Monster Hunter Nation

One Star Reviews Over Book Prices are Dumb.

This review was posted for Son of the Black Sword.

1.0 out of 5 starsThis rating has NOTHING to do with the writing!

(Name removed because he probably meant well, and this isn’t personal)

Format: Kindle Edition

I read and absolutely loved, Correia’s monster hunter books. Own each and every one of them. I was so looking forward to reading this one after I saw the blurbs for it. However, I cannot bring myself to allow the publishing company that Correia has his contract with, to take advantage of me. Like many of the ‘main stream’ authors, or rather, those that aren’t taking advantage of self publishing, the cost of the book is inane. The Ebook. Which costs the publishing company NOTHING to create in comparison to hardback, and paperback books. Costs more than the Paperback. That alone, will prevent me from purchasing this book, until the price is fixed to something reasonable.

 

 

I know writers aren’t supposed to respond to reviews, but I’m not responding to this as a writer, I’m responding to it as a retired accountant.

I am the author in question. Your review doesn’t hurt anything except my overall average. You aren’t sticking it to the man. You aren’t harming the corporate fat cats. If you think the book sucks, give it one star. That’s awesome. That’s what the stars are for. But you don’t use one star to bitch about the price of eBooks. That just makes you look stupid. We shouldn’t still be having this conversation with anybody who isn’t a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Now, Accountant Hat on. This is pretty basic stuff. This is how basic costing works, not just for books, but quite literally everything. But today, we’ll talk about books, because your ridiculous review has pissed me off.  I’m going to dumb this down and keep it simple as possible.

I produce a product, which I sell to a publisher. Under that contract I am given an advance against royalties (money up front), and then I get royalties based upon a percentage of the sales price. This is good. This is how authors GET PAID.

Now, over on the publisher side they have a bunch of costs associated with the production of my product. Some of these costs apply to both ebooks and print. However, contrary to what most people think printing isn’t the big deal, as much as all the other stuff.

There are four levels of costing. Each one will represent a percentage of the cost of the product.

General and Administrative: These are the costs associated with having a company. Regardless of whether the product makes it out the door or not, you are paying the rent and keeping the lights on.

Overhead: Cost related to doing whatever it is your company actually does.

Direct: Costs related to actually making whatever it is you make.

Now, I’ve never been an accountant in the publishing industry so I’m not sure what the rules are for which costs go into which bucket. (My accounting experience was for manufacturing high end electronics, then guns, and finally keeping the wings from falling off of A-10s, and this varies from industry to industry)

Now, the thing that is different between eBooks and physical books is that Direct part. (Which having seen how books are printed, trust me, you are drastically overestimating) and you’re leaving out all that other stuff like having a company, and paying a bunch of people to make art and sell it.

And direct cost is more than “paper” and “ink”. On my publisher’s books, I am a Direct Cost.

Oh, but wait, we forgot the last percentage, and that’s profit. That’s the awesome part everybody wants to maximize. I like when my publisher makes a profit, because that means they get to stay in business, which means I get to continue making lots and lots of money.

So when a producer sets the price of an item, they look at what all those numbers above are, and then they try to cover all of them, and have some left over to make a profit so it is worth doing it again.

Some products are more profitable than others. When you go to a fast food restaurant, the margin on the burgers is slim. If they sold nothing but burgers they’d be in trouble. However, the margin on soda is amazing. That soda you spent a couple bucks on? The most expensive thing involved was probably the cup. When I was selling guns, guns were cut throat, high competition, and on most brands I’d only make 10-15% on the sale of a gun. But then I’d made 40%-50% on accessories. That was how I kept the lights on.

Ebooks are like that. Publishing is an industry with crappy margins. Don’t believe me? Ask Borders. Yes, ebooks have a lower direct cost, but that is all still going into the same company bucket. Some lines are more profitable than others. Duh. It isn’t about “fairness”. Business has nothing to do with fairness. Business is about staying in business.

That’s the basics of how costing works.

But wait, there’s more!

Now we get into Econ 101! (I love Econ).

So now that you know how much you have to make in order to keep the lights on, you want to maximize your profit. You want to sell it for as much as possible, but not for too much because that will turn some people off and you’ll sell fewer units, so you want to get that sweet spot where the supply and demand curves meet.

Some people are willing to pay more, others are willing to pay less. Go super cheap, make less per unit, and sell more, and at the other end you go super expensive, make more per unit, but sell less. Which is why the Nissan Versa and Aston Martin DB9 can both exist.

Beyond that I’m not going to explain how supply and demand work. That’s the first few hours of an Econ class. Or go read Thomas Sowell. You’ll thank me later.

Books aren’t cars, but they’re basically interchangeable entertainment products. Some authors’ brands can get away with a higher cost because they’ve established that they’re a Honda, and some new guy is going for moped prices because his quality isn’t established and the only way he can hope to attract customers is by low price. The super cheap customer isn’t going to buy the Ferrari, and Ferrari is just fine with that.  But when cheap guy posts a one star review for the Ferrari, we’re all going to laugh at him. For the record, I’m not a Ferrari. I’m more of a Ford Expedition.

Since there isn’t some super easy way to tell you what the perfect sweet spot is, publishers guess. Some guess too high, and others guess too low. Who guesses just right? Well, we don’t know, because it isn’t like you go around showing your competitors your P&L (that’s a Profit and Loss statement for you Bernie fans, for those guys, think of it as magic voodoo).

Oooooh, but there’s even more!

What? Pricing eBooks is even more complex? Unpossible!

Yes, because now lawyers get involved!

Did you know that Amazon is actually a business too? And that it exists to make money? And that it also wants to maximize its profit? Crazy. Bernie should do something about that.

Publishing houses don’t work off the same contract as lone self-published authors. In fact, for a publishing house to set up an ebook distribution deal with Amazon there is a lot of wrangling, and Amazon gets a say in how those books are priced. This involves lawyers (see that line about Overhead, they probably go in that bucket).

And that isn’t even getting into the fact that in said contract, there are all sorts of little special things, like Amazon promotions (where they can put things on sale or discount them or bundle them with audiobooks) and publishers need to set their regular price to take those things into account.

Now, if you’ve got a publishing house that sells ebooks in other places (like on their own page in monthly Webscription discount bundles that have been around since the internet was invented) then that complicates matters, and Amazon is going to have you set minimum price guidelines and maximum discount rates. It all gets very complicated, and is also why for the first few years of my career the most common FAQ on my blog was “Why can’t I get your book on my Kindle?”

Once my publisher got that contract hammered out, and Amazon was happy with the minimum prices they agreed to, I was super happy, because now on my personal P&L I was making a whole lot more money by having my eBooks in the biggest marketplace. Yay.

Now, you may have noticed that my publisher (who trust me, isn’t evil, she’s actually pretty cool) drops the prices of the ebook the longer it has been out. Part of this is that contract thing, and another part is that demand curve thing, but either way, it gets cheaper as it goes.

So yeah, in this case the ebook is around paperback costs. HOW BARBARIC! Oh, except wait… There is no paperback yet. The book is only out in hardcover. Which means back on that demand curve (remember, profit good) the potential customers aren’t choosing between an $8.99 paperback and a $7.99 ebook. They’re choosing between a $25 hard back and a $7.99 ebook.

In our case when the paperback comes out, my publisher drops the price because the market conditions have changed (which is why the Monster Hunter Nemesis ebook is $6.99 and Monster Hunter International is free). Sometimes my eBooks show up for less because Amazon is having a sale, and I don’t even know about it until one of my fans tags me on Facebook about the sale.

You really want to get offended? My Super Evil Publisher also sells eARCs (Electronic Advanced Reader Copies) on their own page three months before the book comes out, for close to hard cover prices! GASP! These are the early, probably not fully proofed, versions that would normally go out to reviewers. But going back to that demand curve thing, some brands are in such demand that there is a market of people who will spend $15(!) to get an eBook, because they are in that much of a hurry to find out what happens next, and are willing to pay a premium to get it first (I actually earned out my advance for Monster Hunter Nemesis off of eARC sales alone).

Now if you’re self-publishing and trying to decide how to price your book, it is simpler. You don’t have a bunch of lawyers involved, and you don’t have all that G&A and Overhead. Lots of self-published folks go 99 cents, others do the $2.99 to maximize the royalty percentage. Same principle. You’ve got your market and your demand curve, and you’re going to price accordingly. You need to figure out the price that maximizes your return. Whatever you set it at, somebody is going to come along and say it is wrong. ONE STAR!

