Ebooks, ipads, apps, kindle, digital content – there is no hiding from the digital revolution. If you work in publishing this was the year that digital made its breakthrough. Just ask the over 400 people that attended The Bookseller’s annual FutureBook conference. With that in mind I am really excited that author Robin Spano has written a guest post trying to show her (very cool) publisher that price does matter when it comes to ebooks (they think the ebook price should be $10.99 and Robin thinks it should be $4.99 or less). Read on and get involved!
Ebooks are revolutionising the book world. They’re changing things in big, bold strokes, and I’m excited to see what’s coming.
As a new author, I love the electronic revolution. Before ebooks, before Amazon, writers used to have to rely on a bookstore deciding our stock was worth the gamble. They’d buy two copies, sell out, and it could be a month or longer – if they decided to reorder – while the sluggish distribution system replenished their stock. Bestsellers – like Dan Brown or Sophie Kinsella – would be available everywhere. But new and lesser known writers would have to hunt down their stock to let their friends know where to find it.
Now, the playing field is much more level. You might not be able to buy Dead Politician Society at every bookstore on the planet, like you could for Dan Brown’s latest novel. But you can buy it at every online retailer. Which means that in the land of ebooks, Dan Brown’s books and mine are equally accessible.
I also love ebooks because they’re hitting a younger, more tech-savvy crowd. In Japan, 75% of middle school girls read all their novels on their smart phone (!). This book is not for kids, but the audience who’s relating best to Dead Politician Society is between 20–40 years old – exactly the age group most into cool new gadgets like e-readers and iPads.
But even though ebooks are crashing into the market at breakneck speed – they’ve more than tripled their market share since this time last year – no one can agree on how to price them.
My publisher set the price of Dead Politician Society at $10.99. That’s fairly standard – most new releases are selling for around the same. But to me that seems high. An ebook is not tangible, it can’t be loaned out easily, and it can’t be autographed. With the paperback available for $10.79 online, I would price the ebook – purely based on intuition – at $4.99.
ECW Press likes the price where it is. They don’t think people shop for books based on price, but on content. They also don’t want to devalue a book by saying it’s worth less than another book in its genre. They say people buy the reading experience, not the product. If someone will pay $10 or more to see a movie, ECW figures they’ll pay that to read a book that looks interesting, and they’ll choose the format – print or electronic – that suits their lifestyle.
I like all their arguments, and I still disagree. So, my very awesome publisher is holding a challenge. Actually, they’re trying to prove me wrong.
For one week, Tuesday, 7 December – Monday, 13 December, Dead Politician Society will be available for $1.99 on iBooks, Kobo, and Kindle.
What this will show
If Dead Politician Society sales jump dramatically: it will show that price does matter. It may or may not convince ECW to lower the ebook price permanently, but their minds are open – they’re interested in what the public has to say.
If sales don’t increase, I’ll concede their point: Price is not a primary factor in ebook sales.
How to participate
If you agree with ECW that price is not an issue, do nothing. (Or better yet – buy the book at full price when the promotion is over.)
If price is important to you, there are 2 ways you can help:
- Buy the Dead Politician Society ebook from Kobo, Kindle, or iBooks during the $1.99 period.
- Share a link to this challenge on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or anywhere you think mystery-lovers will see it.
About the Book
Dead Politician Society is lighthearted crime fiction – think Charlie’s Angels meets Janet Evanovich. A young female cop poses as a university student to penetrate a secret society who’s been claiming credit for the deaths of local politicians. There’s some sex and swearing – so maybe don’t buy it for your grandma unless she enjoys that. But most readers so far seem to find this a good, fun read.