I did something I would never have expected of myself the other day. A poster on this blog recommended a new adult genre book to me, and I went to Amazon.com to buy the Kindle version. Not so surprising? Of course not. Buying a book is not the thing I didn’t expect. Not buying the book, however, after I had already made up my mind based on a recommendation, was shocking. So what happened?
I checked out the cover, the book description, the reviews…I was good to go, or so I thought. Then I noticed the price: $9.99
For an e-book?
I debated for about 1/2 second and then moved on with my credit card undented.
There seem to be two camps in e-books these days: the self-publishers pricing their books anywhere from free to $2.99 or so, and the traditional publishers who are pricing their digital editions close to print book prices. Self-publishers say that the traditional publishers’ pricing models are outdated and readers expect e-books to be cheaper. Traditional publishers say that self-publishers are devaluing the author’s work. Both sides claim that the other will soon make it impossible to earn a living as an author.
So far, neither side seems to be giving. I am astonished by the number of cheap–and even free–e-books I see posted each day. Traditional publishers don’t seem likely to bend given the financial investment they make in their books. Right or wrong, there is the perception that traditionally published books are “better.” And there is some validity to the notion that traditionally published books have gone through more scrutiny before hitting the electronic shelf. But self-published books offer a wider variety of voices and plots and characters that are difficult, if not impossible, to find in the risk-averse traditional publishing house catalogues.
So what do you think? Who will drive the market in the long run? And how much are you willing to pay for an e-book? Will you shell out an amount close to the print version price, or do you expect a deep discount?