This all boils down to a question of entertainment dollar value to the customer. If you want it now, and you really like this particular brand, you’ll realize that you spent more than that on your burger combo at lunch today and buy the book. If that isn’t worth your entertainment dollar value, then you won’t purchase.

In pricing, nobody is “taking advantage of you” unless you are stuck in a monopolistic situation. Ruth’s Chris costs more than Sizzler, but Ruth’s Chris isn’t taking advantage of you, they are pricing according to their brand and their product to maximize their position in the marketplace. If they price too high, then they will not make a profit, and will have to adjust or lose market share. Which is kind of funny, because in this tortured analogy, I’m actually priced more like Sizzler, and you just gave a one star review to Sizzler, because I’m not priced like McDonalds.

Accountant Hat off, Writer Hat on… Back to this kind of one star review, it is utterly pointless. You aren’t educating anybody. The only person you’re harming is the author. Because nobody in the world is going to say your review was helpful, nobody is ever going to read it. So all you did was lower the overall average stars, which primarily damages the author’s standing. A review that says “I’m too cheap to buy this ONE STAR!” is the same as “It sounds like this baby killer likes guns ONE STAR!” or “I bet he listens to Fox News ONE STAR!”

“What a rip off! It turns out Moby Dick is about whales! Whales are fat and stupid and so is Herman Melville! ONE STAR!”

Ignorant reviewers… You aren’t helping.

Frankly, it is kind of insulting. Me? I’m fine being insulted. I consider it blog fodder. A. I get called the worst things in the world daily, so I’ve got rhino hide. B. I’ve sold a ton of books so I know you’re full of crap. But put yourself in the shoes of some new author at a publishing house and think about how they feel when you post reviews like that. It’s like you’re telling them that the eight hours* of entertainment they provided was worth less than the price of a hamburger.

And I’m not even talking a very good hamburger.

The value of a book isn’t the paper. The value is the entertainment you get from the book. If you get books because you like having shelves and shelves of books (nothing wrong with that by the way, you should see my office) great, but why the hell did you buy an eReader anyway? Authors love being told that the entertainment they provide isn’t worth a buck an hour, usually from people who have no problem drinking a $6 Coke and eating $4 nachos while watching a 90 minute movie that cost $8 to get into.

Stars are to rate the product, not to announce to the world you don’t understand how capitalism works. If you’re too cheap to buy it, just don’t buy it! If you read it and it is good, give it stars! If you read it, and you thought it was bad, give it less stars. It’s that simple.

 

 

*Oh, and shut up, speed readers. That’s right. I said eight hours. Deal with it. Nobody cares that you read 6,000 WPM like some sort of freaky robot person. Most people read for fun at 200 WPM and most books are 100k words. I swear, I’ve never in my life mentioned that it takes hours to read a novel without some self-righteous speed reader chiming in the comments about how brilliant they are and how they read a novel every fifteen minutes. Goody for you. Those of us who’ve known the touch of a woman don’t care you read fast.

 

 

My next novel release, Into the Wild
Left Wing Bias in Publishing: Your Wrongthink Will Be Punished!

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365 Comments on "One Star Reviews Over Book Prices are Dumb."

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Micahel
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Micahel
9 months 16 days ago

You tell ’em sir. I can speed read, but I prefer to go slow. Then I re-read because contrary to what people say, yes, I can find little tidbits the Author (s) left hinting at future events.

Sara the Red
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Sara the Red
9 months 16 days ago

I *can’t* slow down my speed reading. Which is good, where fiction is concerned, because I can reread most books over and over again (if they’re good) and find new bits I missed.

It’s a bit of a nightmare where things like, oh, textbooks are concerned, though. Studying becomes absolutely hellish because I *know* I missed stuff…

Audiobooks, though–I love those. I get the whole book the first time! 😀

(Seriously, though, the above mini-rant about speed readers made me laugh, so hard. Sounds just like my brain twin when she notices how fast I went through a book…)

BlondEngineer
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BlondEngineer
9 months 16 days ago

That’s because you then start calling me demanding I read faster so you can discuss it with me. And if I don’t read it fast enough you start slipping up and dropping spoilers all over the place, damn you!

Wayne
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Wayne
9 months 16 days ago

You’ll have to try to convince her to read for fewer minutes per day than you… 🙂

Dan Lane
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Dan Lane
9 months 16 days ago
It took me years to slow down my reading speed. In college, I’d kill a novel a day in between studying and work (if it was a good novel). I know I missed stuff- my speed reading was about one to three words, fill in with context, jot down outline style for quick reference before the test. Not for fun reading, for class- though I did find pages of drunken ramblings that look suspiciously like outline notes from the Cleric Quintet when I was cleaning out my college stuff the other day. Horrible practice for some jobs I’ve taken since,… Read more »
Sara the Red
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Sara the Red
9 months 15 days ago

My last few years of college, I *did* read out loud (for fun) to a group of friends (Pratchett’s stuff, mostly, but we also did the bulk of the Vorkosigan saga). And it did help, a bit. 🙂

Now that I’ve started up classes again (well. one class.) in something pretty alien to me (programming), I’m revisiting the joys of textbook reading, blech. However, repetition also helps: I may have to read the chapter two or three (or four) times, but it will eventually sink in and I get most of the information. Still sucks, though.

David Lang
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David Lang
9 months 16 days ago

Personally, I enjoy the book far more when I’m reading quickly. As the words on the page blur by I’m not paying attention to the mechanics of reading and enjoying the story (along with the fast paced movie/audio playing in my head)

reading fast makes a lot of reading far more enjoyable, but it is hard on my wallet 🙂

Bibliotheca Servare
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Bibliotheca Servare
9 months 15 days ago
This. I like reading out loud to people, but I’m always amazed at how tiring it is compared to when I’m reading on my own. It’s the difference between being consumed by the book completely, and just *reading* the book, I think. But I often wish I could be consumed by the book/absorbed into its world while reading just a bit more slowly. That way, I’d start the withdrawal tremors a little later, and run out of reading material with less frequency…I think. But eventually I just decide I’m glad I can read *period* because I don’t think I’d ever… Read more »
Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

That reminds me of this discussion I had once in high school:

History teacher: you don’t have to study that yet, we’re nowhere near that section.

Me: I’m just reading it for fun. *is near end of textbook*

History teacher: Oh, okay, *laugh* carry on.

Repeat conversation with biology teacher later on.

Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
9 months 14 days ago

There were some classes (such as History) where I had the book read before the class started. Despite being a fairly high speed reader, I never had problems with retention, either.

Used to have the same problem with fiction, too (if it was good). Went through about 600-700 pages a day, even rereading. Now I have an opposite one – trying to be an author, I slow down to analyze, especially the obviously good parts. (There is no way that the first chapter of MHI should take three friggin’ hours…).

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

It’s always hard on the wallet, but oh so gooooood.

And unlike a number of other vices, you can reread again and again with no additional cost except for time (well ) spent.

Keith Glass
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Keith Glass
9 months 16 days ago

Economic illiteracy is widespread. How else would you explain Bernie “40 acres and a Unicorn” Sanders ??

Christopher M. Chupik
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Christopher M. Chupik
9 months 16 days ago

Obama, Trump, Occupy . . .

DaveP.
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DaveP.
9 months 14 days ago

Trump’s easy to explain: Boehner, McConnell, McCain, Romney, Dole, Specter, Scorfezza, Bloomburg, both Bushes plus Jeb, Michael Steele, Paul Ryan…
…The Bush AWB, Common Core, Amnesty, Porkulus, more Amnesty, backing Democrats against Tea Party challengers, Amnesty again, hey-guys-how-about-UNOFFICIAL-Amnesty!…
It’s impossible to explain that someone isn’t ‘conservative enough’ or a ‘real republican’ when the Home Team has spent the past whole generation redefining those terms downwards into oblivion. It’s entirely possible to convince your core voters you simply have no interest in them or their welfare. Trump is the RNC’s self-inflicted wound.

Alpheus
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Alpheus
9 months 3 days ago

And it’s particularly frustrating for those of us who support Cruz. “Hey, look! A guy who’s fought EVERYONE about those issues!”

