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.