walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Truly Pathetic Commentary on Kindle Pricing

Over the last several posts, I've been taking notes, basically, on what I'm finding in the way of competing electronic book content. I'd known about the entirely free stuff (heck, I copy-edited the scanned in _Can Such Things Be_ back in 1992 or so, altho the current Gutenberg version is not the one I did) and had in fact read several books that way. While I do enjoy the occasional public domain work, most of what I read is considerably more recent and considerably more encumbered. My first cut at does-this-sucker-pay is a mixed back. It looks like it will, altho it might take a while, but primarily, its impact will be to change how I consume books. I'm a lot more willing to pay $9.99 for a brand new book than I am to pay $20+ (or even a heavily discounted down to $15+), so series I might otherwise wait a year for in paperback or attempt to buy used on Amazon or eBay after four or five months will almost certainly be kindled instead. I'm also a lot more willing to fork over $9.99 for a book I may or may not ever reread, because I don't have to figure out how to pass that sucker along (a phenomenon which otherwise inclines me to get a book from the library instead). This is important from a publisher perspective, as both changes move me upstream and get more money faster into the pockets of publishers and authors. Library and used book consumers do ultimately contribute because they help people justify the new book purchases --but this change is visible directly in the accounting.

I had thought that a lot of the analysis of the kindle pricing scheme was kinda wonky, because it seemed to me the kindle was aimed firmly at people like me: I buy a lot of books, I read a lot of books, a significant fraction of what I read I want to read NOW NOW NOW, and the stacks of dead cardboard boxes and books I've read and no longer anticipate rereading are a management problem.

With all that in mind, I want to draw attention to this really amazingly bad analysis of the kindle:


First piece of ridiculousness: "Unlike newspapers and magazines, the content of books isn’t about timeliness, so digital versions do not offer an advantage."

Second: "The “barriers” to buying a book today involve knowing where to buy a book. Anyone savvy enough to buy Kindle knows where to buy books, and it is highly unlikely they are in massive dissatisfaction with that process."

Well, that and their open hours and shipping time. Amazon fixed the open hours, but even with prime, it's 2 days, more if there's a Sunday involved. And yes, there is massive dissatisfaction. I might also add there is massive dissatisfaction with how fucking hard it is to get a goddamn book to stay open on the table without having a hand on it, which the kindle solves beautifully.

A little earlier, he said:

"The only really viable argument against physical books is they are bigger and bulkier, but that really only applies to hardcover books."

See above, lying flat. And don't tell _me_ bigger and bulkier doesn't apply to mass market paperbacks. You should see the damn boxes in the basement.

Another post (I don't have a good link to it; I read it cached on google) complained that content for the kindle might run him $45/month if he got one book, a couple magazines, a newspaper, etc. I _wish_ _wish_ _wish_ I could get the book habit that low. Amazon books bought for me _only_ in 2007 worked out to $140+/month, and I shop elsewhere, too.

I'm sure you'll be seeing more on this topic from me.

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