Skip to main content

Devaluing books

With the Department of Justice filing an antitrust suit against Apple and other publishers, the bottom line is that ebooks will continue to be devalued.

Amazon will again lower their ebook prices and create a monopoly, continuing their bullying policies.

What’s more, people will expect a book to only be worth $10 or less. Usually less. They’ll become upset if a book is priced at the "exorbitant" price of $10.

This article explains that the cost of a book isn’t in the paper, it’s in the other work that goes into it. Editing. Cover design. Interior design and typesetting. Marketing. The several editors and proofreaders who go through a manuscript so it can be as free of distracting typos as possible.

I’ve read tons of Amazon reviews about people distracted and annoyed by typos in those $0.99 ebooks. Well, when there are only 2-3 people (if that many) who go through a book before it’s self-published, you have to expect some errors.

I don’t know the exact number, but I’ve estimated that at least a dozen people go through my traditionally published books before they’re printed (the number is probably higher). And each of those editors needs to be paid.

(Big deal, they only read a book, right? But actually, proofreaders go through a book at least twice--once from front to back, and then a second time line by line, starting from the end, to help them catch typos better.)

That’s why the book is set at $12.99 retail. I get 90 cents of that. After you cut out what the bookseller makes, the rest goes to pay all the people who worked on the book. You can cut out marketing costs, perhaps, (and then no one would even hear about the book) but that still leaves all the other people at my publishing house who worked to make it the best book possible.

A book has to sell a certain number of copies before the publishing house even begins to make a profit over all the expenses of making the book.

When readers devalue a book, they devalue the effort of the author and all the staff who worked on it. “Sorry, Camy, your work isn’t worth 90 cents a book.”

There are people not happy with the lawsuit, and I hope the DOJ doesn’t win.

Comments

  1. What angers me, is that people automatically think that since you're an author you make the full price on that sale, not to mention that you're making bucks hand over fist. This stinks to high heaven to me too, and I'm wondering, why in the world does the DOJ even care when there are things more along their avenue they should be worrying about.

    From what I read on PW the publishers named in the lawsuit have settled. But it sounds like Apple might take it to them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ugh--thanks for reminding everyone how much work goes into a quality book of any kind, Camy! Phooey on those who don't have any understanding of the process!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Winter--exactly! It's not like Apple is even a huge player in the ebook market. If anything the DOJ needs to go after Amazon for their monopoly on the market.

    Thanks Fedora! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a mess. I agree with you Camy. It's just not right.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's sad when it comes to this, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I respectfully wish to disagree. As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of what God has given us. That includes using our money wisely as consumers.

    I've just bought the second of the Sushi series, and will be off soon to get the next one. Based on the 90c per book you quoted above, that's going to earn you $1.80 - but will cost me $45 for two books, because I live in NZ and that's what Christian paperbacks cost here. The Kindle edition would be about half the price, but I bought the first book in paperback and don't like to split a series across formats.

    Or I can go and buy the new Tamara Leigh for $2.99. She's self-published it as an Amazon ebook, so she will earn $2.04 off my purchase. I can use the other $39 to buy more books, buy groceries, pay mortgage, donate to charity...

    Yes, there are some shoddy self-published books out there - badly designed, not well written and completely unedited. But I wouldn't put quality Christian authors such as Tamara Leigh or Mary Connealy in that basket (Mary has just self-published a new suspense as Mary Nealy, which is also only $2.99).

    Yet, despite their $2.99 price tag, they earn more per sale than your Zondervan books will (although they will have to pay for cover design and editing themselves). That might, at a stretch, be devaluing books, but it is not devaluing authors any more than personal lending, library borrowing or second-hand book sales.

    And isn't Weddings and Wasabi self-published? It's on Amazon as WinePress Publishing/Amazon Digital Services, not Zondervan like the other Sushi books. And the Kindle edition is $2.99...

    Incidentally, having 10-12 people go through your book before publication doesn't guarantee it will be error-free. A recent Kathy Herman book confused 'heroin' with 'heroine', and I found a typo in the latest DiAnn Mills book, The Chase, which is published by Zondervan.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're right, there are a lot of self published books which are quite good. I know many authors who are self publishing their backlist or unpublished manuscripts they had written or hadn't been picked up by a publishing house. Other authors were never traditionally published but they are excellent writers and put out great books.

    My objection is the message Amazon is putting out there, that ebooks shouldn't cost more than $10. When self publishing, the costs go down, but when traditionally published, the costs naturally go up. I have done both and prefer traditionally published books because my publisher has distribution channels I don't have (and while you can pay for them with self-publishing, it makes costs go way up). Also, it's less work for me and puts out an excellent product when my book is traditionally published.

    I think it does devalue an author when so many other ebooks are $2.99 or less and it puts pressure on an author to price her ebook the same. Since Weddings and Wasabi is print on demand, I don't have much choice on the cost of the print copy because of the inherent costs of a POD printer. I put half as much effort into writing Weddings and Wasabi as I do for my Love Inspired books, so I priced the ebook at roughly half what a Love Inspired costs. So far, I haven't made any money off of that because of my other self-publishing costs. I didn't go into it expecting to make any money.

