I was reading a blog post by Joe Konrath who has written a book called the Newbie's Guide to Publishing and has a blog of the same name (he also has five or so novels in a detective thriller series). He makes a good argument from the author's side for charging $2.99 for an ebook, but I am not so sure about his argument from the consumers side. You can argue all you like about what price a consumer is willing to pay and what price ebooks will eventually be, but those arguments have to be backed up with what is happening in the publishing world.
People who have read some of my blog posts and comments on other people's blogs about ebooks would know that I am not very hopeful about the short term future of the publishing industry. They would also know that I reckon the price of the average ebook in the near future will be zero. People who read this blog would also know that about once a month I visit Amazon's bestselling Kindle ebook list to see what prices were charged for the top 100 bestsellers, something I have neglected to do for six weeks as I have been busy writing for Divine online magazine and I went to Aussiecon, but just a few minutes ago I went and had a look.
The story so far, in the beginning about a third of the ebooks in the top 100 were priced a $2, about half a dozen were free, about 12 were $2.01 - $4, with the majority being about $7 to $12. This situation remained relatively stable for about six months. About 10 weeks ago things drastically changed. There were now no $2 ebooks, with that third of the top 100 now being taken up by free ebooks. There were also less ebooks in the $2.01 to $6 range. The same prices were evident when I had a look six weeks ago.
Today I found that there were five ebooks priced at $2.99, so perhaps some authors have quickly taken Joe's advice. There were also 15 ebooks priced from $4 to $9.99 and 29 ebooks priced over $10. That leaves 51 ebooks, all free. So the trend from the data suggests that most ebooks will be eventually be free. Interestingly, one of the free ebooks, coming in at number 96, was The Communist Manifesto.
I know I am only looking at the top 100 kindle ebooks. One day when I get time I might try to go through the top thousand. And the situation might be different at the Book Depository, Barnes and Noble or ibooks. But if they are following the same trends as Kindle, it looks like I might have reached the right conclusion. Whether any of my reasoning is correct is another matter.
I have been feeling tired lately due to illness, but feel like I am finally over it. This morning I swam a lot faster in the pool and did not fall asleep repeatedly while reading the newspapers (I do most of my reading lying on the couch or bed). So I hope to do a lot more writing this week of the novella, which I only wrote a 500 words of last week. I also want to write another Divine article this week.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
My writing week 3 (38)