Book price discussion
Just a quick post this Saturday morning, brought on by a sequence of emails from friends and family about Kindle pricing.
The Big Five Publishers –
Penguin & Random House
Simon & Schuster
are increasing their Kindle & ebook prices. The examples recently sent to me show $14 is a common launch price. It is strange that they all, independently, came to this figure. We know it’s independent because if they consulted each other over the pricing, that would be a cartel, and it would be illegal. The same Big Five are trumpeting through the media that the ebook boom is over and print books are making a comeback.
This is all so much marketing s**t. The reason ebook sales are falling for the Big Five is because they are charging as much for an electronic download as they do for a hardcover. When challenged, they go on about marketing, promotion, blah, blah, blah, and forget to talk about print costs, storage costs, shipping costs, fixed asset costs and a slew of others. Ebook sales overall are rising, so the independents are more than making up for the Big Five’s ‘losses’. Go look at the AuthorEarnings website for the skinny.
The particular books that were drawn to my attention include Patricia Briggs (you know her), Robin Hobbs (you should know her) and John Burdett (you probably don’t know him). The point I’m making is that the $14 goes across the board. If perchance you don’t know Robin Hobbs and like Epic Fantasy, go look up the Assassin’s Apprentice. If perchance you don’t know John Burdett, he writes Crime Fiction set in Bangkok – go search out his Thai detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, or the amiable low-life PI Poke Rafferty. All recommended (when the price is right).
These three are apparently under different publishers, but that is marketing smoke and mirrors. Briggs is with Ace which is part of Penguin which is part of Penguin & Random House. Hobbs is with Del Rey which is part of Random House which is part of Penguin & Random House. Burdett is with Corsair, which is part of Little, Brown which is part of Hachette.
The core question is what does this mean for me? Little or nothing at the moment. There is a different ceiling set for independents. This is not to do with popularity or sales (my reviews aren’t that far below Burdett’s) it’s simply a law of the market.
I will keep my eyes on the average price of reasonably popular, independently published ebooks, but unless that moves, it seems my prices will remain where they are.
Angel Stakes – Lauren has the second draft of the first half of the book, and I’m about half way through what I need to do on the second half. More news soon.
Wild Card audio – I have the recording. I need to listen to it (20 hours) and then the only remaining delay is ACX/Audible’s internal procedures. (!)
Wild Card in German – last run through with Heike, so not too long.