SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

137 views
Member's Chat > How much is too much for an ebook?

Comments (showing 1-50 of 59) (59 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Jute (new)

Jute | 25 comments After recommendations by several people I was going to pick up a particular book I won't name. But I felt the pricing on the ebook was ridiculous.

I understand that sometimes the physical copy is marked down, but I felt the price on the ebook was just too high. That makes me really unhappy. Unhappy enough that I didn't buy the book.

What is your break point on whether or not you'll buy an ebook? And am I missing something here that makes an ebook price reasonable if it's almost the same as the physical copy?


message 2: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Weis | 52 comments If I can't get it at the library I'll look to buy it. If it's more than $4 I'll buy the hardcopy. Why? Because in a year or so used copies of the book will be on Amazon.com for $.01 + $3.99 shipping and I'd rather own a paper copy (which is purty, and I can lend it, and it doesn't run out of batteries) than digital.


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris Nielsen | 187 comments Here in New Zealand the bookstores use a publishing agent which takes a massive cut. So books are $30-$40 in store, so I don't mind paying $17 for an ebook, it's still half the paperback price. Once book I got from Amazon for $8 and it's $39.95 in paperback here. Infuriating.


message 4: by Daniel (new)

Daniel McHugh | 17 comments Simple supply and demand. If it's from an author you love and the work has been consistent, you should pay the going rate. If it's an unknown and you're intrigued by the presentation, I think $4 and lower is a fine gamble.

Look at it like any other purchase. A Coke is a Coke is a Coke. If I like and know Coke then I will plunk down $1 to $2 dollars to purchase a Coke. If the petrol station in the middle of nowhere only has Bob's Special Ingredient Soda Pop for $2, perhaps I'll pass.


message 5: by Jute (new)

Jute | 25 comments Daniel wrote: "Simple supply and demand. If it's from an author you love and the work has been consistent, you should pay the going rate. If it's an unknown and you're intrigued by the presentation, I think $4 an..."

See, the problem with this particular one was that it wasn't the going rate. The going rate for most paperbacks is around 7.99 some less, some a bit more. This one was 11.99.


message 6: by Leesa (new)

Leesa (leesalogic) I won't pay more than $6 for most ebooks. Most of the books I get are $1-$5. On rare occasions, I will spend $10. Never more than that.

My general rule is that the ebook has to cost less than mass market paperbacks and if I can find the book used for less, I'll buy the used book.


message 7: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (KevinHallock) | 58 comments I rarely purchase an ebook that's priced comparable to a pbook, but I'm part of a reading group and if I have to by a book for that, I pay whatever the ebook costs. (I prefer ebooks to pbooks.)


message 8: by Bev (new)

Bev (BevAllen) I will not pay for an ebook what I would for a paperback, and I most definitely will not pay hardback price for one.
Ebooks are where I go to find new authors and to explore genres I might not normally try. When the cost of ebooks is high, I don't buy.
If publishers want to grow their markets, to encourage a wider and more adventrous reading public, they are going to have to price ebook accordingly.


message 9: by Evilynn (new)

Evilynn | 332 comments It's a matter of publishing regions too. I think I've bought an ebook for less than $5 once. I usually have to pay between $7-$15 for a Kindle title. If the ebook costs the same as the paperback, I'll buy the paperback if I think I ever want to reread it (of if it's a series where I have the earlier titles as hard copies) or lend it to someone, and the ebook if I think it'll be a beach read or if I really, really can't wait to get my hands on it.

I have been known to buy both the hardcover and the ebook version of books I really want to read (the hardcover is usually too heavy to drag around on my commute), so someone's made big bucks out of my ASOIAF fandom.

In principle I think an ebook shouldn't cost more than a dead tree book.


message 10: by Martin (new)

Martin (mafrid) | 43 comments Add to this the complexity that for "some" e-book sellers you're not actually buying the book, but a license to read said book that can be revoked at the whim of the company.


message 11: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 311 comments Unless it's a textbook for a class, I won't pay more than $10 for an e-book. (Paying $30-$50 for an e-book version of a textbook is often a considerable saving over the print price.) Aside from textbooks,most e-books I buy don't have a print version. If there is a print version, I am more likely to try the library, Paperback Swap, Book Depository or used on Amazon or ABE before I consider the e-book. The main reason why I have an e-reader is to be able to read books that only exist in the electronic format.


message 12: by Evilynn (new)

Evilynn | 332 comments Martin wrote: "Add to this the complexity that for "some" e-book sellers you're not actually buying the book, but a license to read said book that can be revoked at the whim of the company."

