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
    cheryl (profile), 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:15pm

    The thing that gets me is how a publisher can assert that an eBook should cost more than a MMP, and make that argument without even looking ashamed. I understand about percentages of print production, but I also understand about logistics and everything else and it cannot possibly be cheaper to produce the mass market paperback. Of course, many publishers are trying to get rid of the MMP altogether themselves, releasing an increasing number of books as "trade paperbacks". Really annoying.

    They also seem to forget that consumer perception of received value counts too. I'm a paperback buyer. For eBooks, they want me to pay more for less-- can't lend, can't resell, more trouble to read on the beach, often much poorer quality and insane geoprotections. Get real.

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