PDF and eBooks - I know it's a marginal cost but are Manning take it to extremes?

Manning Publications has a program called MEAP.  MEAP stands for Manning Early Access Program - basically buying a book as a PDF before the paper version is published, in fact, before it is even finished.  Good for new technologies like ASP.NET MVC of Silverlight.

Now I know that electronic versions have a marginal cost compared to paper versions, but Manning are taking this to extreme levels;

In April, I bought the MEAP title, The Art of Unit Testing, $24.99

By August, the completion of The Art Of Unit Testing is being delayed so I received a $15 coupon off any other purchases, so I bought another MEAP title, NHibernate In Action, $29.99 - $15 = $14.99

Today (October) I get an e-mail saying that as a purchaser of NHibernate In Action I have another $15 coupon to spend, so I bought a PDF title,  .NET Multithreading, $17.50 - $15 = $2.50.

That is some ripple effect on a late publishing date for The Art of Unit Testing. Many thanks to Roy Osherove for being very busy with everything else in his life.

Also, in the past few weeks I also bought Silverlight In Action, as when Microsoft released Silverlight 2 RC0 they gave 35% off another MEAP title, Silverlight In Action, $27.50 - $9.63 = $17.87.

Looking at this random pricing I am really, really glad I'm not an author who expects royalities. I realise that authoring a technical book is generally a zero income activity, but surely pricing like this ensures that this will be the case.

Print | posted on Friday, October 10, 2008 5:01 PM

Comments on this post

# re: PDF and eBooks - I know it's a marginal cost but are Manning take it to extremes?

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free ebooks have even worse margins :)
Left by Karl on Oct 10, 2008 10:15 PM

# re: PDF and eBooks - I know it's a marginal cost but are Manning take it to extremes?

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Wow. That's a lot of material for under $20. Well done!!
Left by Stuart Thompson on Oct 10, 2008 10:15 PM

# re: PDF and eBooks - I know it's a marginal cost but are Manning take it to extremes?

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I bought C# in Depth and Linq in Depth, and each was discounted 25% because I was buying the other. The checkout asked for a coupon, and I remembered that Manning had emailed me a coupon because I bought other books, so I ended up getting a further 25& off. Two books at $27.50 discounted 25% and then a further 27% is about $30.

Can't complain there.
Left by Hugh Brown on Oct 12, 2008 5:37 AM

# re: PDF and eBooks - I know it's a marginal cost but are Manning take it to extremes?

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Hello all,

Mike with Manning Publications here. I'm glad you like the books--and the prices. We believe that quality trumps price *always,* but we do want to pass along good discounts when we can. A couple quick points.

First off, ebooks aren't really a marginal cost, at least not for us; the investment we make in a book is in the content, not the paper and printing. The cost of doing a first-rate ebook is very similar to that of a pbook.

Secondly, the coupons mentioned could be applied to ebboks or pbooks. Sure, an $X off coupon makes for a larger % reduction on an ebook, but many readers choose to apply the same discounts to print books.

And to the point about the authors--we have them covered. :)

Thanks for reading!
Left by Mike Stephens, Manning on Oct 15, 2008 2:29 PM

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