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Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

Say hi to Lucy. 

Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s.  She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.

I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group—I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs.  A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.
So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy.  Only issue is this one thing:
Lucy’s kind of unhappy.
To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place.  It comes down to a simple formula:
It’s pretty straightforward—when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy.  When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.
To provide some context, let’s start by bringing Lucy’s parents into the discussion:

Lucy’s parents were born in the 50s—they’re Baby Boomers.  They were raised by Lucy’s grandparents, members of the G.I. Generation, or “the Greatest Generation,” who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and were most definitely not GYPSYs.

Lucy’s Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers.  They wanted her parents’ careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy’s parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves.  Something like this:

They were taught that there was nothing stopping them from getting to that lush, green lawn of a career, but that they’d need to put in years of hard work to make it happen.


After graduating from being insufferable hippies, Lucy’s parents embarked on their careers.  As the 70s, 80s, and 90s rolled along, the world entered a time of unprecedented economic prosperity.  Lucy’s parents did even better than they expected to.  This left them feeling gratified and optimistic.


With a smoother, more positive life experience than that of their own parents, Lucy’s parents raised Lucy with a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility.  And they weren’t alone.  Baby Boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.
This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them.  A GYPSY-worthy lawn has flowers.
This leads to our first fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Wildly Ambitious


The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security.  The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY.  Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.
Cal Newport points out that “follow your passion” is a catchphrase that has only gotten going in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time.  The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.
To be clear, GYPSYs want economic prosperity just like their parents did—they just also want to be fulfilled by their career in a way their parents didn’t think about as much.
But something else is happening too.  While the career goals of Gen Y as a whole have become much more particular and ambitious, Lucy has been given a second message throughout her childhood as well:
This would probably be a good time to bring in our second fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Delusional

“Sure,” Lucy has been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.”  So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better—
A shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn.  


So why is this delusional?  Because this is what all GYPSYs think, which defies the definition of special: 

spe-cial| ‘speSHel |
better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

According to this definition, most people are not special—otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything.

Even right now, the GYPSYs reading this are thinking, “Good point…but I actually am one of the few special ones”—and this is the problem.
A second GYPSY delusion comes into play once the GYPSY enters the job market.  While Lucy’s parents’ expectation was that many years of hard work would eventually lead to a great career, Lucy considers a great career an obvious given for someone as exceptional as she, and for her it’s just a matter of time and choosing which way to go.  Her pre-workforce expectations look something like this:
Unfortunately, the funny thing about the world is that it turns out to not be that easy of a place, and the weird thing about careers is that they’re actually quite hard.  Great careers take years of blood, sweat and tears to build—even the ones with no flowers or unicorns on them—and even the most successful people are rarely doing anything that great in their early or mid-20s.
But GYPSYs aren’t about to just accept that.
Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.”  He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”
For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?”  He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”
And since the real world has the nerve to consider merit a factor, a few years out of college Lucy finds herself here:


Lucy’s extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations for even the early years out of college.  And her reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving her “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.
And it gets even worse.  On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation:

GYPSYs Are Taunted

Sure, some people from Lucy’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did.  And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers.
Lucy, on the other hand, finds herself constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting.
Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation.  This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:


So that’s why Lucy is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate.  In fact, she’s probably started off her career perfectly well, but to her, it feels very disappointing.
Here’s my advice for Lucy:
1) Stay wildly ambitious.  The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success.  The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out—just dive in somewhere.
2) Stop thinking that you’re special.  The fact is, right now, you’re not special.  You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet.  You can become special by working really hard for a long time.
3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.
Taken from:

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The 15 days of Chinese New Year

Last minute CNY shopping?
Last minute CNY shopping?