When you describe Trump as a self-inflicted wound, it’s even worse than that: It’s watching a Party commit seppuku, especially when the Establishment are so against someone like Cruz, they are willing to support someone like Trump…

Julaire
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Julaire
9 months 16 days ago

I have a few friends who are Bernie supporters. One of them likes to make the comment regularly that he supports Bernie because leaving health care in the hands of [insurance] companies whose job it is to not pay people is a bad approach, and Bernie will push for more socialized medicine. I’m not an economist or accountant like Larry, but it hurts my brain to hear those sorts of statements.

gbm
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gbm
9 months 16 days ago

Bernie claims to be a socialist, just remind them of the National Socialist Workers Party and its leader a guy by the name of Adolf Hitler.

Andrew
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Andrew
9 months 16 days ago

Now now… He’s a “Democratic Socialist”, so it’s more like the German Democratic Republic, or the People’s Democratic Republic of . Totes different.

BobtheRegisterredFool
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BobtheRegisterredFool
9 months 16 days ago

He was unwise enough to describe himself as a nationalist socialist. Thus, it is fair to ask if he supports a T4 style healthcare cost savings program, wars of conquest and looting, or the wholesale slaughter of American opponents of his regime,

T.L. Knighton
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T.L. Knighton
9 months 16 days ago

If you’re going to complain about ebook pricing, Baen shouldn’t be the object of your ire. Their pricing is much more reasonable than a lot of other houses out there.

AAcid
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AAcid
9 months 16 days ago
That was my thoughts. It is less than the other available options. Yeah, maybe it means that others will buy a different book first but that is always an option. I’ve always looked at pricing for ebooks as sorta similar to paperback. Once paperbacks are out I’d prefer it be less (or if books are only in paperback), but both fulfill the same purpose of pocket reading material. As for the pricing point for indy its another common complaint. It is too easy to get onto the idea of length as a example of quality or price. While with only… Read more »
htom
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htom
9 months 16 days ago

Your books (and a few others) I intentionally slow down my reading speed to make the spell last longer. Sometimes to the point that I could read it aloud faster. I /like/ this kind of writing.

C.J. Carella
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C.J. Carella
9 months 16 days ago
Seriously? Over a $7.99 Kindle price? I could see people complaining about $14.99 for an ebook (I’ve done that myself on occasion), but $7.99 (anything in the $9.99 or below range, IMHO) is a perfectly reasonable ebook price. Not that any price justifies a 1-star review. Once again, that sense of entitlement strikes again. Ridiculous. And as a self-publisher, I think too many indie writers devalue their work needlessly, giving books away for free or permanently listing them at $0.99, which doesn’t help because it spoils readers who think words magically appear on their mobile device screens without any costs… Read more »
Max Florschutz
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Max Florschutz
9 months 16 days ago

“I think too many indie writers devalue their work needlessly, giving books away for free or permanently listing them at $0.99, which doesn’t help because it spoils readers who think words magically appear on their mobile device screens without any costs involved. ”

I’ve noticed this exact same problem, and I think it’s far more widespread than most people realize. Way too many consumers think that it’s as easy to create the product as it is for them to consume it … and that’s not a trend that’s going to do any writers and good.

snelson134
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snelson134
9 months 13 days ago

Permanently listing the first book in the series at under $3 is a good idea, because if I’m browsing through the recommendations I don’t mind experimenting at that price with someone I’ve never seen before. I know several people like me.

SirShades
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SirShades
9 months 13 days ago

I like the Baen model for established authors with substantial series: The First One is Free. I’ve used that to get a number of folks hooked on Monster Hunter and other Baen titles and then laughed evilly as they promptly went out and bought the author’s entire backlist ; )

pdwalker
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pdwalker
9 months 7 days ago

Baen is staffed by drug pushing, crack dealers, I swear.

Bill Reich
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Bill Reich
9 months 16 days ago

Aren’t you supposed to be writing? I’m seventy and you need to write quickly.

T.L. Knighton
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T.L. Knighton
9 months 16 days ago

I only list books at $0.99 for temporary promotional periods or for short stories (I can’t in good conscience ask for $2.99 for something that took me a week or two to write).

That’s pretty much what I do as well. Short fiction gets $.99, novels go for more depending on various factors and at various times.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

I feel bad for pricing Sparrowind for 99c, but it was the lowest I could list and still earn.

Doug Northcote
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Doug Northcote
9 months 9 days ago

I like this policy. I love the short stories as well, but if they’re that short, I want to pay the short price. No objection at all to the regular 2.99 or more for a full novel.

Alma Boykin
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Alma Boykin
9 months 16 days ago

$.99 for short stories (12-15k words), $1.99 for the first of the series, $3.99 for novels, since I tend to write comparatively short books (that being between 70-100K words). I’m probably pricing the books low, but I’m not a name with brand recognition yet.

Jeff Ellis
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Jeff Ellis
9 months 16 days ago
Its just like apps for your phone. Software used to cost money to own, now in the race to the bottom everybody wants it free. It takes a lot of effort to write an app. Its hard to make money doing it. It takes both skill in developing as well as luck in getting to the customers. You can’t make money when it cost more to get a customer then you are asking for the product. And people wonder why developers write their games so that you have to pay them money in the game to win. Sorry for the… Read more »
Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

I thought about that, and it’s either they sign your kindle, or you go the old fashioned autograph book route.

I kinda like the latter. You don’t lose the signatures when you upgrade the device.

Mousekt
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Mousekt
9 months 15 days ago

What irritates me is when I do pay for the app, and I still have to make in game purchases to unlock the full game or to win. That feels less like necessity and more like ripping me off.

Max Florschutz
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Max Florschutz
9 months 13 days ago

I feel the same way when I try a $3 book only to find that it’s just the first third of the book, and I need to pay another $6 to get the next two thirds if I want to know what happens, because the book just sort of stopped.

Expendable Henchman
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Expendable Henchman
9 months 13 days ago

Yeah, I hate that too. But the 12 Gauge Siaga Larry forced me to buy in-kindle really is pretty sweet.

With the conditions involved in monster hunting, I’d really expect to see a LOT more AK-47’s, especially in the hands of the Ex-military.

Leah
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Leah
9 months 16 days ago
its not just indie writers that undervalue their work. its indie creators in general. check out etsy prices sometime. while there’s always a few shops that dare to set prices as high as they should be, mixed with shops that are basically Chinese import re-sellers… most people sell their crafts at barely above the cost of materials. forget labor and other overhead costs, and nevermind actual profit. it makes it that much harder for someone who actualy wants to make a living and has to start SOMEWHERE to break in, given the prices that they have to compete with. but…… Read more »
Doug Northcote
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Doug Northcote
9 months 9 days ago

As one who has purchased/read almost all of the books you have out (Warp Marines will be soon I swear!) I really like this policy.

Alex Jeffries
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Alex Jeffries
9 months 16 days ago
I certainly agree with the premise. Runs along the lines of those people who give out 1 star reviews because their product was damaged in the mail. OTOH, though, I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive to believe that Big Publishing is slitting it’s own throat by reinstating agency pricing on ebooks – just that reviews aren’t the place for that debate. Case in point: For SotBS, I own the eARC, the hard cover, the Kindle ebook, and the Audible edition. That was worth it to me, even if it was pricey. However, I’ve also cut out a number of other… Read more »
Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
9 months 14 days ago

Shipping damage is also something you can complain about directly to Amazon – because they care about something that is completely within their control to fix.

Doing it on a review is useless; unless there is some public outcry, nobody at Amazon is ever to going to see it or do anything about it.

SlimTim
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SlimTim
9 months 16 days ago

Personally, I would have paid the $21.46 for a paperback copy on the release date. I’m running out of room on my bookshelf.

Toastrider
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Toastrider
9 months 16 days ago

Embrace ebooks, my friend. My shelves are so crammed I’ve been trying to sell some of my less-read and less-loved books back to used bookstores.

Sara the Red
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Sara the Red
9 months 16 days ago

^ This, exactly. I’ve been ruthlessly purging my dead-tree books. If I don’t love it enough to track down a hardcover copy and/or it’s not available (or available at a decent price–ie, not the same price as a hardcover) in ebook form, they are by and large getting sold in a garage sale. For the first time ever, I’m looking at actually…having leftover bookshelf space…

Reziac
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Reziac
9 months 15 days ago

[restrains self from visiting Sara’s garage sale]

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

…is there an online garage sale going on…? *wistfully*

SlimTim
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SlimTim
9 months 16 days ago

I’ve considered it, but I spend all day at work on a computer. When I relax, I’d rather read from a physical book.

