On the pricing strategy of e-books

Libraries and library knowledge analysis of e-book pricing strategies Li Yong (Information Resource Research Center of Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072) Since the advent of e-books, people have paid attention to it. This article attempts to start with the comparison of e-books and traditional paper books, analyzes the related issues of pricing, and combines the pricing status of e-books in China, proposes a pricing strategy based on the characteristics of e-books.

E-book pricing strategy Cost price 1 Analysis of e-book pricing related issues 1.1 Definition of e-books There are many definitions of e-books, e-books in a general sense are not limited to specific browsing methods (such as reading through a handheld reader or pc), content The source should be distinguished from the definition corresponding to the traditional paper book, which refers to the content (including text, pictures and audio and video) stored in digital form, published and distributed through the Internet, floppy disks, CD-ROMs or other networks. book". Now it is more manifested that the Internet is the circulation channel and the online payment is the main exchange method. 1.2 Comparison of the cost structure of traditional paper books and e-books The traditional paper book pricing method is a cost-plus method. In order to achieve reasonable pricing, publishers should consider: ① The content cost is the remuneration paid to the author. At the time of the first writing, this was a fixed cost and the next copy was a variable cost (this depends on how long the book stayed on the market after publication) ②Discounts for wholesalers and retailers; ③Inventory And distribution costs; ④ marketing and selling costs; ⑤ returns and possible additional profits.

For e-books, the fixed cost of the first book is about the same as that of printed books, but later copies and printed versions have very low costs. Because most of the variable costs associated with the printed version no longer exist in the electronic version (such as printing, inventory, distribution, and return costs). The only variable cost in the electronic version is the market cost, which depends on many factors, including the number of electronic copies. However, the illegal copy or piracy caused by this has greatly offset the advantage of marginal cost. For pirates, these variable costs are also very low, so they can obtain high profits illegally; for publishers, as piracy spreads, fixed cost recovery becomes very difficult, and all fixed costs Both originate from the first product, which is why we advocate combating piracy.

1.3 Consumers 'Expectation of Cost-Performance The most important factor for setting prices for e-books is consumers' requirements for cost-performance. As we all know, the marginal cost of copying an electronic version is close to zero, but the electronic version is not mature enough to meet or exceed the quality of printed books. There are two types of consumers who need e-books. One is because e-books are cheaper than traditional paper books, and they choose e-books. This kind of readers are only price-sensitive; the other is that they prefer to use the electronic version for academic research. These readers are not price sensitive and do not account for a large percentage of the readership.

For the former type of consumers who make up the majority of readers, one of the best expectations for e-book price consumption is the price of traditional paper books. They always hope that the price of e-books is only a small part of paper books. If a bookseller wants to sell e-books at the same price as paper books, e-books must be improved in content to achieve the same quality as paper books. If you sell the same high price without adding some value, the e-book will be at a disadvantage. With the development of digital technology, the quality of e-books will continue to improve. Only when the quality is improved, consumers will buy e-books at a higher price.

2 China's e-book pricing strategy Currently, China's e-book pricing is roughly one-fifth of paper books. The price of e-books published abroad is usually the same as that of paper books. This phenomenon has seriously hindered the large-scale entry of the publishing industry into the field of online publishing and limited the pace of China's development of the e-book industry. Compared with traditional paper publications, e-books have many characteristics, so we can formulate their pricing strategies based on these characteristics, which is just impossible for traditional books.

First, some free strategies. Since books are an experiential information product, the characteristic is that consumers only understand (or experience) its value to itself, so the value of e-books is based on the consumer ’s experience of product demand and value. Starting point. According to this feature, we can allow readers to try part of the content for free, and the part that is sent for free is the advertisement of the part of the sale. Generally, the highlights in the book will be selected to improve the reader's experience cognition and attract them to purchase. However, it should be noted that the online free version cannot be printed too easily, otherwise the sales of hard copies will be affected.

The best way is to make the online version easy to read (many short screens, many hyperlinks) but difficult to print in full text, so as to ensure that e-books are not stolen.