Preceding days

On the eighth day of the lunar month prior to Chinese New Year, a traditional porridge known as làbāzhōu (臘八粥) is served in remembrance “of an ancient festival, called Là, that occurred shortly after the winter solstice”.[12]Pickles such as La 8th garlic, which turns green from vinegar, are also made on this day. For those that believe in Buddhism, the La 8th (臘八) holiday is also considered Bodhi DayLàyuè (臘月) is a term often associated with Chinese New Year as it refers to the sacrifices held in honor of the gods in the twelfth lunar month, hence the cured meats of Chinese New Year are known as làròu (臘肉). The porridge was prepared by the women of the household at first light, with the first bowl offered to the family’s ancestors and the household deities. Every member of the family was then served a bowl, with leftovers distributed to relatives and friends.[13] It’s still served as a special breakfast on this day in some Chinese homes. The concept of the ‘La month’ is similar to Advent in Christianity. Many families eat vegan on Chinese New Year eve, the garlic and preserved meat are eaten on Chinese New Year day.

On the days immediately before the New Year celebration, Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. There is a Cantonese saying “Wash away the dirt on ninyabaat” (年廿八,洗邋遢), but the practice is not restricted to nin’ya’baat (年廿八, the 28th day of month 12). It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that the newly arrived good luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-frames a new coat of red paint; decorators and paper-hangers do a year-end rush of business prior to Chinese New Year.[14] Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Purchasing new clothing and shoes also symbolize a new start. Any hair cuts need to be completed before the New Year, as cutting hair on New Year is considered bad luck due to the homonymic nature of the word “hair” (fa) and the word for “prosperity”. Businesses are expected to pay off all the debts outstanding for the year before the new year eve, extending to debts of gratitude. Thus it is a common practice to send gifts and rice to close business associates, and extended family members.

In many households where Buddhism or Taoism is prevalent, home altars and statues are cleaned thoroughly, and altars that were adorned with decorations from the previous year are taken down and burned a week before the new year starts, to be replaced with new decorations. Taoists (and Buddhists to a lesser extent) will also “send gods” (送神, sòngshén), an example would be burning a paper effigy of Zao Jun the Kitchen God, the recorder of family functions. This is done so that the Kitchen God can report to the Jade Emperor of the family household’s transgressions and good deeds. Families often offer sweet foods (such as candy) in order to “bribe” the deities into reporting good things about the family.

Prior to the Reunion Dinner, a thanksgiving prayer offering to mark the safe passage of the previous year is held. Confucianists take the opportunity to remember the ancestors, and those who had lived before them are revered.

The biggest event of any Chinese New Year’s Eve is the Reunion Dinner,named as “Nian Ye Fan”. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the tables of Chinese families. It is for display for the New Year’s Eve dinner. This meal is comparable to Christmas dinner in the West. In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings (jiaozi, 餃子, jiǎozi) after dinner to eat around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape resembles a Chinese sycee. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a glutinous new year cake (niangao, 年糕, niángāo) and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the new year. Niángāo [Pinyin] literally means “new year cake” with a homophonous meaning of “increasingly prosperous year in year out”.[15] After dinner, some families go to local temples hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year by lighting the first incense of the year; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new year. Traditionally, firecrackers were once lit to scare away evil spirits with the household doors sealed, not to be reopened until the new morning in a ritual called “opening the door of fortune” (kāicáimén, 開財門).[16] Beginning in 1982, the CCTV New Year’s Gala was broadcast four hours before the start of the New Year.

First day

The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian (年) of which the term guo-nian (过年) was derived. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year’s Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the days before. On this day, it is considered bad luck to use the broom.

Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time to honor one’s elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

For Buddhists, the first day is also the birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva (better known as the more familiar Budai Luohan), the Buddha-to-be. People also abstain from killing animals.

Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Chinese New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash known as lai see or angpow, a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers. Business managers also give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.

While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular, some regions have banned them due to concerns over fire hazards. For this reason, various city governments (e.g., Hong Kong, Beijing, for a number of years) issued bans over fireworks and firecrackers in certain precincts of the city. As a substitute, large-scale fireworks display have been launched by governments in such cities as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Second day

The second day of the Chinese New Year, known as kāinián (開年/开年, “beginning of the year”),[17] was when married daughters visited their birth parents, relatives and close friends. (Traditionally, married daughters didn’t have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.)

