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Author Topic: How much value do you place on a book?  (Read 8569 times)

Offline Overlord

How much value do you place on a book?
« on: May 21, 2012, 03:23:36 PM »
So, someone asked me the other day: 'How much do you think a book is worth?'

The amount: £8.99 popped into my head because this is typically what I pay in WH Smiths or Waterstones, but I regularly pay around £5.00 on Amazon or Play if I see something I like - older titles I even (hate to admit it) pay £2.81 - £4.00 on occasion.

But, when I thought about that, it is actually not a lot of money. I mean, I tend to put about 10-15 hours into a novel, so on that basis I'm paying around £0.70 an hour or something - which doesn't feel like a lot of money seeing as how much I like books.

So, what do you guys think about the pricing of books? Are books priced well at £8.99, is this too cheap or do you find them too expensive and go to Amazon / Play? I'm interested to know :)
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Offline Hierath

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2012, 03:26:30 PM »
Are we talking paperbacks? £6.99-8.99 seems reasonable.  I'd probably balk at paying anything over a tenner for a normal paperback.  Depends how thick they are, I like a lot of pages for my money!
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Offline Lor

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Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2012, 03:29:10 PM »
I generally feel that, since the author has put so much work into the book, and it has been valued at whatever price is on it, then that is the price I should pay. I work hard for my money, and I like spending it on things I enjoy, so I am quite happy to pay retail for books.
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Offline Phil Norris

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2012, 03:31:15 PM »
I'd say anything up to £10.00 for a paperback is acceptable, hardbacks I'd expect to pay between £15.00 and £25.00 depending on the title/author.

Now if you're talking collectables, like something by Subterranean Press, who knows? I noticed GRRM posted about a ASoIaF Subterranean collection on ebay a while back, five titles and bidding was at $3,450 with still a considerable time to go.

  
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Offline Mazarkis

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 03:34:40 PM »
Interesting topic. I have long been flummoxed by the willingness of people to spend $14 at the cinema while objecting to book prices. Movies are typically 90-100 minutes long while books provide hours of entertainment. I have come to the conclusion that the "price by hour" idea you present means little in the scheme of things.

I don't know what books are worth--some would argue they are worth only what somebody would pay for them. And the expectation of cheap books has never been greater.

As my sister is a journalist I think often about the devaluation of writing.

Offline Lor

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Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 03:37:40 PM »
Interesting topic. I have long been flummoxed by the willingness of people to spend $14 at the cinema while objecting to book prices. Movies are typically 90-100 minutes long while books provide hours of entertainment. I have come to the conclusion that the "price by hour" idea you present means little in the scheme of things.

I don't know what books are worth--some would argue they are worth only what somebody would pay for them. And the expectation of cheap books has never been greater.

As my sister is a journalist I think often about the devaluation of writing.

I'm more likely to begrudge the £7 for a cinema ticket than for a book, but it seems I am in a minority. People deserve to be rewarded for their work, and as you said books provide hours of entertainment, surely they are worth a little more?
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Offline Noona

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 03:38:22 PM »
I think it's strange that people seem relatively happy to pay £15 or so for a trip to the cinema, yet seem to complain sometimes at paying £8 or £9 for a paperback. (Edit: just seen Mazarkis post this comparison too, I feel validated in my thought patterns :P)

From what I've seen I think, generally, people would be happy to pay £7.99 for a regular paperback if that was how much they cost everywhere, but if they can get it cheaper in Tesco or on Amazon then they will. The net book agreement, broken a few years ago, used to mean that books couldn't be discounted but there were downsides to that, but without it it means that supermarkets can sell them as loss leaders or at cost.

Personally I'm happy to pay for books, if I can get hardbacks I often will - I think it's worth it. I'll pay full price to keep bookshops on the high street too, and also for the convenience of having the book "right now" over "3-5 working days". I pass no judgement on those who buy books as cheaply as they can though, because times are hard.  

I think it's worth remembering though, when thinking "oh, I can get this cheaper on Amazon," that £7.99 or £8.99 isn't a markup, it's rrp, so don't feel badly toward the bookshops that are charging that :)

Offline THElewisdix

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 03:41:59 PM »
If I'm going to spend any more than $6(US) on a book then I'm probably going to buy it in print form, and generally won't buy an ebook for more than that.
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Offline AnneLyle

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 04:19:23 PM »
I'm OK with the current prices, though I admit that I balk at paying more for an ebook than a paperback, particularly if it's DRM'd, because that severely limits my purchase's lifespan. I still have paperbacks I bought as a teenager, back in the mists of time - will I still be able to read the ebooks I bought last year, decades hence? I suspect not...

I think people will pay more for a DVD or cinema ticket because they know that movies cost tens of millions to make - a book, by comparison, costs tens of thousands.
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Offline Elspeth Cooper

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 04:28:57 PM »
Last time I bought a cinema ticket, you could get two, two cokes and a jumbo bucket of popcorn and still have change from a tenner. Man, I feel old.

Book pricing is about OK for me now - I'm happy to pay £10 for a trade paperback (they just look soooo nice on the shelf compared to MMPs) and for authors/series I really really like I'll pay for the hardback, even if it means I can't read it in bed (Tad Williams, To Green Angel Tower, I'm looking at you).

I don't buy ebooks unless I can't get them any other way, so I can't really comment about ebook prices, although I object to arbitrary and restrictive DRM, and I object to e-editions priced higher than the equivalent mass-market paperback, especially if I can't move it from device to device as it suits me (which is where paper books score: infinitely portable, requires no special equipment beyond standard fitment of two eyes, and invulnerable to EMP in the event of the ZomPoc).
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Offline Mazarkis

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 04:44:44 PM »
But Anne, WHY do movies cost so much to make? In part, it's because the people who do the CGI and the acting and so on are valued (in fact, the least valued person in the equation, from what I understand, is the writer). It all goes back to what people are willing to pay for certain types of work.

Offline Mazarkis

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2012, 04:45:39 PM »
Just want to emphasize that I'm not some grumpy author sitting in front of my computer, whining because nobody wants to pay a lot of money for my book :) It's just a thing that interests me.

Offline AnneLyle

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2012, 05:12:08 PM »
But Anne, WHY do movies cost so much to make? In part, it's because the people who do the CGI and the acting and so on are valued (in fact, the least valued person in the equation, from what I understand, is the writer). It all goes back to what people are willing to pay for certain types of work.

Very true - Hollywood values writers far less than print publishing. But we're talking here about the customer's perception of the finished product.

Also, I think a lot of readers would be shocked if they knew how little authors get per book. Most have no idea that half the retail price goes straight to the bookseller, or that most of the rest goes to pay the publisher's costs.
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Offline Mazarkis

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2012, 05:35:57 PM »
Right--I'm just interested in what creates those expectations.

Offline Gothos

Re: How much value do you place on a book?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2012, 06:24:42 PM »
Never been to fussed about book prices. Although I prefer to pay a decent price for a book as I know that money goes into paying the authors (who deserve it) and the publishing industry who could use it.
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