Tuesday, April 26, 2011

High Book Prices Are Good For You

Last week Patrick Rothfuss and DAW Books released Wise Man’s Fear. The hardcover went for $29.95 in U.S. currency, though you can get it from Amazon for $17.47. Their Kindle edition is $14.99.

In two weeks John Scalzi and Tor Books will release Fuzzy Nation. The hardcover will run you about $24.99, though you can pre-order it from Amazon for $14.10 – or pre-order the Kindle edition for $11.99.

What bothers you about this pricing scheme?

A) Some major authors are demanding significantly more per e-book than smaller writers can. With the wealth of 99-cent titles, charging more than ten dollars for something they don’t even have to print looks greedy.

B) Price cutting by the likes of Amazon and Wal-Mart are moves smaller book stores cannot possibly match. It will contribute to an industry with fewer lit-devoted retailers and where many authors get paid even less per book than they used to. After its competition is broken down, nothing will prevent Amazon from hiking their royalty fees, thereby screwing over the authors that are self-publishing with them.

C) All those 99’s are deliberate lies. $11.99 is actually twelve bucks and we all know it.

I’m probably the only one who immediately jumps to C. It’s a deceptive mathematical practice invented by think-tanks to dupe you out of way more money than just a penny or dollar.

Many people stop at A. Zoe Winters earned an onslaught of complaints for “putting a price” on her readers when she dared suggest charging less than $3.99 cheated many writers. There is a frustrating hoarder-class of readers who only want things that cost a dollar or less. They are the extreme reaction to an inexpensive market.

I endorse Rothfuss and Scalzi charging so much for e-editions. Cheap shouldn’t be the standard for our industry. However unfair people may call the pricing schemes, Rothfuss hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller’s List in that first week. What his class of author charges makes up the price ceiling for the industry. His $14.99 gets divided more ways than the profits of a typical 99-cent Smashwords release, but that’s not the salient point. This is the most that my work is allowed to cost.

That ceiling has multiple affects. It makes less expensive e-books look alternately like bargains or cheap trash. Of course, the glut of bad prose in the 99-cent region is just as responsible for the trash aura, and if you’re self-publishing at this price range, you’re doing it to capitalize on a low barrier for purchase. Whatever word-of-mouth and word-of-Twitter you can muster work better with impulse-buy pricing. The higher price of a Rothfuss or Scalzi book serves as a buffer, because none of us will compete well going dollar-for-dollar against the titans. Charging the same does not give you the same level of hype. Even if you’re better than they are, they bring a fandom with wild expectations and exaggerated reactions. You, as the breakout writer who only charged $2.99, aren’t held to the same unfair standard, and have a better chance of winning audiences over. It's the loss leader strategy that looks better the higher top authors charge.

Smart authors play with their pricing. If two hundred copies move at five bucks a pop, how many might move at four? Or three? But you can only charge that in this publishing world. If Stephen King’s next 1,000-page Kindle edition lands at $2.99, good luck charging more for your 300-page novel. Now James Patterson, Stephanie Meyer and the inevitable next Harry Potter book are impulse buys.

It’s only in our publishing world, where known authors can charge $15 on every Nook and Kindle, that you can safely float up to $4.99. At $4.99 your novel grosses five times the profit of the 99-cent bargain, while only costing about one third of your most powerful literary competition. That looks more reasonable to a reader in this marketplace. And you’re free to descend further and perhaps take off at 99-cents. We have the millionaire success stories, and I have nothing against selling at that price, or dipping there for a temporary sale to spark more interest. But for many writers it will be two hundred sales at one buck or five, and two hundred copies at five bucks a pop adds up to a doctor’s visit for your daughter.

The reader demand for cheap e-books is more interesting when contrasted to other reader actions. Contrast our debate with a recent Rutgers University controversy. The university paid Reality TV star Snooki $32,000 to speak, while paying famous author Toni Morrison $30,000. There was massive outrage that the writer wasn’t getting more money. If you were angered that someone from Jersey Shore got more than a hardworking author, then ask yourself: do you only buy books that are priced low and thereby send less money to the author?

Again, I chose C. My objection was that both were going to make more off of one talk than most authors will from book sales this year. You might be surprised how few writers, even bestsellers, make $30,000 in a good year.

