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Author Topic: How much value do you place on a book?  (Read 8574 times)

Offline Ashes

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2012, 06:53:21 PM »
It depends. If I'm having a wander around a brick-made shop I normally pay more for books, like 8 to 10€  (I'm in Spain) for a paperback. But if I'm on Amazon I stay between the 3 to 6€ for a paperback because I buy alot at once.
But if it's a book that I really want, like any future book published by Abercrombie, Brett or Weeks I will happily hand over my debit card without cheching the price.
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Offline WordTipping

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2012, 07:31:33 PM »
Books are art, they have no value beyond what you are willing to pay.  So to me, they start at $0.  Some books I wouldn't take even if free.  Others, I have been perfectly content to spend north of $100 and do so frequently.

Philosophy aside, I think $8 for a paperback is a great deal for the value in general when compared to other forms of entertainment.  That statement though only holds value in the context that I am a reader.  But, given the issues w/ piracy, there is a significant portion of the reading public that disagrees with even $8 as a starting price.  Lastly, given the people who don't read but are perfectly willing to drop $60 on a new console game, books have no market value for significant portions of the market.

I think moving forward, publishers should figure out ways to get more money out of people who are willing to spend it and lower the costs of their standard products.  In the digital age, the single price methodology for paperback, hardcover, etc is leaving money on the table and hurting audience growth.

Offline Funky Scarecrow

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2012, 08:19:18 PM »
In the bluntest possible terms no more than £10 for a paperback and no more £20 for a hardback. I'm not going to enter the ebook discussion, since I hardly bother with ereading (I can count all of the books I've read electronically without taking my shoes off).

Is my stance on what a book should cost backed up by reason, logic and a deep rooted understanding of publishing? Is it chuff, it's capricious and arbitrary, but books tend to evoke emotional rather than logical debate. As inflation continues upwards and the recession continues biting I'm sure I'll end up having to fork across more than a tenner per paperback at some point in the near-ish future. Certainly before we enter the high 20-teens, I'm guessing.
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Offline Ros

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2012, 08:21:01 PM »
Books should cost something. There's an unfortunate trend towards giving books away for free, at least in electronic form, as a way of generating buzz. When I come across that it makes me wonder, why is the author so desperate to drum up sales that they'll give away months of hard work? Is the book terrible? Or did they dash the thing of in a few weeks, thinking it wouldn't matter?

So there's a certain element of prestige pricing for me, especially when it comes to an author I've not read before. I expect new books to be at least £4, and if they're less I get suspicious.

Offline WordTipping

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2012, 09:26:55 PM »
Is my stance on what a book should cost backed up by reason, logic and a deep rooted understanding of publishing? Is it chuff, it's capricious and arbitrary, but books tend to evoke emotional rather than logical debate. As inflation continues upwards and the recession continues biting I'm sure I'll end up having to fork across more than a tenner per paperback at some point in the near-ish future. Certainly before we enter the high 20-teens, I'm guessing.

Considering ~80% of all writers rarely sell more than ~5000 copies of a book and never payback their advances, logically setting a book price based on the actual cost involved would cause a steep increase in per book costs.  It is the success of the best sellers that subsidize new authors. 

Offline AnneLyle

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2012, 09:36:23 PM »
Considering ~80% of all writers rarely sell more than ~5000 copies of a book and never payback their advances, logically setting a book price based on the actual cost involved would cause a steep increase in per book costs.  It is the success of the best sellers that subsidize new authors. 

Actually, most books do make a profit for the publisher, albeit a modest one - smaller presses without big bestselling authors would go bust otherwise. Just because an author doesn't "earn out" (sell enough copies to cover the advance and start getting royalties) doesn't mean that the publisher takes a loss on that title.
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Offline Jeni

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2012, 02:41:40 AM »
New books - especially new hardback releases, are expensive, for me.

I can't afford £20 for a book and I only ever buy hardback books if they are a present for someone (same with new release DVD's for me as well, actually) - and even then WHSmith in particular often have a half-price or similar value offer on hardbacks at some point during the first month of release, so I don't remember ever having to pay more than £12-£14 for one.
I find paperback books expensive at the moment too. Again, I shop around for offers and usually end up buying 2-3 at a time because it is more cost effective in the long run.
I have a Kindle and therefore get (almost) all of my e-books from Amazon - but I won't buy an e-book if it costs more than £5. This is because most of the books I buy overall are e-books, and if I really like a book I only have an e-version of, I will also buy the paperback version when I find it at an affordable price (be it either a second-hand copy from a charity shop/eBay/Amazon or a new copy on offer).

I don't think it's entirely fair to say that people should be willing to pay as much, or more, for a single book as they would for a trip to the cinema. I don't go to the cinema once a week, or even once a month these days, because I live in the middle of London and it's far too expensive to be a weekly habit. I do read on average between 1-2 books a week though, so even if all the books I read in a month are all e-books I will still be spending somewhere between £20-£45 each month on books. If all books were the same cost as a trip to the cinema (£25ish) I could only afford to buy 1-2 books a month instead of a week. And if that were the case, I would be extremely reluctant to take a chance on purchasing a new release by a debut author - I would end up buying books by authors that I am already familiar with because I would feel like I'd just chucked a lot of money down the drain if I didn't like the book!


Offline WordTipping

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2012, 09:21:12 PM »
Considering ~80% of all writers rarely sell more than ~5000 copies of a book and never payback their advances, logically setting a book price based on the actual cost involved would cause a steep increase in per book costs.  It is the success of the best sellers that subsidize new authors. 

Actually, most books do make a profit for the publisher, albeit a modest one - smaller presses without big bestselling authors would go bust otherwise. Just because an author doesn't "earn out" (sell enough copies to cover the advance and start getting royalties) doesn't mean that the publisher takes a loss on that title.

I should have qualified what I said as to exclude small press as what you say is nominally correct.  But, I would not say a small press is profitable so much as they cover costs.  Various stats show that they work 50+ hours a week w/ no benefits.  The average book sells ~500 copies and the authors signed typically work a full time job.  So even in a small press setting the costs of a book are being subsidized to one degree or another by people's passions for the medium.  Link: http://www.iconicpublishing.com/publishing-stats/

The intent of my statement was primarily aimed at the "big six" publishers.

Offline Lionwalker

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Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2012, 08:14:26 AM »
I will generally buy a book I really want to read no matter the price, although I have slightly higher expectations of books I shell out almost double the price for when I buy them in hard- or -trade paperback editions - this has to do with the price and that I'm buying them because I'm already assuming they're that good.

When I think of value though, I tend to not associate it with money. I think I could be a slight book-buying addict, in that I have difficulty passing any sort of bookstore without going inside and leaving with something. I value all my books highly, (as my gf frequently comments when I twitch uncontrollably from her folding the entire page in half to mark her place :) ) and when you think about the cost of a once-off movie (with popcorn, drink, etc) compared to a book you can read over and over again, I don't think the price is high at all.

I don't think you should look at the price of a book as something isolated, but rather comparatively. What else do you get for the same price? A couple of beers? A meal? forty miles? When you look at it in those terms, I don't think it is very expensive, especially when you consider the amount of time and effort (months if not years by the author, and then the editor's time) it took to produce.
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