Pre-Pub Pricing (Baker Books)

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This post has 263 Replies | 6 Followers

Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 11:00 AM

David A. Peterson:
My wife just had to pay $175 for a used textbook, for an economics class ironically enough)

That is what you call efficiency, her first lesson and class hasn't even started yet...Big Smile

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

Posts 13348
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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 1:07 PM

I have read some of this thread, and it seems to me that we're missing an important point, and Logos/Baker are missing an important opportunity. I understand Bob's comments about Baker needing to make 50% of retail on each sale, and Logos needing a certain amount of income to cover their costs. I understand too that I usually get a lot of value added with Logos products, and that we're expecting more and more with every new resource (headword tagging, links to more and more other resources, better metadata, etc.)

But remember that one of the key reasons for the successes of Apple's iPhone was that they changed the game when it came to app pricing. They realised that in software development most of the costs are fixed, and (as you explain with community pricing) you can make one sale for $1,000 or 1,000 sales for $1 and end up with the same profit. You can't do that with paper books, you can do it with electronic books.

In other words, there's a real argument to be had that being innovative in pricing electronic books could reap dividends. Of course if it fails, it could bankrupt the company. But is there not someone willing to try with one of those back-listed books that have already made their money in print? Why not take some really good books, and sell them for $5, or even $1? Why not put some Baker books on community pricing and see what they go for? Why not genuinely experiment and innovate when it comes to pricing new releases - at least some of the time?

Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 1:30 PM

Mark Barnes:

But remember that one of the key reasons for the successes of Apple's iPhone was that they changed the game when it came to app pricing. They realised that in software development most of the costs are fixed, and (as you explain with community pricing) you can make one sale for $1,000 or 1,000 sales for $1 and end up with the same profit. You can't do that with paper books, you can do it with electronic books.

In other words, there's a real argument to be had that being innovative in pricing electronic books could reap dividends. Of course if it fails, it could bankrupt the company. But is there not someone willing to try with one of those back-listed books that have already made their money in print? Why not take some really good books, and sell them for $5, or even $1? Why not put some Baker books on community pricing and see what they go for? Why not genuinely experiment and innovate when it comes to pricing new releases - at least some of the time?

What if one looks at the iPhone itself as a pricing model. When it was released, it was at full list price, until that segment of the consumer base was exhausted. Only then did the price come down

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 3:40 PM

The iPhone is a suitable model for physical books as it is a physical device. Although there are some savings for mass production, a complex physical object like the iPhone will always have significant variable costs which will not allow deep price discounting. You couldn't sell 1 billion iPhones for $20 and still make as much profit as selling 50 million devices for $400. With electronic books, you can.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 3:56 PM

Mark Barnes:
You couldn't sell 1 billion iPhones for $20 and still make as much profit as selling 50 million devices for $400. With electronic books, you can.

 

I agree with your basic premise that electronic books have a lower overhead than physical phone handsets. But Nokia has shown you can make a profit and take over the market with a low-priced marketing for the masses. Only reason this won't work with Bible related titles is some people don't want them at any price  Sad, but true. But Zondervan & Baker could make bigger profits with lower priced books.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 1355
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 4:39 PM

Mark Barnes:

The iPhone is a suitable model for physical books as it is a physical device. Although there are some savings for mass production, a complex physical object like the iPhone will always have significant variable costs which will not allow deep price discounting. You couldn't sell 1 billion iPhones for $20 and still make as much profit as selling 50 million devices for $400. With electronic books, you can.

Are you forgetting that each customer costs a certain amount for customer support?

Printed books don't have a customer support cost.

Posts 1674
Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 5:56 PM

Here's a good opinion piece on the subject over at PCWorld:

Publishers Short-Sighted in E-Book Price Fight

 

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

Posts 299
Robert Mullen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 6:07 PM

I have been thinking the same thing with some of the more expensive commentary collections. I think if the folks who set pricing would look at the business model of the App Store they would find something interesting. On a fair number of occasions game developers would release a game at $9.99 or $5.99 and it would not make much money. The game when discounted to $1.99 or even $.99 would then generate far more in revenue than when it was significantly higher priced. Folks think very little of spending $2 and that translated to a lot of sales. Now take a piece of IP like the International Critical Commentary. I would dearly love to have this set but at $1,750 it is unlikely to ever see my collection. How many of these units can Logos actually sell? Nobody knows but I would guess maybe 5% of Logos users can afford something like this. What if you lowered the price to $499? I bet it would fall into a range where more like 25%-30% of Logos users could or would buy it. That is 5x-6x as many buyers. All the sudden you have made more total revenue selling at a lower price than you every would have a a higher price. Since the fixed costs are already taken care of and the per unit costs are very, very low this model makes a lot of sense. I hope Logos and their publishing partners will take a good look at this trend.

