Harper Books, which published my latest novel, has had it deeply discounted for Mother’s Day. I greatly appreciate this for my particular book, as it helps get the word out before the paperback, but it also leaves me wondering if the overall effect of discount promotions will be to devalue books, leaving readers unwilling to pay more than a few dollars for one. I’ve always considered the limit on reading isn’t dollars, but time, so it’s hard for me to imagine discounting books will result in a whole lot more being bought overall (even if more of my particular book will be, and I do see that). And price-sensitive readers can always get books for free from a library. I posted the question on an author group I participate in as follows:
I’d love to have a conversation about ebook pricing. My publisher, HarperCollins, has my latest on deep ebook discount, which I greatly appreciate as it helps get the word out before the paperback, but I also wonder if anyone will ever pay more than $3 for an ebook with the ubiquity of discounted ones. Or does that matter? What do you think?
And thought you might like to see some of the responses I got. Just a few — the discussion there has has gotten very long!
As a reader and buyer of books with a small budget, I really appreciate the discounts but I also see it from the other perspective too. I wouldn’t want my work to be sold at such low prices always. I have bought books for 4.99 and 6.99 though
… I have to say sorts of makes the point, doesn’t it? With very few exceptions, you can’t get a paper book for even as low as $6.99, and as an author you would have to sell an unbelievable number of books to make anything close to a living at this price point when you get such a small slice of the pie. But that is to this responder the TOP of what she will pay for a book.
Another response, said in jest:
The best line I heard about publishing: People think it’s a business but it’s really a casino.
which did make me laugh. It’s not entirely true, of course, but there is some truth in it.
And this comment (or part of one) got the the nub of it:
65% if all readers have stopped buying books unless they are ebooks on sale for $6.99 -$8.99or less.
I suppose we can all hope I’m wrong about lower prices meaning folks will buy more books?