Is it different for an e-book or a dead tree version?
Would you pay the same for a newbie as you would for a much-loved auto-buy author?
Before the digital revolution I considered it perfectly normal to pay $7.99 or even $11.99 for a book, but I realized recently that I don’t feel that way any more.
I think there are a number of reasons:
If the book is by an author I love, love, love, I don’t even look at the price. Trouble is, I don’t seem to have so many must-buy authors these days. Last week I bought Magic Binds, Ilona Andrews’ latest Kate Daniels novel, and next March I will definitely buy Anne Bishop’s Etched in Bone, the latest in her series about the Others (I’d pay double to get it early), but that’s the end of my mental shopping list. I’ll buy anything Jenny Crusie writes, but it will likely be awhile before her new book is available.
I have fewer must-buy authors partly because I’m a more critical reader since I started writing, but mostly because I don’t have a place to find great recommendations any more. The best resource ever was Jenny Crusie’s Cherry Forums, where members of her community would start a thread to recommend a great book, and others would chime in with their thoughts. Since the group was mostly Crusie fans, their taste often suited mine. It was a golden period in my reading history. Now I’m bombarded with reviews and recommendations, from Amazon, Goodreads, Smartbitches, BookBub and the rest, but I haven’t found a group or review site that’s a good match for my tastes, so my purchases are more hit-and-miss.
I’m reading fewer new books, because I don’t allow myself to start one unless I know I have time to binge-read it. I don’t have the self-restraint to nibble a few pages in a controlled manner. I use them as a weekend treat, when I can spend four hours without guilt, because if the book is worth reading I’ll have my nose in it until I reach the end, no matter what else I should be doing (like working on my own WIP). If I have a spare half an hour or hour during the week, I’ll cherry-pick a favorite section of a book I already know well and re-read that instead. If that story gets its hooks into me, I can skim to the end and read the last few pages because I know what happens in between.
In the new digital world there are thousands of e-books available for free or heavily discounted – new books by indie authors who use low pricing for discoverability, backlist by hybrid authors who have reverted rights on traditionally published titles, and successful books by established authors whose publishers are using them as part of a larger marketing strategy. A selection of those hits my in-box every day, and every few days I notice a title that looks interesting. I don’t make a distinction between traditionally published or indie. If it attracts my attention and it’s cheap enough to take a risk on, I buy it and add it to my digital TBR pile.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the implications of this for my future as a newbie author and a total unknown quantity. One way or another I intend to make sure my romantic fantasy series gets published, but getting read is another matter. Price is just one factor, but I’m wondering how important it will be in the battle to tempt new readers to give me a try.
What do you think? How much would you pay for a book by your most favorite author? And who are your auto-buy writers?
What about a debut author? Would price be a factor in your decision about whether to give them a try or not?