price of ebooks, The Girl on the Mountain

Why My Ebook is Priced Less Than $5

I’m not in the class of people who pay top dollar for hardbound books unless the book is an important reference work. For pleasure reading, I’m a paperback-buyer, used-book-buyer, book trader, and public library fan. Now I’m a fan of inexpensive ebooks, especially independently-published ones.

Ebooks are–and should be–cheaper than physical books. I think a lot cheaper. A physical book can be traded with friends, donated to a library, or sold at a yard sale.

While some ebooks can be lent to someone else one time, most traditionally published ebooks do not come with this privilege. J. K. Rowling’s new novel, The Casual Vacancy, is not lendable, and the ebook price  is 14.99.  That’s still high for an ebook, thought it’s down from its opening price a few weeks ago of $18.99, a price that made a lot of people feel gouged. I thought it was greedy, though I suppose some of the price was necessary to plaster the media with that red cover.

When I priced the two versions of The Girl on the Mountain, I wanted both to be affordable, so the paperback is 14.99 and the ebook is 4.79.  After Amazon takes its cut, I make the same $$ on sales of both versions.  I set the price because I’m in charge–an independent author, with no publisher backing or advertising.

The publishing industry is beginning to worry that low-cost ebooks will pull down the prices of their publications. You don’t have to go far to find an article or blog bemoaning the poor quality of independently published “cheap” ebooks.

I agree there is a ton of poor quality in independently published books, but in my opinion, also in books from traditional publishing houses.  Low-cost ebooks are filling the reading needs of people who want to read something new every few days and can’t afford to pay publishing house prices. I care about them.

I love the advantages of ebooks, especially their ability to make the print larger! If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can download free Kindle reader apps for your PC, your iphone, ipad, android, etc. I started with Kindle for PC because I loved being able to download sample chapters of a book.  I now sample about twenty books for every one I buy.

So my ebook for Nook as well as Kindle is $4.79. I wanted it to be under $5.00. The odd 79 cents was a whim.