Friday, October 29, 2010

E-Book Pricing - Part II

Amazon knew what they were doing when they made the 70% royalty capped on both ends. They have effectively thumped writers on the head telling them – ‘get with the program.’

Most Indie writers have heard the call and upped their prices. Backlash comes from people who don’t want to pay for novels. (Well, neither do publishers for that matter, royalty percentages are chump change.)

If we look at the cliché ‘the cream rises to the top’ then we have a better idea of the pricing structure as a “system” of the market.

For instance, Fan Fiction is free. The best FF authors can hope for is eyeballs. Not many people are willing to pay even a penny to read the stuff. There is a lot of free crap out there – thank God most of it won’t see paper, ever.

In fact, Smashwords is so full of freebies that’s it’s hard to make any money there. As a distributor, they give great access – sales are iffy at best.

The Kindle Store was the home of the $.99 Newbie Indie because Amazon wisely won’t let Indies give their work away. Those rock bottom prices won’t go on forever. The $.99 novel needs to go the way of the $.99 gallon of gasoline.

At $.35 a copy, it will take months to pay for the ISBN I bought from Smashwords. It is not going to pay my car payment, or buy hay for my horses.

The latest game-changing group to hit the e-book market are the mid-listers, salvaging their careers by publishing their backlist. These books were published – they are not going to be priced for $.99.
They have no reason not to charge ‘pro’ prices.

If the “average book sells 18 copies” never earning out it’s advance, only staying on the shelves a few weeks, going Indie makes a lot of cents. (pun intended)

Like it or not – writing is a craft, but publishing is a business. Responsible publishing means responsible pricing. In order to stay in business writers HAVE write a book that proves they are pros, and charge accordingly.

If The Great Publishing Company can sell an e-book for $12.99 the same book is a bargain at $6.99. No agent to take ‘charge’ of the money, then ‘forget’ to send the royalties to the writer. (Yes, it happens.)

The ‘carrot’ approach to raising prices should have worked like a charm. Instead it has run smack into the writer’s paradox – inferiority from years of abuse from agents and the snobbery from rest of the publishing establishment.

A starving artist should shut the hell up and starve. The literary status quo must be maintained.

And those two guys behind the curtain – you know – Joe Konrath and Dean Wesley Smith – they are lying!

Everything they say about the changes in publishing is a damn lie.

Right – and I’ve got this big bridge that I’ll sell you cheap….

For more on this topic:

E-Book Pricing - Part I

E-Book Pricing - Part III
E-Book Pricing - Part IV


Rosanne Dingli said...

This freebie business is killing piracy - or that's my guess, anyway: I have no statistics to prove what I think. But let's face it, no one is going to steal anyone else's story and try to sell it, when it's almost impossible to sell any sort of book to anyone, anywhere, at any price.

The problem is GROSS over-supply. There is enough to read, and everyone has written some sort of book, and they are NOT purchasing other writer's books.

There are more writers than readers. Until this imbalance is addressed (and it used to be until easy self-publishing became available)nothing will change.

Aha - now we know why traditional publishers held such a tight rein: over supply kills anything and everything, and they knew it.

Ms Kitty said...

There is a school of thought that says the new 'gate keepers' will be the review sites, or co-ops who pool their resources to market the books on the sites.

If you take a look at '' you will see how they spotlight writers and their work. I think this is going to be the wave of the future.