eBooks And Pricing

Open Seas; High Waves – The Perfect Storm?

So to me, high pricing, and an openly rippable format would appear to be the perfect breeding conditions for piracy. It’s great that publishers could be moving away from DRM, and this is an important battle to win. But surely the price battle is an equally important one in the front to drive adoption and resist loss of revenue through piracy?

One quote from The Bookseller article was that, “the market will eventually set its own price”. Indeed it will – but whether that price is controlled by pro-active or reactive pricing by publishers remains to be seen.

What I’m not assuming is that people want to pirate content – quite the opposite. But if a consumer feels that they are being given a choice of an excessively-priced, perhaps hard-to-find version, against a freely priced, easy-to-find version, there will be a point where they will go for the latter.

Emphasis in the original.

Then, from a writer who is doing direct publishing:

[Interview] P. T. Harris, author of ‘REGRETdead’

The question had to be asked. Would that publisher survive two years? I researched self-publishing, and in the end, I chose ebooks. My capital outlay for the software was low and, no matter who published me, it would still be up to me to sell my work.

[. . .]

The advantages? I set the sales price. This is the key reason I didn’t go with another ebook site. I couldn’t get my head around the idea that I, no-brand-name P. T. Harris, could sell tons of books at the same price or higher than say, Kellerman or Sandford.

Since most authors make little on the first couple of books, I sought to use the ebook format as a venue to build my own brand by delivering great fiction at just $3.99 per book. Then, two or three books later, my major publisher (she dreams) can reissue ASSISTdead and REGRETdead.

Emphasis added by me.

So on the one hand, we have the dying dinosaurs of print trying to gouge early eBook adopters with unreasonable prices that will stifle growth of the market. And on the other hand, there’s a writer who actually wants her work to sell and sets a friendly impulse-buy price.

Gee, which strategy is the most likely to succeed?

Especially as eBooks will eventually be borrowed free from public libraries.

So let’s review:

1) Dying print dinosaurs: Smug ripoff pricing

2) Public libraries: Free borrowing of eBooks from smug dying print publishers

3) Direct-publishing writers: Impulse-buy pricing

This is clearly two against one.

Finally, hey, who do they think they’re kidding with this:

One quote from The Bookseller article was that, “the market will eventually set its own price”.

Here’s the so-called “marketplace” in action — it’s killing CD sales!

It will also kill dinosaur print publisher eBook sales.

See how bad eBooks prices are at The eBook Test blog.


Writer P.T. Harris website (it has music; ditch the music and Flash animations!)

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Reference - Writing, Tech - Other, Uncategorized, Writers - Living, Writing

4 Comments on “eBooks And Pricing”

  1. P.T. Harris Says:


    Thanks for the promo and advice on the site. I did ditch it at Frugal Fiction (a second site I host for other authors like myself where all ebooks sell for $3.99 – http://www.frugalfiction.com.) but never updated my own. It’s now on the to-do list.

    If independent authors worked as a unit, they’d have a chance against the dying print dinosaurs who reject 1+ million manuscripts a year – not because they’re bad necessarily, but because they don’t look like they can sell 50k+ (print’s breakeven point I’m guessing.) Ebooks offer the potential for pleasing 6, 60, 6000 readers that print can never reach. And, that may just what is required to stop the “people don’t read anymore,” trend that Jobs spoke of.

  2. mikecane Says:

    P.T., since your eBooks are also in PDF, you should take a look at this:

  3. […] When Penguin first began rolling out digital versions of its ebooks, it’s pricing for the ebook version was higher than the print counterpart as well. This premium pricing does not encourage ebook reading, but rather deters it and, as I said before, I think it encourages piracy. I’m not the only one who thinks this. […]

  4. […] reading Dear Author’s post, I was led to this blog on the same subject, who in turn led me to this site and  our Hump Day Bonus! of the day. I know […]

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