Several comments to the previous post about frustration with the increase in ebook prices! I want to comment more extensively about that.
Mona says: Regarding the kindle price > hard copy price: So ANNOYING! I really want to buy that book, but I’m not going to pay $6+ for a book I can’t sell, lend, transfer, or even hold in my hands! Ridiculous. …I’ve lost count how many books I went to buy on Amazon, and then this very issue stopped me.
Elaine says: I figure publishers want readers to buy the paper copy. instead they’re losing my business for a lot of ‘maybe’ books. I’m getting harder and harder to convince to buy a high priced e-book. Sometimes I’ve liked a sample, then looked at the price – and decided to pass and try the library, or just something else.
And of course Hanneke says: Anything below $10 looks cheap (like an easy buy) to Dutch eyes! … $15 to $20 is normal, even for popular (kids’) books that have been in print for decades
To which last comment, my response is, WHOA, BRILLIANT WAY TO NOT SELL BOOKS.
Anyway, my point is this:
I am 100% certain that by raising ebook prices, publishers are going to move fewer books through legitimate markets, while increasing the incentive for readers to shift to libraries, used books, and ebook piracy. To me as a reader this is mildly annoying. As an author who is not a mega-bestseller, it is infuriating.
I wonder how many of you came across posts last year about how ebook sales are falling relative to print sales? I sure did, and some articles attribute this to ebooks hitting their natural ceiling of acceptance. This is not very persuasive. I’m not sure who out there can fail to see that as ebook prices rise, sales will inevitably fall, as described for example here:
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have all reported declining online book sales after inking deals with Amazon that gave the publishers more say in the prices for their titles.
A look at the Kindle store found that each of the five big publishers – which also includes Penguin Random House and Macmillian – have an average cost of $10.81 per e-book, while online books from others had an average price of $4.95, research group Codex Group LLC found.
What a shock! As prices rise, demand falls? Who would imagine such a thing! Next we will discover that when you drop objects, gravity still causes them to fall! And yet some people still find this hard to believe, evidently:
Still, other publishers tell the WSJ that e-book sales aren’t a result of the Amazon deals. In fact, he says the industry is a “title driven business. If you have a good book, price isn’t an issue.”
The attribution of the “he” in the second sentence there is not clear, but one gathers it’s an “industry professional.” Well, buddy, no wonder Amazon is eating your lunch. Price isn’t an issue! Really! You know, if you believe that one, I don’t know what to tell you. But if you want a great bridge, I have one riiiight here.
I’m sure it won’t amaze you all that the connected poll indicates that 94.7% of respondents disagree with the price-doesn’t-matter guy.
I hear that Saga — you know, the Simon and Schuster imprint that’s bringing out two of my books this year and next — is going to be playing with lower ebook prices this spring. WELL, GOOD. I hope they CRUSH THE COMPETITION so obviously that even the most committed price-doesn’t-matter people realizes that just possibly they are a trifle overoptimistic on that one. Naturally, I would be particularly pleased if *my* books crush the competition! Onward with that!
Anyway: for me as a reader, anything over $10, I will just wait until the price comes down or until I can get it used unless the book is:
a) Exactly what I want to read right this minute and I can’t stand to wait.
b) By Patricia McKillip or CJ Cherryh.
c) A beautiful cookbook that I really want. Those almost never come down to the $10 level, and no wonder, as photograph-heavy as they are. So there’s no point waiting for that to happen. I often pick up used copies, though, if the publisher’s price is really high.
Categories (a) and (b) overlap sometimes, but not all the time. And probably there are other authors who join those two from time to time. But the fact is, there are A LOT OF BOOKS. If one seems to be priced excessively high, then what the heck, I will read something else and just wait for the price to come down or for used books to appear. When I was a struggling student, I routinely waited years for the mass market paperback to be released. This is just like that, except my TBR pile is way more extensive and seriously, I would not run out of stuff to read for years if I quit buying new books altogether.
I am CERTAIN that publishers are losing a TON of “Maybe I’d like this” sales to readers who complete that sentence, “but since it’s so expensive, I guess I’ll read fill-in-the-blank instead.”