How much should you pay for a book? (hint: it depends)

person-2468249_1920How do we go about determining how much a book costs? Publishers tend to set the price of a book at a rate that is competitive in the market, but still allows them to make a profit, and that seems like a fair way to do it. Until you start to look at digital versions of the novels. It’s reasonable to spend $10-$15 on a paperback book because the costs to bring that paperback to market are pretty steep.

Is it reasonable to spend $10-$15 on a digital version of the same book though?reading-1176073_1920

Maybe. I recently purchased several digital e-novels by well-known authors in the $10-$13 price point. I made the decision to make these purchases because I felt I would most likely get that much value from the book. I loved a couple of them, liked a couple of them, and didn’t enjoy one of them at all. And that brings us to how we value a novel.

Fiction books are generally written for entertainment, so the value of a fiction novel can be expressed in the quantity and quality of entertainment you get while reading it. The average American reads at a speed somewhere in the 200-250 words per minute range. The average novel length is somewhere in the 80k-100k words range. Obviously some are shorter, and some are much longer, but that’s the typical novel length in most genres. That means that most of us will take 6-8 hours to read an average novel.

So, if I pay $10 for a novel, and it takes me 7 hours to read it, I’m paying around $1.50 per hour for the entertainment value of that time. Now, if I like the novel, and I’m entertained by it, that seems like a reasonable price to pay. After all, when I go see a movie, I pay $12 for two hours or less of entertainment, and much of the time it sucks.

One of the ways we avoid wasting that money is by reading reviews to make it more likely we’ll choose a novel we enjoy. However, reviews aren’t always true, and tastes in books can certainly be different for each reader, so we can’t be sure we aren’t going to overpay for the entertainment value of the novel. There are some novels that I would have happily paid $20 or more for, and some that I wish I could get a refund of all of my money.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just pay the amount we thought the novel was worth?

What if you could read the novel first, and then decide how much entertainment value you got from it? What if you could decide, hey, I really liked this novel. I think the value of the entertainment I got from it was $10, and you could then pay the author $10.

Or, maybe you finish reading the novel and you think, hey, this novel sucked. I’d like to pay nothing for it. Or $1, or $3, or $5. Whatever amount you think the entertainment value you got from the novel was worth.

Well, now you can.

I’m a big fan of variable pricing models, something airlines have been successfully implementing for decades. However, bringing variable pricing models to book sales is tough because there’s not a finite supply of electronic versions of the books. So, when you look at digital book sales, the only way to adjust the price so it’s truly fair is to vary it based on the entertainment value a reader gets from the novel. Of course, it’s impossible to determine that value until the reader has completed the book!

So, I’ve decided to make every one of my novels available for FREE.

Yup, that’s right. You can get a digital e-book copy of all of my current and future novels, absolutely free. Then, when you read the book, YOU decide how much it was worth!

If you read my novel, and you feel the entertainment value of it was great, you can pay $5, or $8, or $10…whatever amount you choose. If you feel it was just okay but not great, pay me $1, or $3, or $3.72. Any amount you decide.

And, if you think the novel just really wasn’t for you or that my writing, characters, pacing, or plot just isn’t good, then pay me NOTHING. 

It’s completely up to you. You get my novel for free, delivered to your inbox as a PDF where you can then forward it to your Kindle or your Nook, or your phone, or just leave it on your laptop, wherever you prefer to read it. When you’re done, YOU decide what the value was, and YOU make a donation to me for whatever amount you choose. Even if that amount is zero.

I never want someone to feel that they’ve wasted money buying my novels. I know they’re not for everybody. I know tastes are eclectic and not every reader is going to enjoy my books. And, even though I can’t do anything about the lost time if you truly didn’t enjoy my book, I can certainly do something about the wasted money.

Every book, absolutely free. If you enjoy them, send me enough to buy a cup of coffee or a beer, or maybe even lunch. It’s completely up to you!

Simply fill out the form below, and I’ll send you the novel of your choice. Please request just one at a time unless you’re the rare type capable of reading and processing multiple novels at once. In which case, you should probably submit yourself to a science lab to be studied.

One thought on “How much should you pay for a book? (hint: it depends)

  1. Fantastic idea! As soon as things slow down a bit, (back to school time is crazy) I will be making a point of reading your books. You have always had an interesting way of looking at things, & you have made some fascinating conclusions! Wishing you nothing but the best success on this venture.😊

    Liked by 1 person

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