Since January I have been working on one novel. I’ve pushed myself so hard that I’ve become physically sick from it at least three times. It will be two more months before the rough draft is complete, at which point I’ll have to edit strenuously to get it into first draft state. Then I’ll beg the smartest people I know to give me a few rounds of criticism, and I’ll tabulate the results for several rounds of revision and polish. If I’m lucky, the fourth draft will be the final, complete sometime around winter. I want you to know that I am earnestly racking myself to make this book worth your time. When I edit the day’s words, I’m thinking about the time you’ll have reading them. Whether you’ll pay five bucks, or one, or take out of a library – that’s not on my mind. That’s honestly why it disturbs me when I come up from my writing hole and read derision for authors who manage to make a good living.

If you sincerely believe the fruits of my labors will only ever be worth reading for $0.99, then I question what our relationship is. Maybe this novel will be self-published. In November, my market strategy may show that 99-cents is an optimal price (God willing, I’ll have the integrity to charge an honest $1.00). But if I get a big break with the Big Six, I’ll be relieved that everyone involved can make a profit from our pricing. And if I don’t get that break, I’ll still be glad that the market has room for a story that costs five bucks. That niche can only exist because there is a high standard of value from the market leaders.


  1. You have opened up a very deep can of worms that goes far beyond the concepts of "worth" and "value" and has very sophisticated elements such as distribution, marketing, brand development etc. at play. You also invariably in your arguments call for people to compare apples and oranges - Is $.99 a fair price for anyone to pay for an authors hard work - of course not yet that may be a strategy to build readership. Many retailers sell loss leaders all the time, products that cost more to manufacture, market and sell than they generate in revenue - why would they do this? the same reason the pharmacy offers $5 prescriptions - to get you into their store to buy more goods at a higher mark up. new authors have a particular dilemma navigating the minefield of the new publishing world we find ourselves in - the power base is clearly shifting away from publishing - yet would you argue that going to the library and getting a book for free devalues the author??? of course not. I am purposely standing on the sidelines here and not advocating for or against your stand though believe it is much more complex than the arguments you've laid out. Good food for thought none the less.

  2. Thanks for this thoughtful discussion, John.

    Big names can charge $14.99 because their eager audience of millions of fans will pay it for a new book. When your audience is in the thousands (or hundreds), you can't do that.

    I released my anthology last week. After much internal debate, I priced it at $2.99. That probably puts it outside the realm of the impulse purchase, but having more of a brand assurance ("This book costs more because it's better") is an intangible that weighed in on it.

    Of course, pricing at $2.99 means I have the latitude to drop the price temporarily for special promotions. All part of the learning curve.

  3. Tony, releasing at $2.99 still puts you at a certain level of 'impulse.' Not a dollar-grab, but the lower your price, the more likely readers who haven't seen much of your work are to follow any reviews or word-of-mouth.

    Mr. Solender, I touched on several reasons why someone might sell that low (paragraphs 10 and 12). However, this is not about selling at 99-cents. It is about one's ability to sell for more at all - a feature that is only possible because some of the biggest writers are propping up the maximum price point. Turning industry leaders into loss leaders would undersell the entire form.

  4. I agree with much of what you've said here and it must be on everyone's mind because my latest blog post touches on some of this too. One thing that you hit on a little bit that I didn't is the quality of those 99 cent books. I've done a little research and do you know that many of those high selling 99 cent books are barely longer than novellas (some are technically novellas)? My book is 330 pages in print. It's a full length novel and it is worth at least $2.99. Customers who think they are getting a deal at 99 cents may actually be surprised they are getting less of a book in more ways than one.

    Also, on Amazon, if you sell at $2.99 you get a 70% royalty and if you sell at 99 cent you get 35%. So actually, in your example the uthor actually earns 10 times more charging 4.99 than 99 cents.

  5. Execellent essay, John. Thanks for giving us your two cents (or 99). I agree that "major" authors pricing ebooks at that level helps everyone all the way down to the self-published. Once a book has gone to paperback though, I don't want to pay the same $8.99 for the ebook that I would for the mass market print edition. To me, there is less value in an ebook than a printed book. That being said, I'd also be willing to pay more for your self-published book in print than I would in ebook format.

    Anyone self-publishing has to look at their price point carefully. I agree that $0.99 is devaluing the author's hard work, especially for a full-length novel. If an author has really put in the time and hard work to edit and revise and edit and revise and do it all again until it's as polished as it can possibly be, then that author deserves to charge more than $1.99. However, $1.99-$2.99 seems to be the standard for self-published ebooks write now. I believe it would take a collective effort from quality authors to start pushing those price limits higher and therefore raise the expectations of readers. They're truly investing in your writing and if the quality is there, the sales will come. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool. However, if every Joe Blow who thinks he can write a novel tries to self-publish at that price without putting in the work, it hurts us all. And so the cycle continues.