Yup, that's another reason I don't want them to cost more than a dead tree book and the reason I still buy paper books if it's a book I think I might want to reread.


message 13: by Rita (new)

Rita (RitaLB) I've have so far never bought an ebook - the ebooks that I have read were either legal free downloads or given to me.

However, I do not believe that ebooks should be priced as paperbacks - the overhead is insance compared of all the costs that they are saving and those savings should be passed along to the consumer! Rather, an ebook should never cost more than max. the half price of a printed paperback, and never be more than max 5$/5€ - in fact, if I could by the same title second hand for that price, I'd go for the printed copy.


message 14: by Michele (new)

Michele Brenton (banana_the_poet) | 21 comments With my publishing hat on an ebook needs to cost whatever it takes to cover the production expenses plus make enough profit to make it worth bothering with putting it out there.

With my readers hat on it should cost whatever it takes for me to think it was worth (or will be worth) spending the money on it.

As a reader I don't feel bothered what it cost the publisher to produce - my bottom line is: will I get the amount of enjoyment/use/value from it to justify its price?

So it depends on the author and the book each and every time as a purchasing decision.

I don't decide paperback vs ebook. It is irrelevant to me what the paperback costs in comparison. If I want to buy an eBook I'm doing so because I prefer it in that format.

Since a house fire that destroyed my decades-long collection of books I have learned that there are serious downsides to piling up inflammables in a home and no guarantees they will still be there to read. I don't cling to things any more so eBooks are a convenient way to rebuild a collection. I realise I am not typical of the ereading public.


message 15: by Jon (last edited Nov 05, 2012 06:34AM) (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments Contrary to popular belief, the cost of print books bears little on the price at the retailer (or eretailer). I've heard authors state at readings that the cost of paperbacks for the publisher is less than 50 cents and the cost to print a hardcover around $3.

You're paying all the other overhead (editing, book design, coverart, marketing, and eventually royalties to the author).

For authors I've followed for years, I'm willing to pay a higher price (probably up to $12-15) for an ebook. This is convenience for me, since I want to read it as soon as possible and I don't want to wait for it to be shipped to me as a first edition hardcover. As a side note, I've purchased my final (ever) first edition hardcover (pre-ordered it actually) to complete a set I started over twenty years ago. I also plan to purchase the ebook as soon as it's released. I will read the ebook, and the first edition hardcover will never be touched (just shelved for posterity).

I rarely buy ebooks for authors I've never read before. Unless they come highly recommended from authors and/or my good friends here at GoodReads, I won't waste even a penny on a new author. I use the library for test reading of unknown authors.

I prefer to spend less than $5 on ebooks, so I watch for sales for authors and genres I read frequently. I don't mind paying between $5 and $10, though, especially if I'm trying to replace existing print books in my collection with electronic copies.

I tend to stay away from most things under $5 (unless it's a sale of a known author) because I firmly believe you get what you pay for. I always check the average rating here at GoodReads (never at Amazon or B&N or anywhere else) before buying. The rating must be close to or above four stars and have more than fifty reviews/ratings.

Hope that helps.

Jon


message 16: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph | 1960 comments I once paid $13.99 for a new release ebook from a Big6 Pub.

It was riddled with what looked like OCR errors. The pub told me to kiss it and offered me a 10% discount for a new purchase.

So, I will not pay more than $5.99 for an ebook ever again.

If the ebook is more than $5.99, I buy a paper copy or borrow it from the library.

If there is no paper copy, I just pass.


message 17: by Brandon (new)

Brandon Zarzyczny (BigZ7337) | 2 comments I'll never ever pay more than 10 bucks for an ebook, it used to be 8 dollars, but I've had to up my limit for a few books that I've bought recently (I'm still really reluctant to pay that price). I truly believe that an ebook shouldn't be more expensive than a trade paperback. If a publisher sets the price over ten bucks, they will have lost at least one sale, from me. Depending on how much I like the author, I'll either buy the Hardcover version (and possibly pirate the ebook), loan the book from the library, or wait until the price comes down. I know effort still goes into making a good ebook (though many times a publisher doesn't attempt to make a good ebook), but I just simply won't pay more than what I think an ebook is worth, and that's at a max, ten dollars.


message 18: by Lasse (new)

Lasse | 5 comments I dont care so much about an ebook costs, if I want it I just buy it.


message 19: by Don (new)

Don | 1 comments There's also a utility issue on eBooks that's not reflected in pricing... If I buy a physical book, I can lend it to someone, sell it used or give it to a charity shop. I can't do any of that with an eBook, and I'd guess that publishers won't be unhappy about that. But should they expect me to pay a premium for less utility. I'd also have to echo an earlier point about quality - I've bought eBooks that have been full of errors that wouln't have made it into print.
It's frustrating to know that the teeny marginal cost of selling and distributing an eBook bears absolutely no relationship to the price.


message 20: by Suz (new)

Suz (suzemo) | 23 comments 6$ is generally my max, otherwise I start looking at the penny copies at amazon used, the library, or paperbackswap. I find it ever so convenient that Baen's ebooks tend to be 5 or 6$.

