If we were having coffee I’m afraid I’d be inclined to perhaps pay a little too much attention to what you were having.
We humans are funny about our perceptions of what we spend money on. We’ll think nothing of dropping upwards of five bucks or more on a Mocha Latte with an extra shot, sometimes every day. Sometimes several times a day.
Look at smokers. To them the cost of cigarettes is a given. It’s automatically on the top of the pile. That’s why you see so many panhandlers who smoke and it is no doubt a part of what keeps them on the street. The first five bucks is not going to go to booze, as you might imagine, it’s going to go to tobacco. Maybe the second five bucks will go to booze.
Ever watch people in a bakery? You know that old saying, ‘Eating with the eyes?’ Well, that keeps the till full … “maybe one of those, oh, make it two. Oh, and a dozen doughnuts …”
I’d take a sip of my plain, small coffee and tell you, “I don’t begrudge these people their simple pleasures at all … but,” I would ask, “Why do people who have all manner of iPads, tablets, Kindles, and Nooks, balk at paying four or five bucks for an ebook?”
Like any artist, an author spends hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years sweating over their work. It’s not just books. I’ve seen people balk at the notion of buying music too, usually complaining while enjoying a high-priced coffee drink.
Don’t get me wrong, I think ebooks should be cheaper than print books and their value should reflect the resources they save. It is an immense savings, so on the other side of the issue … when I see an ebook priced as much as a print book I wince.
“Overpriced ebooks are part of the problem,” I’d say after another sip.
Then I would confess, “But, I actually like ebooks for general reading.”
Since I got my first electronic reader, I’ve read more books than I’ve read in years. I won’t bore you with the brand, but it’s true. The trick I found is a good case, one that opens like a book, and feels like a book in your hands. I went with a bigger screen once but down-sized because I think a smaller size is more comfortable for reading. There is back lighting for dim light and you don’t have to fold down pages if you forget your bookmark. Email, web access, movie streaming, yeah, there is extra value there, sure, but I always go back to the books.
Of course, if you’re read any of my blog entries, you know I have my own book out there.
“Yeah, me and everybody else,” I’d joke as I took another sip.
It’s in both print and ebook format. I’ve probably sold just as many (or maybe I should say just as few) copies in one format as the other. I make a little less on the print books even though they are $13.95 and the ebooks are $3.99. Voodoo economics I guess.
When asked how much royalty I make I explain it this way:
“About the same as the cost of a bag of potato chips; store brand; on sale.”
After you purchased us each another muffin, I’d tell you the news.
“I’m giving up.”
And then I’d react to your startled look.
“No, no, not on writing,” I’d laugh before explaining, “My ebook is going freebie for a while.”
Then I’d finish my coffee and the last bite of muffin and add with a chuckle, “so now’s your chance, you cheapskate.”
Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina. For information on his book, yes, the free one, check out his web page.
Next week, you’re buying the coffee.