Modern Publishing, Great Authors

E-Book Prices

We were emailed by the Amazon Books Team only yesterday with a letter, also available online, about e-book prices. The letter echoed the feelings that we have held for some time about the prices of e-books. In short, the majority are insanely expensive, considering production costs.

When we consider that the process of publishing to e-book is simpler and more cost-effective, it makes little sense to fight the emergence of today’s technology. When we consider that the Fidus authors have achieved success using only e-book sales, we’re all beginning to wonder whether traditional publishing methods are terribly effective these days, especially for new publishers.

The letter suggests that there are no printing costs, no warehousing, no surplus printing issues, and a number of other factors, which suggest that publishing to digital formats should save a lot of money, and generate a lot when done properly. Even when digital versions are released in conjunction with a print release, obvious factors suggest the price should be lower.

As far as new authors go, there is far less risk. If a book doesn’t sell, it doesn’t cause the publisher to miss out on huge sums. The books can also remain on sale indefinitely without putting anyone out. It is easier for new and unknown authors to build up a back catalogue and to eventually sell their books. There are no returns of unsold books, no charges for remaining copies to be stored after several months. The life-cycle of the average novel increases significantly. No longer is an author published today, and gone and forgotten tomorrow. E-books are worth keeping competitive, if only to allow indie publishers to get some excellent authors noticed.

We think the pricing of e-books by larger publishers matters for more reasons than stated in the email we received. The pricing of e-books can make or break the careers of authors. They can make the difference between a child, a teen or a young adult growing up by reading books or simply consuming media from other channels (TV, movies, music, games). When we consider the implications of ignoring this technology, we need to remember the purpose of publishing books in the first place. We don’t speak for all publishers, but we’re not in it to get rich. We’re in it to get good books in the hands of good people. Publishing is about the freedom of expression, and finding people who enjoy your literary voice.

Yes, some people get rich from writing (most do not), and some publishers make a fortune from their authors (almost to the point of exploitation, dropping their wonderful author far too quickly), but writing and publishing are about more than money for those that believe in the industry and art of writing. No longer should big publishers get away with fixing e-books at unrealistic prices (thankfully this is being addressed more and more). They would most likely find, if they lowered their pricing, and that they would find out that e-books are actually worth the effort.

We encourage writers (and potential writers) to support Amazon in their efforts to make all e-books affordable, not just for them but for all e-book distributors. Only when this happens can we see this medium reach its potential in getting the written word to significantly impact the lives of more and more people.


Fidus Publishing

The article to which we refer is here.

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