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!

Leave a Reply

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


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Micahel
3 months 7 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.

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Sara the Red
3 months 7 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…)

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BlondEngineer
3 months 7 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!

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Wayne
3 months 7 days ago

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

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Dan Lane
3 months 7 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, but live and learn.

A trick to slowing down is reading out loud. At least it was for me. It takes a *lot* longer to speak it than to skim it at lightening speed. Once I’d been doing that a while, my reading speed slowed down to saner levels.

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Sara the Red
3 months 6 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.

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David Lang
3 months 7 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 🙂

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Bibliotheca Servare
3 months 6 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 get the hang of Braille. And yeah (@SaratheRed) if the textbook was interesting (particularly history or science) I’d often find myself not doing the homework, because I got distracted and just kept reading til I finished! Not exactly the most efficient studying method.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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.

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Reality Observer
3 months 5 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…).

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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.

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Keith Glass
3 months 7 days ago

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

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Christopher M. Chupik
3 months 7 days ago

Obama, Trump, Occupy . . .

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DaveP.
3 months 5 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.

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Alpheus
2 months 24 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…

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Julaire
3 months 7 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.

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gbm
3 months 7 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.

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Andrew
3 months 7 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.

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BobtheRegisterredFool
3 months 7 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,

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T.L. Knighton
3 months 7 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.

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AAcid
3 months 7 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 a few suppliers it is relatively ‘easy’ to find a price point (For example, Most major films will be close in price, regardless of whether its 90 min or 150) with indy I’d expect it’s gonna be a bit tougher.

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htom
3 months 7 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.

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C.J. Carella
3 months 7 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 involved. Amazon recommends a price range between $2.99-5.99 for a full-length indie novel, which I think is reasonable. 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).

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Max Florschutz
3 months 7 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.

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snelson134
3 months 4 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.

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SirShades
3 months 4 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 ; )

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pdwalker
2 months 28 days ago

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

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Bill Reich
3 months 7 days ago

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

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T.L. Knighton
3 months 7 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.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 days ago

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

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Doug Northcote
3 months 14 hours 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.

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Alma Boykin
3 months 7 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.

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Jeff Ellis
3 months 7 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 rant.

I find books cheep entertainment! I just wish there was a good way to get author signings on eBooks 😉

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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.

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Mousekt
3 months 5 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.

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Max Florschutz
3 months 4 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.

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Expendable Henchman
3 months 4 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.

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Leah
3 months 7 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… that is the world we live in and if one were to work within free market economy, one figures out a way to make profit. its just… I wish people didn’t make it so difficult for everyone, but especially themselves.

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Doug Northcote
3 months 14 hours 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.

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Alex Jeffries
3 months 7 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 Big Publishing books that might have been worth $6.99 or less for an ebook, but aren’t worth $15 for one to me. I don’t see “forcing” Amazon to increase their profit margin on ebooks to somewhat prop up the hardcover sales as a viable long term strategy. Guess we’ll see.

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Reality Observer
3 months 5 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.

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SlimTim
3 months 7 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.

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Toastrider
3 months 7 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.

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Sara the Red
3 months 7 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…

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Reziac
3 months 6 days ago

[restrains self from visiting Sara’s garage sale]

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 days ago

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

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SlimTim
3 months 7 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.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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.

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steveH
3 months 2 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 to store somewhere here.

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Faith Clendenen
3 months 2 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!)

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detroyes
3 months 2 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. 🙁

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Derick
3 months 7 days ago

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

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PavePusher
3 months 7 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.)

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Kristophr
3 months 7 days ago

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

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Dave L.
3 months 7 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”

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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.)

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Reality Observer
3 months 5 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…

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Max Florschutz
3 months 7 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. When I replied with a discussion of the costs and production of books and how the point of an artist selling something is to give them enough money to continue creating in something, he responded with, and I quote:

“In any case, that’s a Marxist analysis that has nothing to do with real markets or ‘sustainable business models’.”

Yeah. Explained capitalism, got called a marxist.

The problem (and I had a discussion about this at LTUE, and am going to suggest it as a panel topic for next year) is that ebooks have introduced a real disconnect with the audience. Too many people have the mistaken concept that something is as easy to create and distribute as it is for them to acquire and consume. It’s a mentality of “Downloading this took all of seconds, and reading it only a day, so therefore it was just as easy to create as it was for me to consume.”

