When I read the DBW article yesterday entitled “7 Must-Consider Strategies for Ebook Pricing,” I ended up scratching my head. What happened to “listen to the consumer and what they consistently tell you they want?” That sounds like a good idea when considering pricing e-books. Apparently not.
It started with strategy #1. “Charge extra for convenience.” Here’s the quote:
Though ebooks cost less to print, ship, and stock than paper books, they’re much more convenient for readers. So why not charge extra for that convenience? With this strategy, the price of an ebook would be higher than its equivalent in paper—isn’t immediate access worth something to consumers?
Consumers save the cost of transportation to the book store and retain the “value” of the time they save. Think about it. Online ticketsellers have been getting away with convenience surcharges for years. They add a buck or two (or more) over the top of an event’s ticket price, just for ordering online—and consumers don’t walk away.
All right. Fair point, I guess, about online ticketsellers, although I am one of the consumers who does walk away from convenience fees. But this isn’t about me. It’s about the average e-book reader.
Yes, we like convenience. But I’ve seen so many readers say they will not pay more than paper prices for a book they don’t own, can’t resell and can’t even guarantee they will be able to read in several years if they change their e-reader of choice.
It’s not about convenience. It’s about choice. Our choices are greatly limited by e-books, and that affects our perceived value of an e-book far more than considerations of convenience.
Some of their other suggestions were just wacky. “Premium pricing for premium brands?” Honestly not sure how publishers would pull that off or who would decide who the “premium authors” would be. Oh sure, the publishers could decide, but I’m not sure enough readers would go along with it.
My favorite was “factor in the author’s time.” While as an author, I kind of liked the idea of a higher price on a book that took me more time to write, as a reader, I had to laugh. Honestly, I don’t think most readers care. We want to get value out of what we read, and I’d rather reward a fast writer than a slow one. A good, fast writer gets more books into my Kindle than a slow writer, and I’ll pay for the speed by buying all those books.
The other suggestions weren’t as bad, but since I was hoping for good suggestions to help me as an author, I was so disappointed by the first three that I mostly stopped reading.