Posts 352
Mike & Rachel Aubrey | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 6:54 PM

Robert Mullen:
What if you lowered the price to $499?

The question is does $499 cover Logos' licensing & royalty fees to the authors & publishers?

Posts 299
Robert Mullen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 7:11 PM

The question works its way up the chain to the IP owner. If they are thinking dollars and cents they will take the path that leads to the highest generated revenue. A lot of times that is not necessarily the highest price. Then again if they want to sell printed books and not undercut them the argument fails. I do think that the model for transacting media is changing very quickly. I am not holding my breath for changes but the argument makes sense at least from a simple standpoint.

Posts 2824
Michael Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 7:39 PM

"Printed books don't have a customer support cost."

Apps on the Iphone do.  The analogy still holds.  Besides, once the startup cost of e-books is recovered, it is much cheaper to sell and deliver than paper books.  The cost of customer support doesn't come close to making up for that.

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

Posts 1
William Eddins | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 9:02 PM

Your logos books are also much better than the kindle versions and other ebooks.  They  have a better search engine and easily go to footnotes and other references (esp. scripture.) They also have much better mark up, notes and clippings features; not to mention they are in color well before ipad!

Posts 1281
toughski | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 10:28 PM

I just wanted to raise a question of stewardship. Many on this list equate stewardship with getting things as cheap as possible, when in fact, the biblical meaning of stewardship is faithfulness and producing fruit for the Lord. 

I don't think it is wrong to get things as cheap as possible (I try to do it as much as possible), but it is wrong to use Christian words out of context.

getting things as cheap as possible is called being a Scrooge, not a steward :)

case in point: you are in a Theme park and your daughter is thirsty.  Water there is $5, outside of the park - 50 cents. Do you leave and get the cheaper water or do you pay out of your nose on the spot? What if it takes you over an hour to go get water? Obviously, everyone on this list has different circumstances and needs. And that is great because we still have FREEDOM to spend our "Benjamins" or in my case "Washingtons" as God leads. And I am sorry if you don't like publishers charging full price for ebooks - that is not "gouging" or "rip-off" - again use the right word - "capitalism," and there are two sides to every coin.

I have made a conscious decision to go all digital. I don't have a luxury of ordering $1.99 used paper books from Amazon.

But let's assume you do.  Let's assume you buy the cheapest ebooks.  It is probably reasonable to assume that you won't find all of the desired books in the same format.  So now, over your lifetime you accumulated many dozen (or even hundreds) of books in a plethora of distinct formats.  How would you even keep track of what you have?  How would you find the information that you paid for? what if a certain publisher no longer supports a certain proprietary format? There is something to be said about convenience of having all your books in the same format, being able to find and use the information quickly, etc.

I believe that "buying the cheapest" philosophy is very short sighted. How do you quantify usability and convenience?

I guarantee that many people purchasing Portfolio (myself included) can use the "good stewardship" defense, even though I honestly probably use less than 10% of it's resources. But I believe that in the future I will be using a lot more, so value NOW and value THEN are two separate things.  Being a good steward requires us to not be short-sighted.

Again, I don't know your circumstances, and I am not advocating for everyone to purchase ebooks at full price. but I resent views opposing that freedom to chose.  And yes, my choice along with others like me will raise prices for everyone else.  That is capitalism at work.  If you dont like it and all of the sudden I am the "enemy" - than maybe you should take a trip to Russia or China for a refresher course on real life.

In the end, I affirm your right and privilege to vote with your dollars. I am not a prophet - I work for a non-PROFIT organization (that is a pun, by the way), but I believe that things will change for the better of the consumer.  We already see this pattern developing.  Just look at LOGOS - we can read our resources on pretty much anything now. And this says something about their motives. However, "buying things cheapest" somewhere else, does have a cost. This will also be a direct cost to all LOGOS users if we all jump ship and start buying resources elsewhere, because, in fact, we will be supporting a competing file format at the expense of LOGOS'.