  6. Danni, changing prices for bestsellers after new editions come out is something I neglected in this piece. If a paperback emerges that's even less expensive than the e-edition, then re-evaluating the e-price could be a good idea, especially if you're aheard of the curve and do so explicitly to show appreciation to your audience. Generally, I believe older titles ought to get their prices scaled back at least a little, or at least temporarily. Neil Gaiman saw a great boost in sales when one of his books was made temporarily free. If I controlled my catalogue after I have several high-quality novels finished, I'd be very likely to put out one as a loss leader if not permanently free. I'm obviously inclined to give out 'free samples,' or else I wouldn't write this blog every day, right?

    On the $1.99-2.99, the Zoe Winters post I link to up there is part of a growing movement to push the price point higher. High quality writers, and self-published writers whom audiences have grown to trust, can seriously help this movement. But the central point of my essay here is that movement up and down beet 99-cents and $4.99 is only viable because the bigger writers charge more.

    GP, I didn't know that about the rolling royalty rate on Amazon. That would make buyers at $4.99 significantly more supportive of their authors. I wonder if knowing that would affect readers' purchasing habits (or, since many people already know it, if it already does).

  7. Hi John,

    Thank you for an excellent article and some great thoughts.

    I released my books for free or very cheaply at first and was burned for it. I realise that I just don't write the kind of books that people should impulse purchase - they've required years of work and research to produce, and they aren't intended to be a cheap, trash read.

    From my perspective, I think about what the author expects to receive when they pay money for a book. We do subconsciously assign value to things based on what we've paid for them.

    I don't think Michael's argument about libraries is the same - after all, you're borrowing books rather than purchasing them for keeps, which isn't the same as getting a freebie for somebody's hard-earned labour. If I could afford to buy the books I get from the library, I would. I also wouldn't be able to move in my flat because there'd only be space for the books I'd bought.

    I've now priced my bigger books at $6.99, which I've been told by a few people is still a bargain. Occasionally, I think I might push it even higher. It's a difficult one to judge, to be honest, and I think you're right, we have to experiment to see what happens at different prices.

    P.S. Good luck with the current novel. x

  8. Joely, I agree that the library issue is different. If libraries became the standard way everyone read books and it was expected the author get nothing more than a share of the payment for the library edition - that would assign a very bleak value to literature, and realistically would lead to renegotiation of pricing. Mass market pricing sets the standard for the value of a book everywhere. I'm happy to have libraries as one alternative reading method, just as I'm happy with temporary discounts and book bundles. But to reduce everything to the 99-cent region? It'd be a disaster for more than just the bestsellers' bottom lines.

    Have you charted your sales data across all the price changes? It's good to approach those experiments scientifically. The data could make for an interesting study down the line.

  9. I think there are a few different variables in the new e-market. With $.99 books, some of those authors are trying to build readership, and maybe on short novellas or anthologies where some of the material has already been published in some form on the web, you can’t really charge more for material that has been free.

    Currently, I know of one good writer who is releasing various novellas and anthologies for the impulse-buy price, but he is doing well in gaining an audience. My next advice for those writers would be to start charging more - they've proved their worth, and now readers will pay more for a book that they know is going to be good.

    However, I think many of the $.99 e-books out there today are $.99 cents because they were a rushed publish and the author actually knows that - "Hey, it isn't the greatest book, so it's not worth any more than $.99." That comment is straight from the horse's mouth.

    As far as big names charging more on e-books, there seems to be this expectation (and I thought this way at first too) that e-books should be cheaper. Have we asked why? Don't say the cost of paper and print, because the majority of cost for books in the past hasn't been going to paper and print or even the author half the time. The convenience alone for an e-reader should be worth the cost of the e-reader and we shouldn't necessarily expect authors to set prices lower on e-books than their paper books.

    What I think is happening is that the e-market is creating a more dichotomous atmosphere—the author may finally be getting more for their writing, but then the rest of the money is going to one or two big name dealers, and not to the book stores or the smaller people in the publishing process. It will bring positives and negatives.

  10. Erin, the desire to major-selling e-books to be cheaper is further complicated by their actually being cheaper. Wise Man's Fear is less than half the hardcover price on Kindle. But there are complaints that it should be even cheaper, which rely on the same "it cost less to make" argument. I'm still tentative as to how much of a book's price should be cut based on different production costs. While not the norm, some authors have run into high expenses preparing e-editions for multiple platforms. And as you said, printing was seldom where most of a book's price came from.

