To wonder how on earth kindle books can be as much or more than printed books?

(38 Posts)
dollywashers Thu 22-Aug-13 21:41:15

Sorry for the long thread title. But how can some kindle books possibly cost so much. I just don't get it. Surely they should cost significantly less than books?

CorrieDale Thu 22-Aug-13 21:42:26

I think vat has something to do with it.

ihearsounds Thu 22-Aug-13 21:45:22

I dont get it either. I'm sure when I bought my ebook years ago, they were sold on the basis that ebooks would be cheaper etc. But not always the case. It's also amazing that retailers vary costs so much, and just like actual books you have to shop around..The other thing that annoys me at times as well is that at least with actual books you can flog them when you have finished with them.

badguider Thu 22-Aug-13 21:47:10

it costs almost nothing per book to print a paper copy, you're paying for the intellectual property really plus marketing and publishing/editing etc.

Since e-books are subjec to vat at 20% i wouldn't be surprised at all that this cancels out the price of a paperback to be produced (they're ususally cheaper than hardbacks)

littlemisswise Thu 22-Aug-13 21:47:16

I think Corrie is right. Ebooks have vat on and printed books don't IIRC, so that's where 20% goes.

JeanPaget Thu 22-Aug-13 21:47:20

Yep, VAT is payable on e-books but not paper books. Also, a large % of the cost of books is paying the author/publisher, not just pure printing costs.

TBH although I've seen a kindle version cost the same as a paperback, I've never seen one cost more.

There's certainly been some issues with Apple being accused of price fixing e-books though...

JeanPaget Thu 22-Aug-13 21:48:09

Sorry, that was a bit of cross post.

dollywashers Thu 22-Aug-13 21:51:29

Oh I didn't know that about VAT. Recently come across two books on amazon that were more than the printed version.

ilovesooty Thu 22-Aug-13 21:53:35

Yes, it's the VAT. If you look on the Amazon site at the smaller print they tell you.

HazelnutinCaramel Thu 22-Aug-13 21:57:38

It's the VAT plus the publisher still has to pay for editing, production, marketing, distribution etc. and not forgetting the author, who will want the same royalty as a print version.

Lazyjaney Thu 22-Aug-13 22:34:39

.....plus there is a cartel now and suckers will pay those amounts.

whois Thu 22-Aug-13 22:37:28

To pay the author, published, distributor.

It's not like it actually costs £8.99 to print a poor quality paperback.

comingalongnicely Thu 22-Aug-13 22:37:28

It's absolute rubbish and it's holding E-Books back.

All books nowadays are written, stored & printed from computers. Why would you pay the same for an E-book as you would for a paper one? I certainly don't!! The E-book removes any need for the publisher to print, store, stock etc. It's a con. The authors get next to nothing of the sale price in either case, which is why many of them now release their own books online and skip the publisher.

If you have no conscience you can always download a libraries worth of 80's & 90's bookd from Pirate Bay in 20 minutes anyway.

Mimishimi Thu 22-Aug-13 22:37:55

I think the price has increased as more people are using them whereas before it was still an unknown markets.Presumably it does cost quite a bit to get people to put them in digital form as well.

Lazysuzanne Thu 22-Aug-13 22:45:53

alot of the time you can get a used copy on amazon for one penny (plus £2.80 postage) I rarely buy kindle book, I just use it to download samples to see if I'm likely to want to read the book

Phlojo Thu 22-Aug-13 22:49:22

I use my kindle almost exclusively for out-of-copyright and heavily discounted titles. If I have to pay the price of a book, I want a book.

mummytime Thu 22-Aug-13 22:53:57

Its also the publishers, they want to charge just as much for ebooks, to encourage people to keep buying paper ones. They also pay the Authors pretty much exactly the same for ebooks as paper ones, so they make far more profit. The VAT is relatively little although it can explain why ebooks can cost more.

YANBU. I was thinking this myself just the other day.

I refuse to pay full paperback price for a digital version, if I'm shelling out that kind of money then, like Phlojo I want a real book to put on my bookshelf.

Even allowing for VAT and the intellectual property rights, ebooks don't cost in transportation costs, storage costs, paper costs or printing costs so no way should they cost the same as a paperback.

Sallyingforth Thu 22-Aug-13 23:18:17

I'm shelling out that kind of money then, like Phlojo I want a real book to put on my bookshelf.
That's all very well, but how many books can you slip into your handbag on a plane?

fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 23:39:07

Amazon takes 75% fee of books under the price of £1.99. The Authors have to stay above that if they want a decent share. No excuse for an ebook being much more than that though.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Fri 23-Aug-13 00:05:02

you can download brand new books from tuebl, or from your local library (probably). There is little need to buy pricey books from amazon.

GruffBillyGoat Fri 23-Aug-13 01:15:23

Have people had the same issue with Kobo? I buy all my books directly from them and have never paid more than $5, but then again as another poster mentioned on a different thread, books are really expensive in New Zealand.

If you are a fan of the classics then there are hundreds of free books available because their copyright has expired.

Swanlike Fri 23-Aug-13 01:39:12

Amazon and Apple will also usually take a fairly hefty percentage of the sale price of each ebook sold. Ebooks have their own production costs and do have storage and distribution costs and then there are additional costs which you don't have so much with printed books to prevent piracy and illegal file sharing.

MooncupGoddess Fri 23-Aug-13 07:36:33

The cost of printing a paperback is usually only 10% or so of the cover price... then maybe 5% for warehousing, shipping etc. So less than the 20% VAT charged on e-books.

Lazyjaney Fri 23-Aug-13 07:56:24

The US government has been taking Apple and major publishers to court on this, there is a cartel.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 23-Aug-13 07:58:13

I tend to buy when there are sales. The primary reason I use a kindle is I simply can't store all the books I read and I like o read them over and over again.

