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Does what you paid for a book affect how you’d rate...

REVIEW:  tight-money.gif

When I first started buying my own books some twenty plus years ago, I had very little money. My favorite authors were starting to come out in hardcover (Julie Garwood, for example) and unless I wanted to wait to be the 80th person at the library to read the book, I had to fork over $22.00 or more which, at the time, was a lot of money for me. It basically meant I wasn’t going to be able to buy another book or maybe even eat anything but ramen and macaroni for the month.

Most of the time, however, I bought my books used at the Half Price Bookstore or some other used bookstore that sold romances for $0.10 or $0.25.  And when I bought the hardcover, I knew that I was sacrificing at least four other reads for that one book.

As I got older, I was able to buy more books but my reading habit got to be really pricey so I instituted a book budget of no more than X amount of dollars to be spent a month.  Because I read three to five books a week, I was only able to purchase about eight titles a month new and the rest would have to be library lends or used book store purchases. During the heydey of chick lit, I was really struggling!

Price has always been a big thing for me when it comes to books and from what I’ve heard from industry professionals, mass market purchasers are very price sensitive. Most romance readers are mass market purchasers although the new readers coming in to the market after Fifty Shades are probably not.

There’s an interesting concept called anchoring. Anchoring is the tendency of humans to rely on the first piece of information offered. In economic terms, anchoring means that the first price a consumer encounters for widget A is likely the price that the consumer believes she should always pay for widget A.  (Widget is an official economic term. No lie.)

When the ebook market was doubling every three months in the period between 2011 and 2013, experts told publishers that if they could raise the ebook price, the anchor for those incoming customers would be different (read: higher) than the existing prices set by Amazon.  The agency price model was designed to raise the anchoring price and to some extent, I think that they were successful for the high end books.

The problem was that while the traditional publishers were trying to elevate prices on the high end of the spectrum, self publishers were attempting to grow their own market share and doing it with largely lower priced goods. For established hardcover authors and other genres that are hardcover heavy like thrillers, literature and science fiction, the inroads made by self publishers on the low end were not significant. But for romance, where the most price sensitive purchasers were, the lowered indie prices presented a perfectly acceptable substitute.  (In economic terms, a substitute is a good that the consumer purchases in place of a higher priced good. A complementary good is what an ebook reader would be to an ebook)

Part of the reason that romance readers were so resistant to the higher priced Agency goods were that ebooks have lower value. There’s no resale (used bookstore); there’s no trade (paperbackswap); there’s no lend (friend to friend).  The reduced utility of the ebook decreased the value. That’s another anchor to the digital reader.

Other anchors include encountering lower value goods meaning that the early digital books were rife with scan errors. Random House was one of the worst offenders of scanning, converting, but not proofing the end result in its rush to push out legitimate digital editions of their backlist. Pirates were providing better, more professionally produced editions.  And early self published books also were rife with terrible covers, hideous grammar, and bad storytelling.

Overall, the digital book had an anchor to the reader of having less value. (Value is different than price, but can be related. Economic value is what a consumer is willing to forego in other goods. So in my hardcover terms, I valued certain authors enough to forego other goods).

While price may be fluctuating at the higher ends for non substitutable goods, it’s settling at the $0-$4.99 range for many romance readers. A non substitutable good is an auto buy author who you buy at any price. Nalini Singh and Meljean Brook are to non substitutable authors for me. JR Ward or Nora Roberts are non substitutable authors for other readers. Most authors to readers are NOT non substitutable. Meaning that a reader will wait for the price to decline or obtain the book through a lend/trade in order to read.

This is the long way of saying that books in excess of $5.99 or so become problematic in ways that lower priced books are not. I recently purchased Elle Aycart’s Deep Down. At $7.99, this book requires a reader to forego at least one, if not more, other book.  John Locke famously said that when he priced his books at $.99, other books had to be ten times better to beat him out. You certainly see this played out in the reviews at Amazon where reviewers/readers will say that for a 99c read, they were willing overlook editing issues or that at $3.99 the book was three stars, but may have been 4 stars if it was $.99.

When I recommended this book via email to a couple of reader friends, both emailed me back with exclamations over the cost which made me re-evaluate my recommendation. I provided more  detailed thoughts and some caveats when I replied.

To some extent the base value of a romance book has become $3.99 for me. A higher price and I’m wondering why the author thinks her work is so much better than every one else. And yes, I know that Elle Aycart publishes with LooseId and it’s LooseId’s practice to price everything high. The same with Ellora’s Cave and a few of the m/m publishers. But even knowing that, my gut reaction is to question whether this book is twice as good as a book priced at $3.99 or 6 times as good as the $.99 book.

When I read a book I enjoyed that I got on sale or I paid only $.99 for, I think part of the high at the end isn’t just book related. There’s the “good deal” feeling that is intertwined with the “good book” feeling.

Objectively I know I shouldn’t take price into consideration but I remember when I would recommend a trade paperback book and wincing about the cost. In my reviews, I try to provide enough information for a reader to decide for herself if the book is for her, but I know that a recommendation from any reader friend (and not just me although I assume I’m some of you folks’ reader friend) carries weight.

Ultimately my question is this. Does price affect how you feel about a book? Are you likely to rate a book higher if you paid less for it than if you paid more for it? Would it affect whether you recommended a book?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

67 Comments

  1. MJONES
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 04:30:02

    Price doesn’t affect my rating at all. By the time I read and review it I don’t remember what it cost. Most of what I read right now are ARCS and i honestly rarely buy a copy after I’ve read the arc. I’ve already read it and I save my funds for unread books I’m dying to read.

    Back when ebooks first became popular, they we’re around $7.99 on average. I NEVER bought ebooks . That’s way too expensive for a digital copy of a book! I’d wait till people were offering used copies and snap one up, even if it meant id wait a month to read a new release.

    Now that I exclusively read via rreader ? I have a couple of authors on auto buy. Like just can’t wait a month to read that book. I’ll die! Everyone else waits till I find a price im willing to pay. Sometimes it’s a used copy. Sometimes it’s an eBook sale.

