“I will not pay more than 99p for an ebook published by an indie writer.”
Now, I didn’t say this. This was said by a member of a book review forum who went on to further say that to charge more than 99p was to ‘rip the buyer off’ as they were not buying a tangible book and not as much work went into self-publishing and my personal favourite. ‘Self-published books are poorly edited and full of typos.’ This person went on and on and after a while,I shut the page down and went to watch cartoons with my two year old godson.
The average price of the ebooks in the Kindle UK Top 20 is £2.52. AuthorEarnings.com reported that indie daily unit sales have overtaken the sales of the Big 5 by 40%. I am an indie writer and my book, The Sisters, is currently priced at £2.49 on Amazon. Am I ripping the consumer off? I don’t think so. Before I hit the publish button, I had to set the price. I could have priced my book at 49p, 99p or even £7.99 but I didn’t. I picked a price that I felt was sensible and to be quite blunt I wanted to make a profit. Setting the price of my book at £2.49 means that I take home royalties of 70%. A glorious £1.74. I may not be selling a physical book but I am selling a book. A book that took nearly a year to write, edit, rewrite, further edits, beta-read and then publish. Since February I have been busy promoting my book whilst working at my ‘daytime’ job, blogs, websites and various writing projects. I priced my ebook at £2.49 because I think that price is a reflection of the bloody hard work that I put in to produce an excellent, five-star product.
I work hard, and so do other indie writers, to write and produce a professional and hopefully a commercially successful product. Stealing a quote from the great James Brown. ‘I am the show and I am the business.’ The same applies to the indie writer. We are the show. We plot, we create, we draft, we edit and we produce our book. Then there is the business, we employ cover artists, editors, formatters and then we sell. I’m sorry if this sounds crude and goes against your image of the starving artist but we sell in order to make money. Some of us would actually like to make a living from selling our books. It would be very difficult to find a writer who wouldn’t say no to emulating the literary and commercial success that has been achieved by indie authors such as Hugh Howey and Rachel Abbott and I doubt that we wouldn’t say no to a movie deal or two.
By stating that you wouldn’t buy a book from an indie writer for more than 99p is to suggest that self-published books lacks a certain legitimacy and is a mediocre product in comparison to ebooks that are sold by traditional publishers. That could not be further from the truth. The vast of majority of books that have been produced by indie writers more than hold their own against traditionally published books and to be honest if the author didn’t tell you, then you wouldn’t have a clue that the book had been independently published. It’s also very naive and displays a certain amount of ignorance to suggest that an ebook from a traditional publisher would be typo and formatting error free.
A quick glance of the Top 20 books in the UK Kindle bestseller chart show an array of prices. The cheapest ebook was 49p (The Ballroom Cafe by Ann McLoughlin) and the most expensive was £9.99 (The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz). Now, I wouldn’t pay £9.99 for the Kindle Version of The Girl in the Spider’s Web when I could buy the hardcover for the same price but I certainly wouldn’t object to paying £3.48 for the kindle version of Stranger Child by Rachel Abbot (No.5 in the Top 20).
If I’m promoting my book then I will drop the price to 99p or even give it away but my decision to do that is a marketing decision. I didn’t drop the price because I thought that my book simply wasn’t ‘worth it’ or couldn’t compete with the big boys. Once my marketing campaign is over and I increase the price to the dizzy heights of £2.49 does that mean that my book is no longer ‘worthy’ of it’s five star reviews? Does my book lose its validity because the decision to increase the price wasn’t made by the marketing department of Random House?
I can understand the decision to not pay more for an ebook than the paperback/hardcover equivalent but a decision not to purchase any self-published ebook that costs more than 99p is no more than ignorance.
*The Sisters ebook is available to buy from Amazon at the ludicrous price of £2.49.
**The Sisters is also available in paperback – £8.99