It's that age old question, how much is too much for an ebook? What's that? It's not age old? Oh, okay, you might be right, it might only be a recently asked age old question, but the answer still seems ambiguous. If you ask a big publisher they will tell you $13.00 is a fair price for an ebook of a hot name like Janet Evanovich or Stephen King. Well, I suppose if you're a die hard, have to have it the second it's released, gonna read it in one sitting kind of fan, but I'll wait a few months and pick it up on paperback for half that price. Heck, if I really wanted it fast I could go buy the hardcover for 16 bucks at any Walmart store and then give it to someone to read when I'm done. (Yes, I know you can share ebooks, but my dad wants a book in his hand!)
Of course, the major publishing houses have a far bigger piece of the Ebook puzzle when it comes to pricing. They have to pay for editing, cover services, author meet and greets, etc. etc. What's that? Indie authors do too? You're right, we do. So why is it that we can't seem to sell books for much more than $2.99 to $3.99? Why do we always have to be the ones to put our books down to .99, or free, in order to gain any traction, while the publishers are sitting in their ivory towers rolling in the sales? Some would say because Indie authors aren't well known authors who have the reputation to back up their writing, and demand a price such as a "signed" author would. I guess if you are talking about the Nora Roberts and Jamie McGuire's of the world you might be right, but have you ever gone to Simon and Schuster Authors, or any big publisher for that matter, and read their list of authors? How many of the thousands of signed authors on those pages do you recognize? Surprised by the numbers of authors you haven't heard of? I was.
There are thousands of signed authors I've never heard of! (The same as in the indie world), yet these signed authors are out pedaling their Ebooks with a big company behind them. That makes them feel like they can charge more, just because they have a piece of paper and a promise of sold books. I guess that makes a little bit of sense in terms of being at the top of the totem pole with a contract, and that leaves us Indie authors as low man on the totem pole. What does the low man do in order to climb to the top of the totem pole? Price our wares lower so we can draw the eyes of the big guys to gives us a hand up. THIS is where the problem lies in the Indie world, at least how I see it as a reader.
For example, I recently saw a novella (90 pages) go up on Amazon for $3.99. Yes, you read that right, $3.99. (As an author I find it hard to sell a full length 250-400 page novel that is well written and edited for $2.99) Personally, as a reader, I wouldn't pay more than .99 to $1.99 for a 90 page novella, and at the higher end only if the author has a lot of other books out. Here's the kicker, it was supposedly a fan fiction novella take on a classic and from the reviews, not even a good one. Yet, the book was in the top 1500 books in the kindle store, and the author only has one other title to her name. After a little bit of quick surfing of Amazon I found a newly released Ebook (full length novel) from Penguin for $5.99. For the love of God someone tell me what I'm missing????
Of course, it's just my opinion that $3.99 is too much to pay for 90 pages of poorly written fan fiction, but who am I? I also thought the whole 50 Shades of Grey was poorly written fan fiction, but it didn't stop people from paying millions for it. I guess I'm just a reader, and a writer, who thinks the reason we are still asking this question is because of "authors" who aren't writing for the love of it, but for what they see as a payday. So, I guess I'm back to that age old question, how much is too much? It's clear the only real way to answer this question is for ourselves individually. What is the cut off for us as a reader, and does it depend on whether the author is signed or Indie, or does it depend on how good the book sounds? I'm not alone in wishing I knew how much is too much when it comes to pricing my books. Autumn Reflections releases Monday July 14 for $2.99 for 250 pages. Is that too much? It's anyone's guess at this point, so tell me, how much is too much?