impulse purchase amount for many people. In this price range a 50-cent price difference may well be the difference between a purchase and a pass. Meanwhile, Apple is touting its new 'agency model,' whereby the publishers set the prices. However, it seems that Apple requires books sold in its iBook store have prices ending in .99 — nothing else." (More below.)"Furthermore, Apple requires that if you sell books through them that you absolutely cannot sell them for less through anyone else. To my understanding Amazon also requires this, so Apple and Amazon prices should be identical in the future, but Amazon doesn't force prices to end in .99. What this means is that an e-book that the author was quite happy to sell for $2.29 or $2.49 is now going to cost $2.99 from everybody. While that sounds like only a few extra cents, it adds up over time and can lead to resentment against authors for charging higher prices, even though they have little real control over pricing. I, for one, do not understand why Apple computers only understand numbers ending in .99, or just how Apple is making it better for the consumer this way."

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Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051098)

I thought we'd all be used to spending more money for the same thing because Jobs slapped his gay little Apple logo on it.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (5, Insightful)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051308)

The problem is that Apple has and Amazon will shortly have a "you can't sell your book for cheaper at other ebook stores" clauses in their agreements. (The Amazon one is part of their newer pricing model, which matches Apple's 70% cut but adds restrictions on pricing, which should go into effect this summer.)

A hypothetical:
You've been selling your ebook on Amazon, and you've done some pricing experiments. You've found that you sell half again as many books at $2.49 than you do at $2.99, and the volume more than makes up the difference, so you set your price accordingly. In order to expand to the iBookStore, you must price your book at $2.99 there, and take the hit in sales. But wait! Apple will refuse to sell your book if you're selling for cheaper on Amazon, so you have to raise your price to $2.99 at the Amazon store as well.

So, now all your customers are paying more, even the ones who are not buying from Apple, and you have fewer of them. You are not making as much money, and neither are any of the distributing companies that make their money by taking a cut off yours. Everyone loses, all for the sake of a nice round (?!) number.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051436)

If they both have such clauses, Amazon should definitely make their requirement that the price end in .95. ;-)

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (5, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051442)

Except you might make more money if you drop the price to $1.99 and now sell in 2 marketplaces instead of one. Who says that the price adjustments have to be positive?

If Amazon really wants to fuck with Apple they'll force their pricing to end in .98 which would mean that books on iTunes would be $1.01 more (until Apple adjusted their pricing to .97)

Whatever. I'm heading down to the Apple store to get a new 3g iPad and hit In-n-Out for a Double Double. Cheers.

Re: Price elasticity of demand (4, Informative)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051858)

In the parent post it says the author did some trials and found out $2.49 was the price where he made the most profit. At a lower price, enough new customers weren't created to offset that lower price. A higher price caused customers to chose not to buy. Profit was optimized. So selling at $1.99 means forgoing revenue, as would selling at $2.99. Now if parent didn't say they had experimented with pricing, either pricing higher or lower could end up creating more revenue.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_elasticity_of_demand [wikipedia.org]

Re: Price elasticity of demand (2, Interesting)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052058)

So selling at $1.99 means forgoing revenue...

selling at $1.99 in one market place.

I've worked for a large software company and we used to analyze this all the time. It is exceedingly difficult to account for all the variables. Did he, for example control for seasonality? Did he try to calculate if the potential additional sales from another marketplace would offset or erase the potential loss?

Obviously if he simply lowered the price in the Amazon store (my assumption) he would leave money on the table based on the information provided. But that is not the case we are discussing. I am suggesting that a simultaneous lowering of price and availability in another large marketplace might offset the price reduction and even net him more revenue. just a thought, hence my use of the word might above.

Regardless, you'd think that would be an analysis he would perform before posting.

Re: Price elasticity of demand (0, Troll)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052138)

Except that you fail reading comprehension, so to help you and a few of the other people who couldn't quite grasp the problem on round one, I'll yell it for you:

NEITHER APPLE NOR AMAZON WILL ALLOW YOU TO SELL YOUR E-BOOK AT A LOWER PRICE THROUGH ANOTHER VENDOR

You can't price the Apple version lower because Amazon won't let you, and you can't set the Apple price to anything that doesn't end with .99. Now I will yell out the summary vís-a-vís your proposed solution:

NEITHER PRICE IS ALLOWED TO BE LOWER THAN THE OTHER, SO YOUR POINT IS COMPLETELY INVALID

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051446)

The problem is that Apple has and Amazon will shortly have a "you can't sell your book for cheaper at other ebook stores" clauses in their agreements.

