Sunday, August 09, 2009

Books and Audio Books

(Haven't posted in a while, but here goes - lame blog attempt!)

Audio Books are becoming all the rage of late. But there’s one thing about them I do not understand. The pricing!

My husband started looking into them because he has a long commute to work plus he doesn’t have a lot of free time to read. He picked some up from Half Price Books to check them out to see if they were something he might like. And he did. Then I started looking at what he was paying for the things even devalued and almost had a heart attack.

The pricing on these things is insane! And I just can’t wrap my head around why that might be. Maybe someone out there can help me understand. Anyway, let’s break this down on a hypothetical case and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Fantasy Trade Paperback $15

Gets picked up as movie $9 to see it at theaters $20 to buy copy

Audiobook $45 – OUCH!

As a book it took the author (depending on who they are) months or years to write the thing. Six months to years for the publisher to put it out involving an editor, cover artist, possibly some marketing people. Finally gets wide distribution and in the bigger format $15 for the consumer.

As a movie, it takes hundreds of people to make, tens of thousands if not millions of dollars to film, goes through editing, marketing, etc and then to go see it after wide distribution about $9 then six months later it comes out on DVD for $20.
If the author sells the audio rights, an actor will read the text, it will involve one or two sound people, get burned on CD’s which are super cheap, get packaging, then widely distributed, but they want $45.

In all the previous instances they had to go through a similar process the books and the film making costing as much if not more to produce than the audio. So why is the audio version three times as costly for the consumer?

I just don’t get it. Blank CD’s are super cheap so the cost isn’t coming from there. Is it just that they don’t make as many or distribution is not present that jacks up the price?

I listened to a reading of THUD by Terry Pratchett hubby picked up and it was a fabulous piece of work by the actor who read it. Looking it up at Audible.com it sells for $27. That’s twice the trade paperback size. Why would I want to buy the book then pay twice as much for the audio medium?

Just went and searched at audible for the same book that originally made me have a heart attack and there you can download it for $13.99. The mass paperback book is going for $6.99. And this is just for a download not physical CD’s as far as I can tell. Ah, looks like Amazon has the CD’s for $15.59, list price $19.99 so it’s getting better. Maybe someone is getting a clue after all…

I hope so! (Now can I keep hubby from finding out. Heh heh heh.)
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