Second, the "membership" pricing strategy. This strategy is applicable to large e-book websites. Such websites obtain permission through consultation with copyright owners, compile a large number of e-books into the library, and then allow readers to choose different reading rights freely. According to the different types of services provided by the website, readers have to pay different fees. If generally divided into ordinary visitors, members and senior members, they have the right to browse or download a certain category and number of books at will for different lengths of time. There is an additional charge for those who exceed the time limit or quantity, and for certain categories of books (such as the latest best-selling books).

Third, bundle pricing strategy. Based on the correlation of two or more products, the strategy of binding price can be obtained. The price of the bundled product is usually lower than the sum of the general component prices. Bundling the related products is actually equivalent to selling a product to a customer, and at the same time selling him a few other products at a price lower than the individual sales price. With the product. This strategy can make the customer's willingness to pay for bundled products less dispersed than the willingness to pay for components.

If you choose to set the price at a level that readers who are least willing to buy are willing to pay, that is, the price of the two components that is lower in price, the degree of dispersion of willingness to pay will be reduced. For example, some paper versions are now bundled with other forms of supplements or complementary components such as e-book versions and video discs related to them, but the relevant components of such bundle sales must complement each other in terms of content and functions, otherwise there is no Repetitive production of meaning.

Fourth, promotional pricing strategy. The key to this pricing strategy is to conduct market segmentation and adjust the quality and price of e-books in a timely manner according to the structure of consumers. It can be distinguished between different versions or sold at reduced prices, or it can be a certain discount or return to the reader. â‘  According to the market segmentation of readers with different sensitivity to quality, publishers are required to make appropriate changes to the user interface, resolution, format, capacity, features, integrity, and multimedia of e-books, and publish different versions to meet The requirements of different readers. â‘¡According to the market segmentation with different price sensitivity of readers, publishers are required to lower the price after the readers with higher willingness to pay have completed the purchase, in order to attract readers who have the willingness to pay but hold the currency to buy, a larger degree The price reduction of will promote sales; or when readers purchase a certain number of e-books or intend to continue to purchase related e-books, give them a certain degree of discount. For example, Amazon's online bookstore adopts this strategy. When a reader buys an e-book, the online bookstore will provide a series of bibliography related to its content for the reader to choose. If the reader finds another book of interest and intends to continue to purchase, you can Enjoy certain discounts. There are also certain discounts that readers can enjoy when the cumulative book purchase reaches a certain amount or amount.

There are also some websites that implement the book purchase currency system. When carrying out some activities, the readers who participate in the event are given a certain amount of book purchase currency to promote price-sensitive readers to browse or purchase their e-books.

Fifth, personalized pricing strategy. This strategy is a pricing strategy that sells to different users at different prices according to the characteristics of the close integration of e-books and the Internet, thereby achieving complete discrimination pricing under ideal conditions to maximize profits.

Since the Internet is more personal and interactive than the bibliography that traditional paper books are connected to readers in the past, it provides more attractive pricing opportunities. However, the realization of this pricing strategy is based on a thorough understanding of customers, so the collection of reader data becomes inevitable. The book service provider can build a reader database or provide bibliography based on the reader ’s online click records and detailed personal information (including age, work, personal income, preferences, etc.), and the pricing can vary according to the reader , Readers feedback their requirements in a timely manner.

At the same time, e-books are no longer simple digital books. Their structural units have been refined into chapters. Taking chapters as units, through HyperLink, you can organize related content in different books according to topics, so readers You can take the initiative to request customized theme services. That is, the reader sends the required theme request, and then the bookseller charges according to the content, information value, quantity, and service they request. This pricing can maximize the value of e-book information.

3 Conclusion The e-book industry has developed extremely rapidly, but there is still no conclusive discussion on the pricing of e-books. It can be imagined that e-books will definitely develop towards the trend of "humanization" of information services and will lead the "customization" of information services in the book field. "trend.

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