Worse, ebooks right now really are driving for the lowest of the “low” prices, as you pointed out (and I put “low” in quotes because that’s only actually true part of the time, the other half simple appears to be low), which creates a market belief among consumers that I don’t see being helpful. Similar to how BiC was forced to raise the prices on their pens due to consumer belief being that as cheap as they were they were low quality, shoddy products despite that not being true, I don’t believe ebooks are benefiting from this “$.99 or $2.99 at the most” mentality. Instead, I think that constant push on all authors to drop their prices that low is damaging.

Case in point: I had another author go after one of my books for being $7.99. He argued that no ebook ever should be priced over $5.99, and that I should price my books at a lower value, like his, in order to sell.

Except I looked: He was selling much shorter books at the cost of $2.99 and $3.99, where it took three or so of them to equal my one $7.99. Even on the low end, getting a comparable amount of reading would have cost me $9 from him … but he insisted that his work was cheaper.

Now obviously there’s the question of quality, etc. Yes, I get that. But my point is that the whole comparison the author made to his own work was hypocritical given he was complaining about high costs.

Anyway, I think book prices right now really aren’t understood by a lot of people, most of all the consumer. And I think book publishers, self-pubs, and authors alike need to start making a concerted effort to inform the consumer and help educate them, or we’re only going to get more comments like the one I got this weekend calling capitalism marxism. And that’s going to hurt ebooks, authors, and publishers alike. The ebook market needs to take some advice from other e-markets and start settling on some common areas, rather than constantly boomeranging around like a toddler on Red Bull, and it needs to make a case for those common areas that the public can understand.

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 7 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).

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tuco
3 months 7 days ago

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

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 6 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.

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Joe in PNG
3 months 6 days ago

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

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Robert
3 months 7 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.

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 6 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.

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Richard McEnroe
3 months 6 days ago

‘Nazi’ is the new ‘disagree.’

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 6 days ago

Yes, yes it is.

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David, Internet Troll
3 months 5 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.

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Derick Jasper
3 months 7 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.

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Reziac
3 months 6 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.

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Max Florschutz
3 months 5 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 that it does balance down towards “old and used” prices, and better yet,

This is the model I’ve begun following. After a few releases, an older book that several years old will be half or so what it was when it launched, but by then its 2 years old anyway.

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Max Florschutz
3 months 5 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.

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Chris
3 months 7 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!

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BobtheRegisterredFool
3 months 7 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.

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Thegn Skarstedt
3 months 7 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.

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Bill Reich
3 months 7 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.

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AAcid
3 months 7 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)

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Levi
3 months 7 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 a few months.

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Andrew
3 months 7 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”.

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Shawna
3 months 7 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 an item enough to pay $40 even though its retail price is $13, and I’m okay with that, I don’t need some concern troll telling me not to make that purchase. And if I’m considering buying an item, I want to know about the quality of the item, not just read complaints about how it’s so expensive.

Also, re: speed readers — Ever since I figured out that speed reading is not actually a superpower but really just skimming, people who speed read novels kinda piss me off. It’s one thing if you start a novel and think it sucks so you kinda skim to see what happens. But “skim for plot points” should not be your go-to way to read a novel. That doesn’t qualify as reading a novel. Stop calling that “reading”. It’s skimming. It doesn’t make you special. It just makes you a jackass.

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 7 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 can’t get myself to do so (especially with Larry’s books, but also a few other authors). I REALLY can’t wait to see what’s next. With my favorite books, I generally re-read them after the first rush through to enjoy the finer points that I missed, and lately, I’ve done the Amazon “add narration” thing and then go back and go through again.

Oh, and I just finished listening to Swords of Exodus and WHAAAAA!!!! I WANT THE NEXT ONE!!!!

ok… calm down… It should be out soon…..

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Mark
3 months 6 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.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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.

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Basara
3 months 6 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, and I’d paid $10 for a set of DVDs 1-3 5 years ago, and $12 for the #7-9 set 4 months ago. I’m still trying to fight against artificial scarcity stupidity to acquire sets 5, 7 and 8 for a series that retailed for $30-40, and once it went OOP and sold off in clearance sales for far less than that, can now only be found for $150-200 a set.

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Reziac
3 months 6 days ago

Yikes. What series is that?

