The philosophy of book buying

The philosophy of book buying

Why do you buy a book?

Why don’t you buy a book?

Having just finished Green Lantern and Philosophy: No Evil Shall Escape this Book, I’m feeling a bit philosophical myself.

I don’t think it’s as simple as might at first be supposed.

I would have thought my decision was driven first by whether I thought I would like the book or not, with price perhaps being a factor.

That’s not the case, though.

I always think it’s good to know your own motivations. That doesn’t mean you can change them:

“Another romantic lunacy.  We assume that a personality problem can be liquidated merely through an understanding of it – as though a man could lift a mountain once he admitted it was heavy.  No: recognition is not synonymous with solution.  I fly toward freedom as a moth toward the candle, and nothing so insubstantial as Reason will turn me aside.”
–Dr. Charles “Doc Bedside” Bedecker
Chthon
written by Piers Anthony
To eventually appear in The Mind Boggles, the Bufo Book of Quotations

The first obvious one for me is if text-to-speech access is blocked.

To some degree, that is selfish. It’s a rare book where I don’t listen to part of it, since I drive quite a bit and I like listening to text-to-speech much better than listening to the radio (or audiobooks).

However, that’s not the only reason. Even if the text-to-speech was only available to those who could certify a print disability (in which case it wouldn’t affect me), I still wouldn’t buy a book that blocked the access.

What’s the point for me?

I think it’s primarily because I don’t want to reward that choice by the publisher. I don’t honestly think that my not buying a particular book is going to change the behavior of the publisher. I would feel bad, though, if I bought a book that blocked the access…whether or not it impacted me personally.

Price is another interesting factor.

I don’t have any preset limits, unlike some people. I’ve paid $100 for a paperbook, so that’s not a barrier.

However…

I like to look at a change in circumstance as an opportunity for a change in me. I looked at my Kindle as an opportunity to expand my reading choices…and by so doing, save money for my family.

The mechanism: free public domain classics. There are so many great books I’ve wanted to read, and in the past, might have had trouble finding or at least had to pay something for it.

So, I feel a bit of guilt when I do pay for a book…any book, pretty much.

Don’t worry, publishers, that doesn’t mean I don’t ever buy books. 🙂

For example, if it’s one of my Significant Other’s favorite authors (and it doesn’t have text-to-speech access blocked), we’re going to buy it…pretty much regardless of cost.

We bought

Smokin’ Seventeen: A Stephanie Plum Novel

for $13.99.

I realize that may offend some of you who think that no one should pay more than $9.99 for a novel, to try to set that as a hard and fast price limit for the publishers.

I do think the prices at which customers buy books do affect the prices…but the population of buyers seems to accept prices higher than $9.99, based on the bestsellers. They also buy a lot of ninety-nine cent books, of course.

In this case, it was near my SO’s birthday, so we didn’t want to wait.

In your case, if you can wait 147 days, the paperback will be released at $7.99, and the Kindle price will likely drop to the same or below that at that time.

I find that interesting: fewer than six months before the mass market? It used to be a year.

Now, fascinatingly, you could buy the trade paper at the same time as the hardback and the e-book.

Let’s take a step aside for a moment to look at the pricing on this book:

June 21, 2011:

  • Hardback list price (set by the publisher): $28.00
  • Trade paper list price (set by the publisher): $19.95
  • Kindle list price (set by the publisher): $13.99
  • Large print paperback list price (set by the publisher): $28.00
  • Unabridged audio CD list price (set by the publisher): $32.00
  • Audible download list price (set by the publisher): $28.00

November 15, 2011

Mass market paperback list price (set by the publisher): $7.99

Of course, Amazon can discount most of these (not the Kindle edition, since it’s published by Random House, which is under the Agency Model).

So, does price not matter to me at all?

It does, but I’m not quite sure why.

Obviously, it’s got to be within reason (I’m not likely to pay $1000 for a novel), but here’s a good example.

We have a tradition in the family. When my SO and I were early in the relationship, money was tight. My SO wanted a “real” piggy bank as a gift, and got one from me.

We would put all our change in it…and every once in a while, we would go out to lunch and a movie matinée with that money. We called it a “Pig Day”.

We still do that. We even manipulate things a bit so we get more change when we buy things. 🙂 The pig money goes for frivolous things.

We just had a Pig Day, and had a lot of left over money…so our tradition is that we would spend it on things we don’t actually need.