I will have to do some book culling soon, or buy a 2nd bookshelf (likely both).

To each their own.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

I’m buying more bookshelves. I like artbooks in physical form, and like you, reading a physical book is how I disconnect and relax.

steveH
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steveH
9 months 11 days ago
Second bookshelf? *Second*?? Not long ago, we decided to escape California. With 40 years’ worth of stuff, including (hmm…carry the six…) about a dozen stuffed full-height bookcases to pack up, we decided to pass on lots of dead-tree books to deserving homes. And libraries. And used bookstores. And neighbors. Acquaintances. Passersby. Ahem. Yay for ebooks! Now we have a new, not yet finished inside (job security for this retired person) home on 80 acres of woods adjacent to a small river outside our kitchen window. And only a couple hundred pounds of books that somehow stowed away on the trip… Read more »
Faith Clendenen
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Faith Clendenen
9 months 11 days ago

We moved forty boxes of books from California to New Hampshire and are still trying to get enough bookshelves to unpack them. The two six foot high, three foot wide shelves we bought (and the eight foot long, three foot high one) got filled up with *new* purchases in the last eight years. The two Kindles and the old Sony Reader have another several dozen books on each of them. *sigh* I love books, but I have little time to read until I retire (in May! Yay!)

detroyes
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detroyes
9 months 11 days ago

Ebooks are definitely your friend. My kindle currently has thousands on it (more than I could possibly read in my lifetime, tho I damn well will give it a try!), and I rarely go anywhere without it. As much as I would love to have a floor-to-ceiling library at my casa-de-chaos, it just isn’t practical. Hence, having it all in an easy to carry small device has been almost a godsend.

Tho it is kind of hard to get your favorite author to sign an ebook. 🙁

Derick
Guest
Derick
9 months 16 days ago

Oh my exalted ILoH, +1 for being a Ford Expedition in human form.

PavePusher
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PavePusher
9 months 16 days ago

“Those of us who’ve known the touch of a woman…”

ROFL!!!!

True Evil(tm) reads novels in their entirety between women. (Preferably sandwiched.)

Kristophr
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Kristophr
9 months 16 days ago

My wife won’t let me rest my Kindle on her back. Wicked woman …

Dave L.
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Dave L.
9 months 16 days ago

Now, there are some books where the e-version price is just bizarre. Like this one (Fighting by Minutes, by Robert Leonhard): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PY3EHW?colid=1KNWAJZU7JF4Z&coliid=I2TRGQ3UFJNXB&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl
$130 is damn steep, even for a book that’s out of print in dead-tree version and has a limited audience (mainly field grade military officer types).
But I didn’t give it a 1-star review. I sent an email to the publisher saying “This book is great, I read a library copy, and I’d gladly pay $x.xx for a ebook version”

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

There you have touched on one of my great frustrations. I’d like to buy a number of history books but they’re priced too high ($30+ or more, for ebook versions, without exchange rates raping my wallet; or worse, pounds for the currency.)

Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
9 months 14 days ago

Agreed. Now, I do have an eye on an edition of Sun Tzu at $70.00. But it is a real book, archive quality paper, crushed silk cover…

Max Florschutz
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Max Florschutz
9 months 16 days ago
I feel your pain Larry. This weekend I got involved in a discussion with someone online who was complaining that my books were too expensive for his tastes, and if I wanted him to read them I’d better drop the price (and the closer to free, the better). I say discussion, but it was really more of a “lead a horse to water situation.” They held a number of insane beliefs, including that the “proper” cost for an ebook should be roughly 10% of a hardback, and that they should only have to pay for each word they actually read.… Read more »
Stuart the Viking
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Stuart the Viking
9 months 16 days ago

Which brings up that most people today don’t understand the difference between Marxism, Capitalism, Crony Capitalism, Communism, Nazi-ism (National Socialism), or Socialism. Nor do they understand the advantages and disadvantages.

I occasionally get called a Nazi, which utterly confuses me because I’m more like a Libertarian (nearly, but not quite, an Anarcho-Capitalist).

tuco
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tuco
9 months 16 days ago

Say what you will about National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

Stuart the Viking
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Stuart the Viking
9 months 15 days ago

Really, I didn’t say anything ABOUT National Socialism.

As far as “at least it’s an ethos”. So what. Pastafarianism is an “ethos”, but you don’t see me running around with a colander on my head.

Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
9 months 15 days ago

(must resist urge to quote more from “The Big Lebowski”)

Robert
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Robert
9 months 16 days ago

I occasionally get called a Nazi, which utterly confuses me because I’m more like a Libertarian (nearly, but not quite, an Anarcho-Capitalist).

It’s because communists and socialists have managed to utterly confuse the majority of the populace about just what fascism and Nazism actually were. Instead of “socialism-lite with nationalism and/or racism”, they think it was basically what is actually called a corporatocracy, aka crony capitalism.

Stuart the Viking
Guest
Stuart the Viking
9 months 15 days ago

Which is still confusing since “Small government, staying out of the way” is a far cry from “Government actively engaged in protecting corporate interests”

But then again, that was my point anyway. The populace is largely ignorant of political and economic theory.

Richard McEnroe
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Richard McEnroe
9 months 15 days ago

‘Nazi’ is the new ‘disagree.’

Stuart the Viking
Guest
Stuart the Viking
9 months 15 days ago

Yes, yes it is.

David, Internet Troll
Guest
David, Internet Troll
9 months 14 days ago

Just remember what P J O’Rourke said in “Give War a Chance:”

I have often been called a Nazi and, although it is unfair, I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.

Derick Jasper
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Derick Jasper
9 months 16 days ago
I agree with you. Sadly, a lot of people devalue how much effort goes into creating a work of art, which is why those people can justify pirating so easily. I also agree with your points on the race-to-the-bottom pricing approach with self-published books. Other than certain situations (sales, giving away the first book of a series in order to pull people in, etc), I always find myself questioning how good a $0.99 book can really be. That’s not fair to the author, but I can’t help it. It’s just like what you said about BIC pens.
Reziac
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Reziac
9 months 15 days ago

Well, I know for myself, with a fairly cramped budget, ebooks are not competing with new print books. They’re competing with *used* print books. I suspect this is more widespread than the big sellers realise.

Max Florschutz
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Max Florschutz
9 months 14 days ago
Your shelving them with used books rather than new books is one reason why I think it would be good practice for ebooks to depreciate much in a manner similar to some other digital markets, for example, Steam. An ebook comes out at a price just below paperback (so around $8). When the next book by that author comes out, or after a few years, drop the price a bit. Then drop it again with the next one. Either leave it or drop it once more with the next. That way, the price does go down after a period so… Read more »
Max Florschutz
Guest
Max Florschutz
9 months 14 days ago

Got distracted and hit post on an incomplete post! Whoops!

As I meant to say, and better yet, timing price drops of old books around new releases boosts old sales and lets buyers know roughly when they can expect something to drop.

Chris
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Chris
9 months 16 days ago

I about choked on my own spit at your last comment! Hahahahaha!
This blog post provided me about 20 mins of entertainment for FREE! 5 STARS!

BobtheRegisterredFool
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BobtheRegisterredFool
9 months 16 days ago

1) It cost you 20 minutes of time, plus whatever time it took to find it, or realize that Larry is a good source of entertainment. Though the last cost is offset by whatever prior entertainment Larry has provided. 2) This serves as a loss leader for Larry. Whatever he doesn’t extract via paywall he more than makes up for in advertising.

Thegn Skarstedt
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Thegn Skarstedt
9 months 16 days ago

My reading speed is relatively comparable to Owen’s reload speed. Course, in this analogy, I’ve dropped most of the ammo in the dirt.

Bill Reich
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Bill Reich
9 months 16 days ago

One-star reviews over book condition or shipping issues are equally dumb. This reply is the only really good one I have ever seen an author make to a review but that is because it isn’t a review of the book but of the price.

On the other topic, I can read very fast and I do so when reading some non-fiction. When reading a novel, especially a good one, I slow down and enjoy the ride.

