E-Book Agency Pricing Model: What is too high? (Curiousity Post)

Posted January 27, 2012 by Felicia S in Blogger Confession / 30 Comments


E-book pricing:  What is too high to pay?

First let me preface this by saying that I am very curious what people think about the agency pricing model now that it has been around for awhile.  Second, I have spent up to 12.99 on an ebook in the past because it was from an author that I adored and a series that I loved.  Third, I recently started really buckling down on my budget so prices of all things are much more important to me than in my “buy anything I want” phase.  Finally, that I want to find a happy medium of supporting authors I love without breaking my pocket book. 

The bottom line is I love books, series, and the authors who write them.  I don’t love the prices that I am seeing on new releases that are $12.99 and up and the trend of the e-book being more than the paper and glue book (this happens quite a bit with the $7.99 range books).  At what point has agency pricing gone to far?  (I won’t even get into how it is perceived -or not- price fixing).

Personally:  As much as I would like to go to a digital library for space and storage issues, I won’t pay more for a digital copy of a book.  Sometimes I will skip the book entirely if I really wanted the digital copy but it was more than the paper and glue version.  I love paper and glue books but as storage, upkeep, and other viable options (aka digital copies) became part of my life—I realized that digital books worked better for me in the long run.  As a person who works in the technical industry, I was definitely an early adapter to this technology.  So part of my problem stems from the fact that I remember when the high end of the digital ebook market was $9.99.  I have over 700 books in my kindle library.  Of those, less than 1/6 th are freebies–so I have bought a ton of books.  I am a big time book buyer and not ashamed of it.  However, I am even starting to wait on New Releases (which I know messes with the author’s bonus–sorry about that) because 11.99, 12.99, 13.99, and 14.99 are entirely to much to pay for the ebook.  Even though I can use a coupon and end up getting the HardBack cheaper, it boils down to space and storage again.  Also if I start a series in one format, I like to stick with that format for the rest of the series.  It is a weird thing of mine and I am a huge re-reader so books start to fall apart after awhile, so digital appeals to me on that end too.

Does anyone else ever ponder the what is “too much” process when buying a book?

I want to end by saying that if I won the lottery, I would buy a house that could store all the books I wanted to read and not think a thing about it anymore.  However, since I don’t play the lottery that isn’t in my future!  What are your thoughts on ebooks?  Do I overthink the issue?  Have you found a way to balance supporting your favorite authors and not breaking your pocket book?  If so, what is your trick of the trade πŸ™‚

Felicia S
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30 responses to “E-Book Agency Pricing Model: What is too high? (Curiousity Post)

  1. Seer

    This is the most popular topic in Amazon's Kindle discussion formats. It seems to me that about 70% of the posters are put off by seeing physical books priced the same or even lower than ebooks. Many find it insulting and have changed buying habits and are motivated to sift through the free and cheap indie boos to look for new authors. The Kindle eBook top sellers list varies considerably from the print list. Here's s link to the discussion group:http://www.amazon.com/forum/kindle%20deals/ref=cm_cd_rvt_np?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx11TC0RX14K3FD&cdPage=135&cdThread=Tx12SPSRXCV9BTK#CustomerDiscussionsNew

  2. Twimom227

    It's interesting that you ask this question b/c I just asked myself the same type of questions over the weekend. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Kindle! I've been reading ebooks on an ereader of one sort or another for about 3.5 years now. There are many reasons I love reading ebooks over paperbacks, and that isn't what this post is about… What I can say is that the lower prices hooked me back then. It was one of my justifications for getting my first Kindle. When the whole hubbub broke about agency pricing, I was pissed, but Amazon seemed to keep a lot of books at lower prices. However, I noticed lately that the prices are no longer "low" and are many times the same cost as paper books. THIS ISN'T RIGHT! And it infuriates me quite a lot. The think is, I'm hooked on my ebooks. So I guess that means, I buy fewer books and look to lending programs at the libraries. Thanks for the great topic!