Isn't this Price Fixing? Isn't that illegal?

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (3, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051502)

No, it's not. It would be price fixing if Amazon, Apple et al got together and set the minimum price to ensure profits, but this is more like a low price guarantee, and besides the publishers set the prices for the most part anyway.

I think the premise of the article is wrong and I don't think the author understands economics that well. I think that while we might see higher prices on specific or new e-books, having Apple and Amazon competing will drive the prices down as they compete for market share.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051526)

Happily, in Australia it's known as third-line forcing and it's totally illegal. So when we finally get the iPad, Apple are going to have some interesting conversations with our competition commission.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (2, Informative)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051632)

I don't think this situation meets the definition of third-line forcing.

Third line forcing occurs when a supplier places a condition on the supply of its goods or services that the customer must acquire goods or services of a particular type from a third person nominated by the supplier. http://www.mallesons.com/publications/2005/Nov/8201946w.htm [mallesons.com]

Anyway Amazon and Apple will need to answer those questions.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052086)

You are absolutely correct. Sorry.

However, the ACCC also has powers to stop resale price maintenance [accc.gov.au] :

Any arrangement between a supplier and a reseller that means the reseller will not advertise, display or sell the goods the supplier supplies below a specified price is illegal.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (2, Informative)

EdelFactor19 (732765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051928)

Doesn't understand economics well? What the heck are you talking about. This doesn't require a fancy degree in economics to understand. Apple is shoving its bs down his throat and the result is that he has to increase the price across the board to maintain the same target audience. Which is assinine.

Smells like price fixing to me. "We refuse to allow you to sell your product at the price you want to sell it at" is price fixing. This is anticompetitive behavior at its finest. We won't carry your product if we can't be the ones selling it for the cheapest, and we refuse to sell it at the price you want.

It's not up to you to decide whether he can profit from selling for at cheaper prices, or more expensive prices. It's his product and he clearly has a market at that price. End of story.

Seriously though, you don't like the premise of the article? Wow, thanks for such an astute comment, if only I gave a crap whether you liked it or not. I don't think you understood the premise of the article. Amazon and Apple shouldn't be involved in driving the price anywhere, they are a market place. The people creating the products and the market dictate prices.

Clearly you don't understand economics well. Play the stock market much? I'd love to make a market against you. Next you are going to tell me that competition between NYSE and BATS is going to drive stock prices down. Competition does one and only one thing, it drives prices to their equilibrium and it tighetens the spreads. As long as Apple enforces a $1 interval (which I didn't realize they did until reading this article) you aren't going to see any movement. Go look at tick sizes for$1-$5 equities on Nasdaq or NYSE, I'll bet the farm the tick size is not a dollar.

Yet another way in which I've lost all respect for apple.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051482)

I don't know, but "books" that relies on impulse buy to make money doesn't get much sympathy from me.
If the really want people to do the impulse buy thing, sell it at 1.99 or 0.99. I am sure there will be even more impulse buy.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052022)

Except that the pool itself enlarges due to the increased number of sales outlets, which should also increase sales.

For example, if the pool on Amazon was 100, and you saw 20 sales at $2.99 for a profit of $59.80, and 30 sales at $2.49 for a profit of $74.70, yes; you are making more at $2.49.

Then Apple joins in. Let's say Amazon's pool is now 90 (some will leave Amazon for Apple, but not all, nor even likely half.) And Apple's is 50, half the previous Amazon's. So you now have a TOTAL pool of 140. Same percentage for $2.99, 20%, sees 28 sales (18 from Amazon, a net loss of 2 from the old Amazon pool at $2.99 and a net loss of 12 from the old Amazon pool at $2.49; plus 10 from Apple, which are brand new,) for a profit of $83.72. You still make more, even though you have technically "lost" two customers aggregate over selling at $2.49.

I'm not arguing that prices should be artificially limited to x.99, nor that these policies should be in place. Just that the argument isn't quite valid, because you're still gaining customers. You may be losing some compared to the original cheaper price pool, but the pool itself got larger. You can't just assume that the same number of people would buy it at the higher price as before, because there are more POTENTIAL customers now, therefore you will get an increase commensurate with this increase in potential.

Re:Meh ... Its Apple .. you expected different? (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051328)

Fucking truth. Mod parent up.