AAcid
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AAcid
9 months 16 days ago

I do sorta disagree on shipping issues if the shipper is on the site where you are starring. You are reviewing the service of the site at which you are leaving a review. Just make certain that there is sufficient information to break out what the negative was. It would be better if the product and supplier ratings were separate though (e.g. got part in 2 days but was a lemon get a 5 star supplier vs 1 star product)

Levi
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Levi
9 months 16 days ago
Not that I’m endorsing these, but what’s your take on the folks who one-star over ebook rights issues? Thinking specifically about the ratings on the last one or two Robert Jordan books when Brandon Sanderson wrapped them up or the mirage of the good David Eddings books on US ebook sites (releasing for a while, then yanked). I remember right when AMoL came out, maybe after 3 days the reviews were almost evenly split between 5 and 1 star reviews, and none of the 1 star people disliked the book. They were just pissed that the ebook was withheld for… Read more »
Andrew
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Andrew
9 months 16 days ago

“I want this product so bad that I’m angry enough to give a one star review because it’s not in my hands.”

I believe that’s called “greed”.

Shawna
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Shawna
9 months 16 days ago
On a related topic, I think people shouldn’t give one star to products just because they don’t want to buy from scalpers. Nintendo has this problem where it releases limited edition items that are super-hard for normal people to get, so the only way to buy them is from scalpers/resellers at huge markups. And I totally understand people being upset about that. But it drives me nuts when people one-star those products and then use their review to tell people not to buy from scalpers. Like I said in one of my reviews for such a product, if I want… Read more »
Stuart the Viking
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Stuart the Viking
9 months 16 days ago
I can see the one star for products because of artificial scarcity. Like Larry said wrt books, the one you are effecting with the one star is the author, or in the Nintendo case, the company that made that is producing and selling the product (Not that I do this personally, I usually don’t bother rating something at all unless I REALLY LOVE it). Although I can also see your point of view. As for speed reading. I read pretty fast (not quite speed reading speed) and I would love to slow down and enjoy more, but quite often I… Read more »
Mark
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Mark
9 months 15 days ago

I have to read fast too. Otherwise I always end up at 3AM with 3 chapters to go and the alarm set for 6AM to go to work.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

Yeah, I read fast, and actually read, not skim. There just isn’t enough time in my day and lately reading has become something of a luxury, so I’ll read and eat at the same time – whether it’s at the computer or at a physical page.

Basara
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Basara
9 months 16 days ago
I bought some used DVDs from Amazon, and they had separate feedback for the DVDs and the seller (HPB of Columbus, OH). I made a point of reviewing the product fairly, then commenting in the seller feedback “Excellent shipping and product quality, but the next time you sell a DVD for $12+ online, you might want to remove the “HPB $0.99 CLEARANCE” stickers off the cases before you ship them….” and docked them from 5 stars down to 4 stars, because otherwise their service was great. It’s just that these were DVDs 5 & 6 of a set of 9,… Read more »
Reziac
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Reziac
9 months 15 days ago

Yikes. What series is that?

Bibliotheca Servare
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Bibliotheca Servare
9 months 15 days ago
Umm…I don’t know about anyone else, but I read pretty fast, and I retain what I read. I don’t “skim for plot points” and call it reading or any other nonsense like that. It’s just my default leisure reading speed is fairly rapid, though there are certainly people who read much faster than I. Maybe it’s just a lingering irritation at teachers telling me (when I was in elementary/middle/high school) “there’s no way you absorbed that material that quickly! Stop skimming and actually read the assignment/book/etc!” but people who say that reading fast=skimming really tend to piss me off. You… Read more »
Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago
One of my teachers (the biology teacher mentioned in a previous comment) put out essay-answer questions to weed out whether or not we’d absorbed the material. It shut up all the people bitching about my speed of reading and information retention because I’d invariably finish the tests so quickly I’d have ten minutes to spare, so I’d ask if I could leave the room and read. Since the tests were either teacher graded, or your paper was checked by someone else in the room x/y and I’d get most of the answers right… It stopped the people who were pretending… Read more »
Zmortis
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Zmortis
9 months 14 days ago

More than once in college, and subsequent work based training courses, I’d take a test and finish well before the rest of the class. The funny thing is I’d also find myself in the top 10% of the grades as well after doing so. Some of us just think faster, and don’t spend a lot of time second guessing our answers.

Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
9 months 14 days ago
I had the very annoying habit of dozing in some classes, then waking up, answering the “gotcha” question the instructor had just thrown my way, then slumping down again, blissfully asleep. (Yes, true story. My then future wife witnessed it, and the aftermath in World History – apparently about five minutes of dead silence…) People are different – and in different ways, depending on the material. My daughter’s fiance has a real reading disability – but he can whiz through an MHI novel nearly as fast as I do (faster, these days, see above). So far as I can tell,… Read more »
Alpheus
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Alpheus
9 months 2 days ago

I don’t consider myself a fast reader by any means, but I have found that if I did my homework, I would generally do very well on the tests as well.

The idea of studying, to some extent, is foreign to me. I generally did lousy when I had to sit down an memorize things (10th grade vocabulary, 9th grade geography comes to mind); the only tests I’ve seriously studied for were prelims for my doctorate in mathematics…and even then, I passed one without studying (albeit, that was a fluke…)

Alpheus
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Alpheus
9 months 2 days ago

(Incidentally, my inability to read fast drives me nuts. There’s so much to read, and my time is extremely limited…)

Carrie B
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Carrie B
9 months 15 days ago
It’s also rather jackass-ish to assume that all speed readers are skimmers. Some people just read FAST. Every single word, just much faster than average. It doesn’t make us special, it just makes us fast at reading. There’s probably something you’re much faster at than I am. However, I’m not going to sit here hissing sour grapes and calling you a jackass because I’ve convinced myself the only way you can do it faster than me is by cutting corners. I’m going to congratulate you on being fast at that skill. If we were all the same and did things… Read more »
Alan S.
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Alan S.
9 months 16 days ago

“and finally keeping the wings from falling off of A-10s”

1) That is awesome.
2) How did I not know this?
3) Why is this not part of the blurb?!?

Webscriptions are great, except if you’re buying the monthly bundle every month you aren’t getting a ‘discount’. You are for that particular month … but when it comes out in paperback you’re buying a second copy. Of an epub. And then the epub of the … leather edition. And this is ignoring the eARCs.

Back on point:
4) ONE STAR for failure to -sufficiently- report/brag about having anything to do with the GAU-8 transporter.

TRX
Guest
TRX
9 months 15 days ago

“The gun so awesome, they put wings on it!”

Though they’re airfoil-shaped, the “wings” are really just an accessory mounting platform. Bombs, rockets, tactical lasers, cupholders, that sort of thing.

Bugmaster
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Bugmaster
9 months 16 days ago

FWIW, I personally thought that the SotBS ebook was priced reasonably well. It was close to the higher end of the range of what I’d expect, but still doable. If it was priced any higher than that, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. But I did buy it, and I enjoyed it a lot, so, I guess… hoorray for market research ?

Brent Newman
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Brent Newman
9 months 16 days ago

“..and finally keeping the wings from falling off of A-10s”
I just knew that somehow, somewhere, Larry was connected to epic BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT.

Stuart the Viking
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Stuart the Viking
9 months 16 days ago

LOL… I still remember the first time I heard that. Those A-10s are pretty quiet so with all the other stuff going on at the time I didn’t even notice it was there, then it was like GOD farted.

I was going through some urban combat training and didn’t even know there was a aircraft range in the area. To this day, I still think the Marines should have picked up the A-10, although I understand the arguments against that.

Dan Lane
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Dan Lane
9 months 16 days ago

It’s a gun with wings, essentially. And a couple of engines and a gunner- err, pilot.

junior
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junior
9 months 16 days ago

And bombs and missiles.

Truth be told, the gun is great against lightly armored vehicles. But despite the hype about the gun, the Mavericks are needed for anything with real armor.

Bibliotheca Servare
Guest
Bibliotheca Servare
9 months 15 days ago

Heretiiiiic! Burn the heretic! Buuuuurn! 😛 Seriously, the A-10 is a beautiful, beautiful piece of machinery. Ohhh…so damn purty.

