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

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Henry Emrich, 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:29pm


    How exactly can you sell Ebooks "at a loss?"

    There's very literally *no* "cost" to make more copies.
    So any "price" charged to allow people to download any particular copy (out of a theoretically infinite pool of such potential copies), isn't going to make any sense, whatsoever.

    Physical books cost to produce because they have stuff like wood pulp, printing presses, etc. Sure, I guess you could claim that they "cost" the author to write, except that they "cost" him in the same way as choosing to watch the latest episode of "Dancing with the stars" "costs" the viewers.

    It makes absolutely no sense for this guy to be complaining that customers *correctly* understand that charging for a digital file that cost effectively NOTHING to produce (or, as near to "Zero" as to make no difference), is actually pretty silly.

    Add to that, the fact that Ebook files are usually broken (DRM "protected"), or otherwise use whacky, proprietary file-formats in an attempt to preclude interoperability.

    *THAT'S* the real "entitlement mentality" -- the notion that the "rights-holders" (monopolists/their publishers) should have carte-blanche to impose any/every kind of idiocy on the buyer, and that their victims shouldn't even flinch, after having been scammed.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.