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
    AR, 11 Feb 2010 @ 7:46pm

    No sympathy

    Consumers driving prices down by complaining, and in the end not buying at higher prices, helps to spur progress and innovation. It forces companies to find ways to do it better, faster, cheaper, and safer. This includes new technologies. The established industries dont want anyone to embrace the tech that will eventually put them out of business. Thats kind of understandable, but not realistic, and the "artist" are taking the brunt of the consumer backlash.

    These "artists" need to quit being coddled by these middle men and realise that they control their futures. The middle men actually work for them. Not the other way around. They need to quit begging the publishers (and labels) for contracts (and front money) and start pressuring them to establish reasonably priced digital catalogues. If they have to work a 9-5 (OH, the horror) to finance the "pursuit of their passions" then so be it. All the "little people" dont really care any more and are only willing to pay so much. People also realise that digital content has infinite supply at minimal maintenance cost. They dont care about initial production costs. No matter how much the industries cry and whine about it. Its their job to find a way to do it cheaper and make a profit.

    Paper and plastic are on their way out (no eco pun intended). They can either change and embrace it, or fade into obscurity.

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