June 26, 2013

Reader Consideration Vs. Savvy Business Moves

As both a writer and an avid reader, sometimes the reader takes over. Heck, most of the time the reader drives the writer. The more I read, the more I want to write.

But, today I have on my reader hat, and I'm mulling something over and would love some other readers' (even if they are also writers) thoughts.

Recently, my email heralded the newest book by Cassandra Clare. I read the first three of the City of Bones trilogy, but my 13yo daughter has read every single book by her and has been asking for more reading material for summer. So I thought I'd surprise my dear daughter by downloading a new book to her Kindle. When I went to look the book up, I saw that it was part of a series I had somehow missed.

Call me excited!

Not only was the price ($2.99) excellent for Book 1, but the description sold me: Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles. (from Amazon)

I purchased.

Then, and only then, did I look into the other books. I ventured over to Cassandra Clare's website and found some great information about The Bane Chronicles here. Then, some important words jumped out at me... short stories.

What? (note: it was in the Amazon description if I had read two more paragraphs)

The books range from 40-50 pages on average.

I know traditionally published books are more expensive than all my indie favorites, so I should have been wary of the $2.99. And I have no problem with Cassandra Clare issuing some ebook-only short stories for her fans, but $29.90 for ten stories that are 40-50 pages each... I'm just not so sure how I feel about that.

Upon further research, I came across an article about Cassandra Clare and her father, a successful author and business school professor, and the left-brained side of me was impressed. She's in the business of writing. I respect that, truly.

But, as a reader, I'm still left with a sour taste in my mouth.

Help me, please. Which side of me should win.. the BBA grad who respects smart business choices that allow writers to make a living or the reader who feels a bit taken advantage of?


krystal jane said...

Hmm...I'm kind of thinking it's like paying $15 a piece for two 200-something page books. That's how I would look at it anyway, especially if it was an author I loved. Things are kind of worth what people are willing to pay for them. I would pay $3 for a shorter piece by an amazing writer.

Annette Gendler said...

Agree with Krystal - if you love the writer, you should be willing to pay what they are asking. After all it's a "known" product to you.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks, Krystal & Annette. I appreciate that authors can charge whatever the market will bear. I just hope other readers don't think they are getting more than 40 pages for their $2.99.

I also think that one the 10 stories are released in paperback (the author mentions this in her post), Clare will not charge $29.90, and that will be a book -- not 10 ebooks.


Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. I'm still conflicted.

Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

I cannot speak for other readers, but I think $2.99 is a bit much to pay for a short story. I understand Clare's financial concerns, but I think she'd be better off to lower the price a $1 and sell more stories.

Or, to put it another way, as much as I loved Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (enough that I collected most of the hardcover versions), I didn't buy them when they came out. I waited until they showed up on remainder racks.

I have a limited book buying budget, and I have to spend my funds wisely. If it means I have to wait for a sale... so be it. I also, like most readers, have a huge "to be read" list waiting for me...

Jo Michaels said...

I'm with everyone else. $2.99 is WAY too much for a short. I do hope she re-thinks her pricing and that she releases a collection volume for less. That's just crazy. :) WRITE ON!