|I tried to find a picture of me but couldn't on my phone,|
so here is a picture of a hand in the glow of a laptop.
First, if the production cost of an ebook is fifty cents, something I've pointed out a LOT in the past, why are ebooks $9.99 (or more?) That's not always true, of course; I just checked on "Best Sellers" under Kindle and the current number 1 is The Fault In Our Stars, which is selling for $4.99 on the Kindle, but of the New York Times Best Seller list's top ten books right now, the cheapest is something called "Orphan Train: A Novel" at $6.99.
Assuming that by "production cost" you mean "Everything that goes into producing the book including paying editors, the rent on your New York office suite, etc.", and what else would you mean by "production costs", then Orphan Train: A Novel represents $6.49 pure profit even at 2/3 what everyone assumes is the rate a book costs. (And what books would cost had Steve Jobs not gotten away with price-fixing between Apple and the Big Five publishers in a blatant violation of law that the US government is busily wrist-slapping).
Songs on iTunes are still $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29. They have not fallen even though it is presumably far far cheaper to upload and maintain the iTunes database than when that service first began in 2001. Book prices have climbed since Jobs' illegal price-fixing scheme was hatched (and worked) even though, again, it should be easier and cheaper to get a book onto Amazon now.
So why are books still $9.99? Is it because we will pay that for them? Is it because (as many suggest) the higher price suggests quality, so an indie author's $3.99 books suggest low-quality?
I ought to test that theory. I ought to make my books even higher priced. A while back, I raised them from $0.99 to $3.99. I have not noticed any dip in sales (I don't sell many, no matter what) and I haven't noticed an increase in sales. I wonder if I priced my books higher if people would think they aren't indie books?
One possible reason -- I'm just spitballing here -- is that publishers are afraid to mess with pricing because of Amazon, and don't want to become the next Hachette. For that reason, indie authors (and readers) should be pulling for Walmart: When Amazon picked a fight with Hachette, Walmart began pushing ebooks. Walmart probably has the muscle to take on Amazon, and it is currently searching for a way to attract higher-end customers whose wages are not stagnant. Book buyers tend to be high-end customers (that's why Amazon started as a bookseller: Jeff Bezos wanted to build a store patronized by smart people with money.)
Another thing from that infographic: It says (in small print) that Kindle owners by 3.3 times as many books after buying a Kindle than before. That's certainly true for me, and Sweetie? She buys something like 2 books a week. (And yet, she says she's so busy taking care of the boys... HMMMM.) Electronic books are good for writers and readers: They make it easier to buy and carry books (I've bought books at 11 at night and while sitting in a hospital emergency room, which says a lot about how much I felt it an "emergency" that I be there) and cheaper to do so, so readers love them.
Writers should love them. If you produce something -- pumpkins, iPods, short stories -- and there is a gadget that increases consumption of that thing, it creates a market for you.
And yet, writers like Stephen King still try to stop the proliferation of ebooks, a move I chalk up to not so much disliking ebooks, per se, as disliking competition from other writers.
Finally, it seems the only argument left in favor of real books is "I just like the way they feel," which means that real book lovers are the vinyl aficionados of the literary world. The only reason I think a "real" book should be made is if it specifically takes advantage of that form. Pop-up books, large-scale photography or coffee table books, of course, and then books that use the 'real' format in intriguing ways -- like S, by JJ Abrams, which is only available in 'real' form but which has a pretty good reason for being that way.
Hey speaking of ebooks, I have the After available for just $3.99 (at least until I go price it like a
CLICK HERE to go buy it.