Less maybe? (5, Insightful)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051126)

Because you obviously couldn't charge $1.99 for that book both places?

Re:Less maybe? (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051320)

Great way to get out of paying Apple the remainder though.

Sell it for $X.99 means they don't get it themselves ...

Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (0)

oztiks (921504) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051132)

Apple charges for the use of the App site, So I guess this is just the same this yeah?

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051236)

Except that 30% is actually really low.

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051366)

WHAT?!
What is 30% of 1million? oh really low....

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (4, Informative)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051562)

which means the developer would get $700,000 without the requirements of setting up distribution and to a large extent marketing. Clearly you've never run a business and had to pay for sales, marketing, advertising and distribution expenses.

30% for built in exposure to 80 million potential customer and application distribution is actually pretty cheap. Plus it's a flat pay-as-you-go situation. Generally you have to pay for marketing sales and distribution channels up from and hope you make enough to cover your costs.

Personally I don't like Apple's schizophrenic approval process, but the model is brilliant.

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051816)

I despise the fact that you are totally correct. Whatever else apple is guilty of, they made a brilliant play with the app store.

We could argue all day about 30% and how that applies to a website rather than a physical store, and how that relates to current consignment sales systems in the real world. However, doing so is just nitpicking. I personally believe that 30% for what apple is offering is a bit much. It's about 3x more than typical systems for similar services online. But then, apples store is considerably "better" than most. For varying definitions of better. Market exposure is huge, clutter is fairly low, and the entire support and sales structure is handled by apple. So... better, than most.

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (3, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051344)

A 30% flat rate is really cheap, considering you don't have so set up and maintain distribution yourself, and that you are going to reach 80 million potential customers.

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051604)

Compared to a web site hosting an installable .exe file? Really? I don't believe you.

Re:Apple tax is 30% for iPhone (4, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051688)

OK. You write an app and put it on a webserver set up to take credit cards, pay-pal,etc, and charge $1.99 for it (as in you have to charge their card before they download it). I'll write a similar app and put it in the App store for $1.99. I guarantee you I'll make way more money than you even with the 30%.

Wrong answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051134)

Someone should remind Steve Jobs that The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is 42 not .99

Re:Wrong answer (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051270)

now its 42.99 according to jobs.

Meh. (4, Informative)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051152)

Almost all my ebooks come from Baen. They may cost a little more, but they are 100% free of Apple-style dickery, including DRM.

Re:Meh. (4, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051292)

I'm proud to say that all my ebooks are drm-free, too, and that's because I bought most of them at Baen as well. I went there for the free ebooks, originally. They were good enough that I started buying there as well. I haven't been disappointed. (Of course, being able to properly preview a book on their site hasn't hurt, either.)

Re:Meh. (2, Insightful)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051340)

You know why we can't watch any TV or Movie through iTunes? The content providers.

You know why we have DRM on iTunes? The content providers

You know why prices go up on iTunes? The content providers

Get sick and tired of people bitching about this, blaming Apple entirely. It's just not true.

Re:Meh. (4, Interesting)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051466)

Whoever the blame lies with, my choice is the same - I don't buy DRM.

Re:Meh. (1, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051516)

You have a point in general, but in the context of eBooks, who is the content provider? Seems to me it's the guy bitching he can't sell his books for less. I think blaming the Cult for this is completely reasonable.

Re:Meh. (2, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051690)

"Content provider" is a euphemism for publisher, to make it seem like they represent the actual creators. (And they actually do an important job — just look at the low quality of even the best blogs to see how important actual editors are — but most of these newfangled expressions are made up only to confuse.

Re:Meh. (3, Informative)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051596)

The DRM-less iTunes tracks still have lots of private tracking information inserted into them. Further, Apple still maintains a relatively closed system. So while it's not DRM, per se, it is evidence that Apple prefers to have control. It's not just content providers. It's content providers and Apple, working sometimes together, sometimes at odds, to ensure content control, with the end user in very last place when it comes to personal control over content.

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051654)

Content Providers: "Raise prices now."

Apple: "No! We love our customers and are forward thinking."

Content Providers: "Raise prices or else!!"

Apple: "We will not give in to your Big-Brother tactics (see our adds from the 80's)"

Content Providers: "Raise prices now or we will disable your Reality-Distortion-Field!!!!"

Apple: "Really?"

Content Providers: "Yes. Please. Pretty please. Please oh please oh please?"

Apple: "Ok, but no flash or porn."

