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Affordable E-Reads

Please welcome Kait Nolan!

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If you’re a fan of ebooks, you’ve probably noticed a few things in the last couple of months (depending on where you shop).

1) Prices have shot up to a ludicrous $12.99-$14.99.

2) Books by many of your favorite authors have disappeared from your preferred vendor.

3) There is no ebook version available for many new releases.

These are the end effects of the so-called Agency Pricing model by which the Big 5 publishers set the price for ebooks at what THEY believe ebooks should cost.  Any vendors who disagreed with this pricing policy are no longer carrying their books (Fictionwise anybody?).  They want buyers to get the hardback not the ebook version (nevermind the fact that the people who want the ebook probably aren’t the same people who would buy a hardback), so they are delaying the ebook release.  All of these things are really just an insult to the consumer.  I don’t know about you, but I am not going to pay more than the cost of a paperback for an ebook.  Eventually the market will bear this out and publishers will wake up and smell the e-ink.  But that’s gonna take a while.

So what’s a reader to do?

Well if your favorite author’s book is put out by one of the Agency 5, you could pay the exorbitant price for the ebook or wait for it to come out in paperback (boycotting the book will only hurt the author, so I don’t recommend this tactic of trying to “get back” at the publisher for being an asshat).  This is what I’ll be doing for those books.

But for the rest of my book buying dollars I am exploring other options.

1) Many authors are releasing their backlists in ebook form for cheaper than paperback prices.  These are books that have been out of print and the rights have reverted back to the author—books that are likely otherwise only available through used bookstores.  These books are often very reasonably priced for $4.99 or less.  Cheaper than your standard paperback.

2) Many publishers are opting to make some titles available for free or cheap, to draw readers in, in hopes that it will spur sales of authors’ other titles.  This is a great way to find new authors.

3) Many authors are choosing to independently publish via Kindle and Smashwords.  This may very well be your best source for inexpensive reads.  Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Scribd…they are full of independently published works of varying lengths, available for anywhere from free to $2.99.  This is the route I myself chose as a means to build a readership.  I published my debut paranormal romance novella Forsaken By Shadow and have made it available for only $1.

You may have to do some digging to find the roses among the thorns, but you’re a smart reader.  You judge indie reads exactly like you do traditionally published books.  Check reviews.  Are they good?   Read the blurb.  Does it entice you?   Check out the cover.  Does it look professional?  If the answer to all these questions is “yes”, chances are, you’ll find an awesome read, you would otherwise have overlooked.  And best of all, unless the author has specified otherwise, you can download a FREE SAMPLE at most major vendors—usually the first chapter or three. Plenty of story to figure out whether the book is worth your time.

*          *          *

For those who are interested, Forsaken By Shadow, is available at Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.  It is the first in the Mirus series.

Banished from their world with his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd doesn’t remember his life as Gage Dempsey, nor the woman he nearly died for. But when Embry Hollister’s father is kidnapped by military scientists, the only one she can turn to is the love from her past. Will Gage remember the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Kait’s writing blog Shadow and Fang

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12 Responses

  1. Hi, Kait! thanks for joining us today. I’ve seen a lot of authors talking about Smashwords lately and I admit, I’m interested!

    Have you seen many downloads on your novella?

  2. My hands down biggest vendor is Amazon just because I think it’s the most well known. Lots of folks either don’t know about Smashwords or are steering clear because of the self published stigma. But I have sold a dozen or so there, a half dozen on Scribd, and I have no idea about my numbers at BN or iBookstore yet because those get reported quarterly. I’m definitely making slow progress, which pleases me as I’m pretty well an unknown.

    Thanks for having me!

  3. Hi Kait! We need another writers’ weekend, don’t you think?

    I think it’s great that you’ve taken the bull by the horns and published your novella. Very gutsy move. How was the experience? Did you have someone format it for me? What about the cover art? Where did you get it?

    Personally, I’m not a fan of the agency pricing.

  4. […] Posted on May 26, 2010 by Kait Nolan In tour news, today I’m over at Everybody Needs A Little Romance talking about Affordable […]

  5. Cyndi,

    DEFINITELY. Once hubby is back to being mobile again and can be left alone for extended overnight periods of time, I am THERE.

    Overall, putting out FBS has been a really positive experience. I feel like I’ve learned loads about the business of publishing that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I did all the formatting myself (anybody who tells you it’s hard hasn’t bothered to research how to do it properly). As to the cover, I hired an artist, whom I was absolutely delighted with and will continue to use in the future. She was a student at the Memphis School of Arts (has just graduated) and was very reasonably priced.

  6. Hey, Kait –

    Very interesting. I’ve not been keeping up with everything going on in epubs, so that was a pretty interesting reveal. Does seem to hurt the authors, doesn’t it? Always seems to hurt the authors (without which there would be no product)

    The book sounds good. Something else to add to my TBR stack (which is growing pretty tall and shaky)

    Good to have you today!

  7. Liz,

    Big publishing seems to be in total denial about the role digital publishing and ebooks will play in the future. They’ve made all the mistakes the music industry made and then some. And sadly, there’s no real way to send a message to the publisher without hurting the authors–because for the publishers, their risk is spread over many authors, so if one doesn’t do well, there’s another that will take up the slack. it’s one of the reasons I’m pretty content to be riding the indie train at the moment. In five or ten years when they wake up to reality, I might reconsider but I think I can build a pretty decent following in the meantime.

  8. Nice post! I haven’t purchased ebooks in a few months from the agency 5 and I was surprised with the prices recently.

    It doesn’t really help with the fixed pricing but I always go to http://www.ebookprice.info/ to see who has the best prices.

  9. Hey Kait,

    Welcome and thanks for a great post. I have a kindle but refuse to pay more for an ebook than I would for the paperback. I am a huge fan of books and read all the time. Most of my kindle books lately have been the free books they offer. I rarely pay more than $3 or $4 for an ebook (if it’s a mass market release). I love my ereader but I am still partial to having a book in my hand.

    I hate what is going on with the publishers and think they seriously need to get a clue. Our world is moving toward technology more and more as the years pass. I don’t think books will go away completely but people are going to rely on the convenience of ebooks in the future.

  10. I’m with those who go via kindle when possible, and so far have had not much experience with ebooks independently.

    Can’t imagine what the print publishers are thinking. Maybe that the whole ebook thing will go away if they just ignore it (or make it difficult) for long enough. Basically I expect it’s the official reaction to anything new and unexpected; the publishers are still following the same model they’ve followed for a couple of centuries. It takes a while for large ships to turn around or trains to stop. Same principle.

  11. Isabelle,

    Thanks for sharing that lnk! I’ve got all kinds of price comparison sites for regular books but I didn’t know they had one for ebooks.

    Heather,

    I’m right there with you. I have a good mix of ebooks and book books. I love the portability of ebooks (that whole carry a hundred books in my purse in the space of one is really appealing).

    Beppie,

    Yeah I think big publishing is an ostrich. Their business model (the whole returns system included) makes NO SENSE, and they’re absolutely in denial.

  12. Great summary Kait. Of course, since I don’t have an e reader yet, I find I spend way too much time saving pdfs and printing them double sided with really small font… I’ve got two binderfuls of stuff to read so far and it keeps growing!

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