LookingThroughTheFog Fri 23-Aug-13 08:04:13

Woohoo! Something I actually know about! I self-publish ebooks.

Indie books tend to be the ones you see published for about £1. Of this, the author gets 35% from Kindle (other publishers vary). Approximately 10p of it is for hosting and delivery costs - my books are 'lodged' on Amazon's servers. Amazon also run cusomer services, product support etc. You have to pay towards that. They claim a minimum of 75p of your revenue. If you want to claim 75% royalties, you have to sell at a minimum of £1.50.

If the indie-books are going to have a professional look and feel, you need to get them professionally edited and proofread. This will cost somewhere around £300-£600. Then you ideally want to have a cover designer work on it. Another £150+. So putting your book out there, assuming you do all these things (I don't, but I really use Amazon as a delivery mechanism to get my books to my friends). Then there's advertising. You want people to know your book is out there? That'll cost too.

Assuming your non-time costs are about £750 because you've managed to find all of the elements cheaply, you'll need to sell 2,143 copies at £1 to break even (not charging for your time).

That doesn't sound like much, but in book terms, that's a hell of a lot. That would easily put you into the top ten in the chart. The vast majority of published books out there don't sell more than 100 copies. If you get more than 1000, you're in the elite. Obviously certain books will sell millions, but they are by a long way in the minority. If you get lucky enough to have your book featured in national media, you can look at 100,000+. But even books from publishing houses don't often manage that.

You'll sell most if you're able to get your book on a 3 for 2 table in a major retailer. Publishing houses will make a loss on books they place there. They're aiming for increasing the ciculation footprint. That option doesn't exist for eBooks. There's some browsing, some downloading of sample chapters, but there isn't much impulse buying. Some, yes, but not masses.

And then there's your time. The books I write are short - 100,000-125,000 words. And they're fairly light-weight. It took about 18 months to get my last book ready for publication from typing the first word, to uploading it. All of the work I did myself, with the exception of getting someone else to do one of the proof readings. Hours wise, it's a lot of time.

I will not make money from my book. I don't mind; I do it for pleasure, but if writing is your only form of income, you can see how many copies you would have to sell to recoup that time!

So I can totally see why people sell at a rate that will make them, say £1 per copy rather than 35p.

The final point is that the publishing houses set the prices for their books - not the author. They will inevitably set the prices to be either the same as the print copy, or for just a pound or two less. It will also (usually) come out a couple of weeks later than the print copy. I honestly can't tell you why this is as I'm not involved in that part of the industry, but I assume there's an industry advantage for print sales.

Final comment on VAT - VAT on eBooks is set at 3% (I know, us writer's don't know we're born). I'm just mentioning this as it doesn't effect the price as much as you'd suspect. I try to absorb the VAT - so I set the price lower so that you'll still pay 99p for the book, rather than £1.03, and I take less royalties.

In short, like someone said upthread - the price isn't just the paper and ink - it's all the 'thinking' that goes into it, and not all of that is just the author's talent.

LookingThroughTheFog Fri 23-Aug-13 08:12:36

Oh, and a desperate plea - please review your books! Especially if you enjoy them! I get 35p per sale, but the value of a good, well thought out review, I'd put at at least £10 in marketing. (Obviously the reverse applies for bad reviews. They can sink your book before it's had a chance.) Though, of course, be honest.

fackinell Fri 23-Aug-13 11:13:27

Hey Fog, another SP here. Don't we get 34p per book? I'm sure we pay the VAT.

YY to the well thought out reviews too. Constructive criticism is fine but please don't do like one:
2* because I didn't have time to read it. Argh!! angry

TheDoctrineOfPositivityYes Fri 23-Aug-13 11:19:56

I didn't know that about 100 copies or about reviews.

Is a new release CD about the same as a new release album on iTunes? I guess a lot of the same arguments apply.

MrsOakenshield Fri 23-Aug-13 11:23:13

for a new title the pre-press costs are the same (author advance, copy editing, text design, typesetting, proofreading, indexing, permissions, cover design and permissions). Printing - well, it depends on the size of the print run, a short run for a hardback will be over £1 a book.

Don't forget that every retailer gets a discount from the publisher. For actual books Amazon will get something in the region of a 60% discount, probably higher. Same for the supermarkets.

Apart from the biggies, most publishers don't make much profit per title.

Viviennemary Fri 23-Aug-13 11:30:50

I have thought about getting a kindle. I'd rather have a proper book. But I might succumb eventually.

sparklingstars Fri 23-Aug-13 11:33:31

They also have VAT added to them sad

fackinell Fri 23-Aug-13 12:16:29

No idea about CDs, Doctrine. I'd imagine so. The indie labels in music did a lot for the SP world too. Really kickstarted doing things for ourselves. Shame Indie authors are still viewed as substandard. More of us need to take time to make it polished to present.

LookingThroughTheFog Fri 23-Aug-13 13:26:26

Hi Fackinell! I published yesterday, and set the book price at 96p, which then added 3p VAT. On the split thing - I get 35% of the 96p. So yeah, my maths skills aren't up to that maths!

ILetHimKeep20Quid Fri 23-Aug-13 13:34:20

What's your book called?

ILetHimKeep20Quid Fri 23-Aug-13 13:35:38

I don't mind that occasionally your book is the same as the print version. I love my kindle as it means I can slip 40 books into my hand luggage

fackinell Fri 23-Aug-13 13:58:43

Congratulations, Fog. My Maths is shocking, good to know its 35% though. It all helps. grin

YY we want to know the name if you're allowed to. PM us if you prefer. Not sure rules on what may be seen to be advertising on here.

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