During the days of imperial China, “beggars and other unemployed people circulate[d] from family to family, carrying a picture [of the God of Wealth] shouting, “Cai Shen dao!” [The God of Wealth has come!].”[18] Householders would respond with “lucky money” to reward the messengers. Business people of the Cantonese dialect group will hold a ‘Hoi Nin’ prayer to start their business on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year so they will be blessed with good luck and prosperity in their business for the year.

As this day is believed to be the birthday of Che Kung, a deity worshipped in Hong Kong, worshippers go to Che Kung Temples to pray for his blessing. A representative from the government asks Che Kung about the city’s fortune through kau cim.

Some believe that the second day is also the birthday of all dogs and remember them with special treats.

Third day

The third day is known as Chìkǒu (赤口), directly translated as “red mouth”. Chìkǒu is also called Chìgǒurì (赤狗日), or “Chìgǒu’s Day”. Chìgǒu, literally “red dog”, is an epithet of “the God of Blazing Wrath” (熛怒之神). Rural villagers continue the tradition of burning paper offerings over trash fires. It is considered an unlucky day to have guests or go visiting.[19][20] Hakka villagers in rural Hong Kong in the 1960s called it the Day of the Poor Devil and believed everyone should stay at home.[21] This is also considered a propitious day to visit the temple of the God of Wealth and have one’s future told.

Fourth day

In those communities that celebrate Chinese New Year for only two or three days, the fourth day is when corporate “spring dinners” kick off and business returns to normal.

Fifth day

This day is the God of Wealth’s birthday. In northern China, people eat jiǎozi (simplified Chinese: 饺子; traditional Chinese: 餃子), or dumplings, on the morning of pòwǔ (破五). In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on the next day (the sixth day), accompanied by firecrackers.

It is also common in China that on the 5th day people will shoot off firecrackers to get Guan Yu‘s attention, thus ensuring his favor and good fortune for the new year.[22]

Seventh day

The seventh day, traditionally known as Rénrì (人日, the common person’s birthday), is the day when everyone grows one year older. In some overseas Chinese communities inSoutheast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore, it is also the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten for continued wealth and prosperity.

For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat, the seventh day commemorating the birth of Sakra, lord of the devas in Buddhist cosmology who is analogous to the Jade Emperor.

Eighth day

Another family dinner is held to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven. People normally return to work by the eighth day.the Store owners will host a lunch/dinner with their employees, thanking their employees for the work they have done for the whole year.

Approaching 12 midnight on this day, Hokkien people prepare for a Jade Emperor ritual (Bai Ti Gong or 拜天公) during which incense is burnt and food offerings made to the Jade Emperor and also to Zao Jun, the Kitchen God who reports on each family to the Jade Emperor.

Some people will hold a ritual prayer at after midnight on the eighth day. In Malaysia, especially, people light fireworks, often more than on the first day.

This practice of Bai Ti Gong can also be seen in Singapore.

Ninth day

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天公, Tiāngōng) in the DaoistPantheon.[23] The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day, called Ti Kong DanTiangong Sheng (天公生) orPai Ti Kong (拜天公, Pài Thiⁿ-kong), is especially important to Hokkiens, even more important than the first day of the Chinese New Year.[24]

Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, Hokkiens will offer thanks to the Emperor of Heaven. A prominent requisite offering issugarcane.[24] Legend holds that the Hokkien were spared from a massacre by Japanese pirates by hiding in a sugarcane plantation during the eighth and ninth days of the Chinese New Year, coinciding with the Jade Emperor’s birthday.[24] Since “sugarcane” (甘蔗, kam-chià) is a near homonym to “thank you” (感謝, kám-siā) in the Hokkien dialect, Hokkiens offer sugarcane on the eve of his birthday, symbolic of their gratitude.[24]

In the morning of this birthday, Taiwanese households set up an altar table with 3 layers: one top (containing offertories of six vegetables (六齋), noodles, fruits, cakes, tangyuan, vegetable bowls, and unripe betel, all decorated with paper lanterns) and two lower levels (containing the five sacrifices and wines) to honor the deities below the Jade Emperor.[23]The household then kneels three times and kowtows nine times to pay obeisance and wish him a long life.[23]

Incense, tea, fruit, vegetarian food or roast pig, and gold paper is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.

