Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Reader's View: My Ebook Price Rant



I recently read a post over at Camille Picott's Blog that asked when an ebook is too expensive. At the time I didn't really think too much about the topic because I'm not in a position to spend big on anything and there wasn't anything I wanted to read that was over the usual $2.99 ebook price tag (I don't buy traditionally published books as ebooks because I think that's kooky).  
       Then a few days ago I read a review of a book that's been really popular. It was a glowing review in a long line of  glowing reviews that I've seen pop up all over the place. I started to get really keen so I jumped on to Amazon to give it a shot. To my horror I clicked on the Kindle edition and the price came up close to $9. At first I thought it was a mistake. So I checked again. Nope. Then I looked to see if maybe the book had been snapped up by a traditional publisher and hence the now hefty price. Nope.
       It could be crossover annoyance at having to type all day as part of NaNo but I found myself getting really irritated. I totally understand indies wanting to make money off their books the way any other author would. I get that if something is in demand it should be priced to match. But be reasonable. I won't buy a traditionally published ebook for over $5. What makes you think I'll buy your ebook for $9?? Especially when I can just get the paperback for the same amount of money.
      Before anyone asks, I've put myself in the author's shoes and totally believe that if I were in the same position I wouldn't even dream of pricing my book so high. Mostly because I know that in doing so I'd make it inaccessible to a lot of readers. I would prefer for more people to read my book even if it doesn't make me as much.
      Maybe I'm delusional in my belief that indies tend to price their books lower in order to entice readers to buy. Maybe the author no longer needs to have a cheap ebook in order to move her stock. Whatever the case, there is no chance in hell I am going to buy this book now. Neither the ebook nor the print version. EVER. I just don't understand the necessity. Angelfall by Susan Ee has been an immensely popular ebook and yet I've never seen it go over the $2.99 mark.
      I hope this isn't the way ebooks are going in the future because I am one reader that won't stand for it.


*PM if you'd like to know what book I am referring to. I can't be bothered naming names on here as I don't want to encourage trolls.

19 comments:

  1. Call me kooky, but I buy traditionally published ebooks. They tend to be cheaper than print editions(not always, but often) but $2.99? Very rarely, and then only if the book as been around for some time, such as a Harry Harrison SF classic. I like the convenience of bring able to download something I have read about in a review. I like the fact that it isn't going to clutter my shelves and that I can carry it and seventy other books with me to work in the morning. It's still a book. I
    consider prices just as I would in the shops.
    I do see your point that many so-called "indie" writers want to keep it cheap so people will pick up their books. And for $9 I can get a Michael Pryor, or a John Flanagan Ranger's Apprentice book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't even get me started on the joke that is pricing for traditionally published ebooks. I would never buy an ebook that's almost the same price as the print version. It makes me feel like I'm being ripped off. J.A Konrath has several blog posts about it which say a lot more than what I could but I'm not trying to keep indie's down so much as I'm disappointed that they're started doing things that traditional publishers are doing.

      Delete
  2. The most I will pay for any eBook is ten bucks. (And only once have I paid more, but it was for an author friend's book.) My publisher sets new eBook prices at $4.99 and eventually drops them to $2.99, which is fair to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I def understand buying an ebook for $10 if it was for a friend. To me no ebook is worth more than $10. I'm probably going to cop a lot of flak for saying so be as a reader I simply can't afford to hand over $10 for an electronic file. If I drop my kindle and it breaks (much more common than all the books I own burning down in a fire) there goes all my books until I buy a new ereader. Your publishers prices are fair and I have no problems with it. I'd be happy to pay that amount for a book I really wanted. But $10! No way!

      Delete
  3. If it's an indie book, I hesitate to buy if it's over $5. I do buy traditionally published books as ebooks, but usually if they're on sale--although if I want to read it enough, I'll pay the whole $10-12. I'm not really sure why there's such a price gap between what I'm willing to pay for an indie ebook and one that's also traditionally published--I guess it's because I feel like I'm taking a bigger risk on the indie ones so I want the price to reflect that risk.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ugh... I hear ya here. I'm not willing to pay more than $5 either. It's hard to justify paying more for indie, especially when you're unfamiliar with an author's work and not sure if it has been edited well enough. I wouldn't pay $10 for traditionally published books as ebooks either. I just feel that there's no point to investing in an ereader if you're going to pay the same for an ebook as you would for a hardcover. It's just silly. :P

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree, it is crazy to pay for an electronic copy for almost 10 dollars. I mean, buying a paperback for that price? yes it makes sense because there is shipping costs, ink costs, paper costs, stapling, etc. But ebooks? there is virtually NO cost once ONE document has been made it can be replicated hundreds, thousands, even millions of times! so I totally agree with you. I personally prefer spending a little money on a paperback than getting an ebook

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think that the 2.99 price point is good for eBooks. If you've got a package deal or something really long, I can maybe see 3.99 or 4.99. I say this as someone who is self publishing next year.