Stuart the Viking
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Stuart the Viking
9 months 15 days ago

Dude, you need new eyes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan, but the A-10 is called Warthog for a reason. 🙂

Bibliotheca Servare
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Bibliotheca Servare
9 months 12 days ago

You take that back! 😛 Seriously though, I really do think the A-10 is a beautiful machine. It’s not as “sleek” as some, maybe, but it’s (imo) a gorgeous example of form following function. Plus, what other plane *farts* whilst it lays waste to your enemies? God’s flatulence, ‘s what that is. 😀

Joe Triscari
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Joe Triscari
9 months 16 days ago

Fun fact: That guy’s review was written on a device which is valuable because of how charge or magnetic fields can be arranged in some internal storage medium. The same device absent the proper arrangement has the same mineral worth and zero actual worth.

I work in software. It honestly amazes me how many *software engineers* do not understand they create no mineral wealth but insist on evaluating wealth in terms of pies or whining about what a drug costs per pill.

Chris White
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Chris White
9 months 16 days ago

I love the blog posts, but……. I’m going to have to ask you to please focus on the next MHI, or SOBS or anything thing else! You write it and I’ll buy it! eBook because it takes forever for the Audible version to come out, paperback in case the SHTF and I need reading material or TP, and finally Audible because I’ll listen to it several times waiting patiently for the next one to come out!

keranih
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keranih
9 months 16 days ago

A quibble – unless something has really changed in the last couple of years, Amazon’s dedication to profit is lower than that of many other companies. For the first decade or so, it was dubbed ‘Amazon.org’ because the bottom line was so lousy. (I await correction clarification.)

Also – if a $2 lottery ticket is buying me ten minutes of delighted day-dreaming about where I’d spend all that dough, then a decent paperback is cheap at twice the price.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

Hell, I already know what I’ll buy if I ever get 10-30 million AUD. I just need the dosh to land on my lap. For giggles, I’ll occasionally buy a $1 scratchie and let my kids scratch the thing. I’ll sometimes win $2-$10.

But yeah, it’s fun to daydream too =)

Raptor
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Raptor
9 months 16 days ago
Ugh. People like Mr. Cheap-@$$ One Star really grind my gears. I only have one ebook out at the moment a self-published short story/novella. I priced it at $0.99 because I really could not in good conscience expect people to pay any more than that for a story that will take them an hour or two to read, especially since I’m a brand-new author. Seems reasonable, right? Yeah, not to this one @$$clown I got into an internet discussion with. One of those preaches-with-his-nose-in-the-air types who proclaimed that he wouldn’t pay money for anything that took him x amount of… Read more »
Murgy
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Murgy
9 months 16 days ago

It’s the 7th paragraph of the post, after the italics. G&A is General & Administrative costs.

Too bad it’s not Guns & Ammo though. It’d make budget meetings a lot more interesting. 🙂

Raptor
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Raptor
9 months 16 days ago

Thanks.

Richard McEnroe
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Richard McEnroe
9 months 16 days ago

$7.99 for an e-book and it only takes eight hours to read?! What a rip!

(And I have too known the touch of a woman. But I had to chase the last one two blocks to get my watch and wallet back.

Denny
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Denny
9 months 16 days ago

Brilliant Larry!

Tony Lekas
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Tony Lekas
9 months 16 days ago
I once complained about an eBook price on Amazon but I did it in the associated Forum, not in a review where I had to rate the book. That was for Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson which they were asking $17.99 for. I understand the economics and they have a right to sell it for whatever they want. I also have a right to bitch about it but I did not make the mistake of effecting the rating of the book while doing so. If I wanted to be entertained by Larry but did not want to purchase his… Read more »
Robert Cruze Jr.
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Robert Cruze Jr.
9 months 16 days ago
Two items: First, I remember the good old days when every Baen e-book (except the EARCs) was $4 to $6 regardless of whether it was in hardcover or paperback. But the thing is, Baen had to change their pricing structure to ink this deal with Amazon in order to give their authors a lot more sales exposure. Sure, it means paying a couple more bucks but: more exposure = better sales = authors write more books. Second, speed-reading a Larry Correia novel kinda sounds kinda like pureeing a perfect cut of steak and chugging it in one gulp, or slamming… Read more »
Old Cannonballs
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Old Cannonballs
9 months 1 day ago

I can’t just pick up an MHI novel and “savor it,” at least not the first time through. Maybe on subsequent readings, but the first time I gotta find out what happens next…

Guest
Stephen Fleming
9 months 16 days ago

Unless it’s something intensely visual, like a book of maps or photography, the ebook is worth MORE to me than either a paperback OR a hardback. (And I’m speaking as someone with over 6000 physical books in my home.)

Because, with ebooks, EVERY book is a large-print book. And as my aging eyeballs deteriorate, that’s worth a lot.

tuco
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tuco
9 months 16 days ago

My dad had a stroke a few years ago. It turned out that reading was incredibly helpful during his ongoing recovery. His eyesight was poor, but using an e-reader has allowed him to read almost back up to his pre-stroke voracious pace.

CarrieBeth Pelton
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CarrieBeth Pelton
9 months 16 days ago
I don’t speed read. If I could it would make homework much less taxing for me. When you are 40 and going back to school you need any little edge you can get. Regardless of my inability to speed read, I wish I could have asked you for help with my Econ and Accounting classes the last couple of years! It is important for people to understand that there is no magic in creating items. I sell hand made crochet and knitted items as well as patterns that I design. Often I am told my prices are ridiculous because I… Read more »
tuco
Guest
tuco
9 months 16 days ago

As silly as it is to try to “fight the man” with nothing more than a piece of your mind in stead of all of your wallet, at least this guy’s review is better than that clown that “reviewed” your first several books on Amazon that gave a damn near page by page synopsis of the book he was reviewing. That clown was posting “reviews” that seemed to go on for 10k words plus.

Guess
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Guess
9 months 16 days ago
Amazon wants 1 star reviews over price. They are pressuring publishers to lower prices. Amazon wants people to use amazon and kindle for everything. Remember when amazon removed the buy button from McMillan? They may do that Baen some day. Cause its business and Jeff Bezos is a dick. Amazon is setting themselves up as customer advocates. Who just wants to save you money. If amazon didnt want this to happen they would break out ratings by confirmed purchases and non confirmed ones. As a consumer, I value reviews from people who read the book over ones who dont. This… Read more »
Brian McGoldrick
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Brian McGoldrick
9 months 16 days ago
Actually, Bezos wants to make as much money as he can even off things he hates. You would not believe the amount of gun parts and paraphernalia that move though the Amazon Fulfillment Centers. Now the little PC Nazi dweebs that make up his IT & Customer Service departments absolutely love 1 stars on anything non-PC. Even if you find a 1 star review that violates their review rules and outright lies about the product, when you flag it, their response will be something to the effect of “we want our reviewers to feel safe expressing their HONEST opinions”. The… Read more »
Bjorn Hasseler
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Bjorn Hasseler
9 months 16 days ago

Are you aware that Baen’s ebook prices went up as part of the ebook contract with Amazon?

BobtheRegisterredFool
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BobtheRegisterredFool
9 months 16 days ago

I figured that was in part Amazon compromising with the big five. Rumor has it that the big five were pressuring Amazon towards insanely high ebook prices even then. I suspect this last go round of negotiations, Amazon caved to the big five because Amazon knew the indy ebook suppliers were enough to take up the slack.

Andrew
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Andrew
9 months 15 days ago

Amazon didn’t give, so much as they handed the Big 5 a petard and said “Here ya go.”

And the Big 5 are obliging them.

Alex Jeffries
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Alex Jeffries
9 months 16 days ago
Actually, the whole “agency pricing” thing did not involve the publishers offering or Amazon pushing for the publishers to lower their price. What the publishers wanted and Amazon resisted was Amazon being unable to reduce Amazon’s part of the price. That’s right. The publishers wanted Amazon to make more per unit and Amazon resisted it. The reason Amazon was willing to discount ebooks AT ITS OWN COST is that its data showed that a $10 ebook they made $2 off was more profitable than a $15 they made $7 (hypothetical numbers; IIRC, the actual sweet spot was a bit lower… Read more »
Doctor Locketopus
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Doctor Locketopus
9 months 14 days ago

” Remember when amazon removed the buy button from McMillan?”

