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back to article JK Rowling's adult novel arrives on ebook full of FAIL

JK Rowling's first novel not to feature young bespectacled wizard Harry Potter was released on Wednesday, following a massive marketing campaign that effectively shrouded The Casual Vacancy in mystery before its debut on bookstore shelves. But it didn't all go according to plan, after the ebook version of the 506-page tome was …

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try the audiobook

i was suprised with the digital copy price, but i have subs to audible and it worked out to around £4 (there abouts) for the audiobook on my yearly membership.

ive all but given up purchasing books in the conventional way as audible makes it a lot cheaper and it less effort!!!

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WTF?

Most ebooks have stupid errors in them...

... even books that have been around for years. The Day of the Triffids has scores of formatting errors, wrong words, and god knows what. Complaining never does any good.. Unless the book is by J.K.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Most ebooks have stupid errors in them...

you ain't seen nothing yet, my copy of the Day of the Triffids in Polish, dated c. 1974, seemed all perfect, until I got hold of the original (2nd hand), and something didn't quite look right. Finally, more by trial and error than on purpose, I got it. In the Polish version, the author says (as I remember vaguely):

... over the Atlantic, the fighters of a Superpower (or something to that effect) shot down the plane..."

While the good old UK paperback said:

... over the Atlantic, the Soviet fighters... (and there were further two pages in English on the Soviet theme, which were simply deleted from the translation).

There! ;)

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Re: Most ebooks have stupid errors in them...

Those same edits were originally in the USA edition. Also missing is the doctor who commits suicide at the start of the book and anything that makes the Russians sound intelligent.

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FAIL

That's pretty expensive for something, it sounds like, isn't that good. I'm not surprised she's considering doing a director's edition of one or many harry potter books. It's sounding like may be a one trick pony.

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£11.99 you say? Not ...

in Bittorrent versions.

Save trees, don't buy the paper version, it's such a waste when you thorw this formuleic book were it belongs ... in the garbage can.

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Re: £11.99 you say? Not ...

Given that you can't spell and are a grammatical dunce, even if you had read it in the two days it has been out, which I doubt, you probably thought it was rubbish because it had big words and no pictures to colour in.

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Re: £11.99 you say? Not ...

"it's such a waste when you thorw this formuleic book were it belongs ... in the garbage can"

Oh, you're back and conforming to type- you're like Obviously's older and marginally more attractive brother. I suspect that most people will be loathe to accept literary criticism from someone unable to even *spell* "formulaic".

Plonker.

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Go

Aight...

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

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I do wonder if it was deliberate...

I am wondering if it was a deliberate way to partly defeat the pirates by releasing a broken version, that gets pirated immediately with the same broken files will be copied over and over, and then release the fixed one.

That way most people downloading an illegal version will find it doesn't work and some might go buy it instead?

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Re: I do wonder if it was deliberate...

Want to take bets on whether the 'crowd corrected' original edition is better formatted/edited than the revised official version?

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Trollface

> but ebooks are classified differently because they are subjected to VAT.

I guess VAT must be about 800% these days is it?

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Childcatcher

Adult Book?

I've been assured it's a book for Adults and not an Adult book

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Trollface

Must be really high VAT...

To make an ebook worth about 2 quid cost 12 quid.,

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Anonymous Coward

£12

Sounds like someone's getting a new boat out of this.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm rather surprised that so many of the posters here have read the book already.

I mean, they must have to be so sure of its quality, right?

Right?

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VAT BS

This excuse about VAT driving the cost of ebooks up is nonsense. Yes, VAT must be charged. But the ex-VAT cost of the ebook should be much lower to start with. There's no printing, no raw materials, no distribution costs (shipping and storage), no pulping of unsold copies, etc etc. The production cost of ebooks is a tiny fraction of that of print books. This is about publishers gouging the public.

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Re: VAT BS

There is a good deal of information about the work involved in publishing a book, and the costs, at Charlie Stross on publishing

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Sod the eBook

Is Emma Watson going to do the film?