    As for trade published novels, my rule of thumb is that if the print edition is cheaper then the ebook I buy that. I mean, a few button presses and the ebook companies or publishers could potentially make my entire library disappear, so I'm not comfortable paying big bucks. Too bad since I do like the convenience.

    ReplyDelete
  7. $9? That is NUTS.
    I mean... I know 50S was expensive before it was picked up by a traditional pub, and I've seen a couple that were, too (Easy by Tammara Webber was a bit more expensive).

    ANYWAY.
    I paid it for Easy. No way in hell was I gonna pay it for 50S.

    But I'm rambling.

    I *DO* buy traditionally pubbed ebooks at ridiculous prices out of desperation and my need for instant gratification... but it feels wrong.

    The eBook for The Casual Vacancy was $25, Lan. TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS.
    I've seen YA eBooks for nearly $20. That is NUTS.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think the most I've ever paid for an e-book is $4.99, but that's because I really wanted it. And it was an indie author too. But anything above $5, I would never get. $9 is a bit pricey. If it were me, even if I did want it, I don't think I would have gotten it, traditional publishing or not. Some people think that some e-books are too cheap, and some are, but if they weren't cheap, no one would be getting them. I think I'm just rambling now, but hopefully, e-book prices will not change any time soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've NEVER heard of an indie author pricing their ebook at close to $9. That's crazy! This has to be hurting her in sales somehow and that's just stupid. It's a proven fact that people will more likely buy ebooks when they are priced lower than $9, so she is shooting herself in the foot. I won't ever pay that much for an ebook, no matter what. It's more worth it if the book is physical and cost money to create.

    Obviously, her strategy isn't working because you chose to not buy her book, lol. Sometimes, the price of a book can offend, so those who publish books would all do well to be careful about how they price their books. (ie. The Casual Vacancy, anyone?)

    P.S. Let me know which book this is in your email! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, an indie ebook was priced at $9?? That is insane! Honestly, I think high-priced ebooks probably make writers less money than e-books under $5 simply because not as many people will buy them. I've read lots of indie blogs with writers finding their sweet spots under $5.

    I had the same reaction as you when I found that ebook I wanted and it was $13. It was so ridiculous that I didn't feel like supporting the print book either. This wasn't an indie author, though it was a small press.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I definitely agree with your posting. I don't have an e-reader, but family and friends do and I am always looking for great downloads for them and agree If I saw one for $9 I would assume the author really didn't want to sell the book. With proper advertising and strategy even a .99 cent book can have great sales and make up for some losses, just my opinion. Great posting, enjoyed reading!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Indi author or not eBooks should not be over 5 dollars ever! It cost virtually nothing to make and I hate being gouged.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I agree. I usually prefer to buy the book in paperback form if it's over 7.99, any more than that and it's too overpriced for me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm with you! I buy the hard cover copy for ten cents more most often. At least I have a book I can lend freely and resell if I want!

    ReplyDelete
  15. 9?! Are you freaking kidding me? That is utterly ridiculous. Clearly someone has let their popularity go to their head (and I'm dying to know, so I had to laugh when I saw your comment about PMing you to find out - good call, naming names is just a way to attract haters!). I very rarely pay more than $2.99 for an ebook, and I've only ever bought one traditionally published ebook and that's because the price was surprisingly low and I had a coupon plus a gift certificate (although I ended up wishing I'd bought the paperback, so serves me right I guess). I've noticed a few of the really popular indie authors upping their prices lately - I've been curious and would like to read them, but the more the prices go up, the less interested I am. Hello, Amanda Hocking became a gazillionaire selling her books for 99 cents, what makes people think they need to price their ebooks at $9 when it clearly turns a lot of people off? When I published my first book, I priced it at $3.99 and it sold really well for awhile, but then as I started reading more indie books, I realized *I* wouldn't pay that for a new, basically unknown author, why should I expect people to pay that? People need to be more realistic. And this has become a really long comment, I'm sorry! lol
    I just realized today that I see you at Jess's blog every day and I've never visited you...clearly I need my head read. So I'm here, and I'm your newest follower! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Like most, $5 is my limit for a trad published work and $2.99 seems about right for an indie. I can understand the motivation to price higher, though, and not just the obvious 'ker-ching!' one. Some people do believe higher price = higher quality and that if they price their ebook cheaply, people will view it as cheap and throwaway. I've seen this conversation among indie authors, but I think the most important ingredient to getting people to respect your work, is for them to read it first. $9 is going to get you fewer readers.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh man, I agree with this Lan. I'm cheap when it comes to eBooks. I cap it at $5 (and then only rarely). I've only bought one book for $10, and it was a traditionally published book and I knew the author. I think eBooks should definitely be cheaper than print books. For one, an eBook is not a physical thing you can hold, and also, because of DRM, you don't technically "own" eBooks that you buy. Also, an indie book for $9? No. Just no. Maybe $5 if many people I trusted told me I should buy it and read it. But normally I'm a .99 or 1.99 kind of buyer. I like print books better anyways.

    ReplyDelete

I believe in comment karma. Comment and I shall return :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...