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Bibliotheca Servare
3 months 6 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 don’t know how I, or any other fast reader, absorbs information/how we retain what we read, so pretending that you do, and saying that we/they must not be “actually” reading…and saying that that makes us/them “jackass(es)” Makes you (imo) look like a real jackass. People who act like reading fast makes them special somehow…well, they piss me off too. But that doesn’t mean everyone who reads fast is a jackass like those folks. I’ll step off the soapbox/ranting platform now, heh…

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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 to read, or had paid someone else to do things like research essays for them.

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Zmortis
3 months 5 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.

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Reality Observer
3 months 4 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, he gets just as much out of it, too.

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Alpheus
2 months 23 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…)

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Alpheus
2 months 23 days ago

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

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Carrie B
3 months 6 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 at exactly the same level of competence, the world would be a very boring place. That’s something to celebrate, not be bitter about.

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Reality Observer
3 months 4 days ago

You cite an average (or possibly a median) time. About all you can do.

Now, it took me three weeks to slog through the Leckie, to give it a proper vote in the Hugos. Not a single enjoyable hour (60 or so, I think). Negative value, there.

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Alan S.
3 months 7 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.

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TRX
3 months 6 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.

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Bugmaster
3 months 7 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 ?

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Brent Newman
3 months 7 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.

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 7 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.

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Dan Lane
3 months 7 days ago

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

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junior
3 months 7 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.

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Bibliotheca Servare
3 months 6 days ago

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

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Stuart the Viking
3 months 6 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. 🙂

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Bibliotheca Servare
3 months 3 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. 😀

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Joe Triscari
3 months 7 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.

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Chris White
3 months 7 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!

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keranih
3 months 7 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.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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 =)

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Raptor
3 months 7 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 time to read. The guy actually posted an honest-to-Gravy spreadsheet that laid out the maximum price that he decreed authors should charge for a given story length. And IIRC, he measured by time, not word length. I wasn’t the only one who told him to get a life.

As for speed reading, I’ve slowed down some, but at my peak I could plow through two or three novels per month. And that was with schoolwork and homework. I can still read through one of your novels in about 6 hours or so. Unfortunately that 6 hours is usually 9 PM – 3 AM. And always when I need to go into work early that morning. So curse you for that! 😉

And forgive an ignorant Liberal Arts major, but what is G&A? I know you’re not talking about the gun rag.

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Murgy
3 months 7 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. 🙂

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Raptor
3 months 7 days ago

Thanks.

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Richard McEnroe
3 months 7 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.

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Denny
3 months 7 days ago

Brilliant Larry!

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Tony Lekas
3 months 7 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 books I could just read his blog. 🙂 However, I think I do have all your books.

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Robert Cruze Jr.
3 months 7 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 a glass of fine sipping whiskey. Sure, you get through it nice and fast and finish before everyone else, but you’re kinda missing out on a lot of the extra flavor and nuance that you only get when you take the time to savor it.

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Old Cannonballs
2 months 22 days 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…

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Stephen Fleming
3 months 7 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.

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tuco
3 months 7 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.

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CarrieBeth Pelton
3 months 7 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 take into account my time, the time and money I have to pay my testers and proof-readers and everything that goes into making a quality product. Today’s consumer is living in a Wal-Mart world, and they are Wal-Mart girls.

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tuco
3 months 7 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.

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Guess
3 months 7 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 doesnt really hurt someone like Larry because he gets enough real reviews where it doesnt matter. Its authors that may get 25 reviews who really get hurt.

On a side note… When memory of light came out it did not come out in ebook at first. There are 100s of one star reviews over it with comments from people saying they will pirate the book because of this.

If amazon did not want this they would only show ratings inline from confirmed purchases. Jeff Bezos has shown that being a dick and shitting on people can make you rich.

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Brian McGoldrick
3 months 7 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 emphasis on HONEST is mine, but the wording actually came from the Amazon customer service. The review flagged contained outright lies that were provable, but the product was not some that fit into the Politically Correct spectrum.

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Bjorn Hasseler
3 months 7 days ago

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

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BobtheRegisterredFool
3 months 7 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.

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Andrew
3 months 6 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.

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Alex Jeffries
3 months 7 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 than even that). Why? Volume.

The publishers sort of got their way in the end by Amazon demanding – and getting – a lower price from them, giving Amazon even larger per unit revenues. That’s why this isn’t sustainable: you can’t pay your main retailer to inflate the price of an item, increase their income, and reduce your own – especially when your main retailer is rapidly becoming your main competition.

