Ebook Pricing at Sci Fi - Arizona
Long time customers of this site will recognize that we have
recently increased the price of many of our ebooks from $5.00 to
$7.50, undoubtedly causing many people to mutter under their breath,
"What the hell is going on?" That being the case, I thought an
explanation was in order.
Most price increases are the result of increasing cost of production
for a product. Ebooks are peculiar this way. Once placed
online, there are no costs of production, no printing presses or
binding machines to power up, no shipping, no nothing. There
are, however, other factors that must be considered. There is
the cost of maintaining the website, the cost of keeping the money
collection system running, etc. Our recent ebook price
increase had nothing to do with any of those things. What
drove it was Amazon.com.
The Amazon Kindle was the first truly successful ebook reader.
I know because I am the proud owner of three of them. Prior to
the Kindle, there were several attempts at producing electronic
gadgets to read ebooks. They met with varying degrees of
non-success. It wasn't until
Amazon came along with their wireless delivery system that someone
cracked the code and book readers took off. And like all
pioneers, Amazon now finds itself in a crowded field. In
addition to the Kindle, we now have the Apple IPAD, the Barnes and Noble Nook,
and the updated Sony Reader. There are also smart phones like
the Apple Iphone and the Sprint EVO that make perfectly adequate
ebook readers. There is even a Kindle APP to run on each of
these where Amazon sells Kindle editions.
While most of us were going about our daily lives, another electronic
revolution has crept up on us.
When I released GIBRALTAR SUN some four years ago, I kept track of
my sales. They split evenly: 50% ebooks and
50% trade paperbacks. I have done the same since GIBRALTAR
STARS was released on October 1, 2009.
The statistics are rather startling. My sales since the
release of STARS are as follows:
Amazon Kindle Editions: 59%
Other Ebooks: 30%
Trade Paperbacks: 11%
Ebooks, which were 50% of my total sales only four years ago are now
89% of sales. And that isn't the good news.
Because of the competition between Amazon and Apple,
increasing the amount they pay authors from 35% to 70%.
They are doing this to match the rate Apple pays authors and the
software writers who produce APPS for the IPOD and IPAD.
This is a REALLY big deal. When I was with Ballantine-Del Rey,
I made 6-8% royalties on the sale of my books, Now I will be
making 70% per book on books that are priced $2.00 higher than were
my original paperbacks (it was quite a long time ago). For the
first time in 300 years, the authors are no longer indentured to the
There is a catch, of course. There is always a catch.
To take advantage of the new 70% payout schedule, an author must
meet certain requirements. One of these is that you cannot
sell your ebook for more than you sell your trade paperback of the
same title. That
is no problem for me. However, another requirement, and the
one that most interests those reading this page, is that an author
cannot sell ebooks on his own website for less than he is
selling them on the Kindle site.
To be able to sign up with this new program, I have standardized on a price of $7.50 for all of my ebooks
at both Amazon and Sci Fi - Arizona. All except ANTARES DAWN,
which I will sell for $6.00.
I can hear the questions now: "What's wrong with ANTARES
DAWN?" Nothing whatever, as I'm sure those of you who have
read it can testify. DAWN is my "loss
leader." It is probably the best book I have for
capturing the loyalty of new readers. If you happen to like what I write
(and you probably wouldn't be here if you didn't), DAWN is the book
most likely to set the hook and reel you in. I call it the crack
cocaine theory of marketing.
So please don't hate me. I'm just trying to make a modest
living as an independent author/publisher.
However, also don't be blind to what is going on. The
paperback book, as much as we all love them, is on its way to
wherever the abacus, the dodo bird, and the typewriter went.
I have been predicting the ascendancy of ebook readers for twenty
years. It seems that we are well on the way to seeing that
prediction come true. A new age is dawning. No longer
will poor wretches pound away on battered keyboards, only to sell
the fruits of their labor to a giant, soulless corporation known as
a 'publisher.' Those of you who purchase books are about to set free
an entire generation of wordsmiths. I hope we all enjoy our Brave New World, because like
it or not, it is almost here.
June 30, 2010
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Sci Fi - Arizona, Inc.
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Tempe, AZ 85284-0068