Rising Ebook Prices Make Independent Publishing More Attractive Than Ever
I was reading an article the other day that discussed a major deal that some traditional publishing houses had worked out with Amazon, which basically allows them to charge more money for their ebooks. At first glance, I was like, “hey, that sucks! I don’t want to pay more for my favorite authors’ books!” But then, I stepped back and looked at it from the angle of all the independent, self-published authors out there (of which I’m one, but I always seem to see things as a reader first), and I was like “Whoa…this could be good for us indies!” Here’s why, although it was a bit of a douchey move on the part of the big publishers, it was a great move for both Amazon and us self-published authors.
Their greed is good (for us)
When the big boys of publishing get greedy and try to charge the same price for their ebooks as their physical books, customers balk. We consumers of digital literature are not stupid. We know we can get ebooks at a dime a dozen, or less. Does that mean we won’t still rush out and buy the latest Stephen King or J.K. Rowling novel? Nope, but it does mean we’ll choose our formats more wisely. I’d happily fork over $15 for a paperback from my fave author, but for one of their ebooks? Nope.
As an informed consumer, I know my options. I’m lucky because I have an iPad with the Overdrive, Kindle and iBooks apps on them, which basically means that I really never have to pay for ebooks ever again, if I’m so inclined. Let me clarify, I’m not encouraging you NOT to buy ebooks, especially from independently published authors. But, I’m telling you that if your budget is limited, you still have options.
I’m currently reading The Shining by Stephen King on the Overdrive app, thanks to my local library’s digital lending policy. The app is free, the library lends me the ebook for free, and the publisher (and author) still get paid for the rights that the library pays for. It’s win for everyone, just like borrowing a physical book from a library is a win for everyone, too.
Picture this: It’s late at night and you want, NO, you NEED a good book to read. You can’t just run to the bookstore or library, and your library doesn’t have a digital lending service. So, you head on over to Amazon, and realize that you are flat broke because you ordered ten new books last week and already blew through them all. (If this is you, I’m hella jealous, because in my house, I barely have time to sleep, let alone read that many books!)
If you aren’t a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, and you haven’t joined Amazon Prime, you can still whet your reading appetite without spending a penny, thanks to independent authors.
Why we give it away
If you think we give our books away for free because nobody wants to buy them, think again. Self-publishing can be very lucrative. Like, six figures lucrative. Or more. But in order to reach that level of success, it takes more than just putting out a handful of very good books and waiting for the money to roll in.
Indie authors have to hustle to make the public aware that their books even exist. We spend hours every day, promoting and planning ways to get our books in front of you, so you can enjoy them and so that people will buy them. When we give away books for free, it’s an incentive to get more people to download the book, which in turn boosts rankings on Amazon, which puts our books in front of more eyes. The theory (which is really not a theory, since it’s been tried and proven) is that once people try your free book, they’ll come back and buy the others. But here’s the really cool (for you) part: our books tend to be waaaay less expensive than the books published by traditional publishing houses.
So, even if you buy your books from us, rather than getting them for free, you still save money and are introduced to an entire new range of authors that you might not ever have seen before.
Basically, if you are a reader and you buy books from independently published authors, you are saving money and getting great books while helping people like me earn a living.
And, if you are an author who self-publishes, you can feel smug that fewer people are buying ebooks from the big publishers, because they are going to be looking for less expensive books to download.
Do you buy ebooks from indie authors because they’re cheaper? Or, are you an indie author trying to sell more ebooks? I’d love to hear your thoughts and strategies in the comments section below!