  2. Sandyonbeing
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 04:50:27

    Although I don’t review books, the price of the book does raise my expectations. If I am paying $26-28 forr a hard cover, my brain expects a decent word count that provides enough space for the writer to fully develop characters, plot, and theme. When one of my favorite authors went to hard cover, I noticed that sometimes my reaction to the mass market re-read was different to the first hard cover read. I tended to forgive the mass market for mistakes more than the hard cover. As a consumer, I expect more for my money. If the author/publisher is raising the prices, then I expect more for money. I have to admit with books, I am sometimes disappointed. Sometimes I wish prolific writers would write less, but deliver better books instead.

  3. Ros
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 05:10:50

    I feel like there’s a difference between a product review and a book review. If I’m leaving a review on, say, Amazon, I think of that as a product review. I’ll comment on everything that might be relevant to another potential purchaser – formatting issues, editing issues, and so on, as well as content. So I would definitely mention price in that context. Mostly for me, I perceive value as a function of price/length. If I’d paid $3.99 and the book turned out to be a short novella, I would say so, for instance. A book review is, to me, something a bit different. It’s a literary genre of its own, and its focus is the text under question. Talking about financial considerations in a book review seems out of place to me. And then there’s a third thing which is a book recommendation. If I’m suggesting to friends that they should buy and read a book which I enjoyed, I would again consider the price. If it seems excessive, I’d want to explain why it was worth it. If it’s a bargain, I’d tell them that too.

    So, I guess, decide what you’re doing – reviewing the ‘product’, reviewing the text, or recommending a purchase, and then it will be clearer what factor the price should have.

  4. Ana
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 05:22:11

    Well it shouldn’t affect, but it does. A Sylvia Day book came out last January in Portugal and it costs $24 (17,76€). Bloggers said that for the money that they spent on it, it wasn’t good enough. The original eBook was for sale for $2,98 (2,17€) and if they wanted the paperback, Bookdepository was selling it for 9€. So yes it def. affects the rating, although it shouldn’t, because it’s not the author who decides the price (a Portuguese author published her first Historical Novel and it had like 700 pages and it costs 17€ and people were also complaining about the price, saying that for an unknown author the book (paperback) was too expensive). I guess it depends on how much you have and how much you are willing to spend on books. I already know which series/books I should buy the Hardback/paperback and which one I’ll be buying the eBook, when in doubt eBook first, then if I really love it – Hardback :) If I did not enjoy the book well at least it’s just a file ^_^

  5. Ros
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 05:58:14

    @Ana: ” it shouldn’t, because it’s not the author who decides the price…” But you’re not reviewing the author. Why does it matter who set the price? If you had to pay it and you didn’t think the book was worth that price, why not say so?

  6. Ana
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 07:00:37

    @Ros:
    It’s complicated. In Portugal, when you buy a book, the book itself comes last. It’s a small market, so the Publisher comes first, the author next and the book last. And yes, most reviewers are extra careful because when you review a book in a negative way authors take it personally. It’s like you’re attacking the author instead of its work.
    Personally, I don’t mind the prices, because I know that a Sylvia Day’s book is not worth $24 (due to weak plot and most of the time underdeveloped world-building), but I do understand that I don’t buy as many books as I wanted due to high prices (I wanted to buy an eBook of a Portuguese poet and it costs 18€/$24,74, I mean as much as I adore the author and I know that the book will be good, it’s just too expensive – the paperback costs $34).

  7. LAM
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 08:10:09

    I am very price sensitive especially with ebooks as I cannot get any other value (such as trading at the used bookstore which is what I did for years) out of the book when I am finished. I rarely now spend more than $4.00 on an e-book. A 7.99 book is a splurge now and it better be really good or an author that is an auto buy for me of which there are only a few. A .99 book can be be awful but I really don’t care as I have so much less invested in it.

  8. Lisa J
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 08:15:15

    During Agency pricing, I gave up most of my autobuy authors. A few made the cut, but very few. There were too many options going. However, now I am not as willing to compromise standards for a lower price as I was in the beginning. I found some great authors at the lower prices, but it turned out poor grammar, spelling, and formatting were still unacceptable.

    I am much less likely to recommend a higher priced book than a lower priced one. Just because I loved the book and was willing to pay $6.99 or more doesn’t mean a friend has the same budget/thoughts and I don’t want to feel responsible for them plunking down a good portion of their book budget and they walk away dissatisfied. Quite a few of my friends have lost jobs or taken lower paying jobs and are much more cost conscious than I may be, so I think this also plays into that,

  9. Sunita
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 08:15:39

    Great post, Jane. These days I’m not particularly price sensitive, although I do think about price when I choose books for review because I know many of DA’s readers are. But if I think a book deserves attention, i’ll review it even though it’s expensive, because I just want people to know about it.

    My anchor point for books is skewed because I’ve bought academic books for so long. When I was buying them in college I really had to think hard given the prices, but I would save and buy them. As a result my fiction reading depended on used book stores and libraries. It wasn’t that I didn’t think fiction was worth the money, I just didn’t have any left! But once I was making a reasonable wage I bought fiction new as well (still more mass-market and trade than hardbacks, though). The most expensive new novel I ever bought was a UK hardback edition of Heyer’s The Spanish Bride. I couldn’t find it anywhere, used or new, in paper, and I really wanted it. I special-ordered it from the UK and it cost a fortune, but I’ve never regretted the decision.

    I am definitely more price-sensitive on ebooks than on print, precisely because of the restrictions on what I can do with them. I do buy expensive ebooks, but not often.

    ETA: And yes, I think I *do* expect a more expensive book to be better. Maybe not better in terms of my satisfaction, that’s hard to control, but definitely better in terms of technique and production values.

  10. SAO
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 08:54:10

    I’ve been less and less satisfied with the books of my go-to authors. While I want another faster than they write them, I think they write too fast and produce less well plotted books. It’s particularly true of the romances with brothers or sisters or club members. Often, the first book is good, the third decidedly mediocre.

    I feel like we’re in a downward spiral with lower prices meaning authors have to write more, writing too many books increases the chances of a clunker, lowering my willingness to pay more than $5 for the book.

    At $3 or below, a mediocre book that’s not DNF won’t get many complaints from me. At $7 it does.

  11. Lynne Connolly
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:13:01

    In a weird way, yes. I’m a big reader. I download books to my reader, and read them where they don’t have the price or anything, but after I’ve read or DNF’d them, when I get back to my Calibre and check the details, it’s the cheaper ones I’m dumping. On my reader, I don’t have much of an idea about that. They could be cheap or not, I don’t know, because often they’re well produced and reasonably edited. This doesn’t count temporarily free ones and discounted titles.

