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. identicon
    Not so sure, 11 Feb 2010 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Henry, that's overlooking a huge source of costs to publish a book. Authors have to be paid, editors have to be paid (as well as everyone else who works on a book to get it from the authors original manuscript to a consumer-ready product), internal marketing teams need to be paid, media space to promote the book needs to be bought, ad agencies need to be paid their fee.

    I don't really have much of an opinion on the whole ebook debate, but I do know that just because it's in digital form, the costs don't magically become $0.

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