Round up #108: Textbook costs, costly speech
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
“Let me tell you what I think about that!”
“Sure…but from now on, you have to tell everybody you are a two-toed sloth with tennis elbow.”
“That’s our rule. You can say something, but you have to tell the world you are what we say you are. Oh, and not only that, we can say you said whatever we want…about anything.”
This just seems bizarre to me. It’s one of those things where I say, “When did that become okay?”
I read posts on other blogs, and sometimes, I want to comment.
WordPress makes it pretty easy. You do have to give an e-mail address, but it isn’t displayed to anybody except the blogger. You say you want to comment…you do. That’s about it.
I keep running into things that just seem…well, ridiculous to me.
For example, I recently wanted to comment on a post by Alicia Duryee at AllThingsD:
I just wanted to explain the difference between backlighting and frontlighting, because I think that’s useful for people to know.
I was going to comment:
“It will be interesting to see what Amazon announces! One technical point: a “glow” reflective screen device would not be backlit, it would be frontlit. With backlighting, the image you see is between you and the source of illumination. You look directly at the source of light with backlighting. The backlight has to compete with light hitting the screen from the front…the sun, for example. With a reflective screen device, you see what is on it by light bouncing off the screen: the same way you read a paperbook. The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight adds a light source in front of the image you are reading, and that’s what a lit RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) would do.”
However, it wanted me to sign in to post.
I don’t like to create accounts just to leave a comment. I admit that I have an advantage in having another forum (this blog), but that just seems like work.
I was given the option to log in with Twitter. Check out the permissions, though:
This application will be able to:
- Read Tweets from your timeline.
- See who you follow, and follow new people.
- Update your profile.
- Post Tweets for you.
If I make a comment, they can change my public profile? They can tweet on my account (and presumably, people will think the statement came from me)?
That’s an awful lot of integrity to give away, just to make a comment!
It really makes me doubt anything anybody tweets…there’s a good excuse next time somebody makes a…regrettable tweet.
“Hey, I didn’t post that…must have been some site where I’ve commented.”
Maybe that’s just me, and there were other ways to log in…but I was surprised.
US News & World Report: “How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up”
This is a great, lengthy article by Danielle Kurtzleben about the cost structure of textbooks…and how the prices are growing so much faster than overall price growth.
There are a number of things in it that can be applied to any e-books. It explains why it isn’t the cost of materials that determines the consumer price of a book.
Here is one of the really key points:
“The single greatest contributor to the price of a textbook is a used textbook…”
That’s from Bruce Hildebrand, executive director of higher education at the Association of American Publishers.
When someone buys a used paperbook rather than a new paperbook, it contributes to higher prices for paperbooks.
Now, that doesn’t mean that the inability to sell a “used” e-book is significantly keeping e-books cheaper. However, you can bet that if used e-books became a reality, publishers would use that to raise the prices on them.
I highly recommend this article.
PW: B&N Will Rise or Fall with Content
“Content is king.”
That’s been said before. If you have a super cool EBR (E-Book Reader), but you don’t have the content people want (and they can’t get it somewhere else), it’s going to be tough to make that sale.
If books become less platform-dependent, that may be less the case…but right now, you need books people want to make money with your EBR.
It’s amazing to me how bookselling has become dependent on blockbusters. When I managed a bookstore, yes, we depended on bestsellers.
However, it’s now become that a few books sell massive amounts. We could look at Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and 50 Shades of Grey as prime examples.
By themselves, they can buoy the industry.
That’s different from Stephen King having a big bestseller…at the same time that John Grisham has one.
Amazon knows that exclusivity matters. They recently put out this
saying that Kindle-Exclusive books have been purchased, downloaded, or borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library over 100 million times.
I’ve seen this misreported as being all Kindle Direct Publishing books. They specifically mention the 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain (starting Cop Hater). Those are published by Amazon’s traditional publishing mystery and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer. They said it’s been downloaded 250,000 times since December. That’s a significant figure for backlist titles.
What is Barnes & Noble publishing exclusively?
Seriously…this is hipper than it sounds. It’s also the beginning of a series of books they’ll publish from Hasbro, which could include G.I. Joe, Transformers…and Mr. Potato Head.
The content piece is an interesting article by Jim Milliot, and looks at how brick-and-mortar bookstores are helping Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.
What do you think? Am I overreacting to turning over my Twitter account to post a comment? Is B&N still leading on children’s e-books? Do textbooks cost too much, or is it a reasonable price for a limited market item? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.