    You are right in that God does call us to be good stewards of our money, and I wouldn't want someone to spend money on my books when they ought to spend it on things like food, clothing, and schooling. I am not asking people to spend their money on my books when they have other needs.

    But when people start to expect a book to only cost $2.99 regardless of the actual production costs, that devalues ME as an author and it's very degrading to me emotionally. I'm sure some of that is completely irrational, but emotions are rarely rational. I just know that I'm hurt when someone complains that my book costs too much.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You are also right that 10-12 people going through a book doesn't guarantee it will be error free, but having so many people go through my self-published book caught at least 35 errors that I and my freelance editor hadn't seen. I would have hated Weddings and Wasabi to be released with so many errors.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "But when people start to expect ... that devalues ME as an author and it's very degrading to me emotionally."

    I undertand how you might feel that way, but please remember that you are not what you earn, or even what you do. Ask any mother or volunteer worker. Our value lies in the fact that we are precious children of God. The economies of this world are based on money and profit. Thankfully, God is not.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That is very true. However, I also can't discount the fact that my publisher is the reason I am able to write full time. Otherwise, I'd be back working in biology and I'd be lucky to put out a book every 18 months.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What gets me is not the price of the book, but how little of it that the author gets. Yes, there are editors and proofreaders and marketing, but without the product itself (the author's hard work) there's nothing to sell. Print copies are one thing, but when I see ebooks for $15, $20, more, I feel like it's the publisher being greedy. Even if 10-12 people read over the book looking for typos, they didn't write it to begin with, which takes a lot more time than reading them. Besides that, ebooks don't take up storage space in warehouses, don't have to pay rent, salaries, utilities for a brick and mortar store, don't take up paper and ink or the time it takes to print and ship them, and I'm sure there are things that I haven't thought of, but from what I've seen for the most part, they sell for the same price (or more, in a few cases) as the print editions. So who is profiting? Is it the author, at 90 cents a copy?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Actually, the cost of printing and warehouse storage is not that much, but the cost of marketing a book can be very high. That's why some books are released at such a high cost (just like being released in hardcover) to try to recoup some of the marketing money that's gone into it. The marketing budget is taken into account just like the editors who look over the finished product.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Merry Christmas! Enjoy The Spinster's Christmas

As a Merry Christmas gift to all my blog readers, I’m going to be posting my Christian Regency romantic suspense, The Spinster’s Christmas , for free on my blog! I’ll be posting the book in 1000-1500 word segments every Tuesday and Friday. (When I do the calculations, it’ll finish around the end of May.) Why am I posting a Christmas story when it won’t be Christmas in a week? Because I can! :) The Spinster’s Christmas is the prequel volume to my Lady Wynwood’s Spies series . Right now I’m editing volume 1 of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, and it’s on track to release in 2020. (If you’re on my Camille Elliot newsletter , you’ll be sure to hear when it’s available for preorder.) I anticipate that the Lady Wynwood’s Spies series to be about ten volumes. I think the series story will be a lot of fun to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing up a storm! Below, I’ll be listing the links to the parts of The Spinster’s Christmas as I post them. (I created the html links by hand so please l

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

How can I pray for you?

Photo credit: lalalime.blogspot.com 日本語訳は下をご覧ください。 I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, taking time to be still and remember God’s grace. My IBS has gotten a little better, but I’m still not entirely in control of my symptoms. There are simply too many things I don’t know if I can eat or not, and when I try things, if they affect my IBS, then I’m out for about a week at a time. My writing has slowed down more than I’d like. Please pray for God to heal my IBS, and for me to learn what God wants me to learn by allowing these struggles. Just as I’m struggling, if you are too, remember that God is with us and has a reason for everything that happens to us. Lord, thank You that You are always with us and have control over everything that happens to us. Help us to surrender to You and do Your will, no matter what is going on in our lives. Amen How can I pray for you today? Please leave me your prayer requests! Prayer requests can sometimes be private things, so to keep your

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Grace Livingston Hill romances free to read online

I wanted to update my old post on Grace Livingston Hill romances because now there are tons more options for you to be able to read her books for free online! I’m a huge Grace Livingston Hill fan. Granted, not all her books resonate with me, but there are a few that I absolutely love, like The Enchanted Barn and Crimson Roses . And the best part is that she wrote over 100 books and I haven’t yet read them all! When I have time, I like to dive into a new GLH novel. I like the fact that most of them are romances, and I especially appreciate that they all have strong Christian themes. Occasionally the Christian content is a little heavy-handed for my taste, but it’s so interesting to see what the Christian faith was like in the early part of the 20th century. These books are often Cinderella-type stories or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett) type stories, which I love. And the best part is that they’re all set in the early 1900s, so the time period is absolutely fasci

