The Device War Is Nearly Over
You can only make that prediction if you ignore the proliferation of basic ereaders in the past 4 months. If the war is nearly over, then what about the Literati, Lookbook, Next2, and the Slick? And heck, that's just some of the US models. I could list all the new ereaders released in the past year in the world but who's got a week to spare?
The $9.99 E-Book Won’t Last Forever
I agree. Competition will drive the price will even lower. Demand far exceeds supply. If he doesn't want to compete that's his business.
Okay, Phillip is arguing prices will go up, but frankly I don't see that happening. It's a buyer's market, not seller's.There are simply too many people jumping into the fiction market for the price to stay as high as $10.
Also, he can set ebook prices however he wishes, but if he sets them to high his ebook sales will be crippled by (comparatively) cheap paper copies. I'll never buy an ebook for more than the paper copy. If I can get a used copy for a fraction of retail, there went your ebook sale.
For professional and technical publishers like McGraw-Hill, our e-books cannot stand the low, mass market pricing some consumers think should be applied to every e-book. Our costs are invested in extensive product and editorial development of sophisticated and technical content; the cost of paper, printing, and binding are a fraction of the real expense. And for some very specific and technical subject areas, our markets are much smaller. We simply couldn’t afford to publish the work if it must be priced at the everyday low, low price of $9.99.
I'm also somewhat puzzled that he thinks the $9.99 price point applied to his technical books. I always thought that applied to fiction. Either he's using a strawman argument or one of us is misinformed (it could be me).
The Contextual Upsell Will be a Business Model to Watch
E-books allow publishers to interact with their customers in new ways. Imagine customers who are trying to learn statistics and get stuck on a particular formula. They ask friends but no one can explain it well. They’re stuck.
When you work your way through his idea here you'll either love it or hate it. One way to look at his proposal is that he wants to sell a crippled product and charge people extra to fix it. He doesn't want to provide all the content in the initial sale; instead he want to get more money out of the customer after the sale. Needless to say I'm a little pissed off.
The other problem with this idea is that the extras he wants to sell are currently being given away online. There's no market.
Publishers Will Be More Important Than Ever
He's both right and wrong on this point.
At McGraw-Hill, the average technical and reference book engages teams of editors, copy editors, proofreaders and designers to produce a single boo
A team witha broad skill set is required for technical manuals, yes. That is indisputable. But what makes you think that team has to come together inside a publisher? There's no reason why the team can't form from an ad-hoc organization. Okay, that ad-hoc might grow into being a publisher, but there's no reason why it has to start as one.
P.S. I'd love to here what you think.