You mean when negotiations between Amazon and Macmillan broke down and Amazon therefore no longer had the rights to sell Macmillan books?

What was Amazon supposed to do in that situation? Keep a non-functioning “buy button”? Please be specific.

John Van Stry
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John Van Stry
9 months 16 days ago

(I actually earned out my advance for Monster Hunter Nemesis off of eARC sales alone).

Brian McGoldrick
Guest
Brian McGoldrick
9 months 16 days ago

I used to get those pre-release reviewer copies from Del Rey for a while. They were for free though. Then, I ripped up one side and down the other of a David Eddings book I thought he did a worse than usual Deus Ex Mahcina on, and they never offered me the chance to review a pre-release book again. I guess the whole point of their program was that you were supposed to gush all over the authors and not give an honest review.

Brad
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Brad
9 months 16 days ago
I’ve never really understood the “your ebook is too expensive” complaint, especially at launch. Usually the ebook price is significantly lower than the hardcover price, and if you were going to wait for the paperback anyway, that’s still going to be available, AND as you point out, the ebook price will go down when the paperback comes out. For an example, take the last couple of Laundry Files books; The Annihilation Score is $24ish in hardcover and $13 on Kindle, whereas The Rhesus Chart is $8 in both paperback and Kindle. If you waited a year you’d get the $8… Read more »
Derick Jasper
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Derick Jasper
9 months 16 days ago
This guy just baffles me. The paperback isn’t out yet! His whole point is completely moot. Even if it were, though, if he’s expecting self-publishing prices from a bestselling novelist, and Hugo award nominee, he’s smoking crack. Self-publishing is great, and I’ve read many fantastic books from self-published authors, but like you said, the business model is a totally different horde of space hamsters. The only place where I can kind of understand his argument is when eBooks are MORE expensive than paperbacks (which he does mention, so he must have been going off of the $9.99 price that the… Read more »
Mark
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Mark
9 months 16 days ago

Non-writer question: what does it mean that you “earned out [your] advance”? I’ve seen similar wording elsewhere and can guess at the meaning, but would like to know for sure.

Robert
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Robert
9 months 16 days ago

Was Son of The Black Sword released as an e-book at $7.99? I would have sworn that it was $12.99 or more. I didn’t leave a bad review because of it, but I did get the audible version instead since it was cheaper (I’m a platinum member).
I did the same thing for Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass ($13.99 for e-book).

RoadRunner
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RoadRunner
9 months 16 days ago

I’m giving this blog post a 1-star rating because the American political system is broken, global warming, and North Korean nukes. Non Sequitur Forever!!!

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
9 months 16 days ago

Those of us who’ve known the touch of a woman don’t care you read fast.

That has got to be the best line in the whole thing.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago

I have to admit, I said out loud, “But what if I’m the woman in the couple and I’m the fast reader?” *touches face*

rocketguy
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rocketguy
9 months 16 days ago

This reminds me of the folks who stamp their feet and shout about conspiracy theories because gas prices don’t track linearly with oil prices. I always ask them the same question: If the oil was free, would the gas be free? Doesn’t help ’cause you can’t fix stupid.

Zsuzsa
Guest
Zsuzsa
9 months 16 days ago

” I always ask them the same question: If the oil was free, would the gas be free?”

It’s a measure of how far my trust in the American public has gone down that I fear many people would hear that question and answer, “Of course!”

Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
9 months 15 days ago

Math and facts are hard… plus science is a tool of the white male patriarchal oppressors.

Feather Blade
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Feather Blade
9 months 15 days ago

I knew a guy a few years back who was convinced that tap water should be free, since it’s naturally occurring and necessary for human survival.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him ( or he didn’t have the head to hear, w/e) that you don’t pay the water department for water, you pay it for filtering, treatment, storage, pipe maintenance, and the electricity to pump it out of the wells and into the water towers.

rocketguy
Guest
rocketguy
9 months 15 days ago

Yup – even if the oil was “free”, someone has to pay for storage, transport, storage, refining, transport, additives, etc., etc. One thing the low oil prices are doing is highlighting taxation.

…and free oil? Terrifying. Free oil = death of the oil industry = societal collapse regardless of what the alternative energy mafia says.

Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
9 months 15 days ago

Kind of like how free wood =/= free furniture. There’s still a lot of assembly required between “bunch of log” and “bedroom set”.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
9 months 15 days ago
I had a guy driving a taxi berate me on why Filipinos tended to drink soft drinks instead of good, clean healthy water, and fruit juices. “Because water that’s fit to drink and fruit juice are expensive. Cholera from water or cola, hmm, most people pick Coke.” Taxi guy: “Why not have the government fix it?” “Because the government is corrupt and is more interested in lining its’ pockets than helping the people.” Taxi guy: Why haven’t you revolted against them? Me: We’ve done that twice, and it hasn’t really done any permanent good. Also, guns are expensive and we… Read more »
Chuck
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Chuck
9 months 16 days ago

I saw that review and my immediate reaction was WTF?

Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger
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Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger
9 months 16 days ago
I priced the Kindle editions of my books at a lower price than SotBS, but I’m an unknown. SotBS is written by this guy with a solid rep for good work. I can talk about the costs of producing that ebook that “costs the publishing company NOTHING to create in comparison to hardback.” BS. Formatting alone; ebooks require as much formatting as hardbacks, but it’s _different_, so you have to format twice (and a third time for the paperback). You can probably use the same artwork for both, but again the formats (including file type, size, and resolution) differ, so… Read more »
PQRavik
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PQRavik
9 months 16 days ago

Obviously he didn’t review David Drake’s “Air and Darkness”, which at $12.99 is even MORE expensive then Son of Black Sword.

jic
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jic
9 months 15 days ago

That book doesn’t currently seem to be available on Kindle.

Wes S.
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Wes S.
9 months 16 days ago
I just picked up David Weber’s new Hell’s Gate novel – “The Road to Hell” for $9.99 Kindle price (as opposed to $27 for the hardcover). I suppose your nameless critic would also think THE RENT IS JUS’ TOO DAMN HIGH!!!1! for that book as well . . . Sigh. Now Tor, on the other hand, has some ridiculously high prices for some of their e-books, but even the $12.99 I paid for Weber’s latest Safehold on Kindle wasn’t too bad compared to the hardcover price. Which is all the money those (censoreds) got from me last year, because they’re… Read more »
Mark
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Mark
9 months 15 days ago

I’m still waiting for the one before that (Safehold) to come down to what I’m willing to pay.:) Love that “The price was set by the publisher” comment.

Guest
Robin Munn
9 months 15 days ago

Ditto. I’ve happily bought all of David Weber’s books in ebook form… as long as those ebooks were put out (and priced) by Baen. The Safehold series, I’ve been buying from thrift stores if and when I find one. Result: Weber hasn’t gotten a dime from me for that series, sadly. But happily, neither has Tor.

ravenshrike
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ravenshrike
9 months 16 days ago

Hey now, there are plenty of places where you can get a damn good hamburger for 8 bucks. Not homemade level, but still pretty damn good.

NukemHill
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NukemHill
9 months 16 days ago

If you get books because you like having shelves and shelves of books (nothing wrong with that by the way, you should see my office) great

This.

JRadium
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JRadium
9 months 16 days ago

I go the Audible route because it suits my average of walking around for about 2 hours everyday, which I’m assuming has a bunch of other production costs.

KRF
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KRF
9 months 16 days ago

Might be of interest that he has done this same thing to another writer and oddly enough 5 of 7 people found the review useful. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1Z9SJPFSLUMSO/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B011H3R9QQ&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=133140011&store=digital-text

Max Florschutz
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Max Florschutz
9 months 15 days ago

I think to be fair, with this one he has a point. It’s a short story of 49 pages being sold for $4, and judging from the review the author hadn’t quite made that clear but marketed it as a book. This is one of those cases of a “cheap” ebook that really isn’t.

rj
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rj
9 months 16 days ago

Of course I think that paying paper back prices for an ebook is outrageous and overpriced. $0.99 is as much as I would ever pay!

Now that I have made the obligatory ‘hagglers opening bid’, ah, Larry, any chance I can get my fix of eArc of the Grunge variety anytime soon? I got my $15 here… If you can get it for me today I could slip you another $20 on the down-low.

You got to understand, we are not talking entertainment here, we are talking a freaking monkey-on-my-back NEED!