 

what I will do personally, is consider LOGOS resources before everyone else's. If they are not heavily discounted, I will only buy what I need at the time and what I can afford, even if it means paying full price or above. I will also have to make a decision on a secondary platform for the ebooks not available in LOGOS (ministry, fiction or business books for example.)  As I said before, I don't want to have 20 different formats and wonder where this book is...

Can anyone recommend a commercial ebook platform (file format) that has the most books available (is it Sony, Kindle, Apple, Mobipocket, Barnes&Noble, etc).

 

Thank you in advance

 

Posts 321
Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 11:24 PM

Vladimir I will address briefly your response in the thread.  I think this will probably be my last since I feel my welcome on this topic has run out.  I believe that the choice to buy or not buy has nothing to do with Christian stewardship or any other theological concept.  From my vantage point its about the free market and people using their resources to address their particular perceived needs through the purchase of Logos products.  If there is a better, more efficient, more effective, and cheaper alternative in the market then that new product perhaps should be considered by Logos consumers. 

On one hand I agree that each person needs to consider for themselves what level of Logos product he or she should buy without others questioning such purchases especially when that product meets their needs.  On the other hand I don't think Logos consumers have any kind of moral, ethical, or Christian responsibility to this company in any form primarily because its a product.  Brand loyalty is a personal choice which may or may not be beneficial to each consumer of Logos products and rightfully so I think.  The only guarantee I have from Logos products, which are of a high quality, is that it works for now for me.  The market is a tough place even for Christians imo.

Posts 352
Mike & Rachel Aubrey | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 7 2010 11:59 PM

ReneAtchley:
I think this will probably be my last since I feel my welcome on this topic has run out.

you're still welcome.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 1:36 AM

Mike Aubrey:

Robert Mullen:
What if you lowered the price to $499?

The question is does $499 cover Logos' licensing & royalty fees to the authors & publishers?

Mike,

You're missing the point. The traditional model is that publishers get 50% of retail, of which they pass on perhaps 5%-10% to authors. Those figures have been worked out on the basis of print books, and they cover the cost of fixed and variable costs. They ignore the fact that there is very little variable cost in the electronic market. If they sold ten times as many books at a tenth of the price, then those figures could be 5% of retail and 0.5-1% to authors, and everyone ought be just as happy. Indeed, ministries ought to be even more happy, because ten times as many people are benefiting at no extra cost to them.

Posts 514
Bobby Terhune | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 6:03 AM

Mark,

I understand your point, but take the ICC commentary series, when it went on prepub for 1,000.00, less that three hundred prepubs were signed up for. Now it's 1,750.00, if it was dropped to 1,000.00 again how many more people would purchase it? Books like this used to be too costly for most scholars, let alone lay people and were found only in a good theological library. Now everyone wants a cheap seminary library on their laptop. I hope eventualy this will happen, but with ebooks sales in the single digit range compared to print, I think we're putting too much pressure on Logos for creating a pricing model that needs more volume than is happening right now.

Perhaps I'm wrong, I would love front-list books at a discount, but the only reason we got the NICOT/NICNT  is becouse we were willing to pay enough lhat Eerdman's felt it wouldn't hurt them, and that they had recovered most of there publishing costs already in print over the years. We paid 100.00 more that CBD's print edition sells for which is 46% off MSRP, based on that I do not think Eerdmans receives 50% of MSRP for that set in paper. Yet nobody said anything about this set being priced too high or such comments, we were just glad it was made available to us for purchase, me included.

My point is that I'm afraid that after we have exhausted the most popular back-list and out of copyright titles, we are going to want and demand more front-list titles to buy. Price sometimes becomes less important that access to long sought after titles. I personaly feel we have almost exhausted the 20% of books that meet 80% of our needs ratio already. If Logos sold their complete library - Call it the "Diamond" package, 10,000 titles for 10,000.00 dollars, who would buy it? Who could afford the payment plan? The price would be right but only a wealthy school could probably afford it. How much of the 1.00 per book would go to the publisher, for that matter the aurthor?

