Saturday, June 2, 2012

Internet Psyche and eBook Pricing

When you consider the consumers' expectations built into the design of the internet, should authors expect anything other than downward pressure on our ebook prices?

For example, my consumer-expectation as an author is that I will find free images to use on my covers. Is that a reasonable expectation? For me, the author, it is. I suspect that a photographer would hope to get paid for his/her image. Only recently, have I seen a coordinated effort on representative sites to force consumers to pay for pictures. These kind of sites are beginning to outnumber the free sites, it seems.

I don't see this concerted effort, where a common understanding exists among the suppliers (authors) and enforced by representative silos. As such, I believe ebook prices will drop to "free," as this is the consumer's expectation for treasure-hunting on the internet.

The internet is for bargain-hunters. I've never heard anyone say, "I think I'll go shop online today. I hope I can pay the full retail price, plus taxes, and shipping. And, I don't feel like searching the 'net for online discounts and coupons."

Heck, we, consumers, pat ourselves on the back whenever we find a way to avoid paying taxes and shipping, or save some money with an online coupon. How clever and crafty we are!

So, in closing, and building on my previous rants about the downward-spiral of book pricing, I say, "what do we, the authors, expect?" We used free tools, free publishing sites, and free images to peddle our wares, and then we whine when we can't get paid for capitalizing on the backbones of those before us.

We're publishing within a medium that demands competitive and aggressive discounting. If our focus is to generate the maximum amount of income, then do we turn our attention back to the traditional agent model? Unfortunetly, many agents or publishers won't work with a writer who's self-published. Hmmm .... What will be the model that benefits the author - a series of sites like those that photographers are posting within? I don't think it's working for most of us in the two existing business models.

Just a late night flip-flop. I'll go back to foaming at the mouth once again after I've warmed up with my morning coffee.

Good night and take care.


  1. I have found that the mindset of most people who donwload free books is that all books should be free because there are sooo many - and KDP select is making it worse. Everyone and their brother is putting their book free and so far I have not heard any success stories, yet they all keep doing it anyway, whihc drives the traffic up on mazon and hey, while I am there buying that free book, i might see a toaster I wanted and buy that, which amazon gets a chunk of, and look here, a christmas ornament shaped like a ninja penguin (i bought one of these actually). I must have that.. and now that I bought all that I can;t afford to buy any books, so.... *sigh*

    1. Once again, you hit the nail on the head, Jo. Our books are bait? All for free? Heck, this model is worse than the legacy agency model - at least in it, the occasional author MIGHT get paid something.

      If, in ebook land, consumers demand only free books, then where's the incentive to write? It's humbling to believe that my goal is to publish 80 novels in 20 years, but I should never expect to be paid for all that effort at providing entertainment.

      ROI = 0 (where ROI can be applied to non-monetary returns as well; such as reviews, a growing fan base, patrons, whatever motivates one to continue). I've never heard of a business startup that refuses to make a dime. Good luck finding anyone willing to invest in that dream - except where the business is a charity / not-for-profit. Unless an author is already wealthy, I only know of a handful that were content with having no expectations to receive any compensation at all for the entertainment they provide. Even most hobbiests eventually are convinced to peddle their wares at flea markets & craft shows.

      Oh well. So, here's my strategy du jour: Price my novels at 99-cents and create short stories that are given away. If this doesn't work, I'll follow the Facebook model, which is to launch an IPO without providing any tangible product or service that justifiably creates a ROI.

      Ciao for now,


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