Re:Meh. (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051664)

My publisher is entirely happy to sell you a DRM free copy of my book as a PDF, and will if you buy from their web portal. If you buy one from Amazon or Apple then you get DRM. But it's the publishers that are to blame for the DRM?

Re:Meh. (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051770)

Don't be afraid of a little self promotion. I like supporting authors and publishers that aren't dicks.

What are your books and who is your publisher?

Re:Meh. (2, Informative)

pete_p (70057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051840)

Amazon does allow publishers to provide books without DRM, though there is no indication to the buyer of this... I've only noticed it trying to strip the DRM and discovering that there was none to strip.

So, yes, if it's on Amazon with DRM, that's the publisher's choice.

Re:Meh. (2, Informative)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051696)

Get sick and tired of people bitching about this, blaming Apple entirely. It's just not true.

What part of

Apple requires that if you sell books through them that you absolutely cannot sell them for less through anyone else.

and for that matter

Apple requires books sold in their iBook store have prices ending in .99

did you not understand?

Also, this is not about iTunes. It's about iBookStore.

Re:Meh. (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051480)

If I were willing to put a bumper sticker on my car, I would need to get one that says this. A T-shirt might do.

Ridiculous (2, Funny)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051156)

I'm really beginning to hate Apple. I'm in the process of putting together a manuscript and I would not agree to have it put in the Apple store just on this issue.

Re:Ridiculous (2, Funny)

MasterEvilAce (792905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051302)

You're starting to hate apple for charging people higher prices than competitors? Say it isn't so! I guess nobody is able to see this behavior from Apple until ./ breaks the news.

Re:Ridiculous (2, Funny)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051332)

Well, hate them more I should say.

There are other reasons to hate Apple (ridiculously high prices, closed platform, etc.) but this one is the straw that broke the camel's back.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051758)

They aren't. Apple requires that you not sell the books for less anywhere else. Which means that you're effectively having to decide as to whether to change your price or pull out completely from Apple's store. It's not just an Apple insists that you charge more at their store.

What they're doing (3, Funny)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051162)

See, whenever there is a book transaction, a few cents go into a bank account. They're shaved off as a remainder. Initech will never know it's missi.. oh wait.

Yeah, this sucks.

Re:What they're doing (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051286)

Clark and Superman fight for control after the synthetic green Kryptonite fails to kill him, too.

What about $1.99 or $2.99 then? (1)

inpher (1788434) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051166)

How would that work out? I see no reference to any minimum price.

And the gift cards always end in a .00 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051176)

Which makes no sense to me. Apple gets to keep all of those pennies...

What about buying 1 extra and paying the remainder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051748)

Are people really this stupid??

If you get a $25 card (as a gift), just spend the extra $0.74 and get 26 items at $0.99.

There!! You got your extra $0.25.

Time to find a new publisher? (1)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051180)

It sounds like the problem is really between you and your publisher, not between you and Apple. It may be time for you to find a publisher that shares your position on the situation, because it doesn't sound like your publisher does.

Re:Time to find a new publisher? (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051326)

It sounds like the problem is really between you and your publisher, not between you and Apple. It may be time for you to find a publisher that shares your position on the situation, because it doesn't sound like your publisher does.

Did you RTFA? This is Apple's policy, not the publisher's. His options are:
1) Raise his prices across the board
2) Lower his already-low prices across the board
3) Lower his prices on the Apple iBooks store to below the prices on other stores
4) Not make his books available to iPad users

His publisher has chosen option 1 for him, but if he wanted to go with one of the other options, I'm sure an agreement could be reached. The problem is that none of these options are desirable.

Re:Time to find a new publisher? (4, Insightful)

chicago_scott (458445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051438)

Did you RMFP?

The publisher made a decision the poster disagrees with. If it's a big enough deal then the poster should find a new publisher that refuses to sell through Apple until Apple changes their policy.

Re:Time to find a new publisher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051606)

This is /. nobody RTFA's around here, or in this case reads posts properly either...

Apple sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051194)

Fuck Apple.
Why doesn't anyone get this? They suck.

Bitch all you want (3, Insightful)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051204)

If you don't like Apple's policy, simply don't sell via their store.

This is ridiculous , you perfectly know how Apple operates, so either conform to their wish or say to hell with you Jobs, I am taking my business elsewhere.

Re:Bitch all you want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052148)

It doesn't sound like he has that option, his publisher probably has the right to make deals with ebook publishers.