One further thought is Logos 4 is not the perfect platform for managing a 10,000 volume library, already doing searches on your complete library returns too many hits with no easy way to manage them. Yes, collections are the current answer, but it is a kludge when you really want to find "relevant" information in "all" of your Logos library. Think how much we now miss because we can't or won't spend the time to sort through it all. As our expectations grow, and our library's increase in size, this can only get worse.

Posts 1355
Edwin Bowden | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 6:11 AM

BobbyTerhune:

Mark,

I understand your point, but take the ICC commentary series, when it went on prepub for 1,000.00, less that three hundred prepubs were signed up for. Now it's 1,750.00, if it was dropped to 1,000.00 again how many more people would purchase it? Books like this used to be too costly for most scholars, let alone lay people and were found only in a good theological library. Now everyone wants a cheap seminary library on their laptop. I hope eventualy this will happen, but with ebooks sales in the single digit range compared to print, I think we're putting too much pressure on Logos for creating a pricing model that needs more volume than is happening right now.

Perhaps I'm wrong, I would love front-list books at a discount, but the only reason we got the NICOT/NICNT  is becouse we were willing to pay enough lhat Eerdman's felt it wouldn't hurt them, and that they had recovered most of there publishing costs already in print over the years. We paid 100.00 more that CBD's print edition sells for which is 46% off MSRP, based on that I do not think Eerdmans receives 50% of MSRP for that set in paper. Yet nobody said anything about this set being priced too high or such comments, we were just glad it was made available to us for purchase, me included.

My point is that I'm afraid that after we have exhausted the most popular back-list and out of copyright titles, we are going to want and demand more front-list titles to buy. Price sometimes becomes less important that access to long sought after titles. I personaly feel we have almost exhausted the 20% of books that meet 80% of our needs ratio already. If Logos sold their complete library - Call it the "Diamond" package, 10,000 titles for 10,000.00 dollars, who would buy it? Who could afford the payment plan? The price would be right but only a wealthy school could probably afford it. How much of the 1.00 per book would go to the publisher, for that matter the aurthor?

One further thought is Logos 4 is not the perfect platform for managing a 10,000 volume library, already doing searches on your complete library returns too many hits with no easy way to manage them. Yes, collections are the current answer, but it is a kludge when you really want to find "relevant" information in "all" of your Logos library. Think how much we now miss because we can't or won't spend the time to sort through it all. As our expectations grow, and our library's increase in size, this can only get worse.

Yes Great overview of key points missed by most!

Posts 456
Pastor Roger | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 7:26 AM

Dan DeVilder:
Anyway, again, our critique IS valid and needs to be said.  But I am self-reflecting that we are whining about price and all without really knowing much behind the scenes info, and without much acknowledgment that a threshold has been crossed with Baker, after much hard work!  Thanks team Logos!  I am personally glad to have Baker available to me with that wide a scope and a per-item availability!!!

Dan, I agree, but Logos shouldn't call the price a "Pre-Pub" price.  The perception is that pre-pub should be a lower price.  After reading the thread I decided to cancel two books that I had on order, McRay's, Paul: His Life and Teaching and Hiebert's, Transforming Worldview.  I don't really need them; a few bucks off the retail would sway me, however.

 

 

Elder/Pastor, Hope Now Bible Church, Fresno CA

Posts 299
Robert Mullen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 8 2010 7:47 AM

Mark Barnes:

Mike,

You're missing the point. The traditional model is that publishers get 50% of retail, of which they pass on perhaps 5%-10% to authors. Those figures have been worked out on the basis of print books, and they cover the cost of fixed and variable costs. They ignore the fact that there is very little variable cost in the electronic market. If they sold ten times as many books at a tenth of the price, then those figures could be 5% of retail and 0.5-1% to authors, and everyone ought be just as happy. Indeed, ministries ought to be even more happy, because ten times as many people are benefiting at no extra cost to them.

This, exactly. More revenue can often be generated on the same product given a lower cost. In the high end retail world this breaks down as there is a loss of "exclusivity" at a lower price. In some software tool circles it breaks down too because you want to use high price as a barrier to entry for those who really don't need a given product and would drive up support by owning something they don't understand. In eBooks as a general practice and very much so in Christian software getting more product penetration while even maintaining the same revenue amount should be seen as a major benefit (market share in the secular world and furthering the Kingdom in our circle) and that is forgoing the thought that a lower price will often increase total revenue. The way business is transacted is really, really changing and I think publishing houses are slow to change with it.

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