Posts Tagged ‘book pricing’

What is a fair price for a novel-length ebook?

April 11, 2012 19 comments

I was reading Dean Wesley Smith’s blog (I do this weekly – the man can lay down some serious publishing knowledge) and ran across a link he posted to J. A. Marlow’s site with a pricing discussion. The ranges of price for ebooks was surprising, and the comments were as well. So I got to thinking, perhaps I should “ask around” to see what readers thought was a “fair and equitable” price for a novel length (over 60K words) ebook* – for example, one of the Gabriel series, which have sold anywhere from free to $4.99 in the past year.

* Plus I wanted to try out a poll on WordPress…

What say you? Click the button, get counted, make me feel like someone is reading out there…


Are books worth more than gas station coffee?

December 16, 2011 40 comments

Normally my blog posts are very reader-centric (book reviews, random thoughts and ramblings), but I just received a Twitter DM last night (actually several in a row) I really wanted to talk to someone about. And since authordom is a lonely profession, I figured I’d blab about it here and see what other authors (and readers) thought.

Here’s what I received, around 1AM (yep, still awake):

“Just wanted u 2 know i finished gabriels return and really loved it, very fun, cool scifi”

“but ur price is way out of wack. its 86 thousand words for $2.99”

“i can get 3 novels 4 that price, plus free ones. u shud make it .99”

“or add some chapters and stuff 2 make it over 100k. i hope the last 1 in trilogy is .99, or i might not get it”

So yeah. Setting aside the professional athlete type of abbreviated grammar (hey, I get the 140 character limit, but 2 for to? Come on…), here’s what I took out of this:

  • This person really loved my book, which is a great compliment
  • This person feels that three bucks is too much to spend for an under-100k words novel
  • This person thinks I should add filler to a book he/she ‘loved’ to make it worth more
  • This person, who (presumably) read first two in my trilogy won’t spend more than a buck to read the last one

I appreciate the first point, I sort of understand the second, but totally don’t get the third or fourth.

We are in a recession, some of the worst financial times I’ve seen in my 40 (ahem) years, so I get the dollar issue. I really do. Do I sometimes opt for the Wawa or 7-11 $1.29 coffee instead of the $4.25 Starbucks latte? Sure. Do I cross the $2 toll bridge that’s a few minutes more out of my way than the $5 one? Sometimes. But to me those are commodities, instant purchase decisions that are used in a matter of minutes. I don’t get hours of enjoyment from driving over the bridge (barring major traffic), nor do I curl up on the couch every night for a week with the same $1.29 cup of coffee.

I’ve talked about this before. A book is worth what the market will bear, not a penny more or less. So I’m certainly not to going to argue a book should be priced based on the work put into it, or the time spent creating it, and so on. I’ve priced my first book anywhere between $.99 and $4.99, and have come down squarely on the side of price vs. value. I feel that $.99 is an impulse buy and may never get read, whereas someone who spends $3 to $5 will invest their valuable time in reading it. I believe that there is a perception out there that $.99 books are self-published junk (right or wrong) that people absolutely won’t touch with a 39 1/2 foot pole (and to some extent, that can be applied to $2.99 books, as those are the two magic price points for self-published books).

I know there’s a whole contingent of buyers out there who will buy nothing but $.99 books, and I get that. I’m not going that way. I still feel $3-$5 is a great value for a book, whether it’s 50k words or 150k. But to say add more to the book to make it worth more, even after they loved it, or saying they won’t buy the last one for that extra $2? Still scratching my head…

Am I wrong to wonder why someone would not spend less than a Starbucks latte for a novel, and instead insist on it being less than a cup of coffee from a gas station? What is the reader and Kindle/Nook book buyer’s perspective on this?

Update: In the spirit of the holidays, I changed “ten foot pole” to “39 1/2 foot pole.” See what I did there?