Sunday, September 02, 2012

Gods, madness, and ebook prices

OK, further to my post of 20 August, suggesting that some UK publishers have taken leave of their senses -- judging by their ebook prices -- here is more evidence that the gods intend to destroy the leading print publishers of our day, because they have assuredly driven them nuts first. (A dictum often attributed to Euripides, but apparently wrongly so.)

Over the weekend I noticed a couple of books, reviewed in the Times, which look like the kind of thing I might like to read (and who knows, even review). Both were thrillers.

Now in the ordinary way of things, I might be willing to take a chance on buying both of these, in ebook form, if the price was, say, equal to what I shell out for a small black in my local Costa. That is, £1.95. Or I might go to £2.95 if I was feeling particularly interested.

Book A is apparently priced by its publisher at £15.21, and Amazon will knock it down to £11.96. So the publisher wants, for an ebook, more money than I would expect to pay for a trade paperback. Hell, I have written, published, printed and sold my own trade paperbacks for about £11.

Book B is offered on Amazon for £6.99. Still way too high.

Meanwhile, following my post of 20 August, muttering about the ebook price of the latest Alan Furst, I reserved the hardback at my local library, and yesterday I collected it. Cost to me could be zero, but they ask for a £1 donation, and, after a search for a box to put it in, that's what I paid.

Now, lemmee see... Could it be that someone is doing something wrong here? I am, after all, a person of some goodwill towards fellow writers. But I am not going to sit (or, more probably, lie) here while someone fucks me up the arse. Because I tried it once and I didn't care for it.

On the other hand, if a sensible publisher will put out a book by a class act, a known quantity, then of course I'm going to pay the price of a cup of coffee. But not a lot more.

So take your pick, boys (and girls). You can either price things sensibly and maximise your income, or you can charge £15.21 and go bust. See if I care.


Satellite Internet said...

Thats why I like the library. Free books! Good article.

Satellite Internet

Jon Allen said...

hi Dad,
I saw this about the crazy pricing on Amazon for Kindle books.

they actually make more expensive if you are logged in!