Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Do You Consider Too High to Pay for E-books?

Just recently there has been a dispute between five publishers and consumers over the price of e-books.  Three of the publishers are paying money back to the consumers, but two others haven't settled yet, or not as of two days ago. 

It's not my intent to side with publishers, but to help inform the public about the work involved in e-publishing a book.  Most readers think the reason e-books are cheap is because there's not a lot of work to get a book out to the public in this format.

Wrong!  E-publishers receive many submissions, and they weed through them to find a story with a germ of an idea that might sell, or a story that is so well written they might not have a lot of editing to do.

Then there is the contract.  A lawyer is used to draw up contracts between the publisher and the author.  If they give all of their authors the same benefits and terms then they can use the same contract by changing titles, author names and dates.

They have more than one artist to design the covers for books.  If the e-publisher allows the author input in the decision for the cover, there will be forms sent to her/him.  Questions like what color of hair and eyes your heroine/hero has, how tall are they, and a description of something they're wearing in a scene.  These are just a few things asked in the questionnaire for your book cover.

Editors are essential for editing manuscripts before they can be published.  Most e-publishers have good editors, and many of them came from the print houses.  If you get a good editor, your work will be so much better than without one.  Nearly, all e-publishers sell well written stories because they edit, and their authors rewrite many times.  I will add that many authors hire an editor to look over their manuscripts before they self-publish, so there books can be good, too. 

Next is the formatting.  This is a toughie, and it's very time consuming.  Most formats are PDF, Mobi Pocket, HTML and print.  Any place a book is placed has a different format.  For instant, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have different formats.  A store such as Sony store is different, and there are many other places where a book can be displayed that do use the same formats.

Last but not least is marketing.  I must admit marketing is pretty much left up to the author, and it is in the author's contract that she/he must do a certain amount of promoting her/his books.  Publishers do have a website where their catalog of books are shown and can be bought in a format of your choice.

Not being a publisher, I'm sure that I have left a lot out.  I just want to let people know that e-published books can be just as good as the big print houses. 

I would love to hear what you are willing to pay for an e-book?

Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope to see you next Sunday.



Louise Behiel said...

And although my costs as an indie aren't as high, my time and energy are expensive. anyone want to format my next book for me?

Tim Baer said...

As a rule, I prefer to keep my purchases around the $4.99 to $7.99 range. If it is an Indie author I've never heard of before, that price is drastically reduced. If it is an author I am familiar with, and enjoy, I *might* go as high as $9.99. The Big 5 traditional publishers that are charging more for the ebook than the paperback I am boycotting. I'll wait for it to come out in a used book store. Apologies to the authors, but traditional publishing is gouging the consumer when it comes to ebooks.

Kt bishop said...

I won't pay more than nine bucks

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Sandy, yes, there is just as much work that goes into getting the ebook published as there is a print book. The difference is the production cost in actual printing, but authors should still get paid for their hours of hard work.

As an author and reader, I would never pay more than 9.99 for an ebook and even that's iffy. Typically, I won't even pay that for a paperback and I don't buy hardback unless it's a craft book. I still have a budget to consider.

As an author pricing my books, my highest one is 5.99 and it's 112 thousand words (about 400 pgs). My shorter books I price around 3.99 and novellas are at 2.99. I live on a strict budget like most readers, so I keep that in mind when pricing my books.

Sandy said...

LOL Thanks, but no thanks, Louise.

Thank you for your comment, Tim. I agree with you.

K.T., I haven't paid that much.

Thank you for coming by Stacey. I only buy hardbacks if they are on sale, usually around $5 or $6.00. My highest ebook is $5.99, too.

Joan Leacott said...

I usually buy mass market format, usually paying around $10, which is fine with me. The price I REFUSE to pay for ebooks, is one that exceeds the print price. GRRR!

Jill James said...

I hate to pay more for an eBook than a paperback. In my mind, eBooks will some day replace the mass market paperback. Hardcovers will remain for rabid fans and collectors.

I paid 9.99 for one ebook but I really, really wanted it. If an ebook is 7.99 I'll usually just go to the bookstore and get the paperback, if I can. Obviously I can't do that with Indies.

At this point with paperbacks and bookstores still available I usually buy in the .99 to 5.99.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Joan. I wouldn't over $6.00 for any book.

Sandy said...

Thank you, Jill. I paid full price for a hardback by Julie Garwood once, but it was signed.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

I should clarify that I have and would pay more for a Trade Size paperback because unfortunately, that's the nature of that size and Print on Demand (POD).

Molly Daniels said...

For anthologies, I don't mind paying $10, depending on the length (300 + pages). I prefer single titles (100-200 pages) to be in the $5-6 range, and shorter books (under 100 pages) to be $.99-3 range.

So it all depends on the length.

Cathryn Cade said...


I won't pay more than 5.99 for an ebook, except perhaps for 3 of my go-to authors(and then I gnash my teeth as I hit the buy button).

For a new-to-me author, I'm reluctant to go higher than 3.99. I am a busy author, with lots of reading to keep up on, for pleasure and market study.

I truly think publishers shoot themselves in the foot when they price ebooks higher than that.

I'm glad my publisher doesn't.


Sandy said...

I have paid more for POD, Stacey.

Molly, what about the quality of book? Grin! I'm afraid I wouldn't pay the price unless I was sure the authors would provide a good read.

Thanks, Cathryn. BTW, I visited your website and blog. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind paying a fair price for an e-book, but for some publishers the author gets pennies for each book sold.While many costs got into determining the up-front costs of a book, for e-books those costs are recovered more quickly than for print books.

Kt bishop said...

My books are between 99 cents and 4.99

Sandy said...

Thank you, Casey. I didn't know about the recovery.

Good prices, K. T. Thanks for coming by.

Linda LaRoque said...

I won't pay more than $9.99 for an ebook and for me to pay that it has to be a well-known author. I prefer to pay $6.00 for full reads and $2.99 for novellas.

Sandy said...

I agree, Linda. Thanks for coming by.

Historical Writer/Editor said...

I think that in part it depends on the length of the book. -laura

Sandy said...

Thanks, Laura. I agree. If the book is 400 pages I wouldn't mind paying $9.99 for it if it's well written. It would cost that much for a print.

Pat Dale said...

Hi, Sandy. Interesting topic, and I agree with what you said about the complexity of prepping eBooks. The convenience of having them at your beck and call in one handy reading device offsets the cost of print publishing in my mind.
So, I'd pay roughly the same price for an eBook as for a print book.
It's a wild new world in book publishing and will take a few more years to sort out, so let's all strap in and hang on.
Dale Thompson

Sandy said...

Wow, Dale. Now, that's an interesting thought. Thanks for coming by.

Erotica, She Wrote said...

Hi Sandra,

A much debated subject these days and like some folks have voiced already I think the price of the eBook depends on the book's length.

Just recently I saw a full length novel (140K) priced at $11.99 and I'm thinking, "wow, that's a little pricy", but if the author feels it warrants that then more power to him/her.

All my eBook are novellas and tend to be under 20K so I always price them low so they sell, besides, I'm a new author and for now I'm more interested in getting people exposed to my writing, making money is secondary.


Thanks for posting.

Sandy said...

Hi Erotica, She Wrote,

Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment. Good luck with your career.