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FAIL

"printed books, maps and charts, magazines and newspapers, are zero-rated"

so "Hello","Closer" and other such mind rotting brainless drivel is VAT exempt but anything worthwhile, if electronic, isnt?

marvellous

Sack the minister for Dragging-Our-Arses-Out-of-the-20th-Century

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Anonymous Coward

ebook prices

are rigged, because believe it or not, ebook sales form only a fraction of all book sales, this wont always be the case and when competition arrives prices will tumble.

lets take the physical book, how much is it? you all keep talking about it being only a couple of quid cheaper in ebook format, but the actual RRP, printed on the back of the book is £20, how many shops actually sold it at that price? sweet bugger all, on that £20 the retailer is looking at a margin of around 60%

retailers wil drop the price to a minimum only if they will sell the units to make up for the loss of margin. Ebooks are no different, margins are everything unless unit sales can make up for it, at the moment because unit sales are quite low you wont find many retailers selling it very cheap, but give it a year and I can promise you, if ebook readers take off big time, then the prices will tumble, just like real books

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Facepalm

Laaaame ebook pricing

As jai already says, a 20% VAT (although high) is no excuse for this cost. EBook publishing costs very little (I'm not going to say "it costs nothing" because there's still labor costs to make sure the EBook looks good and all that...) EBook publishers know this and typically kick back a much higher percentage of the cost to the publisher compared to paper publishing (which really is quite expensive, especially with high paper costs of late.)

I've read both sides of the coin...

Those who "get it", they'll have a $10 or $20 book, but the EBook is like $3-$5.. sometimes it's more, but usually not more than half the cost of the physical book. They make good money selling the EBook if the book is any good, they don't have to worry about remaindered books being shipped back from book stores, or getting into those stores to begin with, or distribution costs, and so on for those EBooks, it's esentially pure profit.

The others will be like $12 for the book, and like $11.50 for the EBook... sometimes they consider the EBook "premium" and charge MORE for it than the physical book! They don't sell many EBooks, and just think EBooks are a bad market, rather than realizing the market is great, they've just priced themselves right out of it.

You know which category I think Rowling is in here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Laaaame ebook pricing

ebook market share is only around 1-5% average.

until the market share picks up to the point that it becomes profitable to turn their backs on real books, they will not reduce the price.

its a basic practice of retail, why charge less when you CAN charge more and still make your profit targets. Reducing the price of the books at this point will only be giving cheaper books to those that would probably have paid more anyway.

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gfx
Facepalm

weird

Amazon.co.uk is weird about tax. When I order a book from the Netherlands they insist on charging the dutch tax on books (6%) and shipping (19%) But they don't have to, it's allright to charge the uk tax only cause it's in the EU.

amazon.com ships tax free.

I also can't buy kindle books from the .uk store which are sometimes cheaper only from amazon.com on which they charge the wispernet fee (even for a wifi only kindle).

So the end result: I download my e-books and buy real books from the amazon.co.uk marketplace.

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My ebook...

I have written a book (not quite as popular as those by JKR though) and sell it as both physical and ebook. The ebook sells for half the price of the physical, has no delivery costs, and I get exactly the same commission from both.

However ebook sales make up <2% of total sales. Barely worth the effort of providing it in that format.

Personally, I would always pay a few $ more to get a physical book, and would never pay as much or more to get an ebook. Far better to have something solid you can hold, share, and (if necessary) resell.

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FAIL

High Price

Not that I'll be buying it anyway but...

Buy the paper copy second hand or pirate the eBook. Then the tax man gets bugger all. When eBooks start coming down in price to a sensible amount (i.e. £1.99 or less) then maybe I'll consider them but till then, I'd rather have my second hand hardbacks thank you very much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: High Price

Would this avoiding paying tax be why the world economy is in such a shit state? Perhaps you ought to be careful what you wish for...

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TRT
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Easily fixed...

Erratum electronica!

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Happy

And all this...

.... at the same time Peter Hamilton releases " Great North Road" ? How will she compete!

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Bah!

So it's the taxman who sets the price then. Good, because I just hate it when the same e-book that had sold for, say, 13 bux all year suddenly becomes 8 bux when the paperback comes out and it turns out the publisher is just gouging. It's refreshing that Rowling's e-book has none of that old-school thinking behind the new-tech format.

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