Paulo Coehlo Convinces His Publisher To Offer (Almost) All Of His Ebooks For $0.99
from the wow dept
One thing that we’ve seen even among authors who totally “get” that ebook pricing is out of control, is that if they have deals with traditional publishers, those publishers are never interested in offering low ebook prices, even if there’s growing evidence on the elasticity of ebooks, showing that the maximizing price is often less than $5. Joe Konrath’s experiments showed that lowering your price significantly can create a huge uptick in net revenue. But the big publishing houses always talk about overhead and the costs of publishing a book… even to the point of claiming that $10 is too cheap.
That’s meant that authors like Paulo Coelho, one of the best selling authors of all time, had to pirate his own book, by posting it online and pretending to be someone else. Even after releasing such works for free was shown to increase sales, his publisher resisted supporting these efforts.
However, perhaps the times are changing. Somehow, Coelho has convinced the US publisher of his first 11 books, Harper Collins (his most recent book came out with a different publisher) to offer ebook versions of 10 of his 11 books with them for $0.99. Now, this only applies to US and Canada (and right now it’s only the Kindle, though other platforms should be supported soon). It also appears this is a limited time offering. Also, perhaps most importantly, Harper Collins chose not to include Coelho’s most famous book of all, The Alchemist. So it’s not a complete recognition of the way things are heading, but it is impressive. While Coelho is on the record repeatedly telling people to download unauthorized copies of his work for free, he certainly sees how this can help him “compete” with free:
This is a crucial decision for me. For years I have been advocating that free content is not a threat to the book business. In lowering the price of a book and equaling it to the price of a song in iTunes, the reader will be encouraged to pay for it, instead of downloading it for free.
It is my (open) secret wish that pricing for ebooks will follow this trend.
I think many folks would agree. It will certainly be interesting to see how well this does, though it’s (unfortunately) probably unlikely that Harper Collins will ever reveal the results of its experiment. Hopefully it realizes that many buyers are invested in the experiment as well and it’s willing to share the results. Alternatively, if Coelho really wants to get others to follow this trend, if any data he has would be useful to getting that message across, perhaps he’ll publish it himself (or, hell, send it to us to publish!)