LittleRed1
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LittleRed1
9 months 16 days ago

I can see a one star for content (really bad writing that appears only after reading the free sample; bait-n-switch that appears deliberate, not just bad signalling by the cover and blurb) or for badly made stuff. But really.

OK, I might do a one-star on price if I paid top-dollar for [famous author I used to love] and got poorly edited, bloated, typo-laden, no-trope-left-unabused text. Otherwise no. Just no.

jerry the geek
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jerry the geek
9 months 16 days ago
Yes, I can read quickly … but I don’t read novels quickly for the same reasons I eat chocolate in little tiny bites; I want to savor the flavor. Which is also the reason why I don’t give a damn how much the kindle edition costs … I buy the hardback as soon as it comes out. I love the feel of books, and although I do have a lot of paperbacks (I don’t always discover a writer early enough in his career to catch hardback versions), there are authors that I pre-purchase hardbound versions of his NEXT book as… Read more »
David-2
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David-2
9 months 16 days ago
You’re absolutely right (of course) about the purpose of reviews, and about ebook pricing for fiction. What really pisses me off, though, is scientific publishing (Springer I AM LOOKING AT YOU) where _the authors do NOT get paid_ (or get paid bubkes) and the ebook quality is – at this time – _lower_ than print (due to lower resolution, inadequate index support, inadequate zoom/pan support for graphics, and inadequate layout support for putting charts/tables on the same page as the text) yet the ebook costs the same as OR MORE than the already hideously expensive paper copy. (Since this comment… Read more »
SPQR
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SPQR
9 months 15 days ago

Actually your point would be an appropriate review of the text given its relation to book content and quality.

Richard
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Richard
9 months 16 days ago

Totally worth the read for the last paragraph alone. Was reading along going “yup, good point. . .ohhh, nicely explained – you tell ’em, Mr Correia” Then the last line I just popped out a loud laugh and scared my dog. Good times.

Leah
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Leah
9 months 16 days ago

I don’t consider myself a speed reader. but it still takes me less then 8 hours to finish a book. (ok so its like 5-6 on average, but its still couple of hours shorter then 8 😛 ) its part of the reason why books on tape don’t work for me. they slow down the story so much that I start having trouble with focusing on it.

that said… still more hours of entertainment than a movie theater, so your point still stands. just nitpicking 😛

Jennifer Ann Thompson
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Jennifer Ann Thompson
9 months 16 days ago
Gotta concur with the speed reading thing, I got up to the 900-1000 WPM range way back when I was doing the exercises for it, but that’s for blowing through paperwork, there’s no time to think about what you just read. No time to form a good mental image, enjoy the wonderful settings and characters and moments being laid out for you. Speed reading is for work, or study, period. It focuses entirely on comprehension at the direct expense of personal reflection. Who the hell speed reads a novel? That’s like just blowing through the Wikipedia plot synopsis on movies… Read more »
Logan
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Logan
9 months 16 days ago
I agree for the most part Larry: don’t like the price, don’t buy, the entertainment value is high for the price, and reviews are not the place to argue about price. However, as an avid ebook reader, I do feel like a large portion of the publishing industry just still does not understand ebooks and the people who read them. Not only are there often formatting issues (i.e., hardcoded font sizes), but they treat them like a consumable to be used by one person. Amazon has a lending program, but it’s up to the publisher to enable it, and many… Read more »
jic
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jic
9 months 15 days ago

“However, as an avid ebook reader, I do feel like a large portion of the publishing industry just still does not understand ebooks and the people who read them.”

Absolutely, but that kind of thing is self-punishing.

david
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david
9 months 15 days ago

I’m still not sure why eBooks cant be more creatively priced.
Something like if it is currently $10 for the whole book offer it as $2 for the first 1/2 – 3/4 and then $9 for the rest. All the ‘good’ authors get more and customers don’t end up paying out so much for something not as good as you hoped and you only finish because you paid for it.
Almost how Baen get you sucked in with about the first 25% for free!

cb
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cb
9 months 15 days ago
I’ll continue to dock a book in the review because of its price. It probably will only be a star or two but so be it. Why? Well, as a reader I only have power over an author in two ways. One, to buy the book or not, and two, to rate and rank the book thus potentially affecting others decision to buy or not. If iv’e already spent my money on a book than I am reduced to option two. My down-vote is the only way to let the author know of my frustration with his choice to choose… Read more »
TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
9 months 15 days ago

“power over an author”

Implicit in this is the assumption that the author, whom you are docking, has any say in the pricing of the book.

Except in the case of self-pub, they don’t.

You’re harming the author for nothing.

CB
Guest
CB
9 months 15 days ago

I’m trying to convince the author to choose to self publish in the future. Thus saving my money and making him or her more. My only way of doing this is by either not buying trad published books or by dinging those I do buy.

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
9 months 15 days ago
I’m trying to convince the author to choose to self publish in the future. Thus making more work for the author and/or increasing the author’s expenses so that you can get a cheaper book? Editing, good editing anyway, isn’t free, neither is cover design. Formatting and layout take time and effort that the writer could instead be using to write. Some folk thrive in that environment, others not. If they don’t, do you think your little “ding” is going to make up for it? If they do, do you think they need your “ding” to “encourage” them? Pointless little exercise… Read more »
CB
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CB
9 months 15 days ago

Most of the authors I follow who self publish outsource their editing and cover work. I hang out over at http://www.thepassivevoice.com where the majority of comments are from self publishers. Many have had traditional published books in the past and really like self publishing now. I do too as my cost as a reader are so much less.

My little “Ding” might do absolutely nothing… but, its all I have. The best way will succeed in the future. We will see.

Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
9 months 15 days ago

Have you considered writing your author a letter making a reasonable case for moving over to self publishing? The one star review over price smacks of a juvenile pettiness.

CB
Guest
CB
9 months 15 days ago
If you are addressing my comment, then I said I ding a star or possibly two due to price. I’ve never written a one star review. and two… write a letter to whom> The author? some are hard to find email addresses to. I submit that the review ding is a great way to get the authors attention as illustrated by this thread by the author himself. He noticed it and he noticed these comments. Goal accomplished. Also… the review ding and the review comment are read by potentially like minded readers like me thus magnifying the effect. There are… Read more »
cb
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cb
9 months 14 days ago

I did read your post and I did post a long winded response which was lost somehow. Sorry.

Much of my response is summarized in this thread and my links here if you do care.

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2016/02/my-bias-again/#comment-344232

The dozens of authors who responded dissected the economics pretty well.

jic
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jic
9 months 14 days ago

“I submit that the review ding is a great way to get the authors attention as illustrated by this thread by the author himself. He noticed it and he noticed these comments. Goal accomplished.”

I think that was more of an own goal.

cb
Guest
cb
9 months 14 days ago

I would submit that those “Just Starting Out” authors are in the majority going to be self publishing and thus will already be lower priced.

Chris Nuttall sums it up perfectly.

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2016/02/indie-author-chris-nuttall-says-all-but-biggest-authors-are-driven-to-e-books/

His comment about how Amazon reviews are the only real thing driving his success is spot on. Its also the reader reviews, not the professional reviews which have the most impact.

gmmay
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gmmay
9 months 15 days ago
The only thing you’re demonstrating here is your willingness to actively sabotage another person’s success for your own selfish desires over a process and a situation you don’t fully understand. I get the desire to save money. I get the fact that you read something on a blog somewhere. And that’s the problem – you’re easy to get. The sad thing is, you don’t even seem to realize just how much of a jackass you look like. You’re ignoring substantive comments – including from the host who happens to be highly successful, widely-read author – and you can only respond… Read more »
CB
Guest
CB
9 months 15 days ago

I responded to the host yesterday and my response was deleted or is still in moderation. I want the author to succeed. I stand by my statement that more money can be made by the author in many cases if he or she elects to self publish. I provided links in my post to the author which maybe he took offence to. Regardless… the market will dictate and this post proves that my “message” is being heard.

cb
Guest
cb
9 months 14 days ago

That is exactly right. Let the markets decide!

I would submit that the hundreds of thousands of self published authors who don’t sell are the equivalent to those authors of the past whose works never make it out of the slush pile.

So… the net successes will still be the same but the responsibility of sifting the slush pile falls to the readers instead of a publisher.