Now, that said, say I get a number of books from an author for free or seriously discounted (usually .99, especially around the time that a sequel is coming out)... if I have, say 5 books for free or .99, I'd be willing to spend more for a later book in the series/by the author as long as it doesn't bring the average up a whole lot. I swear I don't spend as much time thinking about that as it sounds like I might.

I'm also willing to pay more for an author I adore, but even that has a limit.

I've bought a couple of books for closer to 10$ for a book club book. The RL book club I attend is sponsored by the library, so sometimes if I don't get on the ball fast enough, I will miss out on checking the book out from the library. Sadly, both times I've paid "full price" for an ebook, I have been disappointed by it.


message 21: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Weis | 52 comments Don wrote: "There's also a utility issue on eBooks that's not reflected in pricing... If I buy a physical book, I can lend it to someone, sell it used or give it to a charity shop. I can't do any of that wi..."

There's also the beauty of a physical book. When people talk about their dream homes and what they want when they "grow up" I can remember from a young age always wanting a huge library full of beautiful books. I can't even begin to tell you how many books I've bought because they were gorgeous, even new copies of books I already owned because they were so nice... Those faux leather bound B&N books I have like 6 of... I got a new hardcover of the Life of Pi a year and a half ago that has beautiful painted illustrations in it. I think I have 4 different editions of Alice in Wonderland...

And I *love* old books. I have some handed down from my mother and others I've picked up in used bookstores over the years that I love for their antique feel, the history...

You can't get that from an ebook. :(


message 22: by N.J. (new)

N.J. Slater | 59 comments I do not know but I vary the price up and down which increases its visibility


message 23: by Trike (new)

Trike | 3494 comments I won't pay more than $2.99. If the publisher, writer and bookseller can't earn money at that rate, they're doing it wrong. There are so many books to read that no one author commands my attention enough to make me pay more.

I'm also annoyed that they can essentially take my book away from me at their whim, which is why I strip the DRM from my ebooks and make copies.


message 24: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Gallaway | 15 comments I'm surprised no one has commented on the price of older titles. I can understand ebooks being priced $10-12 brand new, but what baffles me is when we see ebooks for something that has been out for decades, but is still around $10 or even more. That just feels like price gouging to me. I think a title's age should have some reflection in its price.


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken Magee Does anyone here think that a very low eBook price e.g. 99c, indicates a lack of quality? I've heard some folk in other forums express that sentiment.


message 26: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (KevinHallock) | 58 comments It doesn't have to, but having learned firsthand how expensive editors are, books at that price are less likely to be professionally edited IMO.


message 27: by Jute (new)

Jute | 25 comments There are a number of authors who will put up the first book of theirs in a series at a very low price. In hopes that you will try it, like it and buy more.

I have gotten burned a number of times on the self published stuff. It really is a kind of hit and miss, some authors put out complete garbage then others, like Michael J. Sullivan and Lindsay Buroker have a quality product. So I tend to approach them with caution when I see a really low price.


message 28: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (KevinHallock) | 58 comments Caution is definitely warranted with new authors, which is why new authors need to do everything they can to give potential readers confidence. Personally, I hired a professional editor, cover artist, and ebook formatter for my first short story (and am giving it away for free). It's more expensive than doing it myself and tossing it up on Amazon, but if new authors want to attract readers, I think we need to give potential readers every reason to believe we're publishing our very best work.


message 29: by Ken (new)

Ken Magee I ran a couple of polls a while ago asking what makes readers buy a book... I'd left price out of the 'UK' survey (for reasons I'm not going to explain here), however in the 'US' survey, price came seventh out of eleven... top reasons were Blurb, Genre and Read other books by author. So price is maybe a lot less important (within reason) than we might think.

Full results of survey here.




message 30: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (KevinHallock) | 58 comments Interesting results, particularly that advertising came in last in both polls. I continue to wonder how effective advertising really is for new authors.

