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. identicon
    se7en, 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:33pm

    Re: Re: What is a real price

    Yeah, that's what I was trying to say too :p

    I'm all for the customer deciding what the value of something is. But to pretend that "customers" came up with $9.99 as what they think an eBook is worth is bullshit. The reality is, that is Amazon's customers, because Amazon told them that was the price, even though Amazon knew it was higher (because they were taking a loss on it, for now).

    The reality is other eBook sellers are setting different prices, and always have-Fictionwise and Baen to just name a couple. I wish Techdirt had dug a little deeper into the issue before just blasting some whiny author.

    The whole Agency Model/Amazon Model fight has no real "good guys" right now.

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