Sunday, March 22, 2015

eBook Prices

Last week, a book from one of the authors I follow on Goodreads came out. The announcement said the eBook was available for a “special introductory price,” so I checked it out on Amazon. Do you think the price was 99 cents? $4.99? No, it was $9.99. I closed the tab without even downloading the sample and headed over to my library’s website to put the book on hold.

Everyone has different price ranges they’re comfortable with. For me, I have no problem with prices of $4.99 and below for fiction and nonfiction, though I generally read the sample first before deciding to buy. (I may buy the book outright if it’s a nonfiction book on sale or if I’m familiar with the author’s work.) If I’d read the author before and consider myself a fan, I’m willing to go a little higher, maybe up to $7.99. 

Any price that’s higher than a paperback for a novel, however, is more than I’m willing to pay. At the speed I read (more than 200 books a year), I can’t afford to read $9.99 eBooks. They’re not a good value for me, especially if I’m going to read the book once and remove it from my Kindle to conserve space. Even $7.99 may be daunting if the book is part of a long series and I would have to pay over $100 to read the entire series. At that point, I will borrow the book from the library if possible, look for cheap secondhand paperbacks if the book has been out for a while, or simply skip the book and quietly rejoice at being able to shrink my immense TBR list.

I’m willing to spend over $10 on non-fiction eBooks, particularly if I think it will be useful for writing. Since non-fiction is only about 20-25% of my reading, and not all my non-fiction costs that much, I can manage the occasional splurge. 

If you read eBooks, what price ranges are you comfortable with? Does the subject matter or familiarity matter?


Pat Dilloway said...

$2.99 seems to work for my books with a bit more for omnibuses.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

$9.99 was the sale price? Wow.
That's as high as I go when paying for an eBook.

Maria Zannini said...

My limit is $3.99 for ebooks, $4.99 if it's something I really, really want.

This weekend, the husband wanted a book that was almost the same price as the paperback. He went for the paper book.

Jay Noel said...

$9.99? I think big time authors' publishers might make that the list price for an ebook. But I never go there. I'd rather get the mass paperback for that price.

For ebooks, my limit is $4.99

Sandra Almazan said...

Pat--I've been using $2.99 for my novels too, although I did drop the price of Seasons' Beginnings in anticipation of the next book coming out soon.

Alex, I've seen traditionally published eBooks even higher than that! After buying Libriomancer and finding out after the fact that it was $12, I've been more cautious about checking prices before I buy.

Maria, you can always resell the paperback when you're done, so you do get more for your money that way.

Jay, yes, this is a big name author. The price isn't hurting sales, though I just checked and it's $9.19 instead of $9.99.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

I don't have an e-reader yet but I can't imagine paying more for a digital copy than a physical one. Wow.
There was a survey done on this topic recently, but I can't find the link right now.

Sandra Almazan said...

Jennifer, the Fussy Librarian recently conducted a survey with their readers, and the results were posted to the Passive Voice. Is that what you're thinking of?

Caryn Caldwell said...

While of course I'd rather spend less on books, I'm willing to go higher, since I know the author put just as much work into the ebook as the print edition. Plus, $9.99 is still a lot less than the hardcover price. That said, it depends a lot on the quality of the writing, the reviews I've read about it, the premise, and whether or not I've loved the author's books before. If I'm still undecided, a sample definitely helps me, too.

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