Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Friday, 11 November 2011

The 0.99pence /0.99cent Kindle Book

I started on twitter about 3 years ago and didn't do too much with it until this year when I started to really find and engage with people on it.  Unlike huge celebrities and some others, I do not (and this is not a blog looking for followers) have a vast following on twitter, but what I do have is around 130 odd followers with a fair number of those people with whom I interact with.

Another quirk in my followers, that's not to say that they are quirky, well some are and you know who you are, is that the vast majority of them are authors and another quirky fact is that 99% of those are Indie authors.

Now, if you do not know what an Indie author is, it is someone who for whatever reason, sometimes by choice, sometimes not, who self publishes their own works, taking on the role of writer, agent, publicist, marketing guru and accountant, and while in many cases, holding down a paid day job or are home makers.

I recently noticed a thread on twitter between a couple of authors with one commenting that,    "$.99 for an ebook increasingly a signal to readers that a book from a writer new to them is dreck. They move on."

Now, I am assuming that most people reading this will know the basics of Twitter and you will know that sometimes you are a bit (if I could meet the person that coined this phrase I'd smack them in the teeth) of a peeping Tom, listening in on a conversation between others, but that is the nature of the medium.  So, anyway, essentially what was going on here was that one author chappie was saying to the other that the $.99 book on E readers was doing him and others like him a disservice as people like me would see a book retailing so cheaply, think it was pretty rubbish and not entertain the thought of reading it!

Well, if you have read my previous blogs, you will know I am not scared to jump in where I am not wanted...so I entered the conversation with the comment that if that was in fact the case I would not have read either of their books and I would not be interacting with them, giving them a piece of my mind, but this got me to thinking about this some more and here it is!

Since I got my Kindle of my wife for Christmas 2010 I have downloaded 42 books that averages out at 4.2 books per month and I have also still bought about 6 books in written form so that takes my monthly average to 4.8 books per month.  Now I do have to confess that while I have a voracious appetite for reading and I can be reading 2 or three books simultaneously there are periods where I will go weeks without picking up Kindle or book, so of the 48 books I have so far purchased this year I have still to read 7 of them but I think that's still pretty good going.

Now here is a snapshot of the books I have bought via my Kindle at a reduced price:

"Cambridge Blue" by Alison Bruce cost £1.00                 "Open Season" by CJ Box cost £1.00


"The Bitch Proof Suit" by De Ann Black          "In Her Name: Empire" by Michael R Hicks cost Free
 cost  £0.86

The AI War by Stephen Ames Berry cost £2.14

Now, these are only a few of the 'cheap' books that I have purchased, and prior to buying them I had never heard of any of the authors, not one.  I now proudly own all 7 of Michael R Hicks published offerings and keep giving him a hard time on Twitter to write more.  CJ Box, the same, never heard of the guy but now own 8 of his novels.  De Ann Black, romantic comedy, loved it and bought her next book "The Strife of Reilly".  Allison Bruce, never heard of her, wonderful crime drama set In Cambridge England, scoping out more of her books. Stephen Ames Berry, never heard of him and full on SyFy not usually my cup of tea but a great entertaining read. Samples of other books downloaded and entered on my Amazon wish list to come back to later.

So my point is, that if I hadn't bought these 'cheap' books I would never have gone on to read even more of the wonderful books that the author has published.  And before you think that all I do is purchase the cheaper end of the market, that is also not the case.  Julian Stockwin, Harry Sidebottom, Conn Iggulden, Lee Child, Alexander McCall-Smith and of course CJ Box, Mark Beaumont, all fit into this category, all non Indie Authors, whose books are rarely discounted, have all been bought through Kindle or on hardback in the last year, so there is no discrimination there.

The wonderful thing about the Kindle is that it also allows us, the reader, to download a sample of authors book with a few chapters in it, read it, see if we like it and then purchase or discard it.  That's how I found most of my Indie Authors.  But the bottom line is, if I liked it, I bought it, I didn't worry too much about the price.

I suppose the bottom line and the difference between my Indie Authors and my Established Authors is: The established ones have the publishing houses behind them and normally have a following that is willing to pay the price, and sometimes, since discovering Indie Authors I do find myself muttering about the cost of the Established Authors when I am reading a book with a flowing and compelling storyline every bit as good as 'Publishing House' authors.

So, while I can understand the frustration that Indie Authors must have at the pricing disparity, and I have no answer for it here, I have to say that you are not doing your readers a disservice by producing the truly wonderful books that you do.  I am sorry that you are not receiving the accolades or reaping the financial gains of others, but I for one am delighted with all my purchases of my £0.99 pence books which have lead to many enjoyable reading hours with the addedd benefit of making many wonderful Twitter friends in those authors I am reading, and even some I haven't quite got round to yet. Mr Halstead.


  1. Oh wow. Thank you. There are many reasons to price something at $.99 pr 99 pence - or whatever it is in Europe. To interest readers - get them to read at least one of your books, and if they like what they read, give the rest of your books a try.
    Sometimes a work is very short and $.99 is the right price.
    No, just because something is $.99 does not mean it's drek. I've read drek that was $20 or more.

  2. Julia, No the feeling the last book by Harry Sidebottom was discounted to £10.00, took a month to read and as seen in my review was not great. None of The Indie Authors that I have picked up so far have been disappointing whether they cost me £0.99 pence or the most I have paid is £8.99 and all worth the money.

  3. So is literary snobbery like that found in buyers of main-label clothes, and is it wrong?
    I am one of those who has to choose between a pricey paper book and a couple of dinners, so I tend to buy the cheaper ones and then read and eat! The flyleaf will often lead me into an enticing land of 'other titles', so then its round to the library and prowl their racks! I cannot agree with anyone who says a 9.99 book is automatically a better read than a .99 one, it might indeed be so, but I'd dispute with anyone who insists they put more work into their pricier book than someone did into a cheaper one, but then I'm not a label snob, nor, in fact, do I write other than poetry and blog stuff,, but I read voraciously. SO all you cheap authors out there, more power to your elbow!

  4. Great post Tom. The last post I did about the same subject had people arguing left and right!

    I'm in the same boat as you. Like with Hicks for example. First ebook I ever bought for my Kindle. What a lucky draw there. Not to mention he's a cool guy.

    I'm wondering when people will learn when price does not equate quality. It's like that in so many areas.

    Cheap cars are made and you hear everybody complain about how they must be crap, or dangerous. Only a few years later and tons of people drive those same cars!

    Just like with anything, we need to shop around. Find the quality at the price we can afford.

    Good stuff.


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