I’ve got 99 cents, But My Book Ain’t One! .
Jay z couldn’t have said it better, even though his problems were not associated with the 99 cent book fad: his book originally sold for far more. Nevertheless, the price point of 99 cents seems to be the norm for many new novels coming out within the urban fiction genre nowadays. If you ask me, it seems as though there is a fear desperation lingering in the air for authors, and publishers trying to sell a book.
Urban fiction is beginning to look a lot like the Chinavasion of the ghetto.
“Buy here! I sale book cheap just for you.” This seems to be the slogan for many authors breaking into the industry.
Although there is nothing wrong with having a Chinese special or two, there is something wrong with the 99 cent stories that are being presented to an ever-growing crowd of readers. Many are full of horrendous grammatical errors. Moreover, shiesty editors are getting more than their fair-share of income from naive — yet hopeful — authors who just want to get their stories published, and these selfsame editors can’t tell an ellipsis from a comma, and that is the least of it.
I know that when it comes to pricing a book, many authors and reader’s want to know how much should my eBook cost? That question is really an easy one to answer. The answer is a practical one: how much will the public pay, combined what is your book worth to you? What many readers fail to realize is that real authors (especially self-published ones with jobs, etc.) put a lot of time and effort into their stories. Many simply do not write quality stories, and therefore should charge less. others spend the time to do character development and/or have many plots and sub-plots intertwined. These are worth more. The old adage is true here: You get what you pay for, most of the time. Most authors don’t pop out novels like strung out crack whores having babies in your local hood asking their children, Who’s yo daddy? Meaning, the value of the book is linked to the skills of the author.
The above question is rightfully asked by potential readers who want to know whom they are spending their hard earned cash on? Yes, even if it’s 99 cents. Many die-hard fans of urban fiction are ecstatic about the 99 cent fad, while many authors shun the practice altogether.
According to the Huffington Post “Readers argue that a book which requires no paper and ink, no shipping and handling expenses, and no warehouse storage fees, should cost considerably less than its print counterpart. Their case is made more compelling thanks to the deep discounts Amazon and other online retailers offer on print books, which often result in the publisher’s e-version costing more than the book does when purchased from the retailer in print.
When authors publish their books electronically, most price their titles between $2.99 and $9.99 — primarily to take advantage of the 70% royalty rate currently being offered by Amazon for e-books in this price range which are made available for download to the Kindle.” You can read more on this rationale here.
On the other hand, many educated authors (self-published) and publishing houses know that selling a book for 99 cents boost up both slow sales and notoriety in an ever crowded market. However, neither would like it to remain that way. Then why do they sell books for 99 cents in the first place, you may ask?
Well let’s do the math, not too long ago the magic number was $2.99 for most indie authors. At 70% (Amazon). or 65% for Barnes & Noble royalty rates, most authors would stand to gain an average of $2.00 per book sold (we’re talking e-books here); not bad for a day’s take — I’m talking Kindle Direct and PubIt systems.
Now this is in comparison to the 35% royalty rate received for books selling for under the $2.99 price, which is definitely a steep drop — but more than the standard 25% royalty rate offered by most publishers — is really equals to about 17.5% of the net rate of the price your book is sold for. Simply put, your dollars just turned into pennies. But hold on! The story does not end here!
In scenario two, the scene plays out quite differently for logic would dictate that most authors and/or publishers would opt out of the 70%. Quite truthfully, they did. But then some sloth came along thinking, Hell, my book isn’t really worth a dime, and neither am I selling much at $2.99, so I’m gonna start selling my book for 99 cents.
BLAM! It was that logical desperation that made several authors millionaires overnight, even, if their books were not so great. And everyone knows it’s just a matter of time before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon; Monkey see, monkey do, and the rest is history. Get ready for the 88 cent books, coming soon.
Sadly today, many urban fiction writers who actually have great books find themselves having to short-change their hard efforts just to compete in the market place. Therefore I will end this article with the question:
Does the 99 cent book affect your buying decision when it comes to buying a book? Feel free to leave your comments here.