The Price/Royalty Struggle: NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo day 17

Total word count goal: 50,000

Total blog post goal: 30

Today’s word count: 1,093

Today’s blog count: 18

Total words written: 29,523

Total blog posts: 18

I’m interrupting my normal NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo rants (you can check my stats above–I’m still writing, but I have to get this blog entry in before midnight) to talk about something that had been on my mind today: The price of e-books versus author royalties.

I was checking on a newly released book (ironically, published on Hachette) to see how much the price had increased since it’s pre-sale discount of $6.49 USD (on Google Books). The price had doubled (and yes, I am kicking myself for not purchasing it at the pre-sale price).  Then I found out that an author who wrote one of my favorite series has revisited the protagonist of that series for the first time in over twenty years. He did so by writing a short story, which will be released next week. The price of the short story? $2.69. Mind you, these are all for the e-book versions…NOT the actual, paper book.


Now, I’m all about authors making that paper. I am an author myself, and I stalk my royalty reports like they contained the Lost Scrolls. LOL  But the purpose of an e-book is that it will cost less than the physical book, since the items that go into making a physical book (dust jacket, pretty foil/raised lettering on paperback covers, cost of printing, etc) are not needed.  I find it hard to reach into my pocket to pay almost the same amount for the e-book, as I would for the paper book.

I know that this was one of the main issues in the Amazon/Hachette battle (e-book price fixing), and I get that authors want to get as much as possible. But I don’t agree with the pricing structure. Perhaps I’m too spoiled by Amazon, but it’s also a matter of principle. Indeed, I find it hard to price MY e-books over a certain price point. Not because I don’t think my work is worth it, because it is, but because I know how I would treat such book pricing as a consumer: I’d either wait a year for the price to come down, or buy the used paperback for much less.

My point is this: in the effort to maximize royalties, one runs the risk of alienating your consumer base by overpricing. Especially in this day and age, where there is ALWAYS a lower price to be found on the internet. Not to mention. public libraries are still in vogue. Any business school 101 class will tell you that multiple price points (high, low, and in-between) are most attractive to consumers, because it gives them a choice. And when consumers have a choice, they are more apt to spend money.

Anyway, I see no real solutions to this conundrum. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to say.

Keep chugging along on your books and blogs.

Thanks for stopping by.



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