I enjoy reading the title in PDF format, it's quick if I want to search for anything, and it's cheaper than printed copy. But lately, I noticed the pricing has been increased, to a point that it is indeed costing more than buying the paper version from the book store elsewhere.
For instance, the Java Power Tools is selling at $47.99 but I could get a paper version for $37.79 from book store (not directly from Oreilly).
I know it might not be a fair comparison as the physical book selling directly from Oreilly can indeed show the different but then it is difficult to justify in buying the PDF version when I could get a cheaper alternative.
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Thanks for your feedback! We feel that including multiple, DRM-free formats and free access to updates makes our electronic versions worth the price. The free updates include corrections as well as new formats - customers who purchase books that only have the PDF format available right now will have free access to the other electronic formats (EPUB and Kindle-compatible Mobipocket) as they become available.
In addition, we offer Buy 2 Get 1 Free for all of our books, whether you buy them in print or PDF.
We're still exploring our pricing options, and we'd love to hear whether you decide these benefits are worth the additional cost.
The other thing to keep in mind about book pricing, whether it's for print or PDF, is that PPB (Paper, Print, and Binding) adds $2 to $3 to the price of a book. The vast majority goes into development costs, from editorial, salaries, advances, production, and marketing. Those exist whether a book is in print or electronic format. The additional features that Sarah lists above -- multiple formats, frequent updates -- don't come without additional costs.
With that said, we're aggressively exploring our pricing options to bring the best value.
Well, I'm an author and publisher, so I understand the development costs. But the difference is, much like consuming electronic music, I expect to purchase *more* PDF versions. And having seen what happens to book consumption suffering in the paper distribution channels, I could believe niche titles would do far better in digitalland. I don't think my paper consumption is actually likely to go down at the same time, either. I want my Java references (Hello, Java in a Nutshell) in print form, for instance -- but I might stock up on some other references in bulk.
Maybe a six pack?
And how does all this fit into Safari? To me, Safari remains the better deal for bulk. But I agree, DRM-free PDF is really what it's about to me. I'd be willing to a monthly fee but be guaranteed a bargain price on a PDF or two a month.
I'm really pleased that O'Reilly is taking this on.
One new infrastructure upgrade we've been working towards is a new ecommerce system, one that includes a loyalty program. If you buy six books from us, then you should indeed receive better pricing. In the meantime, we do have a Buy 2 Get 1 Free program that scales to buy 4 get 2, buy 6 get three. That's not a loyalty program, but it's something.
Many thanks for contributing to this discussion.
DRM free is indeed a big plus in purchasing book from Oreilly, especially after having a nightmare with books that is DRM protected I got from elsewhere.
I am thinking over the pricing between physical versus digital format again. I gained my perception that digital one is usually the lower priced alternative, e.g. electronic music, software download versus boxed copy, digital magazine subscript version paper version.
The introduction of additional services to the digital format is re-establishing the "value" of digital format, i.e. it no longer just means cheap. I guess I am still trying to adjust to this pricing scheme.
Maybe I am too conscious on how to make the most uses out of the buy 2 get 1 free and it's always a deep struggle on what to buy. :)
Looking forward to enjoy even more title from Oreilly.