Tenth day

The Jade Emperor’s party is also celebrated on this day.

Thirteenth day

On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food to clean out their stomach due to consuming too much food over the preceding two weeks.

This day is dedicated to the General Guan Yu, also known as the Chinese God of War. Guan Yu was born in the Han dynasty and is considered the greatest general in Chinese history. He represents loyalty, strength, truth, and justice. According to history, he was tricked by the enemy and was beheaded.

Almost every organization and business in China will pray to Guan Yu on this day. Before his life ended, Guan Yu had won over one hundred battles and that is a goal that all businesses in China want to accomplish. In a way, people look at him as the God of Wealth or the God of Success.

Fifteenth day

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuanxiao Festival/Yuánxiāojié (元宵節), also known as Shangyuan Festival/Shàngyuánjié (上元節) or the Lantern Festival (otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei Chinese: 十五暝; pinyin: Shíwǔmíng; literally “the fifteen night” in Fujian dialect). Rice dumplings tangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆;traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyintāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, are eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.

In Malaysia and Singapore, this day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner, a different version of Valentine’s Day.[25] Normally, single women would write their contact number on mandarin oranges and throw it in a river or a lake while single men would collect them and eat the oranges. The taste is an indication of their possible love: sweet represents a good fate while sour represents a bad fate.

This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.




Taken from :

Do you like reading the book before or after seeing the movie?

To read before or after?
To read before or after?

One question, two answers, a myriad of justifying reasons. This question basically separates a group of readers into two.

In every story, movie plot, or both, there will be a general story structure. It is like formulae for successful stories. Breaking it down, it can be summarised into 7 basic plots. Taken from Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic Plotsit goes as below:

  • Overcoming the Monster

Hero learns of a great evil threatening the land, and sets out to destroy it.

  • Rags to Riches

Surrounded by dark forces who suppress and ridicule him, the Hero slowly blossoms into a mature figure who ultimately gets riches, a kingdom, and the perfect mate.

  • The Quest

Hero learns of a great MacGuffin that he desperately wants to find, and sets out to find it, often with companions.

  • Voyage and Return

Hero heads off into a magic land with crazy rules, ultimately triumphs over the madness and returns home far more mature than when he set out.

  • Comedy

Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they really are, and allows two or more other relationships to correctly form.

  • Tragedy

The flip side of the Overcoming the Monster plot. Our protagonist character is the Villain, but we get to watch him slowly spiral down into darkness before he’s finally defeated, freeing the land from his evil influence.

  • Rebirth

As with the Tragedy plot, but our protagonist manages to realize his error before it’s too late, and does a Heel-Face Turn to avoid inevitable defeat.

Having that understanding, here comes the major question that divides a group of readers into 2. One that reads before the movie, and the other after the movie.



Keep calm and read
Keep calm and read

Each has their reasons for doing so. For convenience, I have listed down in bullet points.

First off with those who read before movie,

  1. Creating an entire world inside your head just based on the information you’re given in the book.
  2. Usually the books are better and plus if you read the book first it gives you a better understanding of the movie.
  3. Will almost certain you will be disappointed with the book if you read it after the movie.
  4. The book allows you to use your imagination more, while the movie is a package of “ready made stuff” with distracting cues that are already ” there.”
  5. When you read, you can imagine the characters however you want, but after you watch the movie, no matter how hard you try, you’ll see the actors as the characters.
  6. To find the differences just to prove that books are better than movies.


And then we have those who read after watching the big screen.

