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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Ebook Shopping Odyssey

While I was going through my book collection in preparation for selling my house, I ran across old favorites--stories I used to read and reread. I didn't take any of them with me when I returned to Atlanta and I wanted to reread some of them. Simple, I thought, I'll pick them up as ebooks. That way there's no space issue where I'm staying and it's always good to have backup copies--just in case.

This ended up being much easier said than done. First of all, a lot of my old favorites weren't even in ebook format. This was frustrating. I know at least one of the authors has her rights back on the book I was looking for because I had a brief conversation with her via Twitter and she was talking about releasing them herself. That hasn't happened yet. I'm cultivating patience on this because I hold the rights to my first 4 books and 1 novella and haven't finished getting all of them ready yet either. I'm totally blaming that on my move to Atlanta.

I did find some of my keepers, though, and was like WTF when I saw the prices. The publisher seriously expects me to pay $7.99, $9.99 or $12.99 for books that were released ten or more years ago? Really?

My response kind of stopped me and I tried to figure out what the maximum price point was that would have had me clicking the buy button. My answer was $5.99. All three books were mass market paperbacks, none of them had been released in hardcover, and even if they had been, after 10-20 years, there's no reason to mark the ebook versions that high.

I also found a few authors who clearly had farmed out the ebook production of stories to which they held the rights. Or at least I'm pretty sure that's what they did. I don't know whether it was some republishing enterprise run by their agents or if they'd licensed their rights to these entities, but these books were also priced higher than I was willing to spend: $6.99. This was closer to my price point, but one author had written a mystery series and to buy every book in the series at this price point was too expensive. I decided the paper copies I had were good enough.

At the end of my shopping excursion, I ended up buying 4 books. All were priced between $2.99 and $4.50. All were released by the same publisher--Harlequin. It was a very interesting learning experience for me.