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Doctor Locketopus
3 months 5 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.

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John Van Stry
3 months 7 days ago

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh78T–ZUxY

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Brian McGoldrick
3 months 7 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.

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Brad
3 months 7 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 book either way, but if you didn’t you could pay only $5 more for having the book *then* instead of in a year, and you can re-read it a couple of times during that year.

*Maybe* if the ebook is the same price as the hardcover…but I haven’t seen that happen, and I’m at the point where I’m running out of room for books, and I’d rather have room for RPG books than hardcover novels.

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Derick Jasper
3 months 7 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 eBook used to be). Even if that book doesn’t cost much to print, I’d still like to have some of that savings passed on to me.

Luckily, though, whenever that happens, I found a super secret way to get around it….just buy the cheaper one!

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Mark
3 months 7 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.

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Robert
3 months 7 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).

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RoadRunner
3 months 7 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!!!

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TheWriterInBlack
3 months 7 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.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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*

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rocketguy
3 months 7 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.

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Zsuzsa
3 months 7 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!”

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Joe in PNG
3 months 6 days ago

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

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Feather Blade
3 months 6 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.

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rocketguy
3 months 6 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.

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Joe in PNG
3 months 6 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”.

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Shadowdancer
3 months 6 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 don’t have guns unless you’re rich, Rich people who can afford guns also can afford running water AND bottled drinking water.”

Taxi guy: They should tax the sugar industry higher then!

“Oh, you mean make everything more expensive and the big sugar industries are owned by families who also are in politics? How is that supposed to help the poor people who can’t get potable water, even in the city, and can only afford soda as a drinking source?”

Taxi guy: *no answer*

That’s not even taking into account the (daily low-power earthquakes that regularly damage piping. I’m not joking about the price of water vs cola too. Bottled water costs at least twice as much as the cheapest cold bottled soft drink on the street (It used to be RC Cola, but it’s been some years.)

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Chuck
3 months 7 days ago

I saw that review and my immediate reaction was WTF?

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Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger
3 months 7 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 your graphics guy has to rework the cover art (and again for the PB, since it lacks flaps, and the publisher will probably add some review blurbs from the earlier releases to the PB).

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PQRavik
3 months 7 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.

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jic
3 months 6 days ago

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

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Wes S.
3 months 7 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 evil puppykickers and I don’t feel like supporting Scalzi’s stupid-huge contract, but whatever (ahem). 😉

That said: I’ve also picked up lots of good works on Kindle by indie authors at $0.99 – 4.99 a pop – Chris Nuttall and C.J. Carrella, among others, come to mind – so I find it hard to complain when I spend $8-$10 bucks to get the occasional something by an established star in the field like Larry or Weber.

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Mark
3 months 6 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.

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Robin Munn
3 months 6 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.

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ravenshrike
3 months 7 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.

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NukemHill
3 months 7 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.

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JRadium
3 months 7 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.

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KRF
3 months 7 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

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Max Florschutz
3 months 6 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.

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rj
3 months 7 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!

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LittleRed1
3 months 7 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.

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jerry the geek
3 months 7 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 soon as it is announced.

I have banker boxes of books, and I like hardbound because when I drag them out to re-read them, they still feel and smell like new, unlike paperbacks. And I do reread books, usually every 4 or five years. Even the stinkers, which sometimes are better after they have ‘aged’. (If not, I trade ’em in and get 10% of my money back from my local used book store … and I go looking for a new author.)

Reason I’m saying all this is that I think you over-reacted to Mr. Cheap-Seats. I understand why you did, and I value your opinion and all that but …. how many hardcovers do you sell in the first 3 months of publication?

Sometimes when I find a new author I go back and read his early works, and for me it’s just wonderful that the cost of each book is less than the original/new publication price.

I know, it would be better for you if I bought it when first published (if it’s your book), but I’m happy and you’re just glad somebody is still buying the book. Right?

So for your blog fodder thingie, it’s your blog and you get to run it any way you want to. But when you get all hissy fit, you kind of undermine your moral high ground.

Just saying. You had your say, I had mine, and I’m not going to stop reading your books merely because we disagree on how you choose to respond to a reviewer who says he is STILL buying your books but is looking for a cheaper price.