Ten Commandments of Art Pricing

Paul Raven @ 05-07-2011

The title says it all. Created by this guy (though where on that site it might be found, I have no idea*; he may grok pricing models, but his website is a relic of the mid-noughties), found thanks to this blawg. Definitely applicable to writers thinking about alternative/indie publishing models, I’d have thought.

The Ten Commandments of Art Pricing by Robert Genn

Interesting to note that the list is published as an image rather than as HTML text; I presume this is to prevent wholesale cut’n’pasting, though it could just be part of the image-obsessed culture that seems to permeate Tumblr as a platform. I suspect the former, though, as it’s that much easier to post the image rather than type out the list. Certainly worked on me, AMIRITES?

Related: Cory Doctorow’s ideas on a “no endorsement”label for derivative works; send the IP creator a cut of your profits while simultaneously absolving them of the (potential) crapness of the derivative work in question. Still assumes that the creator will bother to acknowledge the source explicitly, of course, but still good to see someone thinking about ways to cope when physical items become infinite goods**.

[ * This highlights one of my numerous gripes with Tumblr, in that – despite the cascading tree of reblogging notifications and callbacks, which is in itself very annoying unless you’re working within the ecosystem of Tumblr itself – it can still be hideously difficult to find where the original poster found the original item. An infuriating circle-jerk of a platform, and one I hope fades from fashion very quickly. ]

[ ** Of course, the actual materials used to make the items are unlikely to be infinite, though recycling and cradle-to-grave spime-like approaches may address this to some extent… don’t mind me, just thinking aloud here. ]


Price wars… in spaaaaaace

Paul Raven @ 26-02-2009

A man floating in zero-gravity yesterday (no, not really)Proof, if such were needed, that one should always shop around to ensure you’re getting the best value deal: RocketShip Tours are entering the space tourism market with a bargain price tag.

Upstarts RocketShip Tours and XCOR Aerospace say that the price of their flights, slated to begin as soon as 2010, will be $95,000, about half that of the ones being offered by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, which also hopes to launch as early as 2010.

“Our goal is to make space travel accessible and affordable to those who aspire to experience the ultimate adventure,’’ said Jules Klar, CEO and chairman of RocketShip in a statement.

I hadn’t expected to hear much out of the space tourism outfits in the current economic climate, but beating one’s own drum as the cheaper option is probably the only announcement that won’t gather a lynch mob outside your HQ. The Boston Globe article is painting RocketShip’s announcement as the start of a ‘price war’, but given that neither outfit has actually completed one of their proposed tourism flights yet I suspect it’s more of a PR war than anything else.

Assuming that flights to and from orbit become commonplace (come on, allow me some optimism here, it’s been a long week), can we assume that there’ll be a similar spread of service suppliers as there currently is in the air travel market? Would you really want to take a jaunt to LEO with the aerospace equivalent of Aeroflot?

All of a sudden, I have a vision of space hobos jagging free rides on orbital freighters to see the sights and maybe find a few month’s work… and I find myself rather liking the idea of being the Jack Kerouac of the space generation. Time to ease up on the Dexedrine, maybe. [image by markjsebastien]


eBooks overpriced? Well, they were just a moment ago…

Paul Raven @ 06-01-2009

Sony ebook readerIt seems like we’ve been talking a lot about ebooks in the last few months here at Futurismic, which is surely a sign of the times. The thing that’s been bothering me about ebooks for a while (and the principle reason I’ve not really started buying them myself as of yet) is that the pricing has seemed a little… unreasonable. [image by shimgray]

It’s not just me, it would appear. Yesterday, Kassia Krozser of Booksquare laid the boot into publishers trying to gouge the same price from their ebook customers as from their dead-tree buyers:

Let’s go through this one more time: ebooks are a new, different market. You, dear publishers, have been given that rarest of gifts: a new revenue stream (think: home video for the motion picture business). These books are not competition. While there are more than a few readers who would love the luxury of choice of format/style/device when it comes to purchasing and reading books (you’re reading one), the ebook customer is different than the print book customer. Even if your ebook sales are growing by leaps and bounds each quarter, they’re nowhere near the volume that print achieves.

You’re dealing with a different animal, and — wahoo! — you now have the opportunity to change how you do business. Let’s start with smarter pricing. No, let’s start with the idea that you, publishers, are not the only game in town.

Tough love indeed. However, hot on the heels of Ms Krozser’s screed (and far too close to have been a response to it, I might add) came an announcement at SF Signal: genre fiction publishers Orbit are now offering a different ebook from their backlist each month for just US$1.

Now, this is still far from ideal; it’s just a handful of titles in a handful of formats, and the inevitable and much-loathed DRM is involved. But it’s a start. I suspect as the tough times dig in over the next year, we’ll see the start of a race for the bottom in ebook pricing… especially in the genre scene, which seems to tend toward a more tech-savvy readership.