Pricing and Books: E-books vs Traditional Publishing
|Not with that spelling|
Until recently, books had to be set at a certain price for an author to make any sort of royalties. A book that was 25$ in hardback or trade paperback usually yielded a dollar or maybe two and some change for the author, but e-books set at 3$ will yield the same. Readers ask, "Why is that?" Mostly due to overhead. Publishing a book can be an expensive ordeal: graphic designers need to be employed for covers, line editors and content editors need to be paid to finely comb through manuscripts, and distributors need to be compensated. Publishing an e-book, however, defrays much of the cost, leaving 50%-70% for authors instead of only 10%-20%. Granted, traditional publishing usually comes with all the requisite accessories of marketing and publicity, leaving an self-published or independent author to spread the word about her book.
There is also the discussion of Price vs. Quality. Many seem to feel that if a book is only .99 there must be something amiss with it, either the text is not well edited or the story is not well contrived. While this at one time might have been the case, it is not so any longer. E-book editors offer affordable pricing, artists will be happy to make a professional cover for a reasonable fee, and now many books to be found in the kindle bargain bin are very much worth a reader's time. As well, I remember buying a certain well-known fantasy series' 25th anniversary edition for 50$ and though this was a traditionally published book for such a price, I still found many spelling and grammar mistakes in the text. Cheap doesn't need to mean bad in the e-book world just as expensive doesn't need to mean good, but it does mean that authors will no longer have to shell out hundreds of dollars to vanity presses when choosing the independent route.
I have both been self-published and traditionally published and I will tell you that they are essentially the same thing. Personally, I enjoy the notion that my books are available to everyone for less than the price of a Starbucks coffee. I'm still getting the same amount of royalties as I was when my books were 20$ but now I might get a few more people to read them thanks to free e-samples and digital worldwide distribution.