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
    Jeff, 12 Feb 2010 @ 6:36am

    Greedy Author

    Sad when an author who is definitely having his own entitlement issues and tries to make his fans / readers out to be the bad guy.
    What did it really cost to get that digital copy to the reader in comparison to a hard copy. There is no printing costs, paper costs, etc... no distribution costs to ship the book to a store, no cost to have a book store employ stock the book and keep it on the shelf for a couple of months before it sold. But then his publisher probably takes just as big of a cut of each ebook sold as they do a hard copy book. I think his focus is misplaced here. I would be bitching about the publishers entitlement here. It didn't cost you hardly anything to put the ebook out to the masses, but you still think your entitled to get back the same amount on each sale.
    Yeah I know, I know you think it devalues the book when you price it lower for the consumer, but does it really. Take out those production costs, that you didn't actually spend, and you'll probably find the 9.99 price more along the lines of what it should be priced at. Yeah the hard copy is a bit higher, but if I wanted a hard copy to display on my bookshelf I'd pay a bit higher price for that added value, to support the costs of getting that hard copy to me.
    Basically this guy is just like the musicians that are bitching about their own fans and standing up for the RIAA, and making as much money off the consumer as they feel they are entitled to. Sad when you want to piss off those that are paying your bills, but don't come whining to me when you can't because they went elsewhere and you are broke Mr. high and mighty author.
    Yeah I say set your prices high, but don't get all butt-hurt when your readers don't buy your books and go to someone else!!!

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