My speculation (3, Insightful)

assemblyronin (1719578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051210)

I, for one, do not understand why Apple computers only understand numbers ending in .99, or just how Apple is making it better for the consumer this way.

Two thoughts come to mind:

1) Possibly, it's just for uniformity sake. When all the prices end in the same digits it might appear to Jobs that it looks cleaner in the store app?

2) It could also be to prevent snowballing pricing wars (thus keeping the costs of e-books somewhat buoyant which doesn't help the consumer at all). For example, publisher A lists a book for $1.99; publisher B lists a similar competing book for $1.97; publisher A strikes back pricing their book at $1.89, etc. This behavior is discouraged, if the publisher has to drop the books price by $1.00 when the price is only $1.99.

Re:My speculation (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051280)

Except the higher quality DRM free iTunes files are $1.29? Or they were...

I think reason #2 is spot on.

Don't like it? Go somewhere else! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051234)

It's Apple's store, they can do what they want. You are free not to put your works up for sale in any Apple affiliated store, just as we are free not to read them.

THINK DIFFERENT.
THINK BETTER.
THINK APPLE!

Legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051238)

How can this possibly be legal? I know they get away with minimum advertised price (barely), but this sounds like straight up price fixing.

Find someone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051248)

Um, who cares about those extra few cents. Do you really think sophisticated readers would blame the author? Who does that? I thought that if the book costs more, the author gets more money for each sale. If you're so set on your own price, don't go with a publisher that will price things higher. Seems simple, eh? Why not just self-publish to the Kindle or iPad?

I wish the .99 gimick would die in a fire, now (2, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051272)

I truly hate the .99 gimick. I actually wish they'd roll tax into the prices so what you see on the label is what you pay and its a nice round number $X.10 $X.20 $X.50 $X.00. Worse is the stupid gas stations with 9/10's of a cent. Why is it they can charge a fraction of a penny you can't possibly pay, ensuring they skim 10ths of a cent gazillions of times. I think they did that in Superman III or something. How is it after all these years, they're still stealing money?

Re:I wish the .99 gimick would die in a fire, now (3, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051514)

I want to see a constant reminder of how much of my money is going to taxes with every transaction and on every receipt. As soon as taxes get rolled into price tags, they become less visible and easier to jack up. Same reason income tax withholding is evil - people lose track of how much is being stolen and get excited just to have the government give some of their money back to them.

Re:I wish the .99 gimick would die in a fire, now (1)

macserv (701681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051674)

I want the tax included on the tag for convenience, but I also want it called out on the receipt for honesty.

Re:I wish the .99 gimick would die in a fire, now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051960)

Then move to Europe.

Re:I wish the .99 gimick would die in a fire, now (4, Insightful)

Xrikcus (207545) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051948)

Why not just be honest and stop pretending that the money that was "taken" in tax was ever yours to begin with? Without the tax the system wouldn't work and you wouldn't have been able to earn the money. Such is the way of the world and it might as well be accepted.

I'd happily pay slightly higher prices to have the tax included in the quoted price, too. If they also (as in the UK) display the charged tax on the receipt so much the better. The same can be true of service, if they like. Quote all service charges in the prices of the food and stop using "tips" as an artificial way to have higher food prices. If necessary, say on the receipt that a proportion of the food charge was specifically for carrying it to you as opposed to cooking it, which for whatever reason is already included.

The 0.99 gimmick should absolutely die, though, irrespective of whether tax is going to be added on or not.

Are You Sure? (1, Informative)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051290)

You're blaming Apple for your publisher raising prices even though you admit it's the publisher setting the price?

However, it seems...To my understanding...

It seems like maybe you're hearing things kinda third-hand and sorta don't have direct knowledge of what might be going on between Apple and your publisher, doncha think?

Don't have to sell through iBooks (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051296)

The nice thing about the iPad, as opposed to the Kindle or the Nook, is that there are many ways to buy a book. I buy many books as applications on my iPhone, and apps sell for the exact price this author wants to sell books for. Sure there is some investment in writing the App, and Apple is allowing sales through Apps, I believe. I also read books through my Kindle app. Sure Amazon might require that books be sold at the same price, but an App is not a book. It seems to me the author could also set up a store front and sell DRM free ebooks that could be read on many ebook readers.

About the only reason to sell through iBooks is that Apple is very good at marketing and riding on Apple coat tails could increase sales. The fear, as I get from the submission, is no one would buy any of these books if read some of it first, so the only hope is to sell it so cheaply that people will just read it, and not feel ripped off when they find out it is crap. The solution, then, is obvious. Write book that people are willing to pay for.

