Monday, January 16, 2017

BLOGGING WITH THE #BOC *The Devaluation of the Written Word*

The roving reader may love those 99 cent eBooks, but that price point is ruining the market and giving authors zero return on their hard work. Yes, I said it.. I am a voracious reader and of course love a good deal once in a while, but knowing that my authors are getting short changed on books that have taken them months to write, then edit and finally release makes me very sad.

How did this  99 cent deal become the norm? Why do readers expect that to be the pricing of a full length novel?  I see reviews for books where the reader has paid nothing or .99 and they feel free to say that the book wasn't even worth that.... Or even worse, I have seen readers who are so inclined to email an author to ask them to send a free copy to them because they can't afford them. This is so wrong and it makes me cringe.

When I first started book club and began having published authors over, I asked a USA Today Bestselling author what her return was on a paperback book that sells for $6.99. When she told me that she got 28 cents for each of those books, I wanted to choke. Why would anyone want to be an author if that's the return on a book they put their blood, sweat and tears into? Obviously the love of writing and sharing the written word is more important than making money to some. Why do we pay more money for a cup of coffee but gripe when a book is more than a dollar? We shouldn't. 

I am disheartened when I see an author friend of mine being undersold. It shouldn't be this way, and everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes down to it. Authors who consistently price their books at 99 cents are doing a disservice to everyone else who wants to make a living. There should be standard pricing for each length of book and it shouldn't even begin with a 99 cent novella. 

Fact: We see Indie authors all the time who have their books at .99. Maybe the justification for it is because since they are  the ones making the money back, it's okay  to have that book at .99. It isn't when one thinks of how much actually goes into the publishing of a book. The cost of editing, formatting, the cover, the promotion is only the tip of the iceberg. It can easily cost an author over $2000.00 just to get the book up on Amazon, and selling 2000 copies of that book does not give them that money back. 

To be honest, if I hear that a 75,000 word eBook selling for $3.99  is too expensive, one more time, I may go ballistic.  I do disagree with some publishers pricing an eBook at the same price point as a print book, to be honest, I'd rather have the print book in my hands for $6.99 than a license for the eBook for that very same price, but that is another issue for a later date.

Many may not agree with me, and that's fine. I do think we need to rethink our attitudes when it comes time to buy an eBook. The hours of enjoyment we all get out of reading a book that evokes our emotions and our intellect should be worth more than a buck, bottom line....

Feel free to comment... I welcome debate...



  1. I agree with everything you said. The problem is, as you stated, the authors who are selling 300 page books for $.99, and those who giveaway books for free are devaluing all books. Thank you for speaking out on this subject.

    1. I think this issue is getting worse and some reading EXPECT all eBooks to be 99 cents and that is just wrong. I will gladly pay 4 or 5 dollars for a full length eBook...

    2. I think of this as good marketing not cheep books . I will look at the .99cent books when i have nothing to read buy my favorite authors. This is how I find new authors and not wast money.Most of the authors have benefited from this. I have bought One .99 sent book and on average bought five to six books of theirs at full price to read a series. You fall in love and have to have more... You need to know what happens in Immortal Vegas or if the Dragons live in peace . Or the Vet fall in Love ... Other wise You wait for a friend to loan you a book and then the author gets no money.

    3. I am so with you on this, Kim. I willingly pay full price ($4-$5) for an ebook--as long as it's full length. I don't like authors devaluing their hard work. It infuriates me when I see someone complaining about having to pay for a book.

  2. Excellent post, Kimberly. Shared this everywhere. You're not alone in thinking like this. I recently raised all my books prices because I'm sick of devaluing my work by giving them away or pricing them 99c. 500 authors have gotten together to run an event showcasing our books at reasonable prices - Our Books Are Not Free. Let me know if you'd like the link to the event.

  3. SO TRUE! Wonderful post, Kimberly. There are many of us who feel exactly the same way. We're working hard to get quality books into readers hands and the mentality is that they want them for free or $0.99. I'm not selling my books at $0.99 anymore. It devalues the long hours and hard work put into creating them and gives readers the impression that I'm not as good as traditionally published authors. I'm one of over a hundred authors participating in a huge Facebook event titled 'Our Books Are Not Free.' We're hoping to try to re-educate some readers into wanting to buy a book at normal price. Fingers crossed.

  4. First let me start by saying that it is nice to have someone say we indie authors deserve more. Thank you. For me though, I see giving away a free book or pricing an ebook at 99c as a marketing tool - pure and simple. I also see it as an opportunity to build up readership numbers and a way to introduce my books to new customers. The more people who read my books, the more people will talk about them and recommend them to friends. And word of mouth is always the best advertisement there is. Publishers give away a substantial amounts of print books to spread the word about a new release - they do this because it works. If it didn't work, they wouldn't do it. A serious reader will still pay top dollar for a book if they are a fan of the author. I know I do, and I have been introduced to some great new authors by the first book being offered for free or 99c. Is there anyone here that has never downloaded a free book or a 99c book to try? There will always be people out there who want everything for nothing - always has been, always will be - and not just in the book industry. Thankfully though, there are plenty of decent people out there who are happy to pay more. Give them a decent product and they will keep coming back for more - and if they love your books, they will pay the asking price time and time again.

  5. As you know, my preference is paperback, and I have a large collection. However, the book on ebook is the same material, just in a different form, so I don't see why it should be discounted like that. I appreciate that you aren't getting the paper, binding, etc, but you also have a product that can be read on a kindle, the computer, maybe a phone, and possibly be passed to other people. And it will not be damaged by wear. It really is sad that authors put so much time into writing and get so little payback. I believe it is the same now with musicians, due to the availability of music on the internet.