  1. Not missing out any details that may be omitted from the film due to lack of time for character development.
  2. Cinematic enjoyment that a book cannot provide. Plus after enjoying all the effects, the book serve as a slow replay of story development once again, with all the cinematic effects going on again in your head.
  3. While the usual complain about book to movie translation is never 100% accurate, the same could also be for the opposite. The film creates a type of vantage, the book may create another. Unless one reads the book after the movie, one will never know about that.
  4. To watch the plot being played out on the big screen first before reading is more exciting. Majorly due to the element of surprise as the plot develops visually in front of you.
  5. Giving the title another chance, if the movie is screwed up by some lameass director.


No matter which you choose, the more important thing is we enjoy whichever comes first.

Personally, i read first before watching the movie. I feel that it is giving the story a proper justification in this way.

The voting poll has started~! Take a vote, whether you read before or after the movie.

Comments, vote, hear from you all soon!

Happy weekends!

Why Are E-books More Expensive Than Printed Books?

Paper, labour, and distribution costs.

E-books are paperless, stored in various digital formats which can be distributed easily. Technically right, probably in some cases, legally wrong due to copyrights and permissions, in particular to Digital Copyright law.

In any case, e-books are easier to store and distribute. This is an undisputed fact. As such, it is a common perception among consumers that e-books should be, and will be cheaper than paperbacks.

Printing machinery, binding materials and sizing, all these are costs for printing books. After which, distributing printed books itself is another major cost, considering all the logistics and planning that goes behind it. Not to mention, storage costs for that printed literature that are not sold, since this is definitely not a JIT (Just-in-time) inventory system.

To many of us, the e-book should cost very little, probably even next to nothing because there is no paper, printing, and shipping involved. All of the costs associated with print, from the printing to the shipping to the distribution to the warehousing to returns, seems to be non-existent for selling e-books. Compared to its counterpart, the cost of a printed book amounts to a mere few dollars per copy, depending on the size of the print run.

Costs of e-books

In this 2009 file photo, the Kindle 2 electronic reader is shown at an news conference in New York. Despite eliminating many costs associated with regular books, e-books are often more expensive than paperbacks.
In this 2009 file photo, the Kindle 2 electronic reader is shown at an news conference in New York. Despite eliminating many costs associated with regular books, e-books are often more expensive than paperbacks. Mark Lennihan/AP/File

Well first off, the high costs of ‘manufacturing’ e-books are not the due to paper, labour and distribution.

E-books are indeed cheaper than physical books. In this Information Technology age, we all know that it is cheaper to produce something virtual. A blog shop website is cheaper, and probably faster considering ripping off and copying an existing website, to produce as compared to replicating a physical retail shop. It is faster and economically cheaper to send a .mp3 file than to physically deliver it to him/her. An essay is easier to edit in its ‘soft’ copy than its ‘hard’ copy. Anyone suggesting otherwise probably has a dog in the fight.

So who got the biggest pie?

Looking at the profits helps to understand this.

From the macro view, the lion’s share of the retail price of a book, whether in digital or physical form, is going to the publisher.[1] Of which, the publishers set the price and for the case of e-books, publishers will receive 70 percent. Publishers took that deal and then imposed it on book sellers like Amazon [2]

E-readers being ripped off?

(Credit: CNET)
(Credit: CNET)

Under the assumption that physical book price is higher than ebook price, that is, $25.00 as the reference price for a physical book, and let’s say the e-book would have and should have sold for $10.00 at Amazon online. However due to different business models ( as explained below), the publisher is demanding for 50% profit of the reference price of $25.00, requiring a profit of $12.50, regardless ebook or physical book.

The table below explains the 2 selling models. [2]

Wholesale model for selling e-book:
Publisher: $12.50 (based on 50 percent of $25.00 of hardcover retail price)
Distributors such as Amazon: Incur a loss $2.50 if it wanted to sell at a listed price of $10.00

Not wanting to incur a loss for Amazon, the business model has to change! Also, since the magnitude of profit is reduced for the publisher (50% of $25.00, compared to 50% of $10), the publisher and distributor agreed that the ratio of profits will increase to 70 – 30, in favour of the publisher.

