A sound rip off

We are quite fond of books here in The Manor.

Even Penny has gotten in on the act and recently finished a copy of a Dean Koontz book of mine that she found.  It appears that she has quite a voracious appetite for books.

Koontz

Lately I have been exploring the world of audio books.  Herself showed an interest too so I went looking for some listening matter that might calm her down.

I came across a couple of sites that provide free downloads which is fine.  The trouble is though that all the books are old and out of copyright.  There is still some great material there, but Herself started to show an interest in some of her modern authors and wanted to know if I could download those too.

I know a little bit about books.  I know they have to be written, and then edited and proofread.  That is a long and tedious process and it is common to all books.  A divide happens here though, as the book can then go down one of several routes.

It can become a paperback, where the book has to be printed off in vast numbers, packaged, shipped to the shops [who also get their cut] and finally bought by the reader.

It can become a hardback.  The process here is the same as for a paperback, but the addition of the hard cover and dust sleeve adds an extra cost.

It can become one of those “Kindle” things.  This cuts a huge chunk out of the process, as the book merely has to be formatted on a computer and that’s it.  No paper.  No printing.  No dispatch.  No cut for the bookshop.  Only one copy has to be made which can sit on a server somewhere.  In other words, vastly cheaper to produce than even a paperback.

It can become an audio book.  This in theory could be the cheapest form.  In theory, the author could just relate his or her story into a microphone.  In practice however, a reader is usually employed.  However the resulting file needs no formatting to fit on a tablet or slab or whatever the fuck they call those yokes.  A single audio file is produced which can be played on any device.  Once again, no copies need be made as the purchaser will do that when they download it.

So I would imagine that the price of the book would range from the most expensive [the hardback] through the paperback and the Kindle and ending with the audio book which should be the cheapest.

Simple logic.

I am reading Stephen King’s latest at the moment.  I checked the prices on Amazon.

Hardback – £12.81.  Fair enough.

Paperback – £5.35. A good price seeing as it’s quite a large tome.

Kindle – £4.99.  Grand.

Audio download – £14.98?  What the fuck?  How can they possibly justify that?

I checked through a few other books and they are all the same.  In each case the audio book is the most expensive.

It would be cheaper to buy the paperback and then for me to read it into a microphone.

There again, I don’t really go for her taste in books.

I’ll let Penny do it.

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Comments

A sound rip off — 19 Comments

    • Thanks, Bill.  I'm trying to work out how the site works.  It seems to be a sort of book club where you buy so many CDs a month?

      • It is I suppose. Hoever go in armed with a list of books you want and take advantage of every special offfer they give you 'for joining'. When I joined it cost me $14 (I think) for a year to be a 'member' and got the books I required for less than $4 each. No idea what the dollar/pound/euro exchange rate is but even working in dollars it was a good deal.

        Mind I never bought a thing off them for the remainder of the year but then again my taste in books are not everyones. Audible sent a monthly e-mail of 'best sellers' which did not appeal. Who wants to buy a book that is recommended simply because it sells more copies?

        Answering my own question clearly a lot of people do which is why Audible do it but I don't so I didn't buy another thing. My membership has now lapsed and I won't bother taking it out again until I have an armful of books I want to listen to.

  1. I would guess the cost is due to having someone "famous" and with clear diction read out the whole book aloud. It seems crazy that it is more expensive than the hardback though!

     

    ps.  I like the new comment system.  Much better.

    • I thought of that, but that doesn't make sense.  An author would expect to get around 10% of a sale and as he/she is the most vital element of the chain then I can't imaging a reader getting more than that?  The prices quoted just do not make sense, unless they are just unashamedly ripping off the public.

      And you have no idea the grief this comment thing caused here!!  Glad you think it was worth it.

  2. That's what I was thinking too.. someone famous. For that price, I'd want to be hearing some sexy, dulcet voice.

    George Clooney reading 50 shades of Grey maybe ? For 14.98?   How could you say no?

  3. quite the fiddling you've done on the site haven't you?..looks very different unsure yet if i like it but i'm sure i'll grow used to it.

    as for shredding, my other is away on a work contract, taking care of a kitten for a co worker…now has to shop for another batch of toilet paper due to the kitten shredding 12 double rolls across the entire upstairs.

     

    • to clarify, the contract isn't for kitten care..he's just minding it for a few weeks contract is power engineering related lol..

       

      • I would imagine that 12 double rolls of toilet paper could be related to a spot of power engineering?

        And the layout change was unfortunately necessary.  I/we/The Other Fella tried to keep it as near to the original as possible, but the comments bit is a bonus!

  4. Maybe the main people who use audio books are the blind and I suspect charities who supply audio books for them have more money and less sense than ordinary book buyers.  After all how much does it really cost to get an actor, not a celeb but with a decent voice, to read a book into a recorder?

    I would have library of audio books for car journeys if they were a sensible price.

    • Bloody hell! If that's the case then both the book sellers and the charities should be shot! – the booksellers for ripping off a captive market and the charities for not fighting it.

      I can imagine a lot of situations where an audio book could be preferable to a hard copy.  A car journey is just one case in point [especially if you can plug the kids into a long book!].

  5. I note that your dog Penny has a refined taste for books. She has obviously read with attention a famous piece called On Reading, by the eminent 16th century essayist Francis Bacon. Here is what he said, and this is the advice that Penny has studiously followed: " Some books are to be tasted, others swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

    Those Amazon prices are indeed steep. I can only suggest regular visits to charity shops. The South Dublin and Dunlaoghaire thrift shops cater to discerning readers and stock copious shelves of second-hand paperbacks and hardbacks – at affordable prices suiting the pockets of impecunious students and pensioners – and very limited amounts of audiobooks. Be careful to leave Penny at home, however, as some of them have a policy of only allowing dogs-for-the-blind into their premises.

    • There is one shop I used to be a real regular in – The Exchange, in Dalkey.  They were one of the best second-hand booksellers I ever found.   Unfortunately they classify the books by author and genre, and not flavour so they may not be much use to Penny.

  6. Back in the 80s I used to specialise in building / refurbishing recording studios, and a couple of the smaller ones I worked on confined themselves to stuff like advertising jingles and audio books. I seem to remember that in those days whoever recorded an audio book did so for a fixed fee rather than royalties, so it should have no appreciable effect on the retail price. And the medium (cassette, CD) when bought in bulk cost next to nothing. So it sounds like a right royal rip-off to me. I think woodsy42 is probably on the right track re the charities. It's a bit like government – when it's someone else's money, the cost is irrelevant.

    • Hah!  Used to work in a recording studios myself, but it was back in the late sixties so there were no cassettes in those days, and hence no audio books.  But a cassette or CD still has to cost a mere fraction of the cost of a hardback.  Maybe I should write and ask them to justify such an outrageous markup?

  7. Heh!  I like the look of that.

    There is one problem though.  I got as far as "A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing what he reads." so I had to stop.  How do I get around that paradox?

  8. At the very end of the book it says :

    "If you think the PRINCIPIA is just a ha-ha, then go read it again."

     

    That's how you get around that paradox GD. It is full of very interesting paradoxes you hit the nail on the head!

    It has certainly kept me busy and entertained.

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