Kindle Prices, heading skyward again

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by David Sims, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. David Sims

    David Sims Told lies with Locke

    When in an earlier post, I said that the trend in the rising prices of Kindle editions for popular fantasy fiction novels would match (in US dollars) the last two digits of the current year, you thought I was joking. Well, for that matter, I thought that I was joking, too.

    But behold, the year is now 2017. And what will be the opening price for the Kindle edition of Brandon Sanderson's Oathbreaker novel? Seventeen dollars.
  2. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    It's 1000 pages though. Sanderson who is extremely popular, with a huge fan base would probably sell even at 20$ price. Also kindle is half the price of hardcover.
    So people who wanna buy will buy Sanderson regardless, and people who can't will probably borrow from libraries. Heck, that's what Overdrive is for. Regardless, this book will probably be another success for him.

    I could be wrong but I think Sanderson is an exception, more than a rule. The only other person who could charge a steep price and have a success doing it is GRRM. They both have enormous fan base, and honestly that's the only thing that matters when it comes to financial success.

    I personally don't get it, I think Sanderson is a mediocre writer at his best.
  3. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member

    I think the controversy is more about the steep rise in Kinde book prices, rather than the fact that people are willing to pay such a price for it (if that makes any sense).

    If a new awesome product comes on the market (lets say super-conkers) and it is priced 10 dollars in the first week and 20 dollars in the subsequent week, people will be distraught for sure. However, I think that if the price was 20 dollars to begin with people would complain less (if at all).

    I know the analogy is a bit simplistic, but I hope it gets my point across.
  4. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    But are kindle prices rising? Sanderson is hardly an example to apply accros the board and in his previous thread David Sims was complaining about the placeholder price which was corrected before the thread was even over if I remember correctly. Hardly qualifies as kindle prices rising across the genre. Are they?
  5. Silvion Night

    Silvion Night Sir Readalot Staff Member

    That's true, and that'll teach me to try and make somebody else's case.

    In fact, I don't know whether the Kindle prices across the board are rising. If they only rise for a small number of authors you could compare it to luxury versions of regular items.

    Let's take super-conkers for example. Regular conkers stay the same in price, but the price for super-conkers rises steeply. People are willing to pay for them though, because they're the most awesome conkers.

    I'll stop with the conker analogies now and no, as far as I know I don't have a serious mental condition.
  6. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    I don't know either. Which is why I decided to check prices for upcoming April & May books (kindle editions) and that looks like this:

    Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1) by Mark Lawrence 12.99$
    Redder Than Blood by Tanith Lee 11.99$
    Bound (Alex Verus, #8) by Benedict Jacka 7.99$
    The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen #2) by Aliette de Bodard 11.99$
    The Witchwood Crown (The Last King of Osten Ard, #1) by Tad Williams 14.99$
    Tyrant's Throne (Greatcoats, #4) by Sebastien de Castell £12.99=aprox. 16.24$ (there's no US kindle ed. yet)
    Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon 14.99$
    The Seven (The Vagrant #3) by Peter Newman £8.99=aprox. 11.24$ (there's no US kindle ed. yet)
    Borne by Jeff VanderMeer 12.99$
    Walkaway by Cory Doctorow 12.99$
    City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3) by Robert Jackson Bennett 11.99$
    Damnation (The Burned Man #3) by Peter McLean 6.99$
    A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas 9.99$
    Assassin's Fate (Fitz and the Fool, #3) by Robin Hobb 14.99$
    Skullsworn (The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne) by Brian Staveley 12.99$

    As far as I can see it's business as usual. I don't see any rise. I just see variety of prices depending on popularity of writers and on how long they have been doing this.
    The most expensive is Sebastien de Castell, but I don't think US kindle edition will actually be that much when it comes out, because all of his most recent books in Greatcoats series are 12.99$.

    Pat yourself on the back. You made me google 'conker'.
  7. David Sims

    David Sims Told lies with Locke

    The way this went reminds me of an eBay discussion, with buyers arguing with sellers. I admit that I jumped the gun on that earlier book. But the trend in pricing the most popular/anticipated books is going as I've been saying it has been going.
  8. Ryan W. Mueller

    Ryan W. Mueller Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    These prices are why there's a market for self-published fiction, which typically costs much less. There are a lot of good stories out there in self-published land. They often lack the polish you find with the trade publishers, but there's definite storytelling talent there. Many authors can get away with a less-polished product because they are charging so much less for it (and they get to keep a much bigger chunk of the royalties, too, but that's a completely different topic).
  9. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Journeyed there and back again

    The best self publishers present a product that is no less polished than trade. I publish both ways, being flexible and all that there, and the editorial team, cover designers, for matters and printers are all the same as for my trad books.
  10. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    Ting is, if you're el cheapo batardo, you don't need to be messing around with self-published fiction to keep up a good stream of cheap kindle books. The sales are on regular enough that you'll be doing pretty grand whatever the weather, albeit without being up to date. You can even get quite a few series.

