Monday, May 31, 2021

The Worth of a Book

The other day, someone posted about book pricing to a group I follow.  She was merely stating that a series she'd been enjoying had jacked the prices up on subsequent books, making it hard for her to continue to purchase them.  And a load of people jumped on her for daring to say 7.99 was too much for an ebook.  (And it was pounds not dollars, so even worse.)  

The people jumping on her like she was a witch who needed to be burned seem to have forgotten a salient point - books, like any other commodity, are only worth what the BUYER wants to pay for them.  

Yeah, sure, writers put hours and hours of work into their product.  They pay for editing and cover art and marketing, too.  The last time I checked, I'd spent over $11,000 on publishing my books.  If we priced each book at the amount it was worth to us, no one could afford them.  As Hubs says, if I price them at $11K each, I only need to sell one.  But who'd buy it?

I know, I know... thinking about a book as a commodity gives some authors a case of the vapors.  But that's all it is... to the reader.  It's a thing to buy.  Versus all the other things a reader has to spend money on.  Sure, books provide hours of entertainment.  They can enrich your life and your mind.  But they are still only worth what the reader is willing or can afford to pay.  

Some made the argument that a book costs less than a movie, but provides longer lasting enjoyment.  Maybe so.  Lord knows, I'd rather read a book than go to a movie.  (Do people even go to movies anymore?)   But when the choice is buy a book or put that money toward groceries, the groceries win.  

And, by the way, we aren't the ones to say what the value of something OUGHT TO BE to someone else.  Maybe for them, a movie is worth more than a book.  

Again, the worth of the book is subjective and dependent on the buyer's whims, not the author's.

The poor gal who originally made the post about pricing had to shut it down to comments due to all the blasting she took.  I felt sorry for her.  She was only expressing an opinion.  I was right there with her and I said so before the comments went down.  They were saying things like 7.99 is nothing and trying to make her feel ashamed for questioning the price of someone else's hard work.  Maybe for them 8 per book is nothing.  For the gal, it was definitely something.  For me, it's definitely something.  

Would I like to get that much for my books?  Oh, hell, yes.  But I'm not going to berate anyone who can't afford that.  And I'm sure as hell not going to ask readers to shell out that much for a book when I can't do it myself.  Hell, I feel bad sometimes that my books are 3.99 or 4.99 because I know how it goes when you would like to read a book but can't justify the outgo in your budget.  

Those people who were blasting her for not considering what a writer puts into a book are guilty of not considering what a reader might be experiencing with regard to their finances.  Treating your readers like they're cheap assholes is not the way to go.  

Jus' sayin'.


  1. I agree with you on all points. I certainly can't afford to pay $8 per book, not and read more than two books a month. Especially since I read four or five books a week.

    My sympathies to that honest reader!

  2. If not for the library, there are a lot of books I wouldn't read--for a variety of reasons. The authors I love? I try very hard to buy their books to support them, especially if they aren't major players. I feel a little less guilty about reading "free" when I know someone is raking in 6 figures or more a year.

    I'm sorry that reader got trashed. She was being honest and yes, times can be tough. Not everyone can fork out the $10 a month for Kindle Unlimited, and not all the books I want to read are KU. And now I'm rambling. LOL

    Break time's over. Back to edits and yeah, I totally get what you're sayin', which won't surprise you at all. 😉