  3. Marquetta W

    I used to buy ebooks regardless of the price. Like you, I am cracking down on my ebook purchases and not spending my money all willy nilly. I think $7.99 is too much for an ebook, especially if you can get the paperback at Target or Walmart for a little over $5. But I will pay $7.99 if it's a book I really want or an author I absolutely love. I think ebooks should be $4.99-$5.99. I am more apt to buy a full length novel when it's around $4.99. I've bought a couple of ebooks that were 9.99 and up and that's because I HAD to have the books (Karen Moning Fever Series). But other than that, there's no way I'd pay that much for an ebook. I'd rather wait for the book to come out in pb before I'll spend that much money on an ebook again.I also hate that now some series that started off as paperback are now Hardback!!! Perfect example, the Midnight Breed series by lara adrian. After 9 books – paperback books – book 10 is in HC and the ebook is 11.99!! I love the series but not that damn much to spend that amount of money. Plus 9 paperbacks and then a hardback messes up the fluidity on my bookcase. I don't understand why pubs do that. It's not fair to the readers.Great post!

  4. Alexis

    I refuse to pay more an ebook than a paper copy. If I want a new release, I'll likely head to my local library. I'm don't feel an ebook has all the advantages of a print book in terms of what you can do with it once you finish reading it. So I don't want to pay the same price.

  5. Aurian

    I buy an enormous amount of books each year, more than I can ever read, I know it. But even if I adore the series I follow, I won't pay more than € 7,00 for the paperback version. I'll just wait to find it secondhand or second edition for cheaper prices. And I adamantly refuse to pay more than € 5,00 for an ebook. They totally cannot make me believe that it costs that much to produce. When the ebook has been made, you can copy it endlessly at no cost at all. I have many thousands of books, and I love looking at them. New authors I try out as ebook, and if I love them, I still buy them as paperback.

  6. Shonda

    One of my reading goals for the year is to read more ebooks. Like you, my space is becoming very limited so reading on my Kindle (or borrowing from the library) is my first option now. The most I've paid for an ebook is $9.99, however I'm anxious to read 11/22/63 and will more than likely pay $14.99 for it sometime next month. I've signed up to receive emails, for those books that I am watching, when their prices drop, so that has helped. (There are a few books that I've been waiting on for awhile now and their prices remain the same. I will eventually buy them as they are not in my library system.) I also buy gift cards for my budgeted amount. I've found this to be very helpful. When the gift card balance is low, then I won't buy another book until the following month.

  7. Maria D.

    If it's for an author that I love, I am willing (not happy just willing) to pay up to $9.99 for an ebook. I find the agency price model insulting to book readers and it's definitely price fixing (whether they want to admit it or not). I absolutely refuse to pay more than $10 for an ebook and won't- I'll buy Mass Market first

  8. erin

    Ahhhh… Preach it sister!!!!I will never and can never pay over 7.99 for an e-version of a book. My penny pinching, miserly soul can't do it. It even burns me to pay the same price as an mmp. Usually my range is 1.99-3.99 and I gotta really want it to pay 4.99 which is my cap. I love, love, love the freebies, even if some of them are terrible, b/c it gives me a taste of that author and then I will decide if I will invest any more money (which I have/usually do). I also love the Kindle sales, usually for 1.99-3.99 and I've been seeing that more and more. Sales gets me to buy those authors on my wishlist, which then gets me hooked, which then gets me to buy more. For all the reasons stated above, if I can't physically hold it in my hands, I don't/can't justify paying the same amount. I love physical books too, and I love having a room full of books. But, I love my Kindle too and I like the ability to try new authors without having to give up space and too much money. This is also what got me back reading historical/regency romance. They have awesome sales and no one gives me any more flack for the covers πŸ™‚

