Why authors should set eBook prices
Anyone who self-publishes to Amazon will be aware that it is currently in dispute with the publisher Hachette.
The monoliths are slogging it out over royalties, distribution and eBook prices.
Recently, Amazon sent its authors an email about why they believe Hachette is overcharging for eBooks. Unlike hardback or paperback books, eBooks cost virtually nothing to distribute and therefore should be cheap, says Amazon.
Hachette argues that the costs associated with publishing its authors across all platforms — eBooks being only one of them — dictates similar pricing to eBooks’ paper cousins.
Amazon claims that Hachette does not understand the eBook market and is being greedy.
Hachette believes that Amazon ignores the many hours spent writing a book and that selling them for 99 cents is an insult to authors.
Personally, I’m on Amazon’s side.
Having written several books, I know how much work is involved and charging between $1 and $2 for each title is not an insult. This is because more people will read my books if they are cheap.
Also, I’m an avid reader and buy lots of eBooks, but I refuse to pay more than $10 for them.
Currently, I will buy a title even if I’m unfamiliar with the author or the genre because I’m only paying a few dollars. However, if an eBook is over $10 I either wait until the book is available in the library or buy it when the price drops.
Keeping eBooks cheap is good for the author because people will read them and good for consumers because they will have more choice.
Hachette is not helping authors or readers if nobody buys their eBooks. I’d encourage its writers to forgo the publishing house altogether, self-publish and collect more royalties.
I don’t like major corporations, but when it comes to eBook prices Amazon is right.
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About the author
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.