Thursday, May 16, 2013

What is the Right price, Fair price, for Kindle Books

Yesterday I discussed Dan Brown’s newly released Inferno and I had to check in today to make sure he was still ranked at number one, which of course he is. By the way, I also mentioned he had nineteen reviews, two of which were rather cruel one-stars. Today he has fifty seven, six of which are one-star. I understand someone not liking a particular book or writer, but I will never understand a reader’s need to write a mean spirited review. There are thousands of ways to deliver a critique without making it a personal assault.

Anyway, I digress. My theme today is e-book pricing because in a readers’ forum I read a rather spirited discussion about the excessiveness of Brown’s $14.99 price tag. I admit it is a lot of money for something you cannot hold in your hand. However, the value of something, perceived being more important than actual, is based upon what the buyer is willing to pay and the seller willing to accept. In this case Kindle readers are paying a premium to get an early look at the work of someone they like or a book that has incredible buzz. Given, the hardback is only a few dollars more and although I love my Kindle I would always rather have a bound copy of something I like for my shelf. There are still an incredible number of readers out there who only want books on their Kindle or Nook for the convenience.

Amanda Hocking is the perfect example of a young YA Indie author who made a huge success of her books at 99 cents. It was not until later, when she signed a traditional publishing agreement that her prices began to go up.

The point is this: Are Hocking’s books worth more now that she is with a publisher? Are Brown’s books worth more because everyone is talking about them? Is the true, fair price for an e-book .99 or $14.99? I think the answers depend upon you, the reader. If you like an author and want their book then $14.99 may be of little consequence. If you are shooting in the dark and guessing that you may or may not like a new book then you might be overpaying at .99.

The author’s perspective is quite different than the reader. The author spends countless hours writing, rewriting, editing, researching, and trying to ensure the highest quality book. There is a value for this work. If a writer can sell millions of copies at .99 and make .35 for each then perhaps that is a good deal. However, if his work is so popular that he can sell millions and charge $14.99 then he has established his own perceived value.

We make published authors’ books worth what they charge by what we are willing to pay. If you want Dan Brown to lower his price, stop buying his book.

To Mr. Brown I say again, congratulations, job well done!

Your comments and questions are always welcome.

Elizabeth’s Secrets
Dark Star

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