Friday, March 14, 2014

The Truth About Book Prices

I had this myth engrained into me that books cost a lot of money. Maybe it's just a byproduct of my parents' upbringing. They wanted me to be careful with what I spent money on, but they almost never said no to books; my parents were and are some of the most supportive parents ever, I bet.

It's not to say that I don't buy books. In fact, I think I'm nearing 700 books in my collection I have at least 400-500 but my books are so disorganized and so scattered around, I really don't know how many I have (maybe cataloging everything can be my summer project!). So money is being spent on books, no doubt about that.

A sampling of what my nightstand used to look like (I've cleaned
up since then!).

But I went to Barnes and Noble for Black Friday (for Discovery Friday) and I was bubbly and slightly nervous about walking out with three books in a 3 for 2 special. Holy crap, I just spent a lot of money (it was like a little over twenty or thirty bucks, which is like nothing for three books in total). And I felt guilty.

I don't know why. I think much of it lies in the fact that I rarely finish any book I start nowadays. It's actually become a problem for me and I'm worried that it's going to become a habit. I keep spending money on books that I don't read or finish. My being-read pile is over twenty books long (all of which I've started reading but stopped). Is that where my problem with book prices stems from?

I get nervous about forking over twenty bucks for a hardcover. I spend so much freaking time bickering over which book to buy, this one or that one, like it's some end-all-be-all and I'm making a decision I'll regret for the rest of my life if I buy the wrong book. Why is it so hard for me?

One tweet I read a few days ago (maybe a few weeks ago) changed everything for me. It's changed my perspective on it all.

It was about e-books. So many people cry about e-book prices or make such a big deal about buying a book like their life depends on it. Usually, they don't buy at all because they're so indecisive. I was one of those people (although I don't have an e-reader). Until I read the tweet. I don't remember the exact words, but it went like this:

An average-to-high priced e-book is $2.99. That's less than your morning latte.

Or coffee, or Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts, whatever is your pick.

Just ponder that for a bit. And then, tell me what you think in the comments below.


  1. I never liked paperbacks and always purchased hardbacks - which does get expensive. Now that I have an iPad, all I buy are eBooks. I won't spend over ten bucks, but anything below that is fair game and guilt free. Even if I don't have time to read most of what I buy.

  2. I think the reason the average price of an ebook may be around $2.99 is because of the huge number of self-published (some of which are fabulous, some of which are not) and authors lowering early books to draw in readers of later publications. Most of the ones I want seem to be a lot higher to the point where I have a hard time spending the money on something that "feels" intangible. I love ebooks (my abused hands appreciate them too). But I won't spend as much on an ebook as the paperback unless it is well regarded - which doesn't mean a bunch of 5 star reviews by friends. I think I'm in some kind of in-between feeling regarding ebooks. They aren't the same, but they kind of are. I just don't feel it yet.

  3. I'm hooked on Net Galley for free books. But then you have to finish, SC, to provide a review or no more free books. ;-)

  4. I probably spend more on books now with my Kindle. I used to read almost exclusively from the library while buying a few favourites to keep. It's probably been over 2 years since I visited the library (which makes me a little sad come to think of it) and I buy a ton of books on my Kindle. For my top favourite authors I'll spend more but generally most of my books are 2.99 or less. And I get them right when I want them! :)

  5. It's so true. And i just put my book on sale for .99. That's an ENTIRE novel for less than a cup of coffee.Or even a soda! Crazy to think. I spent months working on it and someone snags it for that price. And do they value it? That's the question. You may've spent a lot of dough on those hardbacks, but you value them.
    I do love eBooks tho. I love my kindle and adore buying a book in the blink of an eye. It's such a great investment. And I prolly use my kindle for reading my own mss as well as CP's mss even more than I use it for pubbed books. I catch so many more errors on my kindle than editing on my PC.