ひとり寿司第25章パート2

「ひとり寿司」をブログに連載します! ひとり寿司 寿司シリーズの第一作 キャミー・タング 西島美幸 訳 スポーツ狂のレックス・坂井 —— いとこのマリコが数ヶ月後に結婚することにより、「いとこの中で一番年上の独身女性」という内輪の肩書を「勝ち取る」ことについては、あまり気にしていない。コントロールフリークの祖母を無視するのは容易だ —— しかし、祖母は最終通告を出した —— マリコの結婚式までにデート相手を見つけなければ、無慈悲な祖母は、レックスがコーチをしている女子バレーボールチームへの資金供給を切ると言う。 ダグアウトにいる選手全員とデートに出かけるほど絶望的なわけではない。レックスは、バイブルスタディで読んだ「エペソの手紙」をもとに「最高の男性」の条件の厳しいリストを作った。バレーボールではいつも勝つ —— ゲームを有利に進めれば、必ず成功するはずだ。 そのとき兄は、クリスチャンではなく、アスリートでもなく、一見何の魅力もないエイデンを彼女に引き合わせる。 エイデンは、クリスチャンではないという理由で離れていったトリッシュという女の子から受けた痛手から立ち直ろうとしている。そして、レックスが(1)彼に全く興味がないこと、(2)クリスチャンであること、(3)トリッシュのいとこであることを知る。あの狂った家族とまた付き合うのはごめんだ。まして、偽善的なクリスチャンの女の子など、お断り。彼はマゾヒストじゃない。 レックスは時間がなくなってきた。いくら頑張っても、いい人は現れない。それに、どこへ行ってもエイデンに遭遇する。あのリストはどんどん長くなっていくばかり —— 過去に掲載済みのストーリーのリンクはこちらです。 *** ビーナスはベンの視界をさえぎった。「ここは大丈夫だから、もう帰っていいわよ」 「でも——」 ビーナスは、また彼の目の前でドアを閉めた。 「何——」 ビーナスはレックスの言葉をさえぎり、ドアの隣の窓から外をのぞいた。「よかったわ、レックス、エイデンが来てくれて。あなたの巻き爪を全部切ってくれるわよ」ビーナスの声が小さい部屋に響き渡った。 どうやって礼儀正しく答えようかと決めかねているように、エイデンの表情は少し硬くなった。多分、(そうなの?)とか(それはおもしろいね)とでも言う

Camy Tang's November newsletter

My Camy Tang (Christian Contemporary Romantic Suspense) newsletter went out this week, but in case you missed it, the link is below. In my newsletter this month, there’s an update on my personal life and publishing schedule, and I also linked to a blog post about what the TV show Supernatural has to do with GONE MISSING, the 6th book in my Sonoma series Click here to read my Camy Tang newsletter for November. I also forgot to post the link for the October newsletter, so you can click here to read it.

One-Skein Pyrenees Scarf knitting pattern

I got into using antique patterns when I was making the scarf my hero wears in my Regency romance, The Spinster’s Christmas . I wanted to do another pattern which I think was in use in the Regency period, the Pyrenees Knit Scarf on pages 36-38 of The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, volume 1, by Jane Gaugain, published in 1840. She is thought to be the first person to use knitting abbreviations, at least in a published book, although they are not the same abbreviations used today (our modern abbreviations were standardized by Weldon’s Practical Needlework in 1906). Since the book is out of copyright, you can download a free PDF copy of the book at Archive.org. I found this to be a fascinating look at knitting around the time of Jane Austen’s later years. Although the book was published in 1840, many of the patterns were in use and passed down by word of mouth many years before that, so it’s possible these are p

Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 4: Betrayer is here!

The latest volume in my Christian Regency epic serial novel is released! Here’s the back cover description of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer : A Christian Historical Adventure set in Regency England with romance and a supernatural twist Part four in an epic-length serial novel Beleaguered spies Lady Wynwood’s team of spies are trying to heal from the physical and mental wounds recently dealt to them. However, their investigation into Apothecary Jack’s mysterious group has turned up only a few strange, disjointed clues, and the dangerous Root elixir continues to circulate in the London underbelly. It is only a matter of time before the Root is sold to Napoleon, which would give him overwhelming dominance in the war. Sudden threats Then Laura, Lady Wynwood, is unexpectedly attacked by a man she had trusted. Although Phoebe and her household staff manage to protect her, her life is now in danger and she must go into hiding. Dangerous mysteries Laura uncovers more

Join Camy's Patreon!

At the moment, I’m releasing all my books in Kindle Unlimited, which requires my books to be exclusive to Amazon. However, I wanted to accommodate readers who prefer other ebook distributors and also reward my fans who might like my books a little ahead of schedule. ​So I started a Patreon where patrons will get BookFunnel links to download my latest ebooks about 2-3 weeks ahead of the release date. The ebook files are DRM-free and BookFunnel is great about helping you to load it onto your ebook reader or phone/tablet or computer. My Patreon is “per creation,” which means you won’t be charged every month. You will only be charged when I’ve posted a new book. For example, if I post a book on April 15th, you’ll be charged on May 1st. But if I don’t post a book in May, you won’t be charged on June 1st at all. This is because with my health problems, and since some of my books are over 100,000 words each, I’m not able to write a book a month, and I certainly don’t want to charge my