One of my favorite authors, Jacques Vallee, published a new book in October of 2010:

Wonders in the Sky: Unexplained Aerial Objects from Antiquity to Modern Times

When it came out, I wasn’t really tempted, because my policy at the time was not to buy anything from publishers that blocked text-to-speech access on any of their books, and this is from Tarcher, which is part of Penguin.

I’m good with hard and fast rules like that. Even though I’ve read and own just about everything by Jacques Vallee (his Passport to Magonia was an important book in my life, and isn’t the only one of his that I really admire), I could drop my interest when I saw it was from Penguin (“These are not the books you’re looking for.”)

Since then, I’ve changed that policy. I now make the decision about text-to-speech on a title by title basis, rather than company by company. I’ve discussed that before.

This title doesn’t have text-to-speech access blocked.

I want to read it.

The price, though, is $16.99.

I wouldn’t have hesitated to pay that in paper…but I have so many lower cost options for things to read.

Is my impatience (and I’m a very patient person) a reason to pay that much for a book? Is that fair to the family?

I have listed it at

eReaderIQ

which is a wonderful resource, and I strongly recommend it.

They have several free services, but this is one where you can list Kindle store books, and they’ll send you a free e-mail when the price drops.

Is the price going to drop?

Interesting question.

This one is out as a Kindle book and a trade paperback…no hardback.

The tradepaper is list-priced at $22.95 (and Amazon has discounted it to $15.61).

I’m hoping they’ll eventually either publish a mass market paperback (which would precipitate a Kindle drop), or lower the price on the Kindle version.

I think there is a chance there won’t be a mass market…I think that will become increasingly common, as e-books take that marketing niche.

I’ve suggested before that we may not get an automatic price drop after six months or a year…that prices may always be based on sales, and fluctuate rapidly.

Since there is a chance this won’t go down in price, and I’d pay this much for it in paper, and I have pig money to spend, why don’t I just buy it?

I’m not entirely sure.

I do think the price is high, even though I know more work will have gone into this than into many novels out there (there will be quite a bit of research).

I think there are three main factors.

One is the family budget thing…but that’s balanced by this being pig money, so that’s just habit.

The second is that I have a lot of other things to read. I can be patient enough to read other things while I wait for the price to drop.

The third is probably silly…it seems like it is for the public good. A lot of people can’t really afford a $16.99 e-book…at least, not easily. It seems like…solidarity with them not to buy the book at that price. I know that’s not really practical…it isn’t to drive down the price, I don’t think this does it. I also don’t think it’s unfair to anybody to pay the price…as I mentioned, I’ve paid $100 for a book. It’s just that…e-books are still new. I know from having taught project management: you have a bigger chance to affect a project in the beginning, and that tends to reduce over time.

However, I still don’t think I’m affecting the price…but I feel like it’s a time to stand with other people. That’s fuzzy, though: I would pay prices that some others would find difficult.

Hmm…this is complicated, and is going to require some more thought.

How about you? What motivates you buying a book or not buying one that you think is illogical? Feel free to let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

22 Responses to “The philosophy of book buying”

  1. Sherri Says:

    There are several books I would buy as ebooks immediately but for one thing: price. It’s not that I can’t afford the price, or even that I’m unwilling to pay that price necessarily. But, as in the example you cite, the ebook costs more than the paper copy. Given that I’m only buying a license to an ebook, I object to paying more.

    As a result, I end up not buying the book. I won’t buy it in paper, and I won’t spend more than paper to buy it for my Kindle. There are more books that I want to read than I have time to read anyway. I hope the agency publishers wake up, though, because I’m the kind of customer they could be getting a windfall from. If they’d price their backlist reasonably, I’d start replacing books I already own with ebooks.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sherri!

      I don’t think I cited one where the e-book was more than the p-book. The one where I cited all the prices has a future paperback price which is lower, but that doesn’t seem like a fair comparison. In a case like that, the e-book is the lowest price available for the book now. By the time you can get the mass market, the e-book is likely to be the same or below the p-book.

      As to this stand that people have that they won’t buy the e-book if it isn’t below the p-book…that’s clearly a philosophical stand. I don’t follow that personally for a couple of reasons:

      * The e-book is more valuable to me than the p-book
      * I don’t buy the p-books any more, so I don’t care about the relative price. I could as easily compare the e-book price to the price of a car…they have the same relevancy for me

      You can tell it’s a philosophical stand. Hypothetically, if the Encyclopaedia Brittanica was one penny in paper and two pennies in e-book, you wouldn’t buy the latter. That doesn’t seem driven by cost/benefit analysis.

