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.

Filed Under: books, douglas preston, ebooks, entitlement, pricing


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  1. icon
    Michael Long (profile), 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:09pm

    Re: What is a real price

    "...consumers (and competition) decide if $9.99 is a real price or not."

    And actually, "consumers" didn't decide on $9.99 as a price point, Amazon did, just as Apple decided on $0.99 per song as a price point. In fact, according to industry news, Amazon was said subsidizing the $9.99 price to the tune of $5 a copy, as they were supposedly paying the publisher $14.99 a copy.

    Now, Amazon might well decide to eat the $5 (for first run books) if it means gaining ebook market share and if it also encourages people to buy older ebooks (and books) on which they DO make money.

    Oh yeah... and if doing so sells the occasional $300 Kindle.

    If you think Amazon would not decide to lose some money now in order to build up market share, then you're completely forgetting how Amazon became Amazon in the first place.

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