Thus, under Agency model e-book:
Publisher: $10.50(70 percent of $15.00)
Amazon: $4.50 (30 percent of $15.00)

Publishers control via pricing

The e-book could have sold for $10 but instead, it is now $15.00. As a result, e-booksellers are competing. And if higher prices of e-books slowed down consumers’ adoption of e-books and kept people attached to print, publishers will be happier with that too. Not because they (the publishers) are getting a higher profit ratio (considering shifting from 50% to 70%), most of the tools at the publisher’s disposal for making a book a hit are actually tied to a print world, from buying front-of-the-book store placement to book tours to promote and market the latest title.

So why in the right mind, would a publisher allow an e-book to be cheaper than a printed book in the first place?

Higher profits

In addition, the increased popularity of Apple’s iPad prompted some publishers to shift from the so-called wholesale model, where retailers set prices, to the agency model, where publishers set prices. Since that happened in 2010, prices that consumers pay for e-books have generally risen and Amazon and other online book sellers who discount have been under pressure. [3]

Quoting part of a statement that the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs allegedly made to biographer Walter Isaacson: [3]

We told the publishers, “We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30 percent, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.”

They went to Amazon and said, “You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.”

Go to for more details:

Pricing discrepancies

Also, due to the 2 different selling models here; Wholesale and Agency model, publishers selling print books via the wholesale model and e-books via the agency model, at times resulting in a confusing situation of e-books sometimes costing more than their print counterparts.

To further elaborate, with print, Amazon and other booksellers are allowed to charge a price they want. So when booksellers, for instance, discount the print books under the e-book price, publishers will have little control over that. E-books, however, publishers set the price and e-booksellers aren’t allowed to discount. With ebooks, publishers retain the rights to price the ebooks! That is a difference from the first case. Hence this resulted in an inconsistency with the pricing of books on 2 different mediums.

Future of eBooks

For now, eBooks will be more expensive than printed books. Until we challenge it or to voice our opinion, it is highly likely that it will not change.

Ultimately, eBooks do not deteriorate as ‘quickly’ as physical books, you can be assured that the conditions remain pretty much the same. So why are readers paying more for ebooks?


Credit Google Images
Credit Google Images

In short, printed books will still be cheaper than e-books, at least for now. Plus with printed books, it is more convenient to swap books as there is no such thing as DRM (Digital Rights Management) or copyright problems. Until the day comes, printed books will be more affordable and more environmentally friendly, considering the fact that you do not need electricity to read a book at all. Hopefully, one day ebook will soon be cheaper than its counterparts.

 Check out our next article Are E-books Really Cheaper?

Written and compiled by BooksAvenue


updated 28/06/2014, 14/12/2014, 07/02/17




The Special Operations Command

With reference to last night’s Little India riot, we want to thank our guys in blue for their continual efforts in keeping us safe.

Not forgetting our foreign friends, we hope that they are well. Please keep calm in future.

There is a nice article, written by the wife of a trooper in Special Operations Command. The link is as below.

The Special Operations Command.

Stay safe guys! 🙂

Starting Book Swap on BooksAvenue this Friday

Hi friends of BooksAvenue, the section of book swap is ready. It will start officially this Friday.

After much considerations, we decided that it is better to keep it simple because we are amateurs when it comes to website designing. It makes more sense for us to present an idea, no matter how crude it is, so long as it is viable and feasible. But one for sure, we promise this will be a free service. No monthly subscriptions, no commission or fee paying BS to swap books or others. We promise it will continue to be free and will continue to polish and improve along the way.

Also, we have done up a similar section for non-book swaps too. It is a very simple page where swappers can exchange information to transact by commenting on the page itself. We will mitigate to an online forum once we are very sure that it will serve our friends better.

As of now, it is password protected. If you want to take a peek, message us on our Facebook page. ^ ^

Lastly, this is a free of charge service, an initiative to serve the community better. We hope to get your support.

Do share with your friends, do LIKE our page, do write to us because no matter how small and humble your contributions are, it really means a lot to us.

Peace~! ^ ^