February 11th, 2010


I got some ink ... errr, pixels ...

<=== Well, lookie there ... The Job Stalker got some coverage in another Chicago Now blog, ChicagoSphere! I'd done an e-mail interview with its author a couple of weeks back, and the piece ran today.

More info on this is over there ===> in the latest post (yes, for the first time in ages I'm getting the link up right after getting the post up!). Clicky-clicky for all the details and generating that half-penny of revenue!

I'd hoped to have had the "author interview" for Crush It! up this week, but Vaynerchuk's staff (yes, he has a whole organization) was one place and he was someplace else and it didn't get done in time for this week, so I'm really hoping that will find its way to my e-mail before Sunday night. Of course, y'all have already read the review (you did read it, didn't you?), so you're ahead of my Chicago Now audience, who must be on pins & needles with anticipation at this point. Right.

I got in a couple of MORE books from a publisher yesterday, and plan to have the first of those ready for review/interview treatment a week from Monday, so I'm hoping "Gary's people" get that e-mail interview I sent in to him and he gets a chance to get that back to me so I don't end up getting "backed up" on these.

As you'd know had you rushed off to read the new post, I had networking things both of the past two nights, and had another that I was thinking about going to tonight, but tomorrow is Daughter #2's tenth birthday, and I had stuff to get done for that, and I was drifting back into the "six hours behind schedule" zone again, so I opted to stay home and work on stuff instead.

On the job search front, I'm getting nervous that I haven't heard anything in the wake of those two phone interviews, which are now a week and a half and two weeks ago. Needless to say, this is bumming me out, as either would have been very cool gigs. I did get three possibilities come in for part-time and project things, so I'm going after those at the moment. I am just so sick of the hunt ... I want somebody to hire me so I can actually get down to work!

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Geez ...

To quote Dennis Miller (from an old commercial, referring to a $1 bottle of water) "Who's pricing this stuff?"

I was just doing my pre-reading research on a book (yes, I'm that obsessive ... I need to have all my info for doing my reviews set up and ready to go before I start to read), and noticed that Amazon had the hardcover book in question at a very generous 34% discount, which is swell of them. However, the thing that jumped off the page was that they were selling the Kindle edition of the book for only 10% less, or to put it the other way around, the electronic, no-paper, no-ink, no-shipping, 1¢ worth of bandwidth, download of the book was costing 90% of what they were currently asking for the actual, tangible, hard cover BOOK!

Who the heck is getting suckered in by this?

Now, I'm probably "not the person to ask" about this, as I literally have the first book I ever bought (at age 6 or so) in my physical library, but you really must not like books to do this Kindle thing. I suppose that if one lived in a zendo-like setting with a mat, a cushion, a low table, and a small vase with a single flower in it, having a Kindle would have a certain appeal ... but for everybody else, it would seem to me that nearly fifteen bucks for a download is mighty steep.

I spent 10 years running my own publishing company. For a $10 book, 40% is retail markup, another 15% is wholesale markup, another 10-15% is likely distributor markup, so you're looking at only three bucks or so for the actual book costs, out of which needs to come the printing, the storage, the shipping, the marketing, and all the development (editorial, author royalties, etc.) costs ... with something hopefully left over for a profit. For an e-book, your base costs are probably 10-15% of cover, pretty much being stripped down to the last two, development and marketing. How in the hell can Amazon, et al, justify charging sixty percent of the printed hard-cover book's cover price for a Kindle edition? Who's making the money?

I'm pretty sure that the authors aren't making it. And it would be my guess that the publishing houses aren't seeing any more (and my guess would be that they've getting substantially less) than the 35% of cover that they get for actual books. Is Amazon really being that rapacious?

The only thing I can figure is that Amazon assumes that if you've got the spare cash to buy a Kindle, you don't care about money and they can charge what they want. Sort of like the Apple approach ... you find a sucker to buy your "cute" computer and then you can charge them $90 to get a cable to hook it up to a printer ... since they were stupid enough to buy your "proprietary" system, what are they going to do?

This brings me back to the whole music thing. Had the MP3 revolution not been based on piracy, there might have been a sane model developed. There is no way in hell a downloaded song should cost more than 25¢ ... but the record companies insisted on maintaining a pricing structure that approximated the retail on a CD, without actually involving the printing, manufacturing, and shipping costs involved.

The MOST an e-book ought to cost would be 20-30% of the print edition (and, arguably, the mass-market paperback print edition), as its production and distribution costs are very nearly zero, and all that's involved are development and marketing costs!

While there may be "a sucker born every minute", I can't see the high price being maintainable (and hell, HERE's an article saying that the prices are going UP!). If 65% (or more) of the cost of ANY standard book is distribution mark-up, and suddenly the Distributors, the Wholesalers, and the brick-and-mortar Retailers aren't involved, where is THAT money going? The figure for e-books should start at 45% of the cover price (standard wholesale) of the cheapest print edition, and then go down reflecting the absence of costs involved with printing, shipping, and storage of the books!

Arrgh. Sorry to be venting, but this just got under my skin today!

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