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I’m annoyed

Why does adding the digital version add 30% to the cost?

I'm frustrated and annoyed. I wanted to purchase the Essential SNMP book. The dead-tree version is $33 at Amazon. To buy directly from you is $50. The digital version is $40. I guess that's not bad.

But then there's the Print+Ebook which costs $65. How does that pricing make sense to you? It certainly doesn't make sense to me. Especially when compared to the Amazon price, I am being asked to pay double the cost of a book for something that has a real icremental cost of nearly nothing and an incremental value that is barely the $15 you're asking, let alone the $30 on the open market.
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  • Hello Michael,

    Our print + ebook bundles should be 120% of the print list price, and we're fixing it in this case. Can you send me an email so I can have our customer service take care of you? allen at oreilly dot com is my address.

    As to the value of the electronic version, we don't just digitize the book. We provide you with three DRM-free formats for one price--.pdf, .epub, and Kindle-compatible .mobi from which you can cut-and-paste and print. You also get free updates to those files. The tools to provide that combination, and the systems to service them, required significant time to build, thus our pricing.

    Sorry for the frustration, and thanks for writing. I hope you email me.

    --Allen
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  • You can also buy the EBook using your iPhone, for 40% off or $23.99. You'll still be able to use the EBook on your desktop/laptop computer just so long as you buy it using the O'Reilly Stanza Catalog. See: http://toc.oreilly.com/2009/03/oreill...

    You can get the same 40% offer by using discount code STANZACAT when purchasing any ebook from http://oreilly.com.
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  • I’m disappointed but hopeful
    CC'd to Allen:

    I appreciate your prompt reply. I'm afraid I still cannot see sufficient value-add to justify the cost. You offered some points:

    1) Three different versions - Since you start with an open format, converting from one to the other is trivial. It shouldn't take more than a few hours of scripting to automatically generate Palm DOC versions, versions auto-translated into Klingon, and even MP3 audio-books read by Microsoft Sam. So, the fact that you did that work for me doesn't impress me enough to make me part with an additional 20%.

    2) Free updates - THIS has some value to me, especially considering how quickly technology changes. Not 20%, though. I find that usually by the time my books are annoyingly out of date, so is the technology. I wouldn't buy this service. I'd buy a new book.

    3) Delivery systems - You already had a very nice e-commerce site. You already had the manuscripts in digital form. The time, money, and effort to add ebooks may not have been trivial, but I can't see it being significant enough to justify your prices.

    I understand, in the back of my mind, that you're a business. You are in the business to make a buck. However, the business realities that you and I both know exist /don't actually matter/ when it comes down to actually making a sale.

    "Am I getting good value for my money?" I think your books are a great value. I should mention that I think that buying the ebook alone is a tremendous value. Buying them together, though, seems like a terrible value to me.

    We're especially doomed if I bring up the piracy argument, but the giant elephant in the room is that you're competing against 'free'. I won't go there -- I have immense respect for your organization, and I think you deserve a sale. The fact that we're even having this conversation makes me even more positive about O'Reilly.

    But you're losing me as a prospective ebook buyer. You still get the print sale eventually, but you're losing the additional ebook sale and you're losing the markup to Amazon.

    Doesn't that suck? You had a captive customer! You had a customer who showed up, typed "SNMP" into the search bar and tried the buy the first item that showed up.

    Because O'Reilly is trustworthy. Because they make the best tech books. Because my money is valuable to me, and I know it will be well-spent on an O'Reilly book. Hey, while I'm here, I wonder if I can get the digital version to tide me over until the book arrives?

    Instead, I'm annoyed, frustrated, and trying to find somewhere else to spend my money. Something must have gone terribly wrong to turn a perfect customer into this.
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  • I’m thrilled
    Allen,
    Thank you very much for your time today. You made it abundantly clear that you are The Good Guys in the publishing business, and it goes deeper than just publishing quality books on subjects important to me.
    I can see that ebooks are very important to you, and I can see that you are trying to do right for both your authors and your customers. This experience has been bizarre, and has made me ever more happy to be your customer.
    I look forward to the changes, and I appreciate your ebook pioneering.
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  • I’m validated, yet sad
    This is the best response I've seen to O'Reilly's eBook pricing imbalance I've seen!

    But you're losing me as a prospective ebook buyer. ... you're losing the additional ebook sale and you're losing the markup to Amazon.

    You had a captive customer! You had a customer who showed up, typed "SNMP" into the search bar and tried the buy the first item that showed up.

    Instead, I'm annoyed, frustrated, and trying to find somewhere else to spend my money. Something must have gone terribly wrong to turn a perfect customer into this.
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