Things to know before you read this:
- I’m a huge reader, and always write as a reader first.
- I’m a publisher with a unique philosophy about what a publisher’s role should be. I make money from it.
- I buy a lot of ebooks — both fiction and nonfiction.
So, I’m going to be honest.
I’m a huge fan of ebooks, but I don’t own a Kindle or Nook or whatever, and do not plan to own one in the near future. I want my ebooks to act like MP3s — files on the hard drive. Easy to use, just load ’em up. Not a file that can vanish from my device depending on where in the world I am. And not something I have to unlock, transform, or hack before I can consume my legally-acquired copy.
For these reasons, I only buy and read non-DRM’ed PDFs, HTML, and plain text. All those other formats? For a fiction book, forget it. I don’t want any fiction book so badly that I’m willing to put up with this junk to read it. Plenty of other fish in the sea.
Now, let’s talk about price.
I understand that book publishing is a hard business, especially the fiction publishing. I totally understand the need to make money. But speaking as a consumer of ebooks, as a reader, I do not want to pay more than $5 or $6 for a fiction book.
No matter how good it is, no matter who wrote it or how profound the message, no matter the rereadability. I used to buy a lot of new paperbacks for $5 – $8, and I don’t want to spend any more than that for what I see as the next generation of paperbacks. In fact, I think ebooks should be a bit less than the hard copy. Not a lot, but a dollar or two.
Is this irrational, considering I know from experience the costs of producing and marketing a book, regardless of the format? Perhaps. But as a business owner, I know to serve my customers first, because without my customers, I would not have a business. That means listening to them, and above all, trying not to piss them off.
As a reader, what is your idea of a fair price for a fiction ebook?
Think of what you want, strictly as a consumer and book buyer. Cut out the justification; pretend you don’t know anything about what it takes to produce a book, and you don’t care.
What do you want to pay? Do you think $14.99 is too high? Are you OK with Kindle’s $9.99 or less? I’d really like to find out what you think as a buyer first, no matter if you’re also on the production end.