  12. Erika
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:13:07

    Price doesn’t play into my review of a book. What it does do is help me decide if I’m going to continue with that author. I’m buying more ebooks than paper now, simply due to space issues. Right now, I’m reading the first book in a trilogy. The first book was released on Kindle for an introductory price(I honestly can’t remember what that was, now. Around the 1.99 price point, I think). I trotted over to Amazon to discover that the subsequent ebooks were 9.78 a pop.

    That did make me raise an eyebrow. I will, on occasion, buy an ebook at the 9.99 price point. Within the last year, I purchased the next two books in another series based on the strength of the first, discounted book. The fourth book is priced at 12.74. So, that series is officially on hold for me. I’ll keep an eye on it, and see if the price goes down, but I have a huge TBR pile already, so the series isn’t a priority.

    All this to say that, as a reader, I may not continue with an author if the price of subsequent books is too high. Even if I genuinely loved the first book.

  13. Ashley F
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:18:47

    Price is a heavy factor for me. I read Marina Anderson’s serial a few months back (through review copies) and stated in every single review I would never recommend it because (1) it was terrible and (2) the price tag for 8 sections of 15-20 pages of unnecessary sex was ridiculous. At the end you would pay 8.00 for a category size book (maybe a Harlequin Presents size). It was completely absurd.

    I tend to feel like a high priced book needs to justify its cost to me. If I spend 99 cents then I lower my expectations the same way you lower reliability in a cheap electronic. It isn’t that it doesn’t work or won’t last for awhile, but you expect in six months to have to buy another one. If I spend 7.99+ then I feel as though that book should be one I’m gushing about months later. I should be telling everyone about its awesome story. When I get a dud, I feel duped. I just bought a checkout counter mp3 player for sixty bucks! I feel cheated and immediately start striking the author from my future to-read list. I can’t trust them to provide quality for the price so they get none of my money.

    On the other hand, one dud doesn’t end readability. If I am reading, say Nora Roberts, and I encounter one book that doesn’t impress me then I figure it was a fluke and try again. That said, I’ve read many, many of her books so one being bad is pretty good odds.

    Basically if I have to DNF a book I spent more than 2.99 on, I will tell everyone about how horrible it was and warn them to stay away. When I feel cheated, I make it known.

    So, in short, yes the price tag matters.

  14. Lostshadows
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:21:53

    I don’t think I’m that affected by price, but the most I’ve paid for an ebook, so far, worked out to $3.99 per book. I suppose I do expect less from free or really cheap books, but part of that is because I’m more willing to take a chance on something outside my comfort zones when there’s a dollar or less on the line.

    Full disclosure, I actually only have one autobuy author. Everyone else, I will wait for the paperback/my turn on the library waiting list. The one time I did try waiting for a couple of books by my autobuy, it took three years and they were trade size anyway. (I don’t think her newer books have ever been released as mmpb.)

  15. Kate Sherwood
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:23:32

    Just yesterday I made a resolution to stop worrying about price when I chose books and to go for the ones that I think I have the best chance of enjoying, regardless of price. I decided that my time is valuable, and since I HATE DNFing, I can end up sinking a lot of hours into a book I don’t enjoy. I’d like to avoid that.

    Like others, I rarely know what the books cost when I’m reading/reviewing them, since they’ve generally been sitting on my e-reader TBR list for a while before I get to them. So my Goodreads ratings wouldn’t be influenced by price.

    I’ve seen reviews of my own books that mention the price, though. More on Amazon than on Goodreads. I only have one self-pubbed novel in my main genre, so only one book with a lower price point, and quite a few of its reviews say things like “A great book at at great price”. Maybe it only would have been a “good” book if the price were higher?

  16. Elaine
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:26:19

    I won’t try a new-to-me author before checking out the prices of all her ebooks, especially if they are in a series. I rarely will try a new author unless her ebooks are $5 or less for a full length novel. I will pay up to $3 for a novella, and get really peeved when people try to pass off novellas as novels.

    For those authors with ebooks priced more than $5 I try to order from the library. (we have a fabulous library system in this area.) I do have a few auto-buy authors where I will buy as soon as released at any price, but it is a pretty short list.

  17. Erin Satie
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 09:55:40

    I’m only price sensitive in a few, pretty specific situations.

    For example: if I’ve only read one book by an author (bought or borrowed) and at the end of it, I thought it was good but not amazing, I can be price sensitive about buying another book by the same author. I might want to give him/her another try, to get off the fence & have a firm opinion one way or the other, but a high price will cause a delay that might go on forever. This is especially true in series–“That could go somewhere interesting, but I dunno…” is easy to derail w/ a high priced sequel.

    Books where I’ve read lots of great reviews but still suspect the book is Not For Me. I’m much more likely to give the book a try if I can find a bargain.

    And really short books. I’m generally not a fan of shorter formats, and spending money on short books makes me grumpy.

  18. pamelia
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 10:01:38

    Pricing matters to me more with ebooks than it did with paperbacks/hardcovers for the reasons you state, Jane; I feel better paying a little more for something tangible and concrete. As far as ebooks go I have felt burned by a few purchases when I break down and pay $7 or $8 or $9 for one. In my mind those books should be free of formatting problems and (as shallow as this sounds) have the actual cover image when you go to the “cover” of the ebook. One book that stands out is the first jack Burton Play By Play book which I finally broke down and bought in spite of the price after reading a few good reviews and drooling over the cover — well, the “cover” page of the book is plain white with text and the book itself did not knock my socks off. I hate to admit that the cover issue is actually what has put me off purchasing the next in the series. If I pay a big price then I want a big, pretty cover darn it!

  19. Zara Keane
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 10:15:58

    Unless the book sucked, price doesn’t affect how I feel about a book *after* I bought it. However, the price definitely matters *before* I buy.

    The amount I spend on ebooks falls into two categories. The first is $3.99 to $5.99. This is the price range of the vast majority of my ebook purchases. If I enjoy the sample, it makes no difference to me if the author is a newbie or an established author, self-published or traditionally published.