    Not that SP doesn't do its ting too. I apologise for sleep drunkenness while writing this post.

    Hah! I love how on the UK page its still pimping him mainly as the guy who finished WoT. Not sure what to make of that.
  11. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    I would love to see you give some evidence for your claims, because so far it has been nothing but your opinion based on two books, one of which was flat out wrong. It's almost like you are going of a confirmation bias, rather than facts.
    I actually had no idea if you were right or not (I would hate for you to be right, because that's bad for us consumers), but I took the time to check and as I said these prices in my post above are pretty much the same as they were few months back.

    Please if you have some facts and stats, lay them down, but just based on what you provided so far, your hypothesis is wrong.
  12. Darth Tater

    Darth Tater Journeyed there and back again

    It is insane that some Kindle books cost MORE than books that are paper which of course cost them more. Why? Simply because we will pay them for the convenience that ebooks bring us. At least that's what I've read over the last couple of years.

    I totally understand that established popular writers are entitled to make more than a buck or two per book. Hey, it's hard work. But the publisher (or is it Amazon?) rips you off.

    I've also read stuff in the pastv where writers (usually self published writers get screwed by Amazon and complain.. My understanding is that they have a policy.that if a book is over $2 (or was it $3?) or less Amazon gets 70% and if less than $2 they get 70%. (Again, I may be a buck off on the prices. But the point us that the writers have no say on the sale price (not sure on the regular prices) and Anazon pruces then a penny under the 30% threshold so the writer gets less than half of what he/ahe IMO "deserves

    You know, I've never bought an ebook fron them, read it within the 5 day limit and returned it for a refund (it screws the writer as well) nor have I switched my location to get a book that is on sale in another country. For ethical reasons. Yeah, after a point they cut off your ability to return books after you hit a certain percentage (also my understanding is they can monitor how many pages you've read). or they can mess with your account IF they catch you switching countries (from what I've read pretty much everyone gets away with it).

    Also, be aware that when you tap the button that says "Buy now with one click" (or whatever) you do NOT really BUY it but are really renting it because they can take it away from you any time they like (Somehow they can legally use the word "buy"- just like Campbells tomato juice is allowed to advertise it as a vegetable (rather than a "fruit" -I think they do compensate you at least). It is very rare...maybe only happened once when I read about it around 4 years.ago, but still... anyhow, guess what book they took away from people? Oh, the irony! Answer is below (and please correct me if I got anything in this post wrong...(I learned a while ago but to the best of my knowledge I didn't misunderstand and nothing has changed). Anyhow, guess what book th ey took away from everyone? Drum roll please...
    George Orwell's 1984!!
  13. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    You can also be up to date if you use your library and service as overdrive or (depends on what service your library uses).
    There are all kinds of ways to save money.

    There's also the fact as we discussed previously that many people will spend 15$ on drinks or coffee without even thinking, yet when it comes to books we think that's expensive.
    I never met a person who actually weighs their choices in fiction books based on price. It's always based on either authors they want to read or recommendations they get.

    If I'm a Robin Hobb fan, and I wanna read 3rd book in her latest trilogy I will not be dissuaded by 15$ price and buy self-pub work that's 5$. It just doesnt work like that. I may grumble and say it's a bit steep, but it's Robin Hobb in the end.
  14. Nuomer1

    Nuomer1 Journeyed there and back again

    All very true . . . but this brings us to a problem that has been discussed before, that the self-published field has some gems, but also a lot of rubbish - and how do you tell the difference? Particularly when the better authors are better because they enjoy writing, but have no knowledge or skill in marketing, where the less good somehow seem to latch on to sales and marketing with some sort of gut instinct . . .
    There's a problem out there!
  15. Tanniel

    Tanniel Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    As I have no instinct for sales and marketing, I'll concur with your assessment of this inverse proportionality :D
  16. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    Which books are that? Can you give an example? I rarely if ever come across this, and when I do it's usually old books that have to be digitized, proof-read for scanning mistakes (our current scanners suck) and formatted to an ebook format. Usually you have to pay an artist for a new cover as well, and if there are inside illustrations you also have to format that, so the expenses add up incredibly fast when you wanna convert old paper edition to digital formats.

    For new books there is simply no excuse why the digital edition should cost more, because digital is the starting point. But I almost never see that scenario.
    When it happens it's usually a fuck up on the part of the publisher. Similar to the situation Peter Newman had when he published his first book 'The Vagrant'.
  17. ExTended

    ExTended Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune

    Well, the funny thing is - by the example in the opening post, Brandon Sanderson won't make a killing in comissions as you might assume.

