Ebook readers are cheapskates

I should know, I’m one of them. There’s bunches of websites devoted to how to find cheap and free ebooks to fill up our Kindles, Nooks, and iPads. I’m working on filling up my regular Kindle (the b&w one) and the Kindle Fire I got for Christmas. Now I hunt for both cheap ebooks AND apps.

Am I part of a trend? Oh, yeah.

I did a Google search on “average prices of ebooks” and found this nifty infographic from Booklr:

 Now aside from my admitted prejudice in favor of Kindle books (as I own 2 of them) the thing that most strikes me about this infographic is that 35% of Amazon’s kindle books are priced under $2. An additional 61% are under $6. In the Nook store, 39% are under $6.

I went back and looked at my ebook purchases over the last 6 months. Of the 34 books I downloaded, 14 were free, 6 of them were $.99, 6 were $1.99, 5 were $2.99, 2 were $3.99, and one was $7.99.  I only paid for 1 app, a game that I bought for $1.99 in a moment of weakness. (I used to play it a lot years ago.)

What I’ve realized as a consumer is that my perception of ebooks is that they should be inexpensive, sort of like buying a pack of gum at the grocery checkout. I’m more inclined to take a chance on a writer that I’m not familiar with, but I do look at the reviews before I buy. Would I buy an ebook for ten bucks or more? Maybe. But not very often.

How will low priced ebooks affect the publishing industry?  I can’t help but think that getting a lot of people to buy a lot of books can’t help but be a good thing. I can’t help but think, though, that the days of printed books are in decline. The cheaper the readers get, the more people will switch over to ebooks. The pull of instant gratification will be too strong.

Can authors make money publishing ebooks? Yes, but with a couple of caveats:

1. Make sure your book is good. Even at $1.99, readers expect a book with a book plot, good ideas, and few or no typos.

2. Make sure your book is professionally formatted. If it’s impossible to read due to bad formatting, you’ll see returns no matter how good your content is. Take the time for both.