There are some wonderful books available in both paperback and e-book formats and, thanks to online retail sites, it has never been easier to choose a acim and be reading it about a minute later. E-books are available immediately, easy to transport and they save trees. One of the biggest considerations for readers when making a purchase, is that e-books are affordable and usually a fraction of the price of paperback versions.
As well as being a writer, I am also a prolific reader. Truth be told, I still prefer to hold a book in my hand but I also have a large library of e-books and my collection would be even bigger if some of the e-books I would like to buy weren’t over-priced. When I see an e-book advertised at more than $8, I move on to find another book at a reasonable price. The writer may have sweated over the manuscript for years, and poured heart and soul into it, but competition for readers is high and if the book is over-priced few people will get to appreciate the author’s hard work.
You only have to look at an online retail site to see that e-books in the $1 to $2.99 category have more reviews, while those priced around the $10 mark languish on the virtual shelf waiting for a buyer. Reviews aren’t the only measure of a book’s popularity – many of my readers send me emails but don’t bother to leave a review on a public site – but you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out that higher priced e-books will attract less buyers than those that are reasonably priced. It’s a simple matter of economics. Unless the author has a loyal band of followers who would pay any price to read her new work, readers will generally be cautious with their money when buying a book by an author they do not know.
I have seen authors price a book of just over 100 pages at $4 or more, while more substantial offerings seem to be flying off the shelves at $2.99. The purchase price of your e-book is no reflection upon the quality of your work – it’s more about competing for attention in a very crowded space where some authors are even prepared to give their work away. I don’t agree with the strategy of offering books for free. Few people who have gone down that road have seen any real bump in books purchased. When you can get something for free, why would you pay for it? If your book is worth reading, it is worth paying for at a realistic price.