We're the least important part of the equation, I.J. Infinitely replaceable. Still, as long as retail pricing on ebooks stays at around $9.99 or more for the major houses, we should do okay, even if we're only getting a 25% royalty and not the 50% the agents' association wants. 12.5% of a $25 HC is $3.12; 25% of a $10 ebook is $2.50, but take out returns and it's probably break even or better, if the lower price point generates more volume. Obviously the lower the price drops the bigger the royalty would have to be to make up the difference. At 50% we're clearly ahead of the game even at a $6 price point. If the agents could actually apply some concerted pressure, it could happen. Maybe...
I think where this breaks down for some authors is this: Some are simply happy to be published and distributed, and others want to make a self-sustaining living at it.
I had a conversation with a local author a month or so ago at a book event:
ME: Does it bother you at all that your publisher has priced the Kindle version of your book at $11.99? I can't imagine you're moving many units that way.
SHE: Well, I did raise my eyebrows at that. But I'm sure my publisher knows what it's doing.
ME: But if your Kindle book were published at $5.99 — or even less — you'd likely sell more units, and likely make more money. You and your publisher both.
SHE: Oh, I don't worry about making money. My husband makes a pretty good living. I just want to share my story with as many readers as possible.
ME: All the more reason, I would think, to competitively price your e-book. Seems that more people would buy it if they could get it cheaper. And lowering the price doesn't cost anybody anything, but it doesn't cost anything to put an e-book up for sale.
SHE: Well, my agent and publisher both say that it's important not to let Amazon get away with what they're doing.
ME: Provide affordable books to more people?
SHE: No, drive my agent and publisher out of business?
Well, we've progressed to the point that she's holding on to e-rights rather than letting them go with the title. But we don't seem to see eye-to-eye about putting the books out there. I really suspect, as I said, that they aren't sure about how this "new situation" is shaking out. Still, I'm ready to take my chances!
Now there's an idea for a murder mystery. :D
The weapon.....a hardcover copy of one of Elizabeth George's massive Lynley books....?
With this economy, who has the money to pay $25-$30 dollars for ONE book when you could buy ten or more for that price?
Well, they always can go to the library. Then they wouldn't have to pay anything at all for 10 plus books. .
Great post. I feel ya'. They claim that the price of ereaders are gonna drop each year. (We'll have to see.) I know they are dropping now. I think the more popular ebooks are, the more people will buy them and they will become less expensive.
As for older readers, that's a myth. I know MANY older readers who bought ereaders before the younger folks got into them. I know a lot of teens who don't want an ereader (I was shocked), but I know folks 50+ who've been reading ebooks and who ran out to get the Ipad the day it came out, LOL. Of course Jon was knocking them out so he could get first in line, but I've read and I've seen with my own eyes older folks are ereading.
It's folks in their 20's and 30's like me with no money who can't buy our own ereaders! LOL! Thank god we got parents to sponge off of. The older folks got the cash, don't let 'em fool you. They just don't give us any, LOL! I got my ereader for Christmas! I didn't buy it on my own.
LOL. Anyway, my point is, I don't think it's the age thing that's really the factor. It's more about people who can afford the ereaders and what type of reading they do. They say most novel readers are opening up to ereaders but some nonfiction readers aren't at the same speed.
I think it looks like older folks don't want to buy them but I've seen the opposite. I see old folks in the gym, at the bus stop, in the mall, thumbing through their ereaders and pushing up their glasses. And they know how to work 'em more than their kids do, LOL! Who's really against it are folks who are against change and who think that real literature lives and dies by print. That attitude, I see comes from all ages.
Just my two cents. I just think the old folks get blamed for "stopping the change", but it's a different variety of ages and folks that just aren't open for some kind of reason.
Anyway, my point is, I don't think it's the age thing that's really the factor. It's more about people who can afford the ereaders and what type of reading they do
You're probably right Stacy---although I was thinking of the older people I know (older than I am anyway), like my husband's parents, or a good friend, now 71, who is a self-confessed Luddite, and a couple other elderly women in our neighborhood who simply haven't bothered with computers. Older people often tend to be on fixed incomes. Some (like my in-laws) are mystified by the whole computer business. One glitch and they'd throw up their hands. :)
So that's just my experience.
Now, I will spend money to get a really good laptop, and wi fi, and I must have email, and the software packages I need to help me document my paintings and all that---I am just not the least bit interested in reading e-books, even if it's dirt cheap to get a device. In that respect I'm ode-fashioned.
However, to each her own---so as long as e-books and book books can co-exist, and we have a choice---I'm content with that. :)
Who's really against it are folks who are against change and who think that real literature lives and dies by print.
I don't think anyone is trying to "blame" anyone here...not really. The trend toward e-books is part of a general trend in technology that is going to happen regardless. And just because someone prefers one type of reading material over another doesn't mean that they are necesssarily against change, per se. I didn't have any of this when I was growing up---computers, cell phones, iPads---it didn't exist yet. And yet I'm now pretty savvy as a computer user. I rely on email, my cell phone, my digital camera. I have many uses for the internet, including for my own artwork, where I upload my illustrated books for printing. So I'm not averse to change---I just happen to prefer one thing over another here.
Perhaps I wouldn't mind reading mysteries on e-Book. But when there are books I love and want to keep, I do like having them on my shelves (and they look nice too) where I can pick them up anytime. Some of those may even be mysteries. Poetry, art books, my favorite novels.
As a visual artist I appreciate the "object." Real paintings, real pots, real books.
For the most part, I'm fine with change. This is about ONE preference, not change in general. That's all! :)
As for cars---if I did not have to have one to get around, I wouldn't. If I can walk anywhere, I'll walk rather than drive. But talk about resisting change---here, it seems we have NO choice at all. Somehow, we can have e-Books and cell phones the size of a postage stamp, but getting an affordable non-gas-guzzling car on the roads no es posible.
As an author, I of course know we too gotta put gas in our cars, but we don't have the right to expect and dictate a reader's habits. Readers can buy what they want for the price they want in my opinion. I'm an author myself, but I'm not shoving out tons of money for one book. Authors are still regular people too (like you mentioned) who have to put gas in their cars, so what's the difference? Seems like the same thing to me. Authors are struggling too and they are gonna pick groceries and food, and putting gas in their cars first before buying a book that's out of their price range. Reading is a luxury. Gas, food and family is a necessity.
So it makes more sense to buy MORE books for the price of one. You'd get even more reading in.
Point is, authors are readers too and they can buy what they want for the price they want. If someone wants to buy hardcovers for $30 that's their right, just like it is for others not to.