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March 17, 2011



You're right. I've bought a handful of books for $0.99 and $2.99 but I don't value them much. I can't get a fancy coffee for that price so I buy the books, read a few pages and if I don't like what I read I hit delete in the same way I'd throw away a bad cup of coffee - no big deal. I live in Australia though and don't own a Kindle so most of the books I buy (i.e. not self-published ones) cost much more than that, even the eBooks. I do think differently about the eBooks I've paid $12 or $15 or $20 for - I consider the purchase more and then give the book more time to see if I like it. It's not a throaway item in my thinking like the cheap ones are.

I've worked out that $20 is my upper limit for eBooks, $25 is around my limit for paper books (I'm using Aussie dollars but as it is almost at parity with the US dollar right now - 99cents or thereabouts - it's basically the same thing). I don't think eBooks are worth quite as much as a print book because I can't loan it to someone else as I would with my print books - I really only own a license so I shouldn't have to pay as much.

If you think I'm being generous - I'm not - new releases in Australia are around the $40-$45 mark in hardback or $33-$35 in trade paperback (and new eBooks are being priced equally). I won't pay those prices for any format.

Alan Orloff


Lexi Revellian

I’m in a position to put the indie point of view. My novel is priced at $0.99 and £0.49, and I certainly think it’s worth more than that. But it’s not about what I think. Readers have a lot of choice, and are reluctant to try an unknown author they have never heard of, never seen in a bookshop or read about. I tried pricing higher, and sold very few copies.

I believe the figures some indies are quoting – no point lying about it, we all watch rankings too much to be taken in by false claims. In six months, I’ve sold 17,500 ebooks, and am willing to email my Amazon royalty screen prints to anyone who doubts it. I’ve made about £4500 so far. Had I charged more, my book would have stayed invisible: as it is, it’s been in the UK Kindle top 100 for 155 days. I’ve established a readership for my next novel, which will be out soon.

Readers discriminate, even at a giveaway price, because they will be spending hours reading the novel they choose. Unpopular books don’t sell – you can’t give them away. Pricing low will not automatically make your book whiz up the charts.

The thing about groceries, electricity and rent is that, if you think they are too high, you can’t go on the internet and download them illegally. Like it or not, you can with ebooks. Piracy is something publishers have to take into consideration, because it’s there, and it’s growing.

Jersey Jack

Lexi states the author's POV well, I think. Authors want to build readership, not necessarily, maximize profits on the first few books. Kinda of like illegal drugs. Us pushers want to hook the readers on our characters, then raise prices when we have a bigger audience.

kiralık devremülkler

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I agree with you. Since I bought my iPad last year, I have read a lot more fiction and nonfiction business/economics books. Most I buy are from well known publishers. Occasionally I see something that catches my eye and it is only 2.99 (for example) - so I take a risk. Inevitably, such books are rife with poor grammar and overall, bad writing. I have learned my lesson.
Further, I do think that price is a signal. A higher price does imply higher quality many people.

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