But for new authors, the influence of price can still be seen in your poll because they want to create readers who have "Read other books by author". That's the first place reason in the UK poll and third in the US poll. To find those initial readers, it helps to lower the reader's risk to trying your work. A $20 book by an unknown author is unlikely to get as many readers as a 99 cent book.


message 31: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (LeonieRogers) | 446 comments Paperbacks and Hardcovers are fairly expensive here, so I never really mind paying up to $10 for an eBook. If it's something I've waited for and really want to read, then I'll pay more. I love books :)

For trialling new authors who are only ePublished, then I'm happy to pay up to the $10 mark. I usually rationalise like this: "Well, a large cup of coffee costs about $4.50, so the eBook I want is really only about two cups of coffee...."


message 32: by Chris (new)

Chris Nielsen | 187 comments Well, a large cup of coffee costs about $4.50

And probably tasted bad too....


message 33: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (KevinHallock) | 58 comments I love the coffee analogy. Maybe new authors should use something like that in their advertisements "Better than two cups of coffee..." :)


message 34: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Weis | 52 comments Chris wrote: "Well, a large cup of coffee costs about $4.50

And probably tasted bad too...."


And I make my coffee at home. Buying coffee out is such a waste of money. >.<


message 35: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Forrest (theeternalscribe) | 18 comments This is hard to say. Right now, I'm reading a lot of new authors and frequently getting review copies for free. I won't blink about getting a book for 0.99, so long as someone has suggested it to me telling me it is good.

I think I would be willing to pay up to five bucks for an ebook. I haven't yet, but I do have a couple of books on my wish list that I will probably eventually get, unless it is available at the library.

If a book is more than five, I will look for it at the library or buy a paper copy. I won't spend that much for an ebook because you simply aren't getting the same value. For example, Amazon Kindle books have DRMs attached to them. You are not actually buying the book. You are buying a lease for the book. It isn't yours. And yes, you can lend it out, but only to other individuals that have a Kindle or Kindle app. And frequently this ability to lend is limited to only set periods of time and you can only lend it a set number of times. I can't suggest a book to my mom because she doesn't read ebooks. She doesn't have a Kindle reader.

And Good Lord, $4.50 for a cup of coffee? I could eat all day for that money. I could get a week or two's worth of books for that.


message 36: by Trike (new)

Trike | 3494 comments Ken wrote: "Does anyone here think that a very low eBook price e.g. 99c, indicates a lack of quality? I've heard some folk in other forums express that sentiment."

I don't really find price to be completely indicative of quality. picked up Shadow Ops, which is written by a usually-reliable crew of pros: Wil Shetterly, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear and others, and it's so painfully bad -- and such a nakedly terrible attempt at Criminal Minds fan fiction -- that I can't believe they wasted time creating it. On the other hand, David Wellington usually gives his books away for free but I've never hesitated at buying one for real money because he brings the heat each time.


message 37: by Michael (new)

Michael Coorlim (MCoorlim) Depends on how much enjoyment I get out of it. I'd pay $3-4 for a cup of coffee, so I don't mind paying $2.99 for a one-sitting short story. The person who made it put more effort into it than the barrista did, right?

I'd pay more for longer works.


message 38: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Forrest (theeternalscribe) | 18 comments Trike wrote: "I won't pay more than $2.99. If the publisher, writer and bookseller can't earn money at that rate, they're doing it wrong. There are so many books to read that no one author commands my attention ..."

I just try to avoid sites that have DRMs. Smashwords doesn't. There are a couple others that don't (Kobo does both so I think it depends on the distributor). Most of the time if I get something off of Amazon, it is a review copy anyway so I didn't spend anything on it or I bought it for $0.99 because it was suggested by someone else.


message 39: by Michael (new)

Michael Coorlim (MCoorlim) Amazon and Barnes and Noble both leave it up to the uploader whether or not to use DRM. I never use it. It's a slight impediment to pirates at best and just annoys the consumer.


message 40: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Forrest (theeternalscribe) | 18 comments Ken wrote: "Does anyone here think that a very low eBook price e.g. 99c, indicates a lack of quality? I've heard some folk in other forums express that sentiment."

No, but I have heard that some readers do. There are instances where it is due to the fact that the book is a novella rather than a novel. Others, it is simply a new author trying to get a following.

I've actually found that, if it is a new author, a higher list price is indicative of an inferior book as the writer thinks he is a literary genius and thus is less likely to get adequate editing. An author who's been through the trenches a bit won't list it that high.


message 41: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Forrest (theeternalscribe) | 18 comments Michael wrote: "Amazon and Barnes and Noble both leave it up to the uploader whether or not to use DRM. I never use it. It's a slight impediment to pirates at best and just annoys the consumer."

It isn't an impediment at all. With the sheer quantity of pirated books out there, the impediment to piracy isn't the DRMs but the amount of time it stays on the download sites before it gets caught.

