I was chatting with a friend on ham radio the other day and he asked me how the editing was coming along on my next novel “September Song,” which will be out by summer. It’s about two thirds through the final rewrite, if there is such a thing as a “final” rewrite. I know I always wish I could “improve” just one more thing, even after a book is published.
And I told my radio friend that I would send him a “download” of “September Song” when it was finished. He, like a few others have told me, said, “My wife and I are old-fashioned, we like to ‘hold a book’ in our hands.” I get that response every time I publish something. And I always have the same answer. I could very well have any or all of my work print-published so the reader could “hold it in his/her hands.” And that printed book would cost somewhere between $20 and $30. I don’t know about you but that’s still a chunk of money, especially to many readers who are on a fixed income. (And, truth be known, most “readers” are in that category – young people don’t read, they “text”.) For that much money they can buy four to six eBooks that only cost $4.99.
So, tell me again that it is worth six times as much to “hold a book in my hand” than to read that same book on a one-time buy of an eReader. Come on, folks. This is the 21st century. You “hold the book in my hand” readers are the same people who buy EVERYTHING online. You use your computer so much, if someone took it away from you for a DAY, you’d be lost. And how about that iPhone and the iPad? And you won’t read a book on an eReader? My Kindle Fire will hold over 4,000 books, more than some libraries. And holding it feels just as good as holding paper.
Look, it is simple economics. Why should I charge you $30 for a book, and I make $3.50 when I can sell you the same book for $4.99 and still make $3.50? And don’t tell me you can’t read Amazon books on your Nook. There are a dozen “fixes” on the Internet for that, including an app from Amazon that will probably be all you’ll need. Eighty percent of the people who buy books, read them on a Kindle, a Nook, one of the many “pads” that are out there, or on a laptop. And another advantage of eBooks is that if you belong to one of Amazon’s prime services, you can “borrow” those books (and keep them) and read them for free.
It just doesn’t make any sense to print books anymore. In a decade, there will be no more brick and mortar book stores, except for specialty books or text books. I absolutely will not make you pay $30 for a book I can offer you for $4.99. Period. Look for “September Song” coming soon for $4.99. End of story.