Show Us the Numbers
To the public at large, as to me, it seems like a no brainer that ebooks should cost much less than print books. You don't have to pay for printing, after all, nor do you have to pay much for distribution, and you don't have to give the same kind of cut to ebook stores, who, after all, don't have to pay things like rent. And yet, there's been some rumblings from the industry about how lower costs of ebooks will hurt publishing (via @RonHogan), and that ebooks still cost money (via @bookavore); "We still pay for the author advance, the editing, the copyediting, the proofreading, the cover and interior design, the illustrations, the sales kit, the marketing efforts, the publicity, and the staff that needs to coordinate all of the details that make books possible in these stages."
Really? Because it seems to me that the amount of money the publisher has to spend on printing, distribution and the cut given to the bookstore are a HUGE percentage of the cost of a book. (Especially considering the paltry advances and marketing budgets publishers seem to have these days.) And the one thing I haven't seen from anyone is hard numbers. Listen, publishing industry, you want me to believe you that ebooks should cost more than $10 a pop? Show me. How much does it cost to print books in various print runs? How much is distribution and how much does the bookstore get? How much do you lose in returns from the bookstores when they don't sell the books. (A non-issue with ebooks.) All that isn't enough to give me a steep discount? Alright, convince me. I'm listening. Because right now it sure sounds like bullshit.
Edit: The first link did not say what I thought it said. Apparently the author was complaining about Amazon demanding the same discounts (to them) on ebooks that it gets for print books. I agree with the author that this is crazy. Ebooks cost much MUCH less to store than print books, and so the bookstore should get less money for them.