May 9, 2011

What would you pay for an ebook?

In the near future, the Fred Books will be available in various ebook formats. So I've been reading up on ebook pricing. I read a blog post by novelist Jennifer Crusie with this interesting quote.

Some readers are upset because it costs almost nothing to put the books up on the net (in their argument) so the books should be much cheaper. In this they’re missing a couple of key points–publishers have overhead no matter what format you buy, and you’re not buying paper when you buy a book, you’re buying story–but it doesn’t matter because public perception of worth becomes reality. What should be a question of “How much is this story by Jennifer Crusie worth?” becomes, “Well, I’ll pay $14.99 for Welcome to Temptation in trade paperback because that’s worth it, but I won’t pay that $9.99 for the same story in e-format because they’re ripping me off.” One’s wine in a bottle and the other is wine in a box. Same wine, but the perception of the value of that wine is different.

Funny because I also balk at paying what I see as too much for an ebook, but she really hit the meat of the matter when she said we're not buying a format, we're buying a story.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and watch this space in the coming weeks for news of eFred at a reasonable price and some other goodies.


Blake said...

I'm sure you're already aware of The Very Rich Indie Writer, but I just learned about it. I'm not sure what it means, but it's interesting. I keep meaning to download a copy to see if the writing's any good, but one of the issues I read in response to her success is the fact that the writing might not be that great, but she tells a good story (if you're into the whole vampire teen romance genre, apparently). This still doesn't answer your question, but it's fodder for mental chewing in connection to your question.

One of my reasons for getting an ebook reader (a Kindle) was so that I could save some cost in regards to getting the physical book. As long as I can see just a few dollars in savings by purchasing an ebook over a physical book, that will make me much more apt to download the book. While 99 cent novels would be stellar, I'd have to agree that it would devalue the work.

How much is Apple to blame for this with their music and app pricing?

Do you think prices will continue to drop (especially as it seems more epublishing formats keep appearing), or will it even out and be closer to the prices for physical books?

All I know is, my "to be read" list is far too long for me to consider these issues in regards to actually buying any new books.

Brad Whittington said...

Yep, Amanda is all the rage, and you're right, the quality of her writing really doesn't matter in the pricing discussion.

As far as Apple, I have yet to see them offer an album for $0.99, which is an OK price for a song or a short story, or my upcoming controversial essay of which I will speak more in the coming weeks. I hope you have room for it on your to-be-read list.

Iafyds said...

$9.99 is what I will pay for an ebook. I have a kindle and apps on my phone and ipod. Rarely purchase paper anymore.