Common Myths about eBook pricing… a rebuttal

Common Myths about eBook Pricing

There has been much discussion about this subject since that whole mess a couple of years ago with Amazon and Hachette and many of the other big publishers, so I thought I would take a moment to point out the holes in explanations that are being given to readers and authors alike!


Myth #1

– eBooks cost the same to produce as paper books… only sans the actual paper costs


Unless you are ONLY producing an eBook, you have ALREADY spent the money on your hardbound/paperback – the eBook does not garner any extra costs, except perhaps the ISBN!

1. You don’t have to pay editors for two jobs… just one. They’re not editing two books! There’s no additional editing that goes on for an eBook vs. a paperback.

2. You do not have to pay for a second cover model or photo shoot or even design services – you use the same image as you do for the paper book… cut off half the full cover image and voila… you have an eBook cover!

3. Unless you launch two separate marketing strategies, you do not have to pay the marketing team twice. The eBook in most campaigns is merely a bonus option, included in the main marketing plan.

4. The exact same argument from #3 goes for sales reps and publicists as well.

5. And you certainly don’t have to pay office staff anymore money. There’s literally no paper to keep track of; just a file – and it’s usually a file that’s already been sent back and forth a dozen times for editing and approvals and so on… so there’s not even an additional file to create because the eBook seller will format your file to work with their system.

Now, I will concede that the author will want to be paid for any royalties that come in from the sale of their eBook – and this is how it should be, which is one reason I LOVE Amazon’s policy that you can price your eBook anywhere from $2.99 – $9.99 and make 70% royalties!

How many traditionally published authors make 70% royalties on their eBook sales?


Myth #2

– eBooks from traditional publishing houses have always cost this much


Up until the court case was settled, Amazon was allowed to set eBook prices for every eBook in their system. They could put them on sale pretty much anytime they wanted and they could make them free for a certain amount of time now and then too.

The court case changed all of that.

If you’ve noticed the little note under a lot of eBook prices that says “This price was set by the publisher” – yeah… that is so customers don’t blame Amazon for the HUGE price jump that more than half their eBook prices took not too long ago.


Myth #3

– readers are being cheap because they don’t want to pay $10+ for eBooks


Let’s look at this logically… it has been pointed out by some authors that consumers (otherwise known as customers/ readers/ reviewers) are being cheap/ whiny/ rude because they don’t want to plunk down $10 for something that used to cost [at most] half that!

Let’s think about this for a moment:

For $10, I can walk into a bookstore and purchase a real, hard-copy of the book that I can hold in my hands, turn pages, dog-ear to my heart’s content, bookmark, curl up with, etc… – you get the picture.

… or I can get an eBook, a digital copy; nothing concrete, nothing paper, nothing solid that you can hold onto without the aide of a device of some sort – plus it requires internet access to download [more money] and said device – that needs charging [more money]. Not to mention, a paper book requires no software, no device that costs hundreds of $$, no updates, no electricity even – because you can read in the daylight just fine… and at night you could read by candlelight if you really wanted to.


… and the biggest lie (in my personal opinion)


Myth #4

– indie authors are ruining the e-market for traditionally published authors


I personally know several traditionally published authors who own the rights to their eBook and some of them have self-published that eBook with tremendous success. In fact, I know more than a few traditionally published authors who have also indie-published paper books to great success!

Indie authors are no more ruining the e-market than we are all “not good enough for trade-pub”!

Many of us could be traditionally published if we were so inclined but we like having control over every aspect of our work… or we like the flexibility to be able to write whatever we want, whenever we want… or we want to write about something that the big 5 say there’s no market for (by the way… most authors I know in this category are doing just fine sale-wise so they’ve apparently found a market somewhere).


The fact is – the only ones ruining eBook sales are the big publishers. They don’t HAVE to sell eBooks for such inflated prices but they do and – they either don’t see it or they don’t care – that they are hurting themselves, their customers AND their clients!

I don’t know what the motivation of the traditional publishing houses is – when the only real cost – is on the eBook seller who has to maintain huge amounts of servers, data, html code and store links, websites, etc…

It makes no sense… NONE!

Authors are making less money because their eBook sales have taken a dive.

Publishers are making less money because, even though their profit margin has jumped significantly, selling so many fewer books still makes for small profits.


~ JC


© JCMorrows 2015

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