    The second price category is hardcover priced ebooks that cost anything from $12.99 to $20. I buy maybe one or two of these per year. I wince when I click the buy button, but I’m willing to pay more for a book by one of my autobuy authors rather than wait a whole year for the price to drop.

    I can’t think of the last time I bought a book priced $6.99 to $11.99. I buy the odd novella for less than $3.99, but I very rarely buy a novel priced at $0.99 unless it’s by an author whose work I’ve already read and enjoyed. (I used to snap up $0.99 books and freebies but I found I rarely read them.)

    Unless the book was far shorter than I’d expected when I paid for it, the price doesn’t affect my grade, or influence whether or not I’d recommend it to others.

  20. Sirius
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 10:44:45

    If I really want the book I will buy it no matter what the price is ( I mean no matter is an exaggeration of course but from a few beloved authors I did but books which cost 15.00 bucks .). As Sunita said however – I try to be price sensitive if I choose the book to review. M/m books on average are priced higher though so it does not always work out either and yes if I feel the book is good I may review just because I want people to know about it. Some prices do annoy the crap out of me – will easily pay ten bucks for the author whose book I love, but refuse to pay 2.99 for the short even if it is good. I rarely mention a price in my reviews but recently I requested a book for review where I found price to be infuriating ( did not check before I asked) – 6.99 for 68 pages, I never ever encountered anything like that. I will definitely mention it.

  21. Amanda
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 10:53:39

    Sometimes the price can’t help but sway how you feel about the book. I just don’t like paying 6.99 or up for a book that I ended up not enjoying. Instead of feeling like a book was “okay” I end up feeling like “I paid 7 bucks for that”. That sucks but its true. There are some websites that I haven’t gone to in years because I know they price their books high and I found that their books were rarely worth that steep of a price.

  22. Mandi
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 10:59:32

    The price doesn’t affect my grade/rating of the book.

    But – if it is a pricey book, it may affect how much I rec it to people. I could rate it an ‘A’ but still hesitate to rec it because it’s so pricey.

    I will say, those books I buy that are $$$, I tend to read faster than if it’s $.99 – those seem to land at the bottom of my tbr.

  23. library addict
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 11:01:31

    I won’t pay $6.99 for a new-to-me author. That seems to be my cut-off. But as has been discussed here multiple times, so many books I pay 99¢ for are put in the TBR never to be seen again. And I am tired of reading self-published books which seem never to have seen an editor. So paying 99¢ doesn’t mean I will let a book slide on basic grammar. Aand I am by no means the grammar police so if I notice it has to be pretty bad.

    If I like an author enough that they’ve made my auto-buy list then I am usually okay with paying more. There are only two authors I still buy in hardcover (NR/JD Robb and Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick). For everyone else I’ve gone digital.

    With the rash of high Kobo coupons last year I have found myself hesitant to pay full price for books again. But then made myself get over it, but only if I plan to read the book right away. If it is going to go into the TBR mountain than I want it at a discount.

    This is a long way of saying that I don’t remember what I paid for many books by the time I get around to reading them. If it is an autobuy author I’ve paid full-price for I think my disappointment if I don’t like it is not so much about the cost because I do hold my autobuy authors to a higher standard in many respects. I also think I give them the benefit of the doubt more, too. Which seems contrary, but I am both more forgiving and harder on the authors I enjoy most.

  24. Sirius
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 11:06:11

    I just realized that I did not answer a specific question posed and just talked about how I feel about prices oy. Usually no it does not – it certainly affects the buying but if the book is good it is good just outrageously priced IMO.

  25. Tina
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 11:32:44

    When I buy a book I have my own subconscious price threshold — what I am willing to pay for a hardcover, what I am willing to pay for a mass market what I am willing to pay for an ebook etc. Part of what I do before buying a book is negotiate my willingness to pay the price even before I crack open a book. For me that negotiation includes platform, author, my interest in the book and yes…the quantity, i.e. word or page count. If I didn’t like a book on its quality merits then that is what makes it into my review. If I have an issue with the price…then for me that is on me because that was part of my negotiation process before I even bought the book.

    But that wasn’t always the case especially with self pubbed ebooks. When ebooks began to explode and I’d gobble them up, I’d be burned one book after the other, not just by quality but by quantity. There was a time when you really didn’t know how much book you were getting. So I’d pay 3.99 only to be confronted with a book that was 15,000 words. I’d complain in my reviews…even of clean, well edited books that there had to be some transparency so you know how many words or pages you were getting. You can’t make the price negotiation with yourself before-hand when you don’t have all the information. So I had to recalibrate how I decided to buy.

    Now I consciously make sure I know how many words/pages I am getting before I pay. This way I don’t feel that price needs to intrude in my feelings for the book. I don’t feel resentful anymore that I paid 3.99 or 4.99 for a book that is a glorified essay.

    One thing I will mention though…editing, cover art, grammar etc. are under the ‘quality’ heading and are fair game for review. In that case I will invoke $$ because in that case it doesn’t matter if I paid .99 or $24.99 — if you are asking any amount of money for a product it should be well produced.

  26. Laura
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 11:35:28

    By the time I read a book, I often forget what I paid for it (like some of the above posters). Now, price certainly affects whether or not I buy a book in the first place–I have a lot of trouble paying more than $5.99 for a new-to-me author. There is also a correlation between what I paid for a book and how soon I read it after I purchased it, but I think that has more to do with why I was willing to pay more for a book in the first place. Probably because it was by what you called a “non substitutable author.” I’m probably particularly pleased when I enjoy a book that I remember paying very little for–if I happen to remember that–but no, I don’t think price affects my ratings.

  27. hapax
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 12:18:34

    I am fortunate enough to work in a library, which means that I have available to me more great books than I could possibly ever read, all essentially free. I also have a nice reviewing gig, which PAYS me to read books, even though they’re often not ones I would have chosen.

    Not that I don’t buy books for myself — I do, dozens of them a month, both in digital format and print, hard cover and trade and mm paperback. (Hi, my name is hapax and I am a biblioholic…) I am also so lucky as to have enough disposable income that I can afford to buy pretty much any book I want.

    So, like others, I don’t much remember the price by the time I get around to reading a book. Price doesn’t effect my review at all, except for one crucial factor: I don’t review what I haven’t read! And I’ll always give first priority to reading books I’ve been sent for review or borrowed from the library (that is, essentially free). So if price affects purchase, it *indirectly* effects the rating.

