Dishing Junk is a feature on the PJV where we dish it out! The girls and I have realized that we need a place to sort of vent our book & book blogger troubles. It might be something small and inconsequential that we thought was inappropriate to mention in a review – or it might be a genre-wide gush. This is going to be where we dish it out.
E-book prices and freebies: Does Price Matter?
I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. I thought about not posting it because maybe I’m just
cheap frugal. But I’m sure there are plenty of other readers out there in the same boat as I am – I work hard for my money and after taxes, mortgage/rent, food, and bills, there’s just not a lot of it left. Of course, I want ALL THE BOOKS, but let’s be honest: that’s not going to happen until I win the lottery (I heard somewhere you’re supposed to buy a ticket first but I keep forgetting that step).
My book buying habit was getting out of control, so last year I instituted a Book Budget: $25 a payday. Usually, I’ll buy an Amazon gift card every payday and that’s how I keep track of what I’m spending. If there’s a new release out that I want in print, sometimes I’ll use cash instead, but then I don’t buy a gift card that payday. I also supplement my Book Budget by using my local used bookstore (which has an awesome romance section) and my library (which does not have a great romance section and their YA section is hit-or-miss)
What does this have to do with e-book pricing? A lot. I read a book every 2 days on average. When I’m shopping for books, I look at the cost of the book versus my gift card balance. Is it worth $7 to buy an e-book if I only have $9.57 left until next payday? What if I don’t like the book? I can’t trade it in to the used bookstore when I’m done for credit towards something else. This is why I love Kindle’s ‘Daily Deals’ and Freebies. It’s a great way to try a new-to-me author without blowing my budget. If I like the book, I’ll be sure to buy other titles by that author. If I hate it, I’m only out $2-3, which to me is an acceptable risk: I still have money left to purchase something else. And if I already own it in print but it’s a book I love, now I can have the electronic version too!
I honestly believe this is why so many self-published authors have gained such huge popularity – their books are more affordable, so they’re reaching a wider audience. It’s definitely how I discovered several authors who now have publishing deals.
A few months ago, I saw discussion on twitter about how a ranty author said that these deals and freebies (including giveaways) took money out of author’s pockets. I have to disagree – I will probably not buy a full-price book by a new-to-me author (which means I’m not putting ANY money in their pocket), but I WILL buy a discounted or free one. And if I like it, I’ll buy more. If I really like it, I’ll probably buy your whole backlist, because I’m obsessive like that. (I spent three pay periods glomming Kristen Ashley’s backlist, and now I plan her new releases into my budget!!) My measly $25-a-payday budget might not sound like much, but that translates to about $600 a year that I spend on books. The question is, “ranty author”, whose books am I going to spend it on? Will it be yours, or someone else’s? I completely understand that selling books is your livelihood, but you must also understand that reading books is my HOBBY. And while I’d love to buy every book that catches my eye, it’s just not possible. If your books go on sale or a 2-day freebie: I’m a loyal customer, and if I like what you’ve got, I’ll be back for more.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that low and/or free e-book prices are benefical because they introduce readers to new authors, which in turn leads to a larger customer base for authors. If e-book prices were priced under $5 (as an example), I would be more inclined to own both print and e-book copies of books I love instead of having to choose one or the other. (I have preferences as to e-book or print depending on where I am when I’m reading…but that’s a post for another day, lol)
(Also, I understand that pricing is up to the publisher – this is just my little rant, aimed at everyone and no one.)
Do you have a ‘book budget’?
Do you have an e-book price limit?
What about a price limit for ‘new-to-you’ authors?