  9. Missie, The Unread R

    I have a hard time paying more than 7.99 for an e-book. I think that (or lower) is a reasonable price, but more than that, and I'm likely to look for the best deal I can find. Recently, I wanted to buy book one in the Jane True series, and Amazon had the e-book for 7.99 but they also had a used copy that was marked as "Used-good condition" for 4 bucks, so I went with that. I want to support my favorite authors, but I also want to be able to pay my bills.$14.99 for an e-book is outrageous, and if I ordered it as a preorder, got it, and then saw the price drop, I'd be outraged. On the flip side. I recently read 7 ebooks back to back on my Kindle and when I switched over to a physical copy, I found that I was so uncomfortable having to hold the 'heavy' book. LOL I just have no more room for physical books. I've parted with as many books as I can, and I still have a mountain of book sitting on my floors. I hate that. The clean freak in me needs some place to put them so they look organized, but there is no more room! *sighs* Another note I have is on my e-reader. I feel like they are a great investment, but really, they only have a shelf life of about a year. My Kindle Keyboard which I got Dec 10, needs to be replaced because the screen keeps freezing on me, and I noticed that was the same issue I had with my previous Kindle. Plus, who doesn't want the most current reading device. So, I'm going buy a new one, and that is another expense on top of buying e-books. And I don't know where I'm going with that ramble… LOLVery interesting comments on this post!

  10. jackie b central tex

    Felicia there are many first in series free reads on my Kindle that I have gotten in the past year but the most I have been willing to pay for an ebook is $4.99 and am not planning on paying more when can buy a brand new MMPB for a little over that in the authors series that I read from book 1 to the last. However having lost so many books last September my best friend in the last 4 months has been 1/2 price books and am still not caught up on replacing the next book or the entire unread series that burned up.Ebooks are great, the pricing not so great on what are considered big name authors and even some of the Indies are too pricey for my checkbook.

  11. Felicia Sparks

    For me all of this started when I went to pre-order the next JR Ward book. The last one released at 12.99 so I was prepped to see that number again BUT this one is 14.99 and I just refuse to do it. I don't even see the logic behind it. Especially since if the 14.99 price point doesn't do well the agency will drop the price, see how it sells and then adjust the price again. I have seen this done with a few books and I think that disturbs me the most!

  12. JenM

    Prior to Agency pricing, I bought tons of ebooks. Amazon would discount them to $4.99 – $6.99 and I wouldn't even hesitate. Since Agency pricing started, I have gotten down to where I buy maybe 2 or 3 Agency books a month (I used to buy 20 or so). I absolutely will not buy if the ebook price is higher than the physical book price and I rarely will even go as high as $9.99. I will admit though, that I'm about to break that rule for Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. I adore her Alpha/Omega series and the newest release is coming out in hardback (sob) so that means the ebook price will be $12.99. However, that's probably the ONLY book I will buy this year at above $9.99. In general, my average for ebooks is $3-$4 and I trade for used MMPBs at Paperback Swap.

  13. Prangon: The Nerd In

    I live out of nowhere and book depository don't ship here so I am completely depended on my reading devices for books. So seeing prices like 12.99-17.99 for an e-book is baffling. Most of the time I stick under $7 if I am buying ebooks.

  14. Na

    I'm not willing to pay more for an ebook if it costs more than a print version. When it comes to buying books, price is a major factor and I like to keep within budget. Ebooks in the double-digit pricing are simply out of my price range. I resort to libraries, sales or sales for books.

  15. The Book Vixen

    The most I've paid for a Kindle book was $9.99 and that was for Shadowfever (which I HAD to have on release day). Then I've paid $7.99 for a Kindle book that I gifted to a friend (who was totally worth it). Other than that, I find it hard to pay for than $4 for an ebook. IMO ebooks should cost less than a print copy because (1) most of the time you cannot lend an ebook (or if you can, you can only lend it out ONE TIME ever) and (2) you can't sell/trade/give it away. So I don't think you should have to cough up the same amount of dough for an ebook that you can't do as much with as a print copy. It just seems wrong.I also think novellas should be 99¢. Which is why I'm always on the prowl for Kindle deals.

  16. Island Reader

    This is something I've been thinking about lately. Personally, I don't like paying over 3.99 for an ebook… but I will go up to 7.99. The only time I'd pay over 7.99 is if I were gifting the ebook.When it comes to supporting the author, that happens when after reading the e-copy and I fall in love with it and go buy the bound copy for my keeper shelf lol.

  17. Natalie (Mindful Mus

    I totally know what you mean! I absolutely will NOT pay more than $10 for an e-book, and honestly, I rarely pay more than $5-$7 for the ones I buy. Most of them are ones I find on sale. As much as I love my Nook, I still prefer hard copy books, so if an e-book is more expensive or even close to what the hard copy is, I'm going with the paper and glue version.

