Saturday, 1 October 2011

What are publishers thinking?

Today I noticed a novel
because of the lovely colours and lettering on the cover (I take note of book covers I like, in order to work out how they were done - all part of my efforts to get on top of Adobe Photoshop 7.0).

As I write, The Lady of the Rivers , as well as being at #48 in the Amazon paper book charts, is at #82 and rising in the Kindle top 100, priced at £11.49. The paperback (not yet released) is £5.99, the hardback £6.68.

I wondered what is going through the minds of the publishers, Simon & Schuster...

  • Philippa Gregory has a lot of fans, many of whom will pay this outrageous price in order to get her latest book - then we can drop the price later, and pick up more sales.
  • We don't like Amazon, and don't want to help it to do well with books for the Kindle.
  • We don't like ebooks - we'd really rather they went away; if we make them more expensive than paper books, maybe people will buy those instead.
  • And if they DO buy the ebook at this price, what a lot of money we'll make. After all, we're only paying Philippa and her agent 17.5% of the price, and it's costing us nothing at point of sale. No paper, printing, delivery, storage, returns. Ho ho ho.
But what about piracy? If the book isn't available for free illegal download now, it certainly will be in a day or two. And if anything is going to make normally law-abiding readers download a copy from pirate sites and get into the habit of so doing, this sort of rip-off pricing will.


  1. I think rather than thinking, they were seeing ££££££/$$$$$ or mucho dineros! LOL!

    Take care

  2. Maybe they have an old hot metal typesetting machine and are trying to melt down electrons and pour them into place. very tricky stuff.

  3. That'll be it, Rod - then they have to poke them down the electricity wires, a dauntingly fiddly job.

  4. This makes no sense - on any level!

  5. There's a book I'd like to buy on Kindle which is currently priced at £6.99 with a note from Amazon saying the publisher has set the price and it's discounted in relation to the print list price of £12.99. The paperback isn't out yet, but I could preorder it for £7.19 or I could buy the hardback for £9.09. So the Kindle version is cheaper; but not yet cheap enough in my opinion. I'm waiting to see if the price drops when the paperback comes out.

    I recently asked a publisher about a new release of his I'd bought for £1 on Kindle before it comes out in paperback and whether he thought it devalued the product. He admitted it had been for publicity and to have large sales numbers and a chart position to boast about for the paperback launch. Seemed like a good idea to me. But what do I know?


  6. K, do you use It alerts you to a price drop in an ebook you are interested in buying.

    I think publishers are gradually getting up to speed with ebook pricing and marketing, but I've been told by an insider that at least one CEO of a Big Six publisher is dead set on 'protecting' book prices, and is very anti-Kindle.

  7. Hi Lexi
    thanks for the tip, but it seems to only send me to rather than the UK one. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong. Will tinker and see.

  8. Hm, I don't know about this title, but I have noticed the publishers are starting to offer more ebook sales and low-priced intro-to-series ebooks (saw the first Cherie Priest book for $2.99 the other day, and it seems like one of the Kate Daniels books was $1.99 recently too). Maybe those are just temporary sales, but they seem to be catching on, at least in the U.S. store!

  9. And where America leads, we tend to follow.

    With the dire state of the economy, it's one long sale on the high street over here.