Article: Are eBooks Too Cheap?: Indie Authors Question 99 Cent Price

Hi All,

Check out this article from the Huffington Post.

Best Wishes!

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:)  All true, but I don't have a great deal of hope that readers will find the gold, considering what makes the best seller lists.

Think about that for a minute.

The best seller list IS vetted and gate-kept and all that.   Yet you seem to think it unworthy.

And you seem to be saying that "gold" is something other than what mass numbers of people like to buy.  Slippery slope, isn't it?

When people say "gatekeepers" instead of "middlemen" or "interference" you know what side of this issue they're on.

Personally, I never felt like I needed somebody in Manhattan deciding what I should be allowed to read.

So, yeah, consumers are calling the shots.  Without filters.  

Hard to see how that's a bad thing.

I think there are two issues, one like you say, gatekeepers as ones who stop writers from writng what they want to write, determining what is good or bad, or what will sell or won't vs the function of quality control, edit, copy-edit, proof readers etc.
My fear is writers not doing the latter, will turn people off to ANY indie publishing, thus making it difficult to sell.
That has nothing to do with taste, what I like verse what others might not.
To that end, I think that is what indie publishing is all about. Putting out stories for smaller or niche audiances.
David DeLee
A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella

I see what you're saying, David.  

I notice that there are a lot of "indie writers all suck" threads on the amazon forums, for instance.

I'm guessing, or hoping, or whatever that it won't shake out like that.  I think people will find and  buy the stuff they like.   Maybe that's what "niche" really means.   But there's no limit on the size of longevity of a niche, I'd think.

"But there's no limit on the size of longevity of a niche, I'd think."

Bingo. Considering the number of books even a Dan Brown sells relative to the general population, all writers fill niches. As you said, they vary in size and longevity, but there is no book "everyone" likes, or will buy. 

We all have to find our niches, and they will be populated by people with similar tastes to our own, so we might as well write the books we want. Our niche will either be big enough to sustain a living (or whatever the individual's definition of success is), or it won't.

I agree and disagree David.

Yes there are people putting up crap books, but then again there have always been crap books. Take a look at some of the ebooks out there by the big name publishers that are riddled with transcription errors. Have a good read through some of the bestsellers, you'll find all sorts of mistakes.

I also use the example of the non-fiction health and diet books. Most are rubbish and full of lies. The gatekeeping is not about quality but about sales. Their quality control is better than the 16yr old with $ in their eyes and a cut & paste effort they put together in an afternoon. But those guys will be booted out of the industry very quickly.

Or will they?   Maybe there are enough 16 year olds with lunch money to keep them going.

And the thing is... they aren't IN the industry.  They can't get booted out.

I agree about your gatekeeper remark absolutely.   It's not like sucky books were invented by Kindle and Lulu... there have always been plenty of them around.  And the vaunted keepers don't keep them out.

I'm afraid, the economy being what it is, ebooks can't cost more, because many people can't afford to pay more. Sure, I'd like to get more for my ebooks, but I've priced them at 99 cents, except for my new one at $2.99, so I can at least get some sales out of them. The new one isn't getting many bites, but it's too early to tell, since it just went up a little over a week ago.

Some of the bestselling authors can still rake in the big bucks, but the midlist authors have problems these days. The only way to attract attention is by appealing to the readers' pocketbooks and hoping they remember and come back for more.


Morgan Mandel


I'm afraid here we have to agree to disagree, Morgan. I'm in this business to make money and ultimately make a full-time living at writing.

I have thirteen titles up, one novel priced at $4.99, one collection of short stories at $2.99 (all of which are also available individually for $0.99), an original novella at $2.99, and ten short stories at 0.99. By far, my best selling title is my $4.99 novel. Now it could be argued that novels sell better than short stories (which is probably true) but, if I priced my novel at .99 then I'd have to sell ten copies to equal one sale at $4.99. I'd rather sell less, make more and hope I've attracted a reader that appreciates my work and will be willing to pay that same amount for more.

If pricing were the overriding faction in a readers buying decision, then all my .99 priced items should outsell my higher priced items. That simply is not the case.

I believe the e-consumer is price sensitive but I also believe writers undervalue themselves by pricing their stuff too low, to make the quick sale or to see their numbers go up. I think the majority of readers will associate .99 with cheap and--rightly or wrongly--as poorly written. (novels, not short stories) I also think, a novel length story written and sold for $4.99 or $5.99 in e-format is still considered a good value (if the reader believes the story was well-written and entertaining) when compared to paper editions of $9.99 (paperback), $14.99 (trade paperback), and $26.99 (hard cover) pricing.

I'm in this for the long haul and want to be taken serious as a full-time, professional writer,  and I believe readers will find me and my audience will grow because I am putting up a quality product, I am continually adding to my library of work with new items, my product will always be available since I do not have to worry about competing shelf-space and and I have a consistent, fair pricing structure; $4.99-$5.99 for full-length novels, $2.99 for novella and five-story collections, and $0.99 for short stories.

That said, I see nothing wrong with promotional pricing; free loss leaders, discounted first novel prices for the first in a series, giveaway contests and what have you to promote your line of books, your other work, and your brand. That to me is smart business and different than just pricing everything dirt cheap to see it sell, like a fire sale.

Just my opinion in all this. I hope I didn't offend anyone in stating it.

David DeLee

A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella

I don't see where your prices are extraordinarily high, David. 

It's good to get other perspectives. The only way we can tell is to see whose ideas work. Yours seem to be in an affordable range, in comparison to those using agency models.


It would be nice to make a decent living from selling books, but so far, I'm still building a name for myself.  My new book, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, is at $2.99. I'll see what happens after my blog book tour when people are more familiar with it, and see if the pricing is right.

Absolutely right, Morgan. This is all very new, and as such there is very little hard data. You are right to try and build a name for yourself, exactly what I am doing. I believe you do that, have product to offer ( not just one or two titles) and I think sales will follow. I'm happy to say, mine have over this past year. Not make a living at it yet, but nice steady growth.
Good luck with your blog tour, let us know how it goes.
David DeLee
A Cold Wind - a Grace deHaviland novella


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