    As I said, when purchasing, price is not the determining factor; what is more valuable to me is time and space (even e-books take up space on a reader, although the cloud is practically infinite). However, while I’m more likely to give SPACE to a free or .99 book, I’m more likely to give TIME to a book that the author / publisher felt confident enough about to price at 3.99 or higher.

  28. Renda
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 12:29:46

    Well, I must say my answer to this question would have been different at each stage of my life.
    My current stage of life, I can’t imagine I would pay more than 7 bucks for a book. Ever. I have found that in my past when I bought that GOTTA HAVE IT NOW book and paid the going price, life intervened and it often sat there until I found “that perfect moment.” Yeah, right. Or I read it immediately, wiped that calendar clean, sat in my chair in hibernate mode, appropriate mom warnings given (“You are only allowed to call my name if there is blood and/or a significant head wound”), and soul ready to be bathed in “ahhh.” And I got nothing. Not.a.thing. from the book.
    So break my heart, I remember.
    With all my self-knowledge, I know that I need nothing NOW. If there is a new NR coming out, well, I can wait. I have forgotten all about most of her others, so I will just reread either in e-form or my hardbacks or paperbacks from the various decades.
    A serialization? You know what, you just going ahead and write the whole serial. I’ll catch up.
    So yeah, 99 cents to $6.99 is my sweet spot.
    But I will also say there is a new twist in the “Will I pay that?” question. And that question: Is it in Whispersync. Because I will pay more for a book if I can get the e version and the Audible version for less than, say, $10. This plays a huge role in what I buy now. And yeah, I will check a book and see if it is on Audible, how much it will cost me on Audible and if that is a price I am willing to pay for the combo. If it is a new-to-me author and they have a 99 cent e and a 99 cent Audible, I am in. Don’t check reviews, don’t pass go, don’t even take another breath before I have them in my library.

    AFTER I read an e-book, I will check to see how much I paid for it. I want to know, especially if I enjoyed the book. I only review for myself on Goodreads (don’t even use my real name). I am sure other people see my reviews, of course. And I always mention editing/grammar/spelling issues if there are any. If the price is great or the price is bad, I mention that, too.

    And as far as reading reviews, if I know it is a LooseID or the higher priced publisher, I don’t even read the review. Not interested at all.

    Short stories, I will read them for 99 cents. Any higher and I am out. There is an author that has a new short story/novella out. I would love to buy it. I like her stuff. It is $1.99 for 86 pages. I have bought her others at various price points, but I can’t do that for that price and be able to enjoy the book. Shallow and cheap? Maybe. But that is a definite no go in my world.

  29. Jinni
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 13:28:20

    Interestingly, I think novellas are one way to test new authors, but many novellas rival the cost of a full price book. Those I never buy. $2.99 for sixty (electronic) pages – not gonna happen.

  30. Darlynne
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 13:38:57

    Price plays no part in how I feel about a book after reading it, unless it was truly terrible and then I’m bothered as well by the waste of my time. Some of the best books I’ve read were free or .99 (case in point, Andrea Host’s AND ALL THE STARS).

    If I recommend a book I loved that currently sells for 9.99, I end up apologizing all over myself and suggesting that anyone interested should wait for a price drop. The idea that someone would spend significant money on something they heard about from me makes me crazy-anxious.

  31. Linds
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 13:45:16

    Yes, price matters. I’m frugal by nature. If I can’t get a book at my library (very rare), and I shell out cash for it, I better get a good ROI. Salaries for everyone are generally shrinking, so my spending money on a book is something of a treat or small luxury. No one likes paying for a bad meal, and I feel cheated if I paid for a book that wasn’t any good. In fact, when I review, even if it’s a library or review copy, part if what I’m considering is, “Would I pay money for this?”

  32. Elyssa Patrick
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 14:08:31

    Pricing totally affects my book buying for newer authors or authors who haven’t become must reads for me. If I feel the book will be discounted months later and if it’s a book I’m not dying to read, I’ll just wait. It’s really hard for me to buy books $7.99 or higher–I really have to think about it. I even hesitate at the $6.99 pricepoint for some. And I get so mad when I buy a book at a higher price and two weeks later it’s like $4.99 or $2.99. Grrr, I won’t pre-order because of that. I do not like feeling burned as a reader or that my pre-order purchase is being punished when it goes on sale for a lot less. (Although I really do love what Pocket is doing with Meredith Duran’s Fool Me Twice with the lowered pre-order at $1.99.)

    But with certain authors like Nalini Singh, Lisa Kleypas, Laura Florand, Julie James, Nora Roberts, Sabrina Elkins, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, etc, price doesn’t matter to me–but they’ve also built a certain trust with me, as a reader, where I know that if I buy and read their book(s) that it won’t be a book that goes off the rails into WTFland.

  33. Susan
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 14:56:01

    Yes, price can affect my overall feelings about, and therefore my rec/review of, a book.

    If I feel like I got a decent deal on a book, I tend to like a good read even better and cut a not-so-terrific read a bit more slack. If I’ve paid a bit more for a book ($5.99 and up), I’m already starting off with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and the book damn well needs to deliver in order to compensate for that.

    And I realize it’s unfair, but that chip is enormous if I accidentally bought an ebook that’s priced more than the paper, or paid full price (whatever that is) for a book on release day that then gets discounted a week later. Stuff like that turns my warm feelz to fiery rage right at the start.

    And typos, scanning errors, and the like? Those things make me feel like the author/publisher simply didn’t’t care enough about the reader/consumer to bother with the basics. So, chip. Chip that grows proportionate to price.

    I might still rec a book that hits some of these buttons, but probably with reservations and caveats. And I’ve just written off authors and publishers that I think screwed me over one too many times. Maybe unfair, unreasonable, mean, whatever. But it’s how I feel.

  34. Jamie Beck
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 15:27:20

    I’ve never really thought about this before, but I think I am a little harder on a book I’ve paid $10-12 to buy vs. books under $4. But I wonder if that might also be because my expectations of some of the big name authors who command those high prices factor into my opinion as well. I definitely get more annoyed by a typo or other formatting problem coming from a big publisher/high priced book than a cheap, self-published book. Probably not fair, but true.

