I’ve posted a few times on how expensive everything has gotten, and that includes books.

booksLast week I wrote about the revolution in reading. But the changes don’t begin or end with reading. Every facet of publishing, bookselling and writing is being affected by consumers’ discovery of digital readers that they soon grow to love.

Just last night, I took advantage of one change myself. Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend who recommended a new author to me, someone I hadn’t read. This author is published by one of the major New York houses. So I came home from lunch with the idea that I would order one of her books to read on my new Vizio tablet.

I found all of her books on Amazon all right, but her publisher had priced all of her e-books at at least $7.99.  …..  So what did I do? Cheapskate that I am, I searched through blurbs on Amazon’s $2.99 e-books until I found one that sounded like a good read. It was written by an indie author I had never read or even heard of. And that’s the one I bought. If I get into it and don’t like it, I haven’t lost a lot if I don’t finish it. I’ll just delete it from my reader.  …..  I would still like to read the author recommended by my friend. But not at $7.99.

Traditional publishing doesn’t yet get it. Nor do e-publishers. Authors are empowered. They no longer need to be hamstrung by a publisher arbitrarily pricing their books at numbers that will inhibit sales. They no longer need a blessing bestowed on them from the ivory towers in New York. They no longer have to accept 8% royalty and hope the publisher is generous enough to buy them some space in a bookstore or do something else to help a reader find their work. On their own, authors can literally reach hundreds of millions of people in a global marketplace.

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

Amazon now lists well over a million e-books for sale. Cyberspace is full of pretty damn good books for under $5.00, a fact that is helping readers find many new authors whose books would have never seen the light of day without the Internet and digital reading. And what’s happening now is only the beginning. The debate still rages over the ideal price for an e-book, but it’s my own opinion that it must be less than $5.00 to compete.

There was a time when I was willing to pay $20, or more, for a book by an author I liked. Or $5.99 or $6.99 for a paperback. If I wanted to read fiction and couldn’t make it to a library, I had little other choice. That’s no longer true. I still might like the same author, but I don’t feel such an urgency to read him or her that I’m willing to pay $20 for entertainment that I could get for $2.99 or even 99-cents. And unless something changes, I’m definitely not willing to pay $7.99 for an e-book.

I suspect there are many readers like me out there in the ether. Are you one of them?




Filed under Books and Publishing, Books and Reading

13 responses to “REFLECTIONS ON PRICES…..

  1. When I was buying paperback books, I never thought much about paying $7.99 or more for a book. Once I started using my Kindle I have have read many good books for 99 cents up to $3.99..Of course, I have purchased some “bummers” too—guess that is just the luck of the draw !


  2. Kerstin

    Hi Anna!
    The price barrier is indeed sliding downwards. Not all that long ago folks were in an uproar for having to pay more than $9.99 for an ebook. Anymore I am only willing to pay full price if it is an author I really enjoy and the price hasn’t gone down over a period of months. I’m even willing to wait until the next book of that particular author is published, and then the price often drops, or, as I’ve seen in some cases, you get a promo sale for $1.99 or less in anticipation of the new book.
    What is also significant, is that we have a choice of either paying for a book or reading a free promotional or classic. That has the potential of dropping the average purchase price considerably. It certainly is my case, I am smitten with those wonderful classics. As a result, recouped the purchase price of my kindle 2 (they were at $259.00 at the time) in less than a year.


  3. You are so right! There are too many good authors available at 99 cents to three dollars to pay big bucks for a book. There are a couple of authors I still buy for more, but very few. Amazon Kindle has spoiled me. I read too fast to invest a lot of money in a book I don’t plan to reread. I do reread favorites, so I am more willing to splurge on them.


  4. Janet Blackwell

    I agree with you on the high price of the e books. I will not pay over $4.00 , if that much. I have really enjoyed some of the old classics which are free and I plan to check out, from our library, more e books. You do not even have to go to the library. You can call, if you are already signed up and they will send them to your computer over the phone. How great is that?


    • I’m telling you, traditional publishers do not get this. And if they don’t finally come around to it, I think they’re doomed. I realize they’re trying to recover the advances they’ve extended any way they can, but they’re certainly not doing any favors for their authors. But then, they’ve never been big on doing favors for their authors unless they’re NYT bestsellers. That’s just the way the publishing game is played.
      Anna J


  5. Linda

    HI, Yes I agree. I bought a Kindle Fire an love it. I went on line to Amazon and got about 10 ebooks for free….Authors unknown to me but cute easy read. I won’t buy any books over $5.00 either.


  6. Linda

    Anna, I just went onto Amazon to look at your books an every ebook was $6.99 or more……..most $9.99….


    • Hi, Linda…..You’re talking about the Dixie Cash books, right? Unfortunately, those books are still owned by Harper-Collins and they can price them at any price they want to. My Anna Jeffrey books, on the other hand, are owned by me because they’re out of print and I’ve battled to get the copyrights back. The the 3 I’ve uploaded so far (SWEET WATER, THE LOVE OF A STRANGER AND SALVATION, TEXAS) are $2.99 in the Kindle store.
      Anna J.


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