Sunday, April 18, 2010

The E-book price threshold...

As a lot of you know, I bought an e-reader last week.  I love it.  Seriously love it.  It is easy to use, easy to see, and I read really fast on it.  It's lightweight and hand-friendly.  I love having a whole library on there.  I love how i can organize it and pull up whatever I want. 

There has been a lot of discussion about the e-book price point and what is too much.  What do publishers have to charge to make money and how much is too much.

There's been much to-do about the agency model of pricing as well, but the one thing I do like about it is that it leaves the judgment in the hands of the consumer.  As an author that's kind of hard to say, but at the same time we all know that money talks.  The problem with that is that an author needs numbers to go to the next contract etc.  Right now that might not be a huge deal, since e-books only account for a small percentage of sales.

But that could and probably will change.

ANYWAY, this weekend with my new e-reader I've been thinking as a consumer -and as an author who wants people to buy her books. Authors don't just write books, they buy books.  A LOT OF THEM.  And of course I went shopping.  I had a look at 2 books from a trilogy that I was interested in getting after having read one of them.  The problem?  They were each priced at three times what I would pay for a Harlequin.  And the books are NOT three times larger.  We're talking between 80-90 000 words.

Over $12 for just one.  Two of them would be $24.  I could buy six really enjoyable category romances for that.

It got me thinking about the e-book price threshold and what people are willing to pay and I'm betting that a lot of people are thinking like me.  That 9.99 is about as high as they'll go for an e-book.  I know it has to be something really special, something truly coveted for me to go over that price.  What did I end up buying?  Rebecca Winters/Dominique Burton's A Mother's Wedding Day, Barbara O'Neal's The Lost Recipe for Happiness (a bargain at just over $6, I think), Jessica Hart's Oh So Sensible Secretary, and Fiona Harper's Housekeeper's Happy Ever After.  I wanted to buy Liz Fielding's Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge, but then realized it won't be available until May where I was shopping (I can get it at eharlequin).

The other thing I think publishers need to realize is that the only people punished by DRM are the legit-by-the-book consumers who have no interest in pirating books.  Example - I was sent a book by a publisher and I downloaded it on to my PC.  This was before the e-reader was purchased.  Then, I got the e-reader and wanted to put the book on it, but it won't transfer.  I can only open it on my desktop.  That made me frustrated. 

People who pirate will just crack the DRM anyway.  At least that's my opinion.  Just like with music.  We stopped buying from Puretracks and moved to itunes ONLY because of the inconvenience of DRM.  Dude, I paid for the music.  I keep it on a hard drive.  I'd like to listen to it on my MP3 player.  Just sayin'.

Anyway, those are two things I've thought about this week as I've played (and enjoyed) my new e-reader.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on chapter seven and things are getting good....


  1. Wow I never considered that all of the ebooks I've managed to collect may not be compatible if/when I get an ereader. That would drive me nuts!

  2. Happy reading. I can personally vouch for 'Oh-so-sensible Secretary' and 'Housekeeper Happy Ever After'. They are both awesome reads.

    Like you, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Liz Fielding's new book. Sounds like it's set in Africa which is very unusual. As a South African, I'd love to see more romance books showcasing my continent! Jessica Hart's book also has a section set in Africa ... but I won't give anything more away!

  3. Hi Donna,

    Totally agree with you about pricing. I've had my ereader for over a year and when I first got it I was gutted to realise the ebooks were actually more expensive than the hard copy! It seems absolutely ridiculous!
    Now, in some cases the prices seem to match, but I have a bit of an issue with that, as we all know the publisher doesn't have the same overheads with ebooks.
    In the UK I mainly have to buy from mills and boon or waterstones. However if I walk in to Waterstones I can pick up three brand new novels usually for £10. Do I get the same deal buying them as ebooks? No! I see a gap in the market.....

  4. Interesting thoughts, Donna. Considering the amount of room books take up in my house, a reader sounds like a really good idea. Prices - who knows where they'll end up?

  5. Don't know if you've tried it, but there's a website my brother put me onto called Ebooks are pretty cheap on there, I download books I can't get over here onto my iphone :-)