Sermonizing time. The ninety nine cent ebook is something I am passionate about, and here is why: reading is one of my greatest pleasures. I learned how to follow a story line while being interrupted every few minutes by horrors such as poop, property destruction, interpersonal violence, and unsanctioned nudity (all performed by tiny people). Reading is that important to me.
My beliefs are sometimes conflicting things, though. I believe in free stuff online. I believe that I should not have to fork over $8.99 for a work of fiction by an author I don’t know and which I might not enjoy. I believe that he or she deserves to be compensated for his or her work, BUT he or she is not giving me a physical product. I mean, really! You are selling the physical book for $10 and you want me to pay only two dollars less for it when you don’t actually have to print it?
I know how just how free ebooks are. I published some. The entire cost of the book is what its worth for you to write it and what it cost to edit and maybe make cover art. I’m not asking any more from other authors than I am expected to give myself.
I have paid $8.99 for ebooks–don’t get me wrong. These were books that I knew I’d like, that I’d been waiting for. They were ones I paid for because I was treating myself to the privilege of reading it right away rather than waiting it to be uploaded onto my library website. That doesn’t mean I think that it was a good deal.
Lets be honest, folks. This is fiction. The ideas are real and important, but nobody’s life is depending on my novel. Nobody will die if I write it wrong or misspell a word. If a giant electromagnetic pulse hit the city like in the movies, my entire body of work would be gone, except for the three print volumes on my mantel (one of which has a coffee stain.) It’s better for everyone if my work slips smoothly onto your ereader or hard drive without pain to your wallet.
If you are writing “The Idiot’s Guide to Emergency Heart Surgery With Household Tools” then please, write carefully, spell everything right, and charge however much you like. You spent all that time in medical school and you know how to save lives. We get that and are willing to pay.
If you are writing, “Sexy Vampire Chronicles” then you should be ashamed of yourself for charging more than $0.99 for an ebook. I’m serious! Your brainchild is the equivalent of Dove bars for your brain. Would you pay $8.99 for a Dove bar? I love Dove bars but I wouldn’t pay $8.99 for one.
$0.99 is a beautiful price. You can get two Dove bars for that price and they will live in your fat cells forever.
Low-priced ebooks are good for the environment! Think of all the paper that is not being used, the inks, the power to move the printing machines. Encouraging people to turn to ebooks instead of a pricey print book is good for the economy. Plus, if your ebook is almost as much as your print book it won’t be worth it to a buyer. They will buy the print book, or more likely, skip it and pick a cheaper book. You evil tree killer!
I respect the preferences of the people who love a physical book. Hey! I printed my book didn’t I? I’m just not going to expect my profit margin to be four times as large with an ebook.
You can all rub this blog post in my face one day if my ebook for my seventeenth novel is $8.99 (because I’m very susceptible to ironic life coincidences), but I’m thinking by then that Dove bars will cost $8.99. Inflation, you know. For now I stick by the $0.99 ebook and I appreciate all the authors who agree.
From my wallet’s POV, I like 99c books too, of course, but I think that price should be only for either short, poor quality, or an introduction to an author’s work. An author can’t make a living on 99c ebooks alone and we aren’t all doing it as a hobby. Some of our work has to be priced higher, at least $2.99, but only if it’s professionally done, of course, other wise it isn’t worth it . We need something by authors at 99c so we know whether the higher purchase price for another book is worth it.
I don’t enjoy bad writing and misspelled words, & regardless of how cheap it is, I would never read more of an authors’s work if my first taste proved them a poor writer. It defeats the purpose of a 99c book which surely is to introduce people to your work and encourage them to read more.
I have a free short story out and a book of short stories out for 99c, but if I publish my novel myself, apart from a special release price for a short period of time for my fans to pick it up cheap, I wouldn’t charge less than $3.99 because it’s 4 years of my life and 95,000 properly edited words.