  35. Naomi
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 15:40:47

    I’d say price doesn’t affect my rating much but does affect my reviews/recs. That’s where quality and value diverge a bit for me. Price also influences whether I’ll buy my own copy of a library book that I liked enough to reread.

  36. Jenny
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 15:43:19

    If I decide to spend over $5 for a book (which is extremely rare) and it’s wonderful, I never worry about the price. I consider it money well spent. However, if I spend over $5 and it’s awful or just mediocre, I do feel angrier than if it had been cheaper. If you buy a 99 cent book and it was terrible, you don’t feel so bad about the expense. If you buy a ten dollar book and it’s crap, that was ten bucks and for me and my tight book budget that is a lot. The fact that I’m angrier about the bad book definitely could lead me to rate it lower.

  37. Eva Rose
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 17:07:44

    This is a really good article, very insightful and full of truth. For me price does influence how I feel about a book. I expect more satisfaction from a $20 book than from a paperback and I expect a lot more from higher price digital books than the cheaper versions. I expect a good cover and supreme editing as well a good characters, plot and execution.

    You want more for your money and at $10 or $15 plus that I see some books, I hesitate in buying them, because just what is making it so special that I would pay a premium for it. I feel like the ebook pricing, especially in Canada, are over inflated.

    An ebook should cost less than the physical copy because a) you can’t resale b) you can’t lend c) DRM makes it impossible to read on other devices and you get stuck with the Kindle or whatever other device making it expensive if said device breaks.

  38. Janet W
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 17:58:09

    This surely is a popular topic. I do think ebooks should cost less than paper, simply because I can do so little with them. Someone mentioned size–whomever thinks it’s a grand idea not to list number of pages on Amazon, I can assure them it is not. To me there is a correlation between price and size (not so much after 250 or so pages, but less than that). I don’t have hard and fast rules but paying book price for a snippet is annoying. I always want to know in advance.

    I’m not Sunita (although I appreciate greatly her willingness to explain the complex, both her and at her web site) so my sample size is two people. That is, two close friends read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, on their iPads–price was not a consideration. But I’m not sure they thought of it as a romance, but rather a cracking good, page-turner of a bestseller. I do know neither has bought a romance since. The only “romance” that I think might tempt them is Outlander and of course many in romancelandia would not necessarily label it a romance. Are there studies showing huge influxes of new romance readers after Fifty Shades? And have these readers stuck around? Be interesting to find out.

  39. AlexaB
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 18:00:26

    No, price doesn’t affect how I rate a book. My time is precious. It takes me the same amount of time to read a 300 page book whether it costs $0.99 or $9.99. I don’t like having my time wasted, and when an author defends their poor grasp of grammar and story construction with, “Well, what did you expect for such a low price,” I see red. I tell you what I expected: I expected the author priced her book low because she wanted to maximize her chances of being discovered by the greatest number of readers possible. In other words, I expected that the title was being used as a loss leader for the author’s other titles. And I expected the author to provide me with an even more impressive experience in order to make it onto my auto buy list – not sling out the slop.

    I do think readers expect lower prices on ebooks, and when I see a digital romance novel priced over $7.99 it gives me pause. I usually can’t pull the trigger, simply because I’ve seen too many titles I want at a high price point eventually go on sale. I tend to stick around or below the $3.99 price. However, if it is an author I really, really like or a book I. Must. Have, I will pay the publisher’s list price.

    What I DON’T believe is that supposed higher star ratings on Amazon for self-published books vs. traditionally published books correlates to higher reader satisfaction with self-published books and/or proof that readers give lower-priced books better reviews because those books deliver more value for the buck, as Hugh Howey would have it. Not when sites such as this are popping up: http://verifiedbookreviews.com

  40. William D. Richards
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 18:40:40

    As a author—sorry, I don’t write in the Romance genre—I wanted to target my pricing in line with what I used to purchase when I was a kid. The paperback books I paid $3 for back then now go for $8 on the bookshelf. In my heart and mind, there was absolutely no way I could justify charging a reader the same price for an ebook that I was charging for the paperback version of the same story. An ebook just doesn’t have the same production costs as a physical book. I finally worked out that 50%–70% seemed to be about right, depending on the length of the book. That works out to $3.99–$4.99 for a full length novel. (Lower prices for novellas and shorter works.)

    I know I could probably get away with charging a little bit more, as confirmed by some of people who posted above, but I really have in mind that I want my books to be affordable to people who may not often have disposable income. (Such as college students and teenagers.) If I started selling thousands of copies per month, I’d actually be lowering my prices, not raising them.

    As a self-published author, I want my readers to enjoy the world I created for them. I feel very strongly that I should be delivering a quality product in exchange for your money. So my manuscripts go through the full gauntlet of copy and development editing and proofreading before release.

    I detest DRM. If you paid me for the file that contains my story, you should be able to read that story on any device you wish. If that device breaks, you should be able to load it onto the new one, even if it isn’t the same make. The fear of losing one’s entire library is the reason that it took ebooks so long to catch on.

    So, if you ever wondered if writers actually pay attention to your opinion on matters such as this: the answer is, yes! Your opinions matter a lot to me and to many other writers, regardless of whether we are traditionally- or self-published.

  41. Isobel Carr
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 18:57:16

    Ditto what @AlexaB: said. Time is my most precious resource, and I resent having it wasted even for free.

  42. Monique D
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 19:10:08

    Price does not influence my rating but I am disgusted with poorly edited books, spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors. It’s horrendous. And I’m talking about some major publishers here. Strangely enough Harlequin has spectacular editing. And thank you for a fantastic article and most interesting comments. Had I been on my computer instead of on my phone, I would have written much more.

  43. Renda
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 21:38:06

    Because of free and 99 cent e-books, I have let my dislike of not finishing a book go. Once I started, I never stopped until I finished, even if I was screaming at it for the last 100 pages.

    Now, I start a free or 99 cent book, I anticipate I will enjoy it. If I don’t, I stop reading, delete it from my account and I consider that an accomplishment on my unwritten to do list.

    Quite freeing, actually. I am much more hesitant to delete a book that cost more because, well, it cost more.

  44. DeeCee
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 21:58:21

    Price is a factor in everything for me with the exception of reviews. It’s changed my buying habits greatly that most of my favorite authors are now in hard cover and trade paperback. I just will not fork over $10-20 for a new TPB (no matter who writes it b/c more than likely in a year it will be in mass market and I hate TPB size as it hurts my hands) but will if it’s an autobuy author like Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison.

