Is Amazon Hurting Book Culture? Also, some get-real talk about eBook prices.
So, before I drop the bomb - let’s start with the first question:
Is Amazon hurting book culture?
It is, if you believe the far-fetched ramblings of the Author’s Guild’s (oh, I’m sorry - Authors United’s) latest attempts to get the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon’s business practices.
Seriously. That is their argument - that because Amazon offers eBooks at cheap prices, they are hurting book culture for the consumer.
Let me rephrase - Authors United is saying that saving the consumer money is hurting the consumer because it’s stunting “intellectual” book culture.
Yeah. They are upset because traditional publishing has changed.
They are upset because lower eBook prices means the book they slaved 4 years over (the next great American novel, they swear!) is only selling at 3.99, because, they say, Amazon has monopolized and corrupted the consumer experience - creating a consumer and book culture where consumers expect to pay less for an eBook than they do for a paperback.
There are two MAJOR issues with the argument put forth by the fossils and good ole chaps at Author’s Guild (I know, I know, Authors UNITED).
1) Amazon’s KDP programhas encouraged book literacy and culture by allowing the CONSUMER to decide what books should be successful instead of some old fogy at a desk covered in slush-pile manuscripts.
Amazon will publish just about anything. If a person wants to read about a gay man falling in love with his step-brother, who turns out to be an alien who then impregnates him - they can! If a person wants to read a well-written self-published coming of age story about a transgender bi-racial teen in small-town America - *gasp* they can!
Amazon KDP has taken the slush-pile power away from publishing houses and given it back to authors and consumers - especially those who write diverse subjects, borderline topics and don’t like coloring in the mainstream lines.
Traditional publishing houses have said time and time again - they ONLY publish what will MAKE THEM MONEY. What they can SELL. What they can cram down mainstream’s throat, make popular, marketable, merchandise and screenplay into the next Hollywood regurgitation.
So, Amazon isn’t stifling Consumers’ access to diverse, intellectual (or trashy, or fun, or erotic, or scary, or ANYTHING) books. They are encouraging access to read what you want!
Okay, so what about those cheap, cheap prices ‘hurting’ book culture?
2) Amazon doesn’t set eBook prices - the Authors / Publishers do. YES, some publishers have signed deals to agree to only selling eBooks for under $14.00. But, COME ON - $14 for a digital book? Seriously? The majority of Amazon’s books are self and small press published, and they range (on average) from 2.99 - 7.99.
NEWSFLASH - Your self-published debut eBook novel is NOT going to sell for $9.99 (and your Grandma doesn’t count!)
I recently read an AMAZING debut eBook novel by a self-published author. It was $9.99. No, I didn’t buy it. I got it when the author put it on sale for $3. (Thank you, eReaderIQ Book Price Watcher Ap) I LOVED LOVED LOVED the book, but I would NEVER have read it/paid 10$ for it because I’d never even heard of the author before… and the book’s current horrible sales ranking at $9.99 shows I’m not alone in this.
It’s time authors got real about eBook prices. So, I’m going to tell you a secret. It may just blow your mind.
Here’s that bomb I mentioned earlier.
Are you ready?
> > > > AN EBOOK IS NOT A BOOK. < < < < <
There. I said it. I pointed to the huge-ass elephant in the room, so now you have to stare at it and accept that it’s there, too.
An eBook is NOT a book. Consumers will NEVER give an eBook the same value as a physical book. You can’t set an eBook on a shelf, admire the cover, lend it to a friend, gift it to someone with a handwritten note, pass it down if it becomes a classic or use it as a conversation starter when you run out of things to say at a party.
If you were in a bookstore and on the front table there was the NYT Bestseller thriller-of-the-week in Paperback for $12.99, and next to it, there was a QR code to purchase the eBook instead for $10.99… How many people do you think would buy the eBook over the physical book to save $2?
Some big names can certainly sell some eBooks at that price. But, these high eBook prices are actually HURTING consumer book culture. I can’t afford to spend $15 on the next Game of Thrones ebook. I will have to wait until it’s at the library. Mentally, I couldn’t justify spending that much on a digital book. I’d rather buy the physical book and get free Prime shipping. If it was 7.99, then Okay, I could justify that for a big-name like Martin in digital format.