So it is not Apples fault or Amazons fault that the price is going up. There is no reason at all for anyone to sell books through them, except that Amazon, and soon Apple, are going to be selling a lot of books and both have already set up infrastructure and pay for advertising that is unfeasible for most authors. But that only matters to authors who want to sell a lot of crap. For the author in question, who obviously cares much more about the fact that Apple is out to rip off the public rather than volume sales, I think DRM free ebooks or Apps is the answer.

Re:Don't have to sell through iBooks (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051702)

The nice thing about the iPad, as opposed to the Kindle or the Nook, is that there are many ways to buy a book.

There are, in fact, many ways to buy a book for the Kindle and (even moreso) the Nook; both, in addition to supporting DRM-laden purchases from the device vendors own e-bookstore, support content in a variety of DRM-free formats (a slightly wider variety on the Nook) acquired outside the vendors e-bookstore.

And plenty of publishers with their own online bookstores make ebooks available DRM-free in PDF (usable directly on the Nook, and usable, as I understand, after jumping through some hoops on the Kindle), epub (usable directly on the Nook), and/or mobi (usable directly on the Kindle) formats. (The Pragmatic Programmers [pragprog.com] , for instance, do all three -- and you don't have to pay for them separately.)

The only "advantage" the iPad has in terms of more ways to buy books is that, since it can run different vendors e-bookstore apps, you have more ways to buy DRM-laden books from competing vendors.

Re:Don't have to sell through iBooks (1)

tfiedler (732589) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051800)

The nice thing about the Kindle, is that I can buy books pretty much I don't have to clutter up my Kindle with useless stuff due to very significant restrictions in how I use my device. Sure, Amazon has DRM but it's easy to get around and readily done. I can dump PDF, mobi, and text on there just fine and guess what, I can read those items for 10 or 12 days in a row between charges AND in full sunlight. The iPad, well, its an awesome device and the whole touch model represents a serious change in human-computer interaction, not seen since the change from DOS to Windows 20 years ago but for reading, I'll stick with my Kindle (or another e-Ink device).

Re:Don't have to sell through iBooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051908)

disjointed, rambling, and yet insulting... prepare to be modded up!

Blah... (2, Informative)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051312)

I, for one, do not understand why Apple computers only understand numbers ending in .99...

It's a math fixation... row one, column two [xkcd.com] . Mind you I don't get it either ln(2*pi) is much more challenging.

Gonna sound snarky.... (3, Interesting)

gilroy (155262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051316)

... but I'm genuinely interested: What exactly does a publisher of e-books "publish"?

I'm serious. You've written the book, you've put it in whatever form you decided on. I understand that you need some vehicle to distribute it -- isn't that what Apple and Amazon are doing? So what is your publisher doing? What value does he/she/it add?

Re:Gonna sound snarky.... (1)

MasterEvilAce (792905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051338)

The publisher goes from the author and talks to the distributor. That way the author doesn't have to do it. The publisher has people skills!!!

Re:Gonna sound snarky.... (4, Informative)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051512)

Disclosure: I work (in-house IT) for a publisher. We publish in physical and ebook formats.

The vast majority of texts that authors give us are incredibly poor. Our editors have an extremely hard job of cleaning these up and rewriting them so that they are generally understandable and professional and are correctly targeted for our audience. To our established authors, we also offer them an advance on their work.

Even if it's just ebooks, getting it into all the available distribution channels and formats for the various stores requires a high level of technical competence, this is likely more than a lone writer wants to learn.

Of course they could pay someone independently to do this for them, just as they could pay someone independently to edit the book. It is a trade off and while some authors will prefer doing it alone, some(many) prefer the relative security of going through an established publisher who has existing links to distributors, printers, editors and the technical know-how to get it into the required formats to ensure the maximum market for the book.

Re:Gonna sound snarky.... (3, Informative)

Arkem Beta (1336177) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051560)

Don't forget marketing, publishers will try to get a book publicity in the form of advertisements, reviews and premium space in bookstores / ebookstores.

Re:Gonna sound snarky.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051568)

Many publishers also provide editing services and will deal with all the legalese. An author who wants to deal with all this extra stuff on his/her own is certainly more able to with the advent of e-books, but there are plenty of authors who just want to write their books/stories and have someone else deal with all the formatting/copyright/distribution stuff. The real question in my mind is when will Amazon or Apple start offering these services in addition to their distribution services.

