It's just my opinion.
- Opinion: I believe books to be art.
- Opinion: I believe people want to pay as little as possible for things, including art.
- Opinion: I believe when we price our art too low just to get sales, that hurts everyone trying to produce the art.
One of my favorite movies is You've Got Mail. There's a scene where George is talking about why a book is WORTH so much, compared to the COST of it.
I believe books are WORTH more than a dollar. True, by spending a dollar (or nothing), you don't feel as bad if you don't like the book. But I'd prefer for everyone to look at the publishing industry and think, "I will get what I pay for," and "I know the $3.99 or $4.99 books will be better, so I'll buy those."
Please do not misinterpret what I'm saying. I do not think free or $0.99 books are bad. There are always exceptions to every rule. And I understand the indie model for offering the first book free, and subsequent novels at $3.99 (or another smart price point) to increase sales, expand fan base, and increase readership.
(In fact, I'm dying to try and publish a book myself to see how it does, how I can adjust price, marketing, new covers, etc. based on data I collect. Maybe one day...)
I have friends who have done this exactly, and still represent themselves as artists and their novels as art.
I wish to illustrate the point with my friend Christine Bryant. She is the author of BOUND and BROKEN, both of which she published independently.
She priced BOUND at $3.99 when it was released last November. With the upcoming release of her second book in the series, BROKEN, Christine dropped the price of BOUND (to free) "as a promotional technique I wanted to try to get my book into the hands of readers and to promote BROKEN's release."
And it worked. According to Christine, over 97,000 copies of BOUND have been downloaded in the six weeks since being offered for free.
And BROKEN? How's it doing with this promotional technique of offering the first book for free? Well, it's priced at $3.99 (Amazon moved it down from Christine's price point of $4.99), and sold 5400 copies in it's inaugural month.
FIFTY-FOUR HUNDRED. (That's me dying.)
As of this moment, it's still selling in the top 200 on Amazon.
I believe Christine believes her books are art. She spends time and money on ensuring her covers are professional. Her editing clean. Her copy compelling.
And she prices her books as if they were art. In fact, you can try BOUND for free (still!) and then get BROKEN for $3.99. And be sure to follow Christine here!
I also believe that every author spends an astronomical amount of time creating and perfecting their novels. They truly are art. And art should be appreciated and cherished--and paid for.
- Opinion: I believe ebooks should be sold for $3.99 - $5.99. (Yes, even my traditionally published ebooks should be that price. It's one of my biggest complaints about the traditional publishing industry.)
- Opinion: I believe ebooks offered for less than that should only happen for promotional purposes. (Second book coming out, sale for a specified time, marketing strategy, etc.)
- Opinion: If books are priced too low, we're Wal-mart-izing the publishing industry, and hurting other authors who believe--and price--their books as art. Anything to make a sale...not a good marketing strategy, IMO.
I believe books to be art. Art that should be paid for.
What do you think?
And I'm over at Skyway Avenue today too, so don't miss that either!