Ebook Piracy, Pricing & Hoarding

I am a reader of ebooks. With a few exceptions, I read entirely from an e-reader. I don't "borrow" ebooks - shoot, I don't even take advantage of the lending option offered through BN. Sometimes I buy a cheap book intending to read it and then not get to it for months. But hoarding ebooks, that's a new concept to me. I like my virtual bookshelf to be as neat as my paperback bookshelf so organization keeps me from over-buying. I prefer to pay below the $6.99 price point. On occasion, I have purchased a $9.99 ebook if it is something I really, really want to read or is from an author on my auto-read list (you have one of those, right? an author that you read everything they write.). Then I read this article and it got me thinking about pricing strategy because I am also an author of ebooks. The price point has a bigger consequence than my paycheck... how does it affect you as a consumer?

 What are you willing to pay? Are lower prices better? Do you read all the books you download?

Piracy, pricing, and ebook hoarding (via Tools of Change for Publishing)
I was on a conference call recently talking about piracy with Joe Karaganis, Brian O’Leary and Ruediger Wischenbart. At one point someone mentioned that piracy can be avoided when content is made available at a reasonable price and in all convenient formats. That begs the question: What’s a “…


  1. Depends on what your goals are. In the scenario from TOC, the same amount of money is made, so that argues toward the higher price. However, I doubt you'd sell even five copies if your fiction book was $20. If you write niche non-fiction, it's possible.

    Do you want fans? Or simply to make enough money to write the next book? Or enough money to live on? Or so much money you don't know what to do with?

    Pricing strategy comes down to goals I think.

  2. I love my Nook. I take it whenever I go somewhere I'm likely to have to wait. I'm as likely to look for a new read on my Nook as for a comfort re-read. Heck, I found old friends I'd lost thanks to my Nook.

    But I think long and hard before I buy anything above $5. An e-book doesn't have the overhead a paper book has, and it's not durable or permanent like a paper book. Like Masquerade said, unless it's a niche book available only in e-format or with added features (academic books come to mind), I'll choose a paper book over an e-book for the same price.

  3. Just some random thoughts.

    Is there any properly-structured research on these issues? I've read a number of pieces like this based around small group discussions by 'knowledgeable insiders' and they've come up with a range of views. If so, we'd have the metrics to make proper marketing calculations.

    Personally I've never seen a connection between price and desirability in ebooks - some of the best writing I've come across has been in free downloads; some of the worst in relatively expensive ones. I don't judge an ebook by its price (or cover, or blurb) but by 'see inside' functions and reviews, and with reviews I look at how they're written to judge if they might be 'people like me'.

    Piracy: this is endemic though the point about 'hoarders' seems intuitively right. The fact that people download pirate copies doesn't mean they read them! It would be interesting to know how much piracy does, reaslitically, affect sales to 'motivated readers'.

    Given that much e-pubishing is quick-and-dirty p-to-e, I've been wondering for a while about what constitutes 'added value' in an ebook. I can embed audio and video and gifs in a PDF, for example, but they won't work on most e-readers... I'm not sure what e-books can currently offer that would be an incentive to pay a higher price. The best answer I've seen recently relates to chunking - download individual stories for cheap or an entire collection, possibly several books' worth, plus some additional commentary etc. for slightly higher price.

  4. I have stopped getting the free books from amazon unless its an author I love. I have also started to only download the book when I am ready to read it. Its been helping my hoarding.

  5. I don't pay more than 5$ for ebooks and I make myself read it before I buy another. I simply can't afford pricier books and hoarding.


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