I think DRM is the worst idea ever put forth by the publishing industry. Publishing relies on word of mouth and recommendations. I would have no problem with someone giving copies to other people. Discourage, sure. I'd much rather be the one giving. But if it means more exposure, which no author can do with less of - even the established ones, I'm game.


message 42: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (LeonieRogers) | 446 comments I think that some self published eBooks are excellent quality, but having editors and proofreaders definitely helps standardise the quality.

I've read quite a variety of eBooks, and sometimes the formatting can do dreadful things to the story. I've recently been reading some space opera by Thomas DePrima, and although it's generally a fun (but not deep) read, I was seriously put off by the type turning into italics about two thirds through the book, and staying in italics to the end. Mind you, allcaps would have been worse!

And yes, the work an author has put into a book is much more than the five minutes it takes a barrista to make a bought coffee. I agree with you there Michael!


message 43: by Rita (last edited Nov 13, 2012 12:54AM) (new)

Rita (RitaLB) Leonie wrote: "...I was seriously put off by the type turning into italics about two thirds through the book, and staying in italics to the end. Mind you, allcaps would have been worse!..."

A clear example of poorly executed editing. Any published piece of fiction, self-published or traditionally published, that wants to be taken seriously must NEVER omit this crucial step. What does it matter that the story is good if it's poorly formattet? For me what's even worse than bad formatting is when the story hasn't even been cleared of typos and misspellings! That's really off-putting! Self-published authors need to pay extra attention to this - especially if they want to charge you for downloading it! But frankly, not even if the book was for free would I ever be forgiving of a book that is poorly formatted and filled with errors. If any author wants to be taken serious then step one is to be professional with the craft!


message 44: by Ken (new)

Ken Magee I don't think it's poor editing and proofreading that has given self-published books such a bad reputation... it's the sheer number that have had no editing or proofreading.


message 45: by Rita (new)

Rita (RitaLB) Ken wrote: "I don't think it's poor editing and proofreading that has given self-published books such a bad reputation... it's the sheer number that have had
no
editing or proofreading."


They are just the worst. I can't even be bothered with reading that half-way through. I don't have time for crap, to put it plainly.


message 46: by Brad T. (last edited Nov 13, 2012 07:02AM) (new)

Brad T. | 13 comments My limits:

First time author independently published .99
Liked the author from a previous work + independently published 3.99
Loved the author from a previous work+ independently published 9.99

Known author, mass market published, well edited 12.99

Ive read some great independent stuff but it is few and far between so I don't mind paying small amounts for what might be a really good book. I like to read apocalyptic fiction but you don't see a lot of mass market stuff in that genre so to read what I enjoy I have to go independent.

I found a book I really wanted to read the other day that was an independent even though the author claimed it wasn't (sorry but a publishing company called PrepperPress.com is independent in my opinion) and he wanted to charge 9.99 for his first book. Not in this life time.


message 47: by Rita (last edited Nov 13, 2012 07:31AM) (new)

Rita (RitaLB) Well, there is a difference between independent and self-published. Independent just means that the publishing house is small and don't have the same funds, distribution and marketing options as mastodonts such as RadomHouse and others, but still offers editing etc for it's authors ... IMHO.


message 48: by Michael (new)

Michael Coorlim (MCoorlim) The tricky part for me, as an author, is that different devices interpret formatting in different ways. When you upload to Amazon or Smashwords or Barnes & Noble, you're shown a web-based preview that may or may not be an accurate depiction of what the text will look like on a kindle or nook.

And even if you have an e-reader to test it on, the formatting may not work the same on someone else's reader. I've had the "everything turns italic" bug show up in one of my stories, and I've had the font suddenly turn into Courier New, and I've had all paragraph formatting suddenly disappear... but only on certain readers.

I think I've mostly figured out how to make it work well on every device, but until and unless a reader contacts me, I won't know there's a problem.


message 49: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph | 1960 comments Rita wrote: "Well, there is a difference between independent and self-published. Independent just means that the publishing house is small and don't have the same funds, distribution and marketing options as ma..."

Except for the up-tick in vanity publishing. It's when the publishing house has very very few (mostly just one) author. Its all the rage now...so the author can say they are not self-published.

It's all self published to me, until I see quality improve.


message 50: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Forrest (theeternalscribe) | 18 comments Rita wrote: "Leonie wrote: "...I was seriously put off by the type turning into italics about two thirds through the book, and staying in italics to the end. Mind you, allcaps would have been worse!..."

A clea..."


What really bothers me is when I see the typos and misspellings and et cetera in a Big Six. Seriously?!? You couldn't catch that?


« previous 1
back to top