Author Claims $9.99 Is Not A 'Real Price' For Books

from the oh-really? dept

The NY Times is running an article about how publishers' recent attempts (mostly successful) to boost the retail price of ebooks may backfire really badly as consumers revolt. Most of it is not particularly new to regular readers here, but it does talk to one author whose book received bad reviews on Amazon after his publisher decided to hold off releasing an ebook, hoping that it would "protect" hardcover sales. The author, Douglas Preston, lashes out and attacks his fans, rather than being willing to admit that his customers are telling him something:
"The sense of entitlement of the American consumer is absolutely astonishing.... It's the Wal-Mart mentality, which in my view is very unhealthy for our country. It's this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.... It gives me pause when I get 50 e-mails saying 'I'm never buying one of your books ever again. I'm moving on, you greedy, greedy author.'"
So, what's a bigger sense of entitlement? The one where your customers tell you that you've priced something too high and that they're going to spend their money with others who are offering something at a price point they like? Or the one where you insist that books have to be priced high because you want them to be priced high? I'd argue it's the latter... Along those lines, $9.99 is a real price. Just because you don't like what the market decides a book is worth, doesn't mean that it's not a real price.

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  1. icon
    Chris Meadows (profile), 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:00pm

    Entitlement viewpoint too simplistic

    The Amazon/Macmillan feud blew the lid off of a simmering cauldron of resentment that e-book early adopters have been tending for a long time (ten years or more in some cases). It seems like a lot of authors and publishers aren't really aware of this, and tend to blame the loud complaints on a sense of "entitlement". This isn't strictly accurate.

    Here is a post from a long-time reader who is very frustrated with high prices, lack of availability, and the poor quality of e-books—and being rebuffed when she tries to contact stores, publishers, and authors to have the errors fixed or to try to get their e-books available in her country.

    And here is my post outlining how those who side with Macmillan and the angry readers of e-books have been talking past each other with neither clearly understanding what the other has to say.

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