    Currently the standard for e-books in trad publishing is 25% of net for the writer, 75% for the publisher and there are no exceptions( as in authors getting better percentages). This was confirmed by Brandon Sanderson both in 2015 and 2016 as far as I can remember, when he spoke in his lectures about the rules of the trad publishing business.

    As with Amazon - if Oathbringer was priced 9.99$ - Brandon takes 25% out of ~7.00$(=1.75$) and the publisher takes the other 75%(=5.25$).

    However, with the book being priced at 17$, Brandon gets 25% of 6.35$(=1.49$) instead of 25% of 7.00$. The publisher gets 75% of 6.35$(4.77$) instead of 7.00$(5.25$). So they are charging you 70% more and make 10% less money. The rest goes to Amazon.

    Why? I can think of only few possible reasons:
    1. Making the hardcover and paperback deals seem more appealing.
    2. Not letting Amazon to completely rule the trad publishing marketing strategies when it comes to pricing - as in "You might make more now, Amazon, and our readers might pay twice as much for no reason, but someday... someday you will bend and we will be rich!... mu-ha-ha-ha".
    3. Somehow the Kobo/Nook sales compensate for this ridiculous policy of leaving money on the table.

    Me - if I had to put my money on it, I'd say it's mostly reason 1, then almost as much reason 2, and kind of reason 3. So it's all centered on "how do we sell more hardcovers and paperbacks, while standing up to Amazon in the meantime... readers... who cares about them, they are story-hungry junkies waiting to overpay for everything".

    And if you think 17$ for Oathbringer sucks - the price for my Kindle edition is 20.39$ - because if you are in EU, you get fucked twice when you pay for worldwide entertaiment.

    Rant over.

    One day self-publishing will catch-up with the trad publishing and those paradoxes will be eliminated by the free market. It's already on the works, so.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  18. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    Alucard, I try to do this and have mixed success. I'm currently not buying second books in a few series because I got the first on sale. It's easier because I have so many sale books to read. I never catch up so I can put off buying books above $11 if I want to. The Waking Fire was on sale last week and I've held off buying it for a long time because it was too high. On the other hand, because it's so incredibly good, I am going to willingly pay $13.99 in June for the sequel. So although my intent is to avoid buying above a certain price point, I have mixed success. I will also pay for book 3 of Stormlight. I won't pay for book 2 of Traitor's Blade even though the first is fantastic.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  19. Peat

    Peat Journeyed there and back again

    If people don't weigh their book choices by price, why do publishers have sales? Why do we have a thread here decided to discounted books? Why do people go to second hand bookshops rather than always buying new to support the author?

    Obviously people have to still want to read the book and plenty of people will go out and buy Robin Hobb's latest because they want to read it now damnit, but there does seem to be a lot of evidence suggesting people base a lot of their book purchases by price.

    In any case, I am one. Price point plays a part when considering new authors or authors I like but don't love.
  20. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    From my experience ebook sales happen mostly when publishers wanna garner or renew interest in the series, just when the new book in that series is about to come out. They probably hope they can lure in and fish some new readers.
    There are other occasions as well, when older or lesser known authors are on sale to push as a promotion. Smaller publishers like Angry Robot or Open Road do that all the time.

    Because I decided it was a good idea to make one, and everybody likes a good sale :)

    Why do people buy new games and go to buy used for older games? Variety.

    I think you guys misunderstood my point, or I didn't express myself clear enough.
    When I wrote
    I never met a person who actually weighs their choices in fiction books based on price. It's always based on either authors they want to read or recommendations they get.

    The first part is true. The second sentence was crucial.
    I never met anyone who wants to read book X, but the book X is 15$, and than that person goes I'll not read that book. Ever. Fuck that book. It's 15 $. Blargh.
    What usually happens is person wants to read book X and they will read it. They will either borrow from somebody (library, friend) or wait for a sale like kenubrion. They never scratch their choice, and go right, I'm not reading book X because it's 15$, I'm reading book Y because it's 5$. They may read book Y, but not because it's 5$, but because it was already their choice based on recommendation, previous reads or another author they like.

    I know only a couple of people here that read exclusively only new books, and those would be Jon Snow and Ben. Most of us read a variety of new and old.
    Now let's do some math. I can only read at my best 50 books a year. That's approx. 4 books a month. Even if all 4 were new editions (and they are never), and the average price of a book was 12.99$ I would be spending 51$ a month on 4 books. That's one dinner and drinks for two.
    Reality is I usually spend around 15$ a month on books and I usually manage to read around 30 books a year. They are my hobby, and I don't make calculations about 15$, because I know that outside of giving that 15$ to charity, spending it on my hobby is best way to spend it.
    If I really wanna read something, I will cash out those 15$ and enjoy my time reading it, not second-guess myself if I could have bought 3 books priced 5$ for the same money.

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