King of Payin’

Sorry, Amazon. Even though I’m a relatively new Kindle owner, with eyes that still sparkle at the phrase “Buy now with 1-Click,” and even if I’m still a little giddy at sub-minute delivery, I’m not going to shell out 17 smackers for the first Stephen King book in two decades that I might just possibly want to read.

Drop the price seven bucks, and we’ll talk.

Author: landon

My mom thinks I'm in high tech.

9 thoughts on “King of Payin’”

  1. Tell me about it! Prices for many e-books are just way to expensive! It should be cheaper than paper-based books!

    When you get into $8 territory, that’s when it gets really tempting!

    Have you read any Alastair Reynolds? His book Revelation Space is awesome and is only $8 on Kindle (I think the other books in the series are $9).

  2. So true. 10 to 20 USD for an electronic copy of a book is nice markup for the retailer, but given past experience with the comfort of “owning” DRM protected music simply not good value. Charge me a dollar a day while I am reading, and I’ll happily pay. One day, someone will netflix online book stores and make a fortune.

  3. I’m kind of mixed on this one. On one hand, “but you’re not shipping dead trees” has a strong emotional appeal.

    On the other, I used to work in a store where we’d put together less than $0.75 (retail!) worth of components and sell the resulting sandwiches for $2-2.50, which went just fine because people liked the convenience. I have also ground out 50 Kwords for NaNoWriMo, with no dead trees involved.

    With this perspective, a $17 ebook at date-of-release is a fairly reasonable offer: you get both the timeliness of a hardcover and the convenience of an ebook, all for the price of that hardcover (disclaimer: I haven’t priced a hardcover in years, because they weren’t that valuable to me). I’m going to guess that as the ebook market matures, it’ll look a lot like the game market or hardcover/paperback system: prices will fall over time, and early buyers will pay extra for the timeliness.

    Not to say that publishing is perfect. “Get all this and more, free on your iPad!” … except I don’t have one, so my print subscription is subsidizing something I can’t access. Nice.

  4. “With this perspective, a $17 ebook at date-of-release is a fairly reasonable offer”

    Excuse me? The “production” cost is vastly lower for the ebook, so charging anything near to the print price is a rip-off, nothing else. In fact the ebook should be free (or extremely cheap) together with the printed book.

    You argue with convenience. But please, e-books are not that convenient. E-Book reader still do not come even near the experience and usability of a printed book.

    What I do is that I simply pirate the e-book (so I can start reading right away) and order the paper copy in parallel.

  5. Next week, my kid’s school is having a fundraiser with a famous author, who will be reading from and signing his books. It’s amazing, sometimes all you have to do is ask them.

    When my oldest was an infant, I saw Ray Bradbury at a local library event and had him sign one of his children’s books, but now I can’t find it. I think it got donated to another fundraiser. Somewhere out there someone must have it and not even know…

    I suppose you could have an autographed Kindle, but it wouldn’t be the same. With my luck, it would turn into Christine.

  6. “Excuse me? The “production” cost is vastly lower for the ebook, so charging anything near to the print price is a rip-off, nothing else.”

    The marginal cost of ebook production may be trivial, but most of the work has been done by the time the manuscript is ready for publishing.

  7. Don’t forget too that you forgo your rights to resell with an e-book. If I have a paper copy, I can lend it out to friends, and even sell it as 2nd hand.

    Ebooks should be cheaper – and as writers get used to this eBook revolution, they will start selling them direct – bypassing publishers – for a reasonable price. Louis CK – the stand-up comedian – did something very similar recently. Sold his latest act online for $5 – apparently his turnover is over $1m.

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