Philip Jones writes in futurebook.net that “the growth in e-books, and 20p hits, gives the impression that instant hits are instantly created. But this is rarely the case, and rarer still for books where the author and publisher want to build a sustainable fan-base.”
The whole concept of selling an e-book for 20p had me thinking whether it is a good thing or bad thing for the author and the reader. One could say these e-books give value for money, increase competition and they may encourage more people to take up reading. However I believe selling an e-book at this price is detrimental for the author and I think it is a bad thing for readers.
Money is an exchange of energy. I use energy to create my books and stories. When I put a price on my book, I put a price on my energy and by setting a price that low I am saying my energy, my time and my creativity are of low worth. In turn the person buying it that cheaply is not going to treat my book as well as the one they purchased for £9 or €9 or $9. It is impossible for me to make a profit if I sell my book at that rate and I believe that the only reason to set a price that low is to increase the number of readers which brings me back to Philip Jones’s quote.
The 20p e-book has the potential to create an instant bestseller but I see them as the McDonalds hamburger of the literary world; quick to consume and quick to forget. It is about the momentary hit not the steady dedication towards creating a book, building a readership via word of mouth and patient marketing. I may be a writer but I am in the business of making a profit too. I don’t give a fig about being an instant bestseller based purely on the knockdown price of my book. I am taking the steady eddy approach. It took me a long time to write Tales from Aulora consisting of several years faffing around, one year of hard writing and two and half years of editing. I put heart, energy and material costs into my book so for me to sell it for 20p is bad business and devalues books in general. I would rather gift my book to readers than sell it for 20p.