  18. Stephanie

    I go back and forth with this constantly. I abhor spending $14.99 on an ebook. Even if I'm saving $3 more than the hardcover. Avon is doing something strategic, I think. I noticed that several of their historical romances were selling for $4.99. I'd happily pay that for any ebook that is selling the physical copy for $7.99. It burns me to have to pay the same price as a book I can lend to several people and then get credit at the UBS for.On the flip side? I LOVE my Kindle. Love it. It's easier to hold, read one handed, use my night light when I'm in bed and I don't get grilled on the book I'm reading at work by my coworkers. In the end, I'll use my Kindle before a paper book. Yes it burns me that I'm paying the same for what I feel is a lesser value but the convenience will get me to buy the ebook. Luckily my budget allows me to pick up a book or two each week so it's not a problem. πŸ™‚

  19. Marce

    I think 9.99 is perfect, I have also bought a few 12.99, it balances out with the less than $5 I tell myself.I think 14.99 is far to much.Like you if I start a series on my kindle I will continue or book etc.There have been times I really wanted to read a book and realised it wasn't available on Kindle yet but they are doing pretty good with turn around when you request it.I try to think of the balance instead of just the price.

  20. June M.

    I completely agree with not spending that much on an eBook. I do love eBooks, no additional storage space needed, easy to pack lots of books with you, etc. However, I don't think that Ebooks should be priced the same (or even higher) than print books. I just can't really see spending $9.99 or more for an eBook.

  21. Vanessa theJeepDiva

    I think eBooks should ALWAYS be less than the paperback! I had to pay for the device to read that eBook on. That being said I recently paid 7.99 for an eBook & the paperback was 29.99. I was not WOWED by the book as everyone else under the sun was so you can imagine my huge disappointment. I think 3 is a good price. I buy 90% of my books used for 3.25-4.50. I know there is the save the tree/paper with eBooks, but I like all my pretty books lined up on their shelves. They mean something to me that a non-tangible eBook never will.

  22. Melissa (Books and T

    Nope, not overthinking. I always debate on cost. I will not and cannot pay over 9.99 for an ebook. Okay, let me rephrase… I will not pay over 7.99 for an ebook (and I'm cheap… I'll usually wait for a sale… *snicker*). πŸ˜‰ Seriously. I just can't. If the author got the price difference between the physical book and the ebook, then I would rethink. I just don't like giving money to "the man" when the talent struggles. Peace out. πŸ˜‰

  23. sac402

    9.99 if book is still HC only…. I've done higher but only for a couple of books. If PB then most for me is 5.99…. But the PB better be a trade version that is close to 9 or 10 cover price…. πŸ™‚

  24. Sara Reyes

    You're better than me, I won't spend more than $6 for an ebook. I still like paper / glue because I know technology, great as it is, won't always be the same (we have a collection of 5 1/4 disks with stuff on them) and I re-read. I don't want to re-buy all my favorites over and over.

  25. Reading Inspired Wri

    1) I prefer to read ebooks though I love books on my shelves. 2) I usually by ebooks that are on sale only. Mostly because I refuse to pay more for a book that I could buy in paper & them loan out. 3) I can't necessarily back this next statement up. I tend to prefer to buy YA hard copies to share with my daughter & my students and adult ebooks. I know the book people say that ebooks cost as much to produce as paper, but I just can't wrap my silly little brain around it. Thanks for the ponder. Amy @ http://www.bookgoonie.com

  26. Christy D

    The ONLY time I'll pay the same amount for a ecopy as I would for a physically copy, is if it's one of a few in a series I LOVE. I will just buy the physical book if it's cheaper. I've never spent more than $9.99 for an ebook though. Honestly, if they were all more in the 5-6 dollar range, I'd probably buy a lot more of the bigger publisher books.

  27. April (BooksandWine)

    To be completely honest – I rarely ever buy ebooks when they cost more than 9.99. The only that I have ever purchased that was more than 9.99 was The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. But besides that, absolutely not. I usually only ever buy discounted ebooks and the kindle daily deal.

  28. Blodeuedd

    Ever since I started buying at bookdepo and getting books for 5 euros I think that is good, but for an ebook…under 3 euros. i would not want to pay more