Friday, August 6, 2010

Sex, Bombs and Burgers: new low price!

Hot off yesterday's news about Sex, Bombs and Burgers finally being available as an ebook is the fact that Canadians can now get the actual hardcover for the new, lower price of $20.06 or $21.12 through, respectively, and Chapters.

I normally prefer to buy my own books with Amazon, but in this case I have to recommend Chapters and its slightly higher price for two reasons: 1) Amazon seems to have trouble keeping my book in stock, while Chapters generally always has it, and 2) check out that $21.12 price - is that awesome or what?!

So why the price drop? I wish I could explain it but it appears that no one on Earth outside Amazon and Chapters - and maybe even inside the companies themselves - actually knows the answer to that question. The websites lower and raise prices on their own inexplicable whims; sometimes it's because a book has sold a lot, sometimes it's because it hasn't sold enough, sometimes it's because someone lost a bet. Who really knows? I'm told that I get the same royalty and the publisher gets their same chunk no matter what the book is sold for, so if anybody's taking a cut here it's Amazon and Chapters.

The good news is, if you've been holding off on buying the hardcover because of its $32 price tag, well now you have no excuse. Get on those sites and buy, buy, buy! Sex, Bombs and Burgers makes an excellent back-to-school gift. (I can't really back that up, but it sounded good.) And for those of you who bought the book at full price, I feel for you. I know that "sucker's feeling" when you buy something only to see it drop in price a couple of days later. The only consolation is the knowledge that if you always waited for things to drop in price, you'd probably be living in a cave without even a shirt on your back.

Now those of you with long memories, or the ability to scroll down to the blog post below this one, might be thinking: "Hey, wait a minute - isn't the book now priced the same as the eBook on Kobo?" Well, yes it is! Fortunately, that's one that I can explain somewhat.

I'm told by people in the know that publishers do have some control over ebook prices, at least on Kobo, and they are so far resistant to undercutting print book prices. Print still makes up for more than 90% of publishers' revenue, so the desire to not make ebooks too desirable is understandable.

Authors like me of course want lower prices on their ebooks because of the traditional argument that a lower price = more sales. That maxim is generally true, but it doesn't always happen. In other words, what happens if you price your book low yet it still fails to sell? That means less money overall.

I'm not sure I fully agree with that logic, even if I do see the argument. While the ebook and the printed book contain the same valuable information and work, there is no denying that the costs are considerably lower for the electronic version. There's no paper and printing involved, nor are there any transportation or storage costs. Some of those savings should be passed on to the consumer, but it appears that's not happening as of yet.

As such, I can't really blame anyone for not buying my ebook, or for getting themselves a pirated copy. I understand and sympathize with piracy being more of an F*U to The Man than it is to the creator, so it doesn't offend me terribly when it happens. I can, however, blame you now for not buying the lower-priced hardcover - so step on it!


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