Let me start with giving you this scenario….
If you want a coffee and walk into your local coffee shop that you frequent and order your normal favorite cup of coffee and are told that today’s price has increased, you as the consumer have two choices. Option A.) you can go ahead and buy your favorite coffee at the higher price. Granted, you may not be extremely happy, but this IS your FAVORITE cup of coffee and you believe it’s totally worth it because this is your one thing you LOVE to do. Option B.) forego your favorite coffee and decide to try another one or not get a coffee at all. Again, with this option, you may not be extremely happy either. Notice that I didn’t give an Option C. where you curse out the cashier or the manager because traditionally, as consumers, while we may not be pleased with paying more, we understand that prices do increase. We decide if we buy it or not.
How is the above scenario any different with books? Let me take a step back and give you some information/context. Yesterday, Amazon posted a book in a series that I read and the price was set rather high for an eBook. Upon some readers noticing the high price, they decided to email the author and not just a regular “Hey, did you see that X book is up on Amazon and wanted to give you a heads up that the price seems rather high…blah blah”…. NO this person decided to take it upon themselves and write a HATEFUL email to the author! There were also several harsh, rude and hateful comments via social media regarding the high price as well! The reason I know this is the author posted on their FB Page a “Dear Reader” post letting their readers know of the mistake in price as well as some additional information about the upcoming book. They included the correct price and the fact that the reason for the higher price was a computer error. They also mentioned that they had received some hate emails. The fact that they felt it needed to be addressed not only on their FB Page, but also their FB Profile had me reeling. What pushed me over the edge to write this post was when I received the email from the promoting company I sometimes host for that had the same message. I believe it also went out via newsletter. Great that they were reaching out to their readers to update them of an upcoming book. HOWEVER, I think they were trying to reduce the amount of hate mail and negative backlash they may receive for no fault of their own. Why? Because some people are just ridiculous! The fact that they felt that they needed to go above and beyond to address this situation is … I have no words.
Let’s take a second here to assess the situation…
This book isn’t scheduled for release until April 2016. That’s SIX MONTHS from now! SO many things could have changed between now and then and this includes the price!!! The high price was a mistake due to a computer error from the publishing house. I saw one person bitch that only the ebook was available for pre-order. Uhm… hold your freaking horses lady… the book was JUST listed! Take a second to breathe, will you! Usually, they will list the ebook first and then the paperback. You’re telling me you can’t wait a little bit… because you know, the next book in the series hasn’t even been published yet and the one you’re bitching out doesn’t come out for another SIX MONTHS!!!!
Now, let’s check out some other things -
ONE: The price was set rather high for an ebook… who the hell said you have to buy it? Just like the coffee scenario above, you’re the consumer! You have options! There is no BETRAYAL from the author! This isn’t an attack on YOU!
TWO: Instead of attacking the author and sending harsh and hurtful emails, how about simply sending an email ASKING about the freaking price! Ever thought of that? Ever think that it could have been a freaking mistake? People are human, they make mistakes ALL THE FUCKING TIME!!! Why wouldn’t it occur to anyone that it could have been a computer error? WHY THE HELL would you email the author saying mean, hateful things? I understand wishing to express one’s concerns or opinions but there are much better ways to go about it!
THREE: It’s business! A NUMBER of things could be happening with the higher price that you as the CONSUMER may not be aware of and that the listing hadn’t yet included! Like what you may ask?
This book could have been a marketing strategy where if ….
1.) you purchased the ebook you got the paperback combined (hence the higher cost)!
2.) Or, there could have been a combo book where there were additional stories included … two for the price of one!
3.) Maybe the author and publisher decided to provide us readers with VISUALS people!!! We could have been getting picture representations of the characters!! This would so be worth the price increase, right?
Regardless of the possibilities/reasons for the higher price of the ebook, the reality is that an ebook is a product. The author spends their time writing it and other things besides their time goes into the book to make the final product that will eventually end up in our eReaders. Covers, editing, formatting and marketing, all that and then some cost the author money. SO yeah… there will be an increase from time to time for what you pay for an eBook. The thing is, right now, the market is FLOODED with badly written books that cost 99 CENTS! Yeah, I said it! There are books out there that SUCK! I mean they are HORRIBLE! Bad covers, bad editing, bad formatting, bad storyline, no originality, I could go on and on but won’t. And because the book is 99 Cents, and the “sex scene” is “HOT” people are buying them and the writers get people to review them with five stars and thus they end up on a list. So when a really GOOD book with a great cover, awesome editing and awesome characters and plot is priced at $3.99, people freak the fuck out! Heaven forbid that it’s priced any higher and it’s an indie book. The higher price seems to be okay for “traditional” publishing more so than indie, but that’s a different topic for another day.
Many readers of the authors said they would gladly pay the higher price that was listed because they LOVE the series! AWESOME! I believe writing is an art form! Some have talent, many do not! And while it’s fantastic that we live a world where everyone can be an author, the reality is that not everyone SHOULD be an author! We have several, extremely talented authors struggling financially because their books are not selling and it’s because the CONSUMER (that’s you!) are choosing to purchase the much “Cheaper” item vs the higher quality work that costs more. For goodness sake, DINOSAUR EROTICA? It’s a thing… I’m not freaking kidding! Those writers are making a LOT of money writing about people having sex with DINOSAURS!!! And to top it all off…. Print Length: 19 pages! Yup, you read right!
In their address to the readers, the author said that “many hateful, harsh and judgmental comments are said on social media about authors when readers feel betrayed.” This wasn’t a betrayal, this was an honest mistake. Some people are just mean and stupid! On one hand, I wish the author wouldn’t had gone as far as they did to address the matter because it gives the people who emailed them (the hateful email(s) one) a sense of importance that really shouldn’t be given. You never want the hateful individuals to believe that it’s because of them and that hateful email, that now the author has addressed the issue or is ‘back peddling’ (which isn’t the case here). However, in this case, I know the author and they really do care about their readers and they don’t want to disappoint them.
Gosh this got long! Before you get angry or run your mouth off on FB or other social media platforms to bitch about this or that, take a second and assess the situation. How can you approach the matter in a ‘non hateful’ way? Can you inquire about the matter vs. accuse and attack? Or can you just walk away and let it go? Remember that we’re all humans! We have feelings! Some have thicker skin than others. Just because you feel “betrayed”, it doesn’t give you the right to attack some or say mean and hateful things. You do have the right to not buy their books if that’s the case that you do feel “betrayed”. You have the right to inquire about the increase in price as well. You don’t have the right to be hateful.