  11. Erin - I don't have a problem with new releases being sold as ebooks for $11-$13. That's a huge discount over a hardback. In a mass market, I'd like to see the ebook priced at least $1 below print. Yes, there is a convenience factor to the ebook and the author and publisher still have to pay the same marketing, editing, cover art, and overhead prices. Printing and shipping is a cost, but it's not much compared to the rest. However, in my opinion, you're still getting "less" when you get an ebook. I love the look and feel of my print books. I like meeting authors and getting my books signed. I like sharing books with my friends to encourage them to buy a new author. You lose a lot of that with an ebook and, therefore, the value is less.

  12. Such a hot button topic, especially for writers. I'm with a small publisher and I see more profit from the sale of Endo in ebook format than from the sale of it in trade paperback. Why? Easier to produce. Even at a lower price point, the lion's share always goes to the publisher.

    Creativity has, for the most part, been looked down upon. It is essentially worthless. I certainly don't agree with this statement however, I've been caught up in negotiations for work where being a writer is a very slight step above the gutter. Anyone can write. That is the prevailing thought until someone has to actually sit their ass down and put words to paper. Then they're willing to toss you some coin.

    People need a writer until they hear how much you charge. They want it for free because really, how hard do writers work. There were people in my life who thought this was just simple fun - I sit and a hundred-thousand word novel just appears on screen. I swear that's what they think. It's easy. Right.

    That, along with the thought that an ebook is essentially spit and polish, it has no weight, it's an intangible, is what causes book buyers to balk at prices - any price! How can you spend $40 on a book? You want $15 for an ebook?

    Remember, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Established writers have many luxuries that new, low level, mid level and self published authors do not. Distribution for one. Marketing, PR, an established name, fans...

    I buy what I love and sometimes I pay WAY too much to enjoy it. That goes for things outside of books as well. I also say no on many, many occasions. If more people stopped buying what they love to read, prices would drop. But, we know that isn't going to happen. So, high they stay.

    I hope you get to charge high prices someday for your work. Writers deserve every single penny they earn. That may not be a popular statement, but I believe it.

    Good luck with your ms and I'm sorry to hear that it has made you sick. Kinda makes me not want to read it if it made the author sick. ;-) Kidding of course. Another example of how passionately we care about the work we create.


  13. Regarding Danni and Erin: when the next two generations of readers rise (the current teens and the kids behind them) to overtake the market, I wonder if that loss of a physical product will matter. Even mine and Danni's generation is split. I have friends who've retweeted this very post who vastly prefer their e-readers over paper books. How do we balance the value proposition for readers who see e-books as inferior but still buy them? Maybe different authors can play this field different ways...

    Ian, society does quickly discount the value of all but their favorite artists. For whatever reason most people want Eminem and Dan Brown to live in opulence, though they also look for ways to pay less for their work. That you would go out of your way to pay more to an author is wonderful. Now, you and I are writers - we have a little more appreciation for how little we can make. But it's still a good attitude that will help livelihoods. We can adjust the value put on art not only by charging more, but by making certain (and making public) that we pay fairly ourselves.

  14. I think the key point you made is the setting of the upper bounds. With Scalzi's price point at $15 for the e-edition, you're right that no one can realistically price their work at more than that. I bought Tony's recent e book for $3, but having read his stuff for so long i would've bought it for twice that. I'm going to buy the hard copy version fo the Friday Flash anthology, too, because they are worth it. I don't have a nook, kindle, or any other type of e-reader, and I would be highly dubious of the $1 books. It just doesn't seem to be indicative of quality. I'll buy used books for that on occasion, but that's because of the wear and tear and age of them. They were, honest to goodness worth publishing at some point.

    I do have a thought about pricing when there is only an e-edition. If the only way to obtain the book is through electronic means, does that give you greater leeway in pricing? Can you charge $10 for it because tehre is no paperback version out there that would be nominally cheaper? Just a thought...

    Finally, I wish you well with your novel and look forward to reading it!

  15. D., that price ceiling also lifts what people can charge towards the lower end of pricing. There are many e-only books in the 99-cent region. I think you could only shoot up to $10 if you had the correct audience, regardless of where you printed. Do you know any examples of e-only editions that used that as a reason for charging more?

  16. That's a great idea: Shame people who already are paying into paying more.

    You ought to be happy being able to sell your book. Why? I haven't heard of you. And I read A LOT. Most authors' problems are obscurity.

