Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Brainwashing Has Begun

Lookee here:

That's Sr. Jr.'s knitting! On Sunday I took him over to the temple for his bar mitzvah tutoring. Normal Sunday School wasn't in session because it was Mitzvah Day, when people show up to do various volunteer projects like making sandwiches for the homeless or packaging food up for food banks. At one table, there was yarn, needles, and some 8 by 8 inch squares -- I knew where I was going. The knitters were making squares that would be joined up to make blankets to go to homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters. I sat and knitted while Jr. Jr. whined for a while. Then a little girl from one of his classes showed up, made googly eyes at him, and said she wanted to learn how to knit. All of a sudden, Jr. Jr. thought it would be a fun idea to knit. So we got him started. That didn't go very well.

When Sr. Jr. was done with his tutoring, he came to find me and decided he wanted to knit, too! So I got him going, and he did pretty well. He decided he'd like to keep doing it, to knit himself some hats and socks, and maybe make a felted kitty blanket or bed. I'm not going to discourage this.

When we got home, the kids ran straight for the stash and tried to get all grabby hands with the Wollmeise. Ha! At first I found some leftover Lamb's Pride for Sr. Jr. to use, but the fuzzy single ply wasn't easy to work with. Finally, I gave him a partial skein from the sweater I'm working on, and he went to town.

At one point, Jr. Jr. asked him to play a game, and Sr. Jr.'s response was "I'm knitting!" There were definitely some moments of frustration, and the 20 stitches he started out with have morphed into 28, but the stitches look pretty good. Neither one of us knows whether he'll keep going with this, but it's been fun to share.

Speaking of the sweater I'm working on, I've finished sleeve two and cast on for the sides:

Most of the major pieces of the bar mitzvah planning are done (for now), so I feel a little more relaxed. When summer hits and the actual date is closer, I'm sure I'll be frantic, but at least I can chill for now.

Meditations on E-Book Pricing

There was an interesting article in last week's New Yorker about e-books, the Kindle, and the iPad, mostly concerning the pricing of e-books. Apparently, when Amazon first introduced the Kindle it was selling e-books to the public for less than it was paying the publishers for the books. This established a price point in consumers' minds -- e-books = $9.99. As a Kindle owner, I can say that I thought $9.99 seemed a bit high, but acceptable. In my mind, e-books were nearly pure profit for publishers. E-books eliminate the physical costs of making and selling books, including the physical costs of materials, the labor costs, the costs to warehouse, ship, and accept returns on all the books. E-books also eliminate the uncertainty over how many to publish, since they're downloaded on demand. The article confirmed for me that publishers eat a lot of costs over unsold books -- over $5 of the cost of a hardback book is to counteract chargebacks from unsold stock.

According to the article, the publishers weren't happy about Amazon's move. They, of course, want to charge more for e-books. It was really fascinating to see how much of the cost of a book went to physical materials, chargebacks, etc. It only confirmed for me that e-books should NOT be priced higher.

Publishers: you will lose customers if you raise prices. I'm an avid reader. I spend a lot of money on books. When prices are low, I buy more. I'm more willing to take a risk on a book that seems iffy to me if the price isn't too high. It's one thing to charge a lot of money for a physical book. I can re-sell the book, lend it to friends (which costs you sales), donate it to the library or to a book fair. I cannot do that with an e-book. It is mine and mine alone. I am not willing to pay a lot of money for it, knowing how much of the price is pure profit to you. I am not against you earning money on your products, not at all. But there is a point at which the cost will cause me to purchase fewer books. That will hurt you and your authors more than lowering your prices.

Think about it.


Scott T. said...

I'm not comfortable with the children being armed with sharp spikes

Sharon said...

I love, love, love the knitting story! One of my dearest friends is a male (and a straight one!!)knitter. He knits my socks for me!!

kippi said...

Love Sr. Jr's knitting! It looks really great for a first effort. :-) Hide the WM. Hide the Bugga.

I totally agree with you about the ebooks. Publishers would do well to put all of their titles on and price reasonably. Of course paper farmers might have something to say about that. lol