Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Thanks, Rob, and Book Prices.

First, let me say thanks to all the frog bloggers and to you, our friends. It has been so fun having everyone blogging and reliving the last half-decade. Good times! Good times!

I’ve spent every minute since I got off work moving stuff, putting together stuff, and cleaning stuff in preparation for my oldest son returning from his mission next week. It is definitely an ibuprofen moment.

Which is to say that I haven’t actually done the drawing from all of your wonderful comments, but I absolutely positive will tomorrow morning. I’ll let each author decide what they want to give away, but my giveaway will be from the way back machine. Either Cutting Edge or Into the Fire, which are both long out of print.

Second, I want to wish a truly happy birthday to Rob. I can’t think of a better success through perseverance story, or a more deserving person to have it happen to. Hope your day was great, Rob.

Of course after all the goodwill and resurgence of energy, I couldn’t  skip my first post 5 year blog.  So I thought I’d throw out a question. Recently I read a blog where a person was complaining about people selling their books on-line for $0.99 – $2.99. This author felt it devalued books to sell them that low.

And yet, right now, I can hustle down to the local Red Box and watch a movie that cost millions to make for a paltry $1. Does that devalue the movie? Should you be able to watch a well made movie for a buck?

Now, admittedly, you don’t get to keep the movie. It doesn’t have the same quality or sound of a full theater experience. And you have to wait until after the movie is out of theaters.

Could any of this apply to books. Publishers want to make more money. Many authors have found they make more money by selling a higher quantity at a lower price. But many publishers are still keeping prices higher to keep from cannibalizing their hardback sales.

As a reader, would you be willing to “rent” an e-book for, say two weeks if the price was a buck or two? Would you be willing to wait several months after the hardback was released to pay significantly less? Would you pay more for a copy that had special features—author notes, deleted scenes, short stories?

As an author, I’d be happy to take my million bucks in a million one dollar sales or a hundred thousand ten dollar sales. But if I was only selling a few thousand books, I have to admit I would be pretty ticked if each copy only sold for a buck.

I hear people all the time complain about e-books from big name publishers not being cheap enough. But in the same breath they want the e-book the same day the hardback comes out and with all the bells and whistles. What do you think? Pay more for getting it right away and with special features? Pay less, but after waiting a few months or renting? Or do you want it all? Low price, all the goodies, and immediate release?

And how much lower does the e-book have to be than the print copy to work for you?


At 4/05/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger Anna said...

Ugh.. wrote a half long comment and it didn't post and got lost. Maybe it's a sign to not write so much.

Anyway, I am willing to pay normal average prices for books that I want to read now. Other books, I can wait to buy or borrow from family or library.

I like the idea of renting e-books. (I like the Nook feature of Lend a Book.) I would pay a couple dollars for to rent a book that I wanted to read but didn't think I wanted to spend $15 on to buy.

Movie theaters have $1 movies after the initial run in other theaters. Video games stat out at $50-60 and usually sometime down the road go to $20-ish. People that want to read the books now can pay full price. Those that want to wait a few months, it would be nice to have a discount at that point.

At 4/05/2011 11:59 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Grrr. I just had a problem with my comment too--I wrote a very long comment and then Blogger ate it.

I'll try again. Via Nathan Bransford, I saw this article about ebook pricing: I thought the author made some interesting points about the reader's investment in our work and their perception of our work.

For me, I don't like it when the ebook costs MORE than a paper version--but just the other day, my daughter wanted to buy Dan Wells' new book for Kindle and I let her without checking to see that the paperback was 3 bucks cheaper than the ebook on Amazon :) Oh well.

Looks like LDS publishers are doing the 9.99 ebooks right now (at least the ones I'm aware of). At first, I thought that was high, but now I'm fine with it. If list price is 15-18 bucks, ten bucks seems reasonable for the ebook. A lot of my interest in ebooks is in LDS fiction, since I don't live near an LDS bookstore and my library doesn't have LDS fiction.

I would be willing to pay a couple of bucks to rent an ebook. I'd be willing to wait a few months for a cheaper ebook. I'm not so interested in special features unless the author is one of my all-time favorites.

At 4/05/2011 12:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

I'm completely hooked on the ebook. My local Borders is closing and although I could pick up some books there now for less than the ebook price, for most of them, I'd rather pay a few dollars more and have it on my Nook. I still love print books and have special shelves for my favorite hardbacks (i.e. Sanderson's Mistborn series). I want the eBook the same day the hardback comes out and I don't mind paying a bit more for the privilege.

At 4/05/2011 12:47 PM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

I remember the excitement of our son returning from his Paraguayan mission just a little over two years ago. It was full of anticipation and anxiety. We even joked about asking him to stay a little longer knowing how many blessings we received while he served, tangible as well as spiritual. While he was gone, his bedroom somehow had become a storage room, and I spent a week or more cleaning it out only for him to empty his suitcases, making a mess with worn out shoes and clothes, and fascinating native Paraguayan chachkies. Treasure this time. And remember, he knows everything now!!!

E-books? I'm ashamed to admit I don't have one yet. But when they come out as, er... inexpensive as cell phones, then I'll step up into the 21st century and start downloading. I couldn't even guess at pricing, except to say I wouldn't rent an e-book at any price, although I would borrow one, like a library book.

At 4/05/2011 2:47 PM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

A Yorkshireman, they told me once, is a Scotsman stripped of his generosity. And I seem to have inherited Yorkshire genes. Yup, I'm a cheapskate. So an e-book would have to be less than half the price of the print copy -- the paperback, that is -- to get my attention. I would be happy to rent an ebook for two weeks for up to two dollars. I read fast, I wouldn't need more than two weeks. For new releases, I'd most likely want to wait a few months for the price to go down, although there are a few authors for whom I'd happily shell out even the hardback price. And I would definitely not pay more for special features, because in general, I'm just not interested.

But as an author, I'd want everybody to buy my book at full price. So I'm not only a cheapskate, I'm a hypocrite, too. :-)

At 4/05/2011 6:42 PM, Blogger Charlie Moore said...

Like anything else I think pricing on e-books and paperbacks/hardcovers are based upon what the market will bare. What will the consumer readily pay? Of course there has to be a profit margin so businesses can stay in business. For big businesses investors have to be taken care of and every business must pay their employees. Right now I am mostly buying LDS fiction and I usually buy discounted books from Seagull. That sometimes means I have to wait for certain books I'm interested in reading. I like to give new authors a look and will often buy debut novels. But I usually wait for discounts. Seagull regularly discounts many of their books, both fiction and non-fiction.
I have thought about an e-reader, but so far I've been too cheap to pull the trigger on purchasing one.



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