    After all, YOU chose the price point. Great business model by whining after the fact. Be glad they just didn't find a "10000 fiction book torrent" on Piratebay.

  17. can't fight the market bro. sorry

  18. John,

    I'll take it a bit further. I refuse to download music/movies/games/books for free. I value a person's work. They deserve to be paid for that work. Downloading it is stealing. Period.

    I've heard the argument so many times that people feel the rich should not get richer. Bullshit. If they recorded/produced/wrote/shot/painted it, they deserve to make money for their efforts.

    I'm all for a good freebie now and then offered up by those who've produced the work but the entitlement issues suffered by so many these days is intolerable to me.

    I've had so many people call me names because I pay for things they steal for free.

    This all goes back to what one is willing to pay for something. You don't walk into a book store and steal books off the shelf. You decide what you can afford and purchase them accordingly. Why the hell do people think it's okay to download books? It's stealing.

    If a writer, like Dan Brown, hooks into the masses and takes full advantage of pop culture, then more power to him. I'll still buy the book if it appeals to me AND I can afford it.


  19. @Ian

    Piracy is a correction of market failure. It's nearly impossible to stop it so don't. Focus on making more money, by making more SALES.

    Stopping piracy != sales. The movie and recording industry have yet to learn this. The last thing you need to do is piss off the hordes of "Anonymous" users by nasty tactics.

    Take a lesson from http://www.undergroundthecomic.com/2010/10/pictures-help-us-learn/

  20. I'm with Ian on this one. I agree that you can never stop piracy of digital content, but you don't have to support it. My ex buys pirated DVD's of movies still in the theater. My daughter has heard me call it stealing enough that she refuses to watch them now.

    Piracy doesn't take that much away from the artist because they are people who wouldn't pay full price for it anyway. You're not losing a sale, just gaining a critic. Either way, it's wrong. Like Ian said, it's the same as walking into a bookstore and stealing one off the shelf.

  21. Piracy is a correction of market failure.

    I have no idea what this means. The market failed as in the product didn't do well and that failure is corrected by piracy?

    Piracy is stealing. There is no justification for it. If you can't afford the product, don't steal it.


  22. It appears we have some Anonymous visitors from HN. The first somehow came out of the article believing I'd published a book, leaving me to question whether he/she finished or simply leaped to quote Seth Godin at me.

    Insofar as I'm "shaming" you - if asking whether a 99-cent price point is all a novel is ever worth is "shaming," I question your values. I redirect such readers to the second-to-last paragraph.

    As far as the second Anonymous goes, we are not fighting the market. We are discussing what the market holds.

    Insofar as piracy is a "correction of market failure" - that's a silly oversimplification if not utter nonsense. I question the values of someone who would respond to a five-dollar novel by pirating it. Referring to anything discussed here as a "nasty tactic" again leaves me questioning if you read the essay. If something in it does strike you as nasty, we can have an actual discourse on it.

  23. "One thing that you hit on a little bit that I didn't is the quality of those 99 cent books. I've done a little research and do you know that many of those high selling 99 cent books are barely longer than novellas (some are technically novellas)? My book is 330 pages in print. It's a full length novel and it is worth at least $2.99. Customers who think they are getting a deal at 99 cents may actually be surprised they are getting less of a book in more ways than one."

    Yuck, I'd hate to read a book written by someone who thinks quantity has anything to do with quality. Some of my favorite books are novellas, and some of my least favorites are the ones that throw in filler for filler's sake.

    As a reader, I've learned the hard way that paying more for a book doesn't make it a better read. I've bought way too many $15-25 books which were poorly-edited, lazily-written, etc. If we're talking about authors I haven't read or been recommended, I'd much rather buy 15-25 cheap books and find one or two good reads than to buy just one that I probably won't like. If it were common for authors to post a few shorter works online for free -- so I could make sure I found their reading enjoyable first -- I would feel differently. But it's not, so I don't. Oh well.

  24. We do have to move beyond a culture of false scarcity economics. Why is an i phone game application that takes 10 full time coders 1 year to build and costs well over $ 1 million worth 99 cents? Because digital goods are sold in volume.

    While I have not self-published anything (yet), my own work (building web software) has already cost $3 million and taken over 20 human years of effort to bring to fruition. Yet only 20% of my users pay anything and even that is a mere fraction of what similar software sold for 5 years ago.

    The expectation is that when something can be infinitely copied, each copy will be of a lower price. This is not devaluing the artist, this is throwing out the old "publisher" mentality of charging for access to something limited in distribution.

