I’ve recently had a couple of conversations with family and friends regarding e-book pricing. I guess I was shocked when three people told me that if an e-book is priced too low or free, they assume it’s garbage and won’t buy it. On the other hand, they won’t buy one that’s too expensive either. When asked why, they stated this is because it’s an e-book and therefore costs far less to produce, so realize it shouldn’t cost as much as a print book. What has not been surprising is the number of e-readers or tablets with e-reader apps purchased and downloaded by my family and friends has continued to grow.
Maybe it’s because I’m smack in the middle of this whole e-book pricing and publishing thing and as I gear up for the e-release of my own novel, In The Spirit Of Love (Echelon Press). Because I’m a new writer and I know how much work and effort I put into my novel, I understand that other new(er) writers are in the same boat. I’m not put off by a low or free price tag on a book, in fact for me, I’m more likely to take a chance on it and purchase the book. If I don’t like the story, it’s no great financial loss, and if I do, I’ll look for others by the same author. I do the same for print books. If I like the story, I’ll buy more by that author, if I don’t, I won’t. Simple.
But new authors have to concern ourselves with price points and finding that magic number that encourages people to take a chance on our work. There has been so much controversy over e-book pricing from a whole slew of “experts”, and still no one seems to have a solid handle on it.
The reason seems to be because this whole e-book thing is so new and revolutionary, no one really understands the dynamics yet. More and more people are purchasing e-readers such as Kindle, the Kindle Fire, Nook, etc. and literally thousands of books are being downloaded every day, but the statistics are still all over the place.
One thing everyone in the publishing industry seems to be able to agree on is that e-readers and e-books have become more mainstream. As a result, they are also accessible on more devices, and becoming more affordable for the consumer. The explosion into this new area of publishing has been overwhelming. According to Dana Lynn Smith, of The Savvy Book Marketer, “Ebook sales have surpassed printed books on Amazon.com, but the publishing industry continues to wrestle with the issue of how to price ebooks competitively, while still providing a reasonable profit for authors and publishers.”.
In May, 2011 CNN reported “…Amazon announced Thursday that its customers now buy more e-books for its Kindle device than all print books — hardcover and paperback — combined.” As I’ve predicted all along, ebooks are here to stay, and the controversy surrounding print vs e-books continues to roll on. In view of the facts, it’s not really surprising there are price wars and pricing confusion. If the publishers and authors are confused, of course the buying public will be too.
Have an opinion on ebooks vs print books, or e-book pricing? Please share your comments.