Would you rather pay $4 or $24 for a good book?
April 30, 2012
The answer to that question is pretty obvious to most of us, isn’t it?
It’s not obvious to the Big Five traditional publishing houses.
I wonder why?
The last hardback book I purchased was James Lee Burke’s FEAST DAY OF FOOLS. I paid $14.95 for it on a pre-release special. Today, a few months after FEAST DAY’s release, I could buy the digital book on the Kindle store for $9.99.
Last night, I went in Booksamillion, a regional book seller with brick and mortar locations in about thirty states, and browsed the bestseller hardbacks.
I was not surprised to find John Grisham’s CALICO JOE as number one on the Booksamillion bestseller shelf. A small book of about 200 pages, it was priced at $24.95. The same book is on the Kindle store for $12.99.
If you hope to find a book by a non-traditionally published author at Booksamillion, good luck. There are a few in the back. None that greet you from the racks as you come in the store.
Traditional publishers have the bookstore market sewn up. They control it because they possess the resources to print and distribute thousands of paper books. They have no intention of releasing their grip on that market. And the little guy simply can’t compete.
In NYC, they hate that some guy in Podunk can write a book and put it up next to theirs on Amazon and a host of other online retail outlets. Imagine the audacity of such a thing. It’s like a little league pitcher striking out Alex Rodriguez. It just ain’t right, they say. The sky is falling. The world is coming to an end.
Whose world? Theirs.
Not the world of people who love good books at a fair price.
I can get out my Kindle, go to the Kindle store online and find a whole raft of fine new books from great authors priced from $2.99 to $5.99.
With three of the Big Five houses’ recent settlement of the DOJ e-book price fixing suit, Amazon will have the ability to discount e-books by authors who are under the umbrella of those three publishers. This discount can potentially be in the thirty percent range. So a $9.99 e-book by a “brand name” author may soon be under $7.00.
In this new world, people who love books now don’t have to choose which one they can afford this month. Now they can purchase several at a time and have enough left over for a Subway sandwich.
Digital publishing involves things such as convenience, portability and readability, but it boils down to one thing: price.
And when it comes to price, would you rather spend $4 or $24.95 for a good book?