Re:Gonna sound snarky.... (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051608)

... but I'm genuinely interested: What exactly does a publisher of e-books "publish"?

I'm serious. You've written the book, you've put it in whatever form you decided on. I understand that you need some vehicle to distribute it -- isn't that what Apple and Amazon are doing? So what is your publisher doing? What value does he/she/it add?

iTunes only works with established record companies. They will not distribute indy music without one. I'm assuming the same goes for their book store, and I don't know what Amazon's requirements are.

err .. apple is lowering the price.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051330)

doesn't sound like the problem's with Apple. It's with you and the publisher.

I know it's unfortunate that Apple requires your price to end with ".99", but can't you lower the price of your book by 30 cents instead?

Looks like Apple is lowering your E-Book price if you look at it this way.

Quit crying (1)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051352)

If you don't like Apple's censorship and their tight grip on their devices and marketplace, DON'T BUY FROM THEM.

"Furthermore, Apple requires that if you sell books through them that you absolutely cannot sell them for less through anyone else.

Uh....

Will you make more money in the end? (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051360)

If so, take the money and run.

Apple still not evil ..... ? (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051362)

every other day a new stunt and im sure apple is still not evil and there will be people to defend apple's non evilness with me to the extent of defending some private corporation sending private 'representatives' (non pi, non law enforcement) to SEARCH your home as 'not creepy'.

but im waiting. im wondering the precise point at which they will start to realize that if something is going upside down, it means that the going is bad.

All it would take to fix this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051372)

Suppose Amazon started pricing all their books at $N.98? Remember, you can't sell your books for less on Amazon than on iBooks.

Your what now? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051398)

Sounds to me like Apple and/or Amazon are your publishers. Whomever it is you're talking to? I think they're just taking your money in return for, well, talking to you.

Re:Your what now? (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051746)

Sounds to me like Apple and/or Amazon are your publishers.

The role Apple and Amazon have with regard to ebooks sold through their respective roles is a combination of the role of retailer (in terms of being the person who sells directly to the customer) and distributor (in terms of being the person who buys directly from the publisher.)

The role of the publisher continues to be played by the existing publishers.

Better option (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051404)

What this means is that an eBook that the author was quite happy to sell for $2.29 or $2.49 is now going to cost you $2.99 from everybody.

Or it could make the book $1.99, right? Why is there an automatic round up? I don't see how this is really Apple's fault. Your publisher has the option to make it any dollar amount they want it to be, but they're choosing to make it cost more for the consumer, and they're using Apple as a scapegoat for it. How about this - everything that's over 2.50 gets rounded up to 2.99 and everything under 2.50 gets rounded down to 1.99 and split the difference? It's not like the means of production are any indication of price anymore. In the online world, it's practically ALL profit, and by putting their books on the Apple bookstore, they now have an extra 20 million potential customers. I'll just chalk this price increase to the continued greed of the publishing industry.

this is odd (1)

xploraiswakco (703340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051452)

since that .99 thing doesn't appear to apply outside the US

99.95 (2, Insightful)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051508)

Seriously, will this .99 and .95 thing ever die? Does anybody really look at a price-tag that says $4.99 and not just think in their head "$5"?

Re:99.95 (4, Informative)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051558)

Apparently there's some research that indicates that people are actually slightly more likely to buy a $x.99 priced product over its $x+1 identical counterpart.

Even if it's just 0.01%, when you're looking at inventories as massive as Wal-Mart or Amazon, that can be a LOT of sales.

$4.99 = $4 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051970)

Seriously, will this .99 and .95 thing ever die? Does anybody really look at a price-tag that says $4.99 and not just think in their head "$5"?

Quite the opposite: a lot of people think $4. That's the whole point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_pricing

I've caught friends doing this on a few occasions, and when I call them on it they do a sheepish "oh, yeah". :)

offtopic, but WTF is with .99 (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051540)

Do marketers really think people haven't figured out that 2.99 is three dollars? Are they right?

Re:offtopic, but WTF is with .99 (1)

Marcika (1003625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051716)

Do marketers really think people haven't figured out that 2.99 is three dollars? Are they right?

They do; they are. "No man ever went broke overestimating the ignorance of the American public" or that of any other large group of people, for that matter...