For indie books, 5.99 is the top price I will pay, and only if I’ve read you before or heard tons of great recommendations. If you are a new-to-me author, then 3.99 is what I feel comfortable paying for your eBook. I’m sorry. You may have written the most amazing thing ever, but I read so many books that I can’t afford the habit if I start paying 7$ for every eBook. And, I’m not alone in my addiction or price justifications.
What many consumers do is use price-watch aps like eReaderIQ. Because, unlike Paperbacks, eBook prices fluctuate all the time and we know they will go on sale eventually (especially KU books). It’s so simple to mark it with an ap and wait for the notification of the sale to email us while we go consume cheaper reads.
Yes, there was a time when eBooks were new and shiny, and typically consumed only by either those who could afford the high-priced readers or by those who didn’t want their family to see a copy of “Taken By The Gang-Bang Vampires” on their bookshelf. That time has passed. eReaders are cheap. There are more books available. There are read-all-you-want subscription services. There are parental controls.
Look, I get it. I’m an author, too. I’d LOVE for my eBooks to sell for 8.99, but I also understand my market. I would rather sell 1000 eBooks at 3.99 than 10 at 8.99, and have 2 returns,
I also believe, and you can hate me for it, that digital books are not worth the same as physical books. There are no print, shipping or paper costs. No distribution fees. No pages to turn, to dog-ear, or bookmark, or rub between thumb and forefinger. No ink to smell. No cover to display or spine to crack.
The cold digital text may offer the same story, but it doesn’t offer the same experience.
So, what are your thoughts? Is Amazon’s low prices hurting consumers and reading culture? Are eBooks worth the same price as physical copies?
Hey everyone! So I finally have done it. I’ve created my Etsy store! Actually took a lot more work than I ever imagined, but Etsy is pretty good with their paperwork side of things, which I really respect.
So if you want a signed paperback - a signed hardcover, or an eBook of KEY: Chronicles of the Children – you can finally get it direct from me, the creator! At the moment I am carrying most of the cost of postage of the paperback/hardcover because I just want to get the book out into the world.
Want a Sami or Skyeola Plushie sent to your door - yes - I do that too!
Soon my sister will be adding amazing hand-knitted pillows (they are stunning!) and scarfs (they’re also incredible) – it took a long time for me to convince her to sell any of her work, because she fears she ‘isn’t good enough’ but guys, her work is better than anything in a SHOP. So keep an eye out of her adorable creations soon.
My Poppa will also be coming on for the ride - he does woodwork, and makes me boxes to paint. So soon they will be popping up as well! It will keep my Poppa happy, he really, really needs something to do. ^^;
So there you go - The Comfort Library - my Etsy shop! :D Enjoy! Protectors: Book 2 of Chronicles of the Children will first be released through Etsy so keep and eye out! ;)
That moment late at night/early in the morning when you’re reading on your iPad or Phone or e reader and your parents are already sleeping and you hear one of them get up and move around so you panic and hide it under the covers and pretend to be asleep so that just in case they come into your room because you’re a chicken
Hello, sorry if this has already been asked, but can the books be downloaded from the ebooksdirect site to be read on nook? And how does that work?
Sure they can. You download the file(s) to your computer from the download links that the Ebooks Direct store sends you, and then plug in the e-reader in question; “mount” it as a disk drive, and drag the ebook file (an .epub format file in your case) into the reader. Then disconnect, find the file in your reader, and load it. The process is called “sideloading”. (This works for Kindles as well, though they use .mobi format files.)
There are some Nook-specific how-to guides to sideloading out there. Try these:
If you download something and have problems getting it loaded, drop a note to the support address at Ebooks Direct and we’ll get you sorted.
(Secondary to this:)
Thank you very much. If it’s not too much
trouble, I have one more question. Is there any difference between the
formats for the different types of nooks? I noticed that it’s separated
out for purchase for the boxed bundle, but for other orders they all
seem to be packaged under .epub or Generic .epub? Once again, thank you
for your time.
No probs. :) Mostly
the difference is so that covers will display correctly, or that both
fonts and covers will look better on the higher-definition devices, and page margins and other formatting will look their best on the device in question. In
the coming months, as we start re-covering a lot of the books in the
inventory, we’re also going to start adding multiple device formats to everything in the catalog. For the time being, though, Nook users should just use .epub or “generic .epub” if
those are the only formats available in the dropdown menu. They should look OK regardless of device. (BTW, when we
update books with new covers or whatever, the system notifies you and
sends you a new download link so that you can update if you want to.)