    At the end of the day - short of price fixing, the market determines the value of anything.

  25. To Meg, certainly there are great novellas. Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle was short and worth every penny I paid for it.

    However, it is becoming increasingly common for authors to post some work for discount or free. There are temporary discounts on novels, cases like Gaiman and Coelho putting entire books omline for free, and many magazines like Clarkesworld and Fantasy publish short fiction by notable authors for free every month. There are plenty of opportunities for you to sample people's work. Not only are my daily posts here free, but in the upper lefthand corner I have links to works of mine around the web. All six of those links lead to no charge.

    In regards to the newest Anonymous comment - you summon free market economics. There are two capital problems with this line of thinking. The first is that the market is not a person, thinking or alive, and does not consciously decide anything. It's a mere aggregate of activity. We have plenty of recent examples in U.S. and international economics where free market left unchecked did very poorly by many people, so summoning it as a defense of anything does not convince me. What "the market" appears to enforce is not an excuse for my or your behavior. But I'm not arguing for governmental regulation.

    The second problem with the free market argument is that it doesn't actually preclude raising prices. In the current scheme where Scalzi can charge eleven for fifteen bucks. He'll sell millions of copies. The market apparently abides his and Tor's decision. The $10+ e-editions of books actually props up the ability for lesser-known writers to charge above the 99-cent average, for all the reasons I laid out above. If you are enamored of free market theory then authors charging more is up your alley. However, I wouldn't like to see authors price gouge. I would argue against making every novel $29.95 even if it was the standard for Kindle and Nook Books.. That would be unfair to readers in much the way a 99-cent expectation on all novels is to writers.

  26. I was considering this very question the other day with Victoria Strauss on twitter. (the main head behind Writer Beware's Blog)

    She believes that pricing an ebook at $0,99 is diminishing the value of the writer's work. But what's the "value" of one's work? That's a tough question, and I'm not sure it should be answered exclusively by the book's pricing.

    Great food for thought here.

  27. Mari, I agree that a book's value is not entirely monetary. Books have given me the will to live on several occasions in my life; that should never be reduced to an economic equation. However, there is an economic value proposition to books, especially when it comes to standard pricing. It can be tough to grapple with, though I see some cause for optimism in the market.

  28. Genre has something to do with pricing as well. There are many, many romance ebooks priced at .99, making it hard for someone without a following to raise the price. Also, the big publishers offer many leaders for free, further reducing the chance for a multi-dollar sale.
    I find it interesting that you note the .99 dilema, John, instead of rounding up to a whole price. One of Smashwords distributors (I can't remember which one - maybe Apple?) requires the price to end with a .99. Mine had been at a rounded price but I had to conform to be listed.

  29. Laura, I admit to being almost wholly ignorant of the Romance genre marketplace. That sounds terrible, a precise example of market leaders pricing low being bad for emerging writers. Though there might be opposing data out there.

    The $xx.99 pricing trick has always bothered me. Car commercials are the worst. Only $9999.99!

  30. So what you're *really* saying here is that high eBook prices by best-selling authors are good, not because they're high but because it gives the rest of us — indie authors and new authors — the opportunity to undercut them. We can stand out by offering more affordable entertainment. Right??? Having said that, I do have a problem with DRM'ed eBooks costing more than a paperback (which can be passed around and doesn't require batteries).

    Personally, I prefer $3 (with a $2.10 royalty) to $1 (with a 35¢ royalty), but I'll price my novels at whatever price gets me read. ;-) You make a very good point about being able to offer a sale price if you're not starting at the bottom, too, and that's pretty much the way I've decided to go with my first attempt(s). On the other hand… you, and I, and many of the other commenters here, are posting our stuff for free on our blogs. I'm with Mari here, what price we choose isn't necessarily the "value" of that work, otherwise what we do is worthless. Not true! In other instances, I've said the market defines the perceived value of whatever it is for sale. If I sell 10,000 books at $1 each, or 4,000 at $2.50 each, the perceived value in either case is $10,000.

    As an aside, you shouldn't make yourself sick working on your book. You have family to look after, right? Go easier on yourself, you'll do better work. Seriously.

    Huh… the verification word is "power." Feel the power!

  31. I don't know any apologists for DRM. I don't like the notion of it and will avoid some products for their DRM. However, unlimited sharing of a book seems odd. You can lend your physical copy to any one person. Lending it to a hundred people is the equivalent of Bit Torrent and can be incredibly hazardous to sales - or incredibly beneficial, depending on the author.


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