Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interesting blog on e-book pricing

I'm too busy writing to blog much of late--gotta ride that new idea adrenaline while it lasts! But to keep this blog from growing cobwebs, today I'm linking to fantasy author Jim Hines' discussion of e-book pricing. Interesting stuff, more musing and discussion than answers.

For what it's worth, the list price of The Sergeant's Lady, a 94,000-word historical romance, is $5.99, but most retailers offer at least a bit of a discount. If you buy it directly from Carina Press, it's DRM-free and will cost you $5.39. At Amazon it's just $4.69, but you're buying a Kindle edition with DRM.

A comparable mass market paperback historical romance averages around $6.99. To me, that price difference feels about right. When you buy that paperback book, only a small fraction of the cost goes to the production and shipment of the physical object. Most of it goes to the labor of producing the book--all the work the author, editor, cover artist, copy editor, and so on did to take it from a creative gleam in the author's eye to a complete, polished, and packaged story. And when you're buying an e-book from a professional, reputable publisher (like Carina!) or the e-edition of a book that's also in print, those creative labor costs are exactly the same. So I can see discounting e-books by a dollar or two--or, to look at it another way, asking customers to pay a small premium for a paper book to cover printing and shipment--but no more than that, at least not as a regular thing. Promo offers or listing one's backlist for $0.99 to build interest in a new release is another story.

And this post is longer than I intended, so I'll leave it at that for now.

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