Re:offtopic, but WTF is with .99 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051782)

Actually, the .99 thing originated not so much with trying to make the price appear lower but with forcing the cashier to give change. I.e. nobody even pays 4.99 exactly, the always give a $5 bill. If the price was exactly $5 the cashier could just put the money in his/her pocket and not record the transaction, but when he/she has to give 1c of change the he has to open the cash drawer and record the transaction, hence having less opportunity to steal from the store. Of course this was only relevant back when cash was widely used in stores. But stupid habits die hard :)

Price elasticity theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051586)

Remember: total revenue is the product of price and quantity. As long as the change in price is larger than the relative change in quantity sold, you will be making a more optimal decision.

I'll stick to (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051630)

Buying a physical copy of a book, downloading the text version from IRC, and reading the physical if I feel like or reading the text on my no DRM Chinese 7" Chuwi media player that has a great ebook reader application for it. Then when I'm done with the book I can give it to someone else to read.

Be Grateful to the Publishers, Ye Rabble! (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051712)

Their higher prices and more limited availability will prevent you from spending so much on eBooks (or any other kind, for that matter.)

I was a sinner once, buying an entire series at once if one book looked interesting. Spending as much as $50/week on eBooks and thinking nothing of it, as I rejoiced in the comfort of knowing I'd never run out of things to read.

Now, after HarperCollins, Penguin, and other major publishers have pulled out of Fictionwise, I've spent maybe $20 on eBooks (other than Baen) in the past month. My budget can go to elsewhere, and my addiction is under control.

[ecstatic scream] Thank you, oh publishers. Thank you for shrinking my urge to buy your books to something I can manage! [/ecstatic scream]

HTML5 may upset this Apple Cart (0, Offtopic)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051936)

I have been in a iPhone SDK group that has been testing out iPhone's implementation of HTML5 in Safari, and it looks like Steve Jobs has delivered on much of the Flash-like capabilites, especially in graphics. That means you can have peristence data (read: book) too. All told, someone could implement a web application that Apple cannot control which serves books much like the iPad's app. BTW, you could run it easily on Android too. At first, this might seem inadequate. But if you write a generic iPhone application that uses the SDK's WebView to read public domain works, you can customize it more and even put the DRM (if you want it) solely on the server. The point is that the web (and HTML5) may be the thing that gets the Genie out of the iBottle.

While this method would also work for Android and Palm, it probably would NOT work for Windows Mobile 7 which will use IE8, LOL!

Apple will have competition for eBooks... (3, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052032)

and they hate that.

On the iPod they had no competition when selling content so they sold inferior content for higher prices then their competitors (who sold 192Kbps for $0.79, but never got far cause they couldn't license Apple's DRM).

They won't be able to repeat that trick for eBooks but their is a solution that allows them to avoid competing and continue selling things at Apple high prices: force the other retailers to raise their prices to Apple's levels. They can do this because of their clout and the new U.S. law that allows the publishers to enforce the recommended sales price. Actually, the publishers didn't mind and are happy to enforce the higher price now that they have a powerful ally.

This is primarily aimed at Amazon (though smaller publishers and consumers get hurt, of course) who could have competed on the iPad. Now, with everyone selling books on the iPad at the same price users are very likely to choose Apple because of the ease and the integration.

(If you think you detect some dislike of Apple, you are right. I have no personal interest in any of this, but I have grown increasingly disgusted by this company.)

.99 cent pricing (1)

JohnG (93975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052046)

Before I answer the question about the $x.99 pricing, let me address another logical fallacy. Apple is not raising prices for EVERYONE. Apple is raising prices for those publishers and/or authors who choose to use Apples service, and who choose not to lower their prices instead of raise them. Now, on the the $x.99. I don't work for Apple, so can only speculate. But don't think of it as prices that end in $0.99. Think of it as their iTunes connect app management pages refer to it, as tiers. You see, by limiting the amount of possible prices, they are able to set and keep set consistent pricing across the world, where currencies are not the same. $1.99 USD may be 1.45 currency X dollars one day and 1.56 currency X dollars the next day. Of course, they could always display the prices in the native currency of the content provider like Android does. Nobody ever complains about having to run to a currency converter program to figure out exactly how much they are paying for the latest and greatest fart app, right? The fact is, Apple has that pricing structure for a very sound, well thought out reason. One that benefits consumers in a way that competitors like Android fail them. It's why Apple has the market share that they do, and why you are all riled up that you have to play by their rules. You could very easily not publish on Apple platforms, but you want the market share. The market share that the very things you complain about help to build.
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