1 post • joined 2 Sep 2009
Physical vs Virtual
Ye gods, I really shouldn't wade into the fray here...
Re: the cost of virtual files vs phyical books (or CDs) and how much cheaper should the price be:
Remember that shipping costs on a per-unit basis are probably very very low. I can ship an entire PC across Canada for little more than $100. When you start talking bulk shipping rates for pallets of books, how bad can it be?
When I can buy a spindle of 50 CD-Rs for under $20, you can't tell me that the physical price of a music CD is anything more than pennies.
But we're not removing the physical costs... we're just replacing them. Enterprise storage sure isn't cheap. Bandwidth also isn't cheap. Someone has to pay for both... Oh, to be an end-to-end ISP - you get to charge the company as they send the file, AND the consumer as they download it. Add in the Server monkeys. Web monkeys. Power. Cooling. Licensing DRM as was mentioned previously. Payment gateways and all the cuts that the banks take from each transaction, and so on.
So, my reasoning is - the bulk of what we pay for doesn't go away just because it's "digital". Add a healthy dose of "what the market can bear" since there's a lot to be said for convenience - it's what McDonalds banks on, after all. You can make it cheaper & healthier at home, but you have to actually cook and do dishes. This is the age of instant gratification, or so I've been told between my credit-card fueled shopping trips...
I'm looking forward to more public libraries that have an online portion to them, where I can "sign out" my ebooks, read it over 2-3 weeks, and have it go poof at the end. All for the yearly cost of a library card. It's funny how people (myself included!) reel at the thought of an all-you-can-listen subscription service for music (I MUST OWN IT! THE TRACK IS MINE MINE MINE!), when at the end of the day, it's really just a trip to the library...
My books? Still on paper. Hardcover, mostly. But those days are numbered methinks... currently looking at the new PRS 600 - no goofy keyboard taking up possible reading surface. Would I like to see ebooks and their readers cheaper? Hell yes. Do I expect them to come down? Maybe eventually... but then I look at what an X-Box sells for and think probably not. Consumer electronics seem to have some pretty fixed price points...
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