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Re: [InetBib] E-Book-Preise - Stellungnahme von amazon

Zur Rolle George Orwells in dieser Sache 

The famous author George Orwell came out
publicly and said about the new paperback format, if "publishers had
any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them." Yes,
George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

hilft vielleicht der folgende Artikel aus einem Blog der New York Times 


Beste Grüße
Peter Delin

Peter Delin und Ursula Müller-Schüssler
Ringstraße 100
12203 Berlin

Tel.: 030/81305675
Mobil: 015787311689
Mail: peter.delin@xxxxxx

Gesendet: Donnerstag, 14. August 2014 um 10:40 Uhr
Von: "Thomas Hilberer" <thomas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
An: "Internet in Bibliotheken" <inetbib@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Betreff: [InetBib] E-Book-Preise - Stellungnahme von amazon

Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen,
derzeit findet in der Presse ein wahres Kesseltreiben gegen amazon
statt. Das verwundert nicht, scheint doch jedes erfolgreiche
Internet-Unternehmen den selbst auf diesem Feld wenig glücklich
handelnden Pressekonzernen verdächtig.
Anbei die Stellungnahme von amazon. Ich verstehe auch nicht, was an
Preissenkungen für E-Books schlimm sein soll. Bzw. umgekehrt ist mir
nicht klar, warum elektronische Bücher fast so teuer sein müssen wie
Beste Grüße aus Tübingen
Thomas Hilberer
Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook
the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This
was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost
$2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents - it was ten times cheaper.
Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just
the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to
afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary
establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the
paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons.
They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and
harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many
bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers
had to use unconventional methods of distribution - places like
newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out
publicly and said about the new paperback format, if "publishers had
any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them." Yes,
George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well... history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it's the e-book's turn to be opposed by the
literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette - a big US publisher and
part of a $10 billion media conglomerate - are in the middle of a
business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette
does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99.
That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there's no
printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost
sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation
costs, and there is no secondary market - e-books cannot be resold as
used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell's decades old suggestion, Hachette has
already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise
e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in
penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise
prices wasn't only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to
Hachette's readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the
position that lower e-book prices will "devalue books" and hurt "Arts
and Letters." They're wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book
culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the
contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and
making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too
small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality,
books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook,
blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture,
we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against
these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to
make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the
price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price
elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles.
For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74
copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy
100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would
buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at
$14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The
important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all
parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is
getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience
that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time,
resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful
interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George
Orwell's interest to suppress paperback books - he was wrong about

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united
on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they
titled their post: "Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions
Among Authors" (the comments to this post are worth a read).  A
petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette,
titled "Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages," garnered over 7,600
signatures.  And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and
readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and
build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran's recent
interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute
between large companies. Some have suggested that we "just talk." We
tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only
grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action
to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has
made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the
middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make
author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we
suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until
this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to
normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette's normal share of
revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent
company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers
even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could
easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping
their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know
making books more affordable is good for book culture. We'd like your
help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@xxxxxxxxxx

Copy us at: readers-united@xxxxxxxxxx

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to
overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help - not hurt - the reading culture,
just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon's
offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you're an author yourself: Remind them that authors
are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at www.readersunited.com
07071 29-74325 oder 256147



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