Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tell Me Something Tuesday

Welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Cambria Hebert. She asks (and answers) a question, and we also answer. Remember, if you take part, to go to this week's main page here and post to Mr. Linky.

This week's question: Tell Me Something:

What do you think Ebooks should be priced at? How much is too much and what is fair?

Well, as anyone who knows me knows, I'm an extremely opinionated person. When eBooks first came out, they were competing only against pBooks, which at the time were running over $20 for hardcovers, and, in many cases, close to $10 for paperbacks. $9.99 for an eBook seemed eminently reasonable. Then I learned more about how eBooks were produced, and my perception shifted. Think about it - eBooks have a very low production cost - there is no printing, no storage, no shipping and handling, no transport - the only cost put into them is by the authors, who have spent the time writing them, and (hopefully) put in the cost to get them edited, and formatted, and a good cover set up. For the sellers and publishers, they are pure profit, so there is no reason to jack the prices up the way they do with physical books! While there are cases where I would buy a higher priced eBook (if I had the money), such as it being a book I absolutely am dying to read by an author I adore, for the most part I think an average eBook, of novel length, should not be more than $4.99. For an unproved writer, no more than $2.99. And if the eBook is not at least 120 pages long, then no more than 99 cents.

This has been an ongoing issue all over the web with authors lately, and there is currently a backlash going on about the free eBooks being offered on Amazon, and the Amazon KDP program. I know of a number of authors who have declared that they will no longer offer their eBooks free, for any purpose whatsoever, nor will they remain in the KDP program. Many are raising their prices. Their thoughts are "If a person will spend $6 on a coffee, why not on my book?" While I completely understand, and I certainly agree that authors need to be charging an appropriate amount of money for their books, at the same time, a lot more people think their daily java is vital to their ability to function than that an eBook is equally important. Then, of course, there are those like me - disabled, unable to get the SSA to pay me disability benefits, trying to live off my husband's fast-food salary with rising medical costs... I know there are those who are worse off, even.
But damn it, I want my books! Some authors to whom I've made that argument (for keeping their prices affordable and offering an occasional freebie) have responded by saying "Hey, let me know, I'll always send you a copy" and others have responded (somewhat coldly, I felt) with "Hey you don't need an eBook to survive, you just want one, so too bad." Guess whose books I now refuse to even consider, and whose I'll try to buy with my own money if I ever can? But that's a sort of tangent, isn't it?

As to the length affecting the price - yes, I know authors spend just as much time writing a novella or short story, and just as much effort into polishing it and putting it out there, but honestly, if I'm grabbing something that will take me less than 2 hours to read, I'm really just not going to spend more than a buck for it. Sorry! If you want to charge more, than write a novel instead of a novella, or combine multiple novellas into a single omnibus or something. At least now you can usually count on eBook sellers to show you the page count; it used to be you could end up spending $2.99 or so for an eBook and not realize it was only 19 pages long! So, sorry, but I think it's better to keep those shorts and shorter novellas at the 99 cent price point, and full-length eBooks from $1.99 to $4.99, depending on the length of the book, the location in a series, and how well-known you are.

And that's my opinion on that!

Coming up next week (I always forget to add this: I’m going to ask a about a touchy subject… bear with me:

What do you think of the whole Indie vs. Traditional Publishing? Do you as a reader (and blogger!) look at the publisher name before you choose to buy or read a book?


  1. I didn't even take into account how long the book is - and that makes sense. I bought an eBook for $2.99 thinking it was just that - a book. But nope, it was 38 freaking pages and I checked and there was no page count listed. I was so angry and will not purchase anything now unless I see the page count. Thanks for your viewpoint. New Follower! If you want you can check out my answer at http://breatheinbooks.blogspot.com

    1. It first came up for me last fall; there was a book I'd been looking forward to for a long time, and it was finally released, so I went to get it. It was listed at $2.99, just like you said, but when I checked the page count it was 19 pages! I was like ... puh-leeze!

      I actually did see your response - I noticed you were the only one to beat me on adding to Mr. Linky today :-) Good response! Thanks for following!

  2. I definitely agree that books that aren't very long should not be more than 99 cents. I agree if it takes only an hour or two to read I am not going to pay a bucket of cash for it.

    Great response though, I agree with what you said. :-) thanks for joining in the meme this week!

    1. :-) I'm still deciding about next week, though... :-)


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