    I’ve noticed that I’ve gone the reverse of the trend. I started 10 years ago with ebooks from Ellora’s Cave and Loose Id and Samhain b/c I couldn’t get them anywhere else. And now when they are everywhere I embrace paperback. I just cannot get into ebooks now with the myriad of restrictions/devices/rules that they now come with. I hate DRM. I’ve had 2 ebook readers (Sony and Kindle) and have just not enjoyed them as I’d hoped.

    So while I can’t really jump in on the 99 cent ebook craze I can with used books. If I spent $2.50 on a book and it sucked, I just chalk it up to not being my taste. I do know that when I had my Kindle I tried several of the free and 99 cent books and hated all of them. I went on a binge when I was trying to adjust to the ereader and hated everything I read. It changed how I thought about buying books and keeping books.

    I don’t so much care about price…but content is everything. And sadly I’ve found it quite lacking in digital. I guess I’m still in the “I will adjust my budget accordingly when the new book I want is released” phase and will continue embracing ramen noodles.

  45. Hollis
    Feb 23, 2014 @ 23:42:49

    I read (and write) in the m/m genre. Price doesn’t affect my ratings, but it does affect what I can afford! There are a lot of higher-priced books that sound really good to me, but I’ve just had to add them to my wish list and “maybe someday” status.

  46. CaroleDee
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 01:31:44

    @AlexaB:

    Wow, is the website for real? $273 for 5 reviews?
    The whole practice of paying for reviews miffs me. I hate when I *honestly* review a book and post it to Amazon, only to have it buried by sock-puppets (and what I , assume are paid reviews).

    On the OT; Prices do, slightly, effect my reviews. On more than one occasion I’ve read an ARC that I thought, ‘Meh, 3 stars’ , then when I looked it up on Amazon only to realize it was $9+ I’ve changed it to a 2. People that seek out reviews deserve the truth. If I were to pay that much for a book, based on raving reviews, and only feel ‘meh’ about it I would be peeved. I don’t write for a huge blog, but I feel like our readers deserve better than that. Do unto others and all that jazz :)

  47. Anne
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 04:21:44

    For me, I don’t think about the price at all when I rate a book. However, the price plays into if I buy it or not. By authors that I *want* to read, I can go a bit up. By “unknown to me” authors, I don’t.

    If you have a series, having the first book priced low, and I read that – then I might go for the later books in the series and then everything else you’ve written if I like that. Examples of this have been Laura Florand, Lexi Blake, J. R. Ward…

    Authors I loved from before I started buying ebooks, and want to share with my sisters, I still tend to buy in paperback. It is easier to share.

    What I hate is when the ebooks are more expensive than the paperbooks. I’m sorry, but no matter how much I might have that author on my *want* list of authors, I am not doing that.

  48. Michelle Louring
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 04:51:41

    Unless it’s a free ebook I downloaded, the price has nothing to do with my rating, but it might prevent me from buying the book in the first place. Not only if it’s too expensive, I have become very sceptical of books priced at $0.99 if it’s not a limited time offer.

  49. Christine
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 07:32:26

    Great discussion! I don’t think price would affect how I rate the book – the caveat being that if I got it for free or 99cents and didn’t like it, it would be a DNF and then I wouldn’t rate it anyway. As others have stated, I have so many books on my TBR that I wouldn’t necessarily know what I paid for it anyway by the time I read it.

    Back in the pre-ereader days, almost all my books were from the library or used book stores. I rarely bought a new book that came out, instead putting my name on the holds list at the library. Then if I really liked it I would buy a used copy. The exceptions to that were series books, such as Fantasy authors Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind and author Diana Gabaldon, where I was waiting years between each book and didn’t mind the $10 or so dollar price tag for the paperback. Diana’s books are the only ones where I bought the hardcovers for the last 3, and that’s because she came to my city for book signings and I was very excited to line up for hours and have her sign them. I have a library full of paperback used copies of Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsay (complete with the Fabio covers, which you of a certain generation will know of what I speak!).

    With the advent of the ereader, I purchase LOTS more books, and I definitely agree with the price point of 4.99 or less being what I would pay for a book – 99cents is almost an autobuy for me if the plot looks good and definitely if it’s an author I like. I still use my library as well, for ebooks and traditional books (and now audiobooks for my Sony walkman – yes it is still called that even though I’ve morphed from the cassette to the CD to the mp3 player). If a book is priced higher than that, I will wait to see if the price comes down, as it often does, in particular if a new book by the author is coming out soon. Diana Gabaldon’s new book coming in March continuing the Outlander series is one where I will pay the full ebook price no matter the cost because I can’t wait to see how the story continues- but if I want a hard copy I’ll wait for a used paperback (although if she comes to my city again, I’ll buy the hardcover just to see her :-)

  50. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 07:37:28

    I once downrated a short story because of the price. It was 2.99 for 15 pages. I don’t think the length was included on the buy page. I also recently read a part of series that was full of paragraph breaks and blank pages. I downrated that also because it affected the value/page length. Both times I mentioned the problem in the review, and both authors responded by fixing the issues.

    I don’t usually consider the price in my rating. I recently bought a bundle for 99 cents and a new release for 7.99. The 7.99 was a quality book (from an author I like) but it didn’t work for me. The 99 cent bundle was poor quality. That annoys me more.

  51. Christine
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 07:37:51

    @Renda: agreed, I have no problem with a DNF of a cheap or free book, but if I spend more than $3 and it had good reviews I’d probably slog through to the end.

  52. Christine
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 07:40:19

    @Jill Sorenson: That is a silly price for such a short story! After being burned a few times I always check the length of a story before I purchase – I won’t pay more than 99c for a story that is under 100 pages. The exception is an anthology – if it is 4 authors I like and the combined page total is 300 or more, I’d buy that for up to $4.99.

  53. P. Kirby
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 11:56:39

    In theory, yeah, I’m harder on pricier books. Because I’m a miser and I want my reading enjoyment to equal or exceed what I spent on the book.

    OTOH, nearly all the books I buy nowadays are <$2.99. Because my TBR pile is so huge, by the time I get back to any given book, I've forgotten what I paid for it anyway. So, purchase price doesn't have much bearing on my expectations anymore.

