The Value of a Book: Time v. Money
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I’m preparing a post about the major publisher buying habits as it relates to paranormal romance, UF, and YA books in those sub genres. My friend, who has been tabulating the data, wondered whether the increase in YA books was affecting the adult market. I asked this question of various publishers and Pam Jaffee, the publicist for HarperCollins asked it of Jeanienne Frost and Melissa Marr during a blogtalk radio episode.
Frost thought the YA market fostered the adult market. Marr didn’t understand the concept arguing that we aren’t limited to a particular number of books per year.
I don’t understand the concept of taking readers away from any particular genre. I don’t read just paranormal, urban fantasy, classic literature, or just YA. I read all through the bookstore. I don’t think that particular stance makes sense to me.If we had a limited number of books we were allotted per year, maybe…
JA Konrath argues that the reason that he is making more money off his self published books than his mainstream novels published by Hyperion is because of price.
My first Jack Daniels novel, Whiskey Sour, has sold 2500 ebooks since 2004, and earned me around $2500. Compare that to the ebooks I’ve self-published. My top five titles are now averaging 800 sales per month, and those numbers are going up. On my top selling ebook, I’ve earned more money in 45 days than Whiskey Sour has earned in 5 years.
Why? Price. My publisher (and all publishers) are pricing ebooks too high.
He also argues that authors aren’t in competition with one another (akin to what Marr is arguing). But don’t readers have a finite amount of time and money for any entertainment?
Take Marr’s assertion that there is no limit to the books we consume. This is true only if we have unlimited resources. But with limited time and money, a YA book purchased for $17.99 can decrease the time spent reading adult books and money spent on buying adult books. Marr and Konrath’s argument that authors are not in competition with one another is true if the price is low enough. But the higher the price and the more that authors do compete for a reader’s attention.
The lower the price, the more books that can fit into the finite source of entertainment money. The lower the price and perhaps, the money comes from outside the entertainment money and from the “coffee” money or some other budget line item. However, I have heard that lower priced books like the Kensington debut books priced at $3.99 or so actually sold poorly because the lower price indicated a lower quality.
Do you believe you have finite resources? Is time or money the motivating factor in preventing a book purchase? Does the issue of time or money ever impact your buying decisions? Would you turn away from one book and buy another if the other is at a cheaper press? Or shorter?