You Tell Me: eBook Pricing

You Tell Me: eBook Pricing

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Publishing, You Tell Me | 38 comments

So I spent the weekend reading some interesting articles, a million comments, and having conversations about eBook pricing with people. I even took to my Facebook Fan Page, where we engaged in some wonderful discussion, where people brought up some great points from every angle about what they’re willing to pay for an eBook, and why. Now I want to go bigger. I want to take to the blog and see what you have to say about it.

Before we get started, let’s assume the eBook is cheaper than the paperback by at least $5. I really want to focus solely on eBook pricing here and avoid comparing them to paperbacks. I think it’s a safe assumption to make that we all believe eBooks should cost less than paperbacks. That being said, I realize paperbacks are part of the discussion and they will be brought up, both by me and you, but I just would like it to be as much about eBooks as possible.

And lastly, this is a very hot topic. So as with all discussion posts, lets keep things polite. Feel free to disagree with me, or anyone else, but do so in a civil manner. And with that, lets get going.

I believe eBook are valuable. Sure, production costs is cheaper than paperbacks, but since we’re avoiding discussing paperbacks here, lets get straight to the nitty gritty. I’m willing to pay $9-$12 comfortably for an eBook. More if it’s a book I really want. I might not be happy about paying more, but if I love the series or the author, I’ll pay it. Now based on previous discussions I’ve had, people probably think this is ridiculously high. But the thing is, when I buy an eBook, I’m paying for an adventure. I’m buying a piece of someone else’s imagination and demanding it take me places. That just so happens to be the same thing I’m buying with a physical book. When I buy a story, I’m not interested in holding a dead tree, I’m interesting in a journey of some kind or the lessons it has to teach. That’s the most important part to me.

That’s the reason we read, isn’t it? To venture into unknown worlds with unknown characters? Not to mention, someone spends hundreds or more hours putting this together, and although that worth may be unseen, it’s there and it has value. I want more from those authors.: more books, more imagination, more adventure. It’s easier for me to get that from them when I’m paying more than a dollar or two, and I accept and welcome that. Now when it’s a debut author or someone I’ve never read before, I may be a little more leery, but that’s what recommendations and reviews are for, so for the most part, I’m okay with that price point.

My point is – and I’m breaking my own rule and mentioning paperbacks here – paper and ink is cheap. Less than $5 per book. So if I pay $20 for a physical book, theoretically  I should be prepared to pay $15 for the eBook. After all, whether you agree with me on this or not, the cost of a book is not based on manufacturing, it’s the price you  pay to experience a story.

Now I have a lot of points and counter arguments to make based on previous discussions, but rather than do that in the main post, I want to open it up to you, because I’m sure those points will get brought up in one form or another, and we can all discuss it there.

So that’s what I think, now it’s your turn.

You tell me: What are you willing to pay for an eBook, and why is that your limit?