  54. Lindsay
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 12:17:42

    When it comes to higher-priced books, I will be much harder on them when it comes to copy editing issues — formatting, typos, etc. I recently bought an ebook for $7.99 that had completely unreadable sentences every few pages due to the number of typos, which made me think that there was an issue with it being scanned… but at $7.99, I would hope some money is going towards someone looking at the final copy before uploading it.

    This isn’t the first time, and it tends to only happen with books over $5! I actually send an email if it’s that bad, but my emails have never been answered or acted upon, and in several cases the book is still up and still getting low reviews that get buried in the print version’s glowing ones.

    Otherwise I treat books the same when posting a review, but will be a lot more mindful of price if I’m recommending it to a friend, especially if I know price is an issue, and I appreciate the same caveats when someone’s recommending it to me, especially if they’re someone I know my tastes align with really well! I followed your twitter conversation, Jane, and actually was glad that it played a role in your recommendation-or-not process.

  55. Castiron
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 17:21:26

    I won’t change my rating based on what I paid, but I tend not to buy a book unless I’m already fairly sure I’ll enjoy it. Between my excellent public library, the books I already own, Project Gutenberg, and favorite fanfic I’ve saved over several years, I don’t *have* to buy a book if I just want something to read, or even something new to read.

    So my ratings are actually likely to skew the other direction — the DNF, one-star, and two-star books are the ones I got as freebies or as library checkouts, and the books I paid $7.99 (or $9.99 or occasionally more) for are the four- and five-star reads.

  56. Bek
    Feb 24, 2014 @ 22:16:45

    I have found that a free 4 star rated book on Amazon is never as good as a 4 star rated book that people have paid for. Not sure if it affects my ratings, but it definitely seems to affect others based on my experience.

  57. Patricia H
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 00:42:53

    I tend to review a book well based on it’s lack of errors and good plot and character development than the price of the book. I tend to buy based on the price and length and reviews and my familiarity with the author. If I find a great book at $.99 with terrific plot, great character development and some spelling errors or a few proofreading errors, I give them the benefit of the doubt and enjoy the book. If someone wants me to pay $7.99 for their name for what turns out to be a short story they are going to be out of luck. My review will probably warn other buyers to beware. There are few authors that I will buy books from, regardless of the price. Much as I know this is a person’s livelihood, it is an electronic copy, not War and Peace engraved in marble.

  58. Kaetrin
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 04:36:43

    I usually hesitate to click “buy” for a book over $5-$6 these days and there are only some authors I’ll take that plunge with.
    I’d like to say that price doesn’t effect my reviews (a lot of the books I read are ARCs I get for free anyway) but if I’ve paid a lot if money for it I think I do some kind if subconscious cost/benefit analysis in my head. Even so, a free book or review copy won’t get a good grade because it was free – as others have said, my time is valuable. If it’s a novella which is over-priced for the page count I’m going to hesitate to recommend it but it won’t affect my grade. So, I don’t really know my answer. Mostly no? Occasionally?

  59. evening-green
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 09:23:38

    I live in Austria where we have fixed book prices. When I go into a regular bookstore I can expect to pay between about 11$ (mass marked paperback) and 34$ (hardback) for a single book. Therefore most of the books I order online come with a reduced price, since I tend to buy them at stores that do have cheaper offers.
    But I think the fact that I’m used to books having overall fixed prices, I don’t consider the cost of the book when I ponder how I’d rate it. The price of a book is an issue when I consider buying it, after that it’s irrelevant outside of considering whether I’d buy a sequel for the same price or not.

  60. Bella Swann Erotica
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 09:55:44

    I write reviews and ratings for lots of books that I read both on Amazon and Goodreads. Once I make the decision to buy the book regardless of the price, I don’t take the price into consideration when writing a review. I expect all the books I read to be relatively grammatically clean with no glaring editing errors whether I spend 0.99 or 19.99 for it. In fact, I returned a O.99 book once about 5 pages into it because of how many errors there were in just those few pages. I expect writers, even Indie writers, such as myself to proofread their books before they publish them.

  61. Bona
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 11:10:59

    I think the price can be part of the review. Not of your ‘rate’ which is only part of the review, as I understand it.
    You can say -and you should say, because it’s very useful for people who are considering buying that book- something like ‘a charming story, but I woudn’t pay 12 € or 15 $ for that, wait for the paperback…’
    Or: ‘This is a classic, you will love it, you should consider buying the hardcover because it will probably be with you for decades, you will keep it and re-read it many times!’
    Perhaps the price is related to the format: e-book, hardcover, paperback… and not the value of the story itself. And the format depends on the kind of book, how much you love it… if it’s worth keeping it on your shelves or not.

  62. Kate Pearce
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 13:36:07

    I do think about price before I purchase an ebook and will occasionally suck it up for an author I love and pay way too much for something, but it is rare.
    One thing I have noticed, on the other side of this discussion, is that when a book goes free, (either because I set it free or my publisher did) that the reviews tend to be more critical. I’ve often wondered whether that is because if you haven’t paid for something, you don’t perceive it as having equal value to something you did pay for and can be more honest. It is quite interesting to see the difference in reviews between two price points.

  63. Jody W.
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 17:47:49

    Price helps me decide if I want to BUY an ebook. I have a budget. But it doesn’t at all influence my opinion or review, for one really great reason. I don’t remember what I paid for all those books! I’ve slept since then. I don’t give it a break because it was free or cheap…because I have no idea what I paid for it *laugh*. If it sucks, it sucks at any price. If it’s good, ditto.

    Now I will sometimes download samples and get so into them I immediately buy the book. I think the price for an ebook probably has to be…below $7 for that kind of snap-it-up. But I can’t remember ever being enraged that a book declined so significantly after the sample that I felt cheated.

  64. Elizabeth Cole
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 09:42:32

    I’ve found that free and 99 cent books are way more likely to be DNF for me. And I’ll happily shell out a few more bucks for a trusted name. If an author is new to me, I’ll always look for a cheaper story to test them out.

    I have a question related to the price/quality issue. How do other readers feel when a book’s price bounces around a lot (i.e. the author or publisher uses sales and freebie days)? I don’t usually track this, so I don’t notice if I buy a book at $8 and then see it drop to $4. But the few times I did notice, it was annoying.

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