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
    Patty, 11 Feb 2010 @ 10:52pm

    Book pricing

    I worked for a small religious publisher in the early 70's. The way they set the price of a hard bound book was to get a printing price from me (typesetting, printing and binding) and multiply it times 5. I suggested that perhaps this could be changed to reflect the cost of, say, more editorial time on some books but no one was interested in doing it any other way than times 5. I suspect that the pricing of books, even by major publishers, is set in an equally scientific matter to this day. So until they can explain how they do it and why even $9.99 is not enough for a book which requires NO manufacturing I will treat all bitching from publishers as so much bullshit.

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