      I think some people adopt that stand because they think the e-book costs less to produce, therefore the publishers are greedy if they charge the same price or more, and deserve to be punished by a lost sale. That has a number of presumptions built into it (publishers were making enough on the paperbook sale, it’s the individual sale that matters as opposed to the population of sales, competitive pressure from independents is irrelevant).

      I certainly don’t think philosophical reasons are wrong (as I mentioned, I have them), but they are worth understanding.

  2. Sherri Says:

    You gave an example where the list price is more than the ebook, but the discounted price is less. It’s a philosophical stand to compare the list price, given the easy availability of a paper book at the discounted price.

    My philosophical stand is not based on the publisher cost, it’s based on the fact that they’re selling me a restricted license while they fix prices. If they’d allow retailers to set prices, I would still be unhappy about DRM and the restrictions, but I would go back to making an individual decision about whether to buy an ebook that cost more than a pbook.

    I probably would even do it if the publishers were willing to go to a more dynamic pricing structure, instead of simply tying the ebook model to the paper model. There are lots of books that will never be published in mass market; under the model the publishers seem to be currently using, that means those ebooks will never drop in price.The publishers are taking a philosophical stand that an ebook must not cost less than this, even if it hurts their revenues and thus author royalties and drives readers elsewhere.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Sherri!

      You are correct. My philosophy is generally to hold people and entities more responsible for things under their direct control than things that are not. While the publishers could reasonably assume that a book will be discounted in some (but not all) sellers, they can’t control how much.

      The license is much better for me and my family for an e-book than it is for a p-book. When you buy a license in the Kindle store, for example, the publishers allows you to have an infinite number of people on the same account read it for one download price. They generally limit the number of devices that can have it simultaneously (and arguably, the unlimited users is true for a p-book…until it falls apart), but we can have multiple family members read the same book at the same time in different timezones.

      The license feels much more utilitarian than buying a copy of a paperbook which they won’t replace for me if lost/damaged.

      I don’t like the Agency Model, but I personally don’t make buying decisions based on it. It’s turned me much more against Apple, but not so much against the publishers.

      I think the probable demise of a standard mass market release schedule doesn’t necessarily mean prices will stay high. I think we’ll see more of the algorythmic pricing we see with third party sellers. When the sales drop below a certain level, the computer will lower the price. When they go back up, the computer will raise them again. Prices will constantly fluctuate…sort of like the stock market. 🙂 Automatic buying will also come into play for some people. I know some are pricing backlist titles similar to frontlist, but they are probably right to assume an e-book release is front loaded (more people will buy it initially than later, even if the paperbook has been out for decades).

  3. Kyrie Firelight Says:

    I’ve bought probably fifty e-books for my Kindle since receiving it last Christmas. I asked for it mostly because of the free classics available, also because I have a young toddler and it’s much easier reading electronic books around him [no pages to get ripped and/or eaten] Of those fifty, the majority were $2.99 or under. I would use little leftover scraps of money in the bank account after cash was withdrawn or bills were paid to purchase them. These were largely impulse purchases. The items on my wish list were more expensive and actually budgeted for. I buy a lot of nonfiction science books that are not lending-enabled; these usually cost anywhere from $8 to $13. I know there is no chance of borrowing these, and I have already checked the library for physical copies; otherwise I would simply do that instead. I do not remember paying more than $13 for any one title. I would never pay $13 for a work of fiction. Another factor that influences my buying decisions is my tendency to want to read a string of related works one after the other. I am slowly working my way through the backlog [about half of the fifty remain unread] but many of those will be put on the back burner so I can purchase and read yet another book on information theory. Even if I never get around to reading some of these books, I am still building a library, a digital one immune to wear and tear, lost or unreturned volumes, that is easy to organize, takes up very little space, and will easily survive into my son’s adulthood in one form or another, in one device or another, virtually indestructible.

  4. Sherri Says:

    I’ll agree that theoretically we should see more algorithmic pricing, but I don’t see any evidence yet that the agency publishers have any intention of doing so. Just recently, I was looking at Dark Water, by Robert Clark, about the 1966 flood in Florence. It was published in 2008 in both hardback and ebook, and in trade paper a year later. Now, over a year and a half later, the hardback is in remainder, the trade paper is hardly on any physical book store shelves, and yet the ebook is still priced at $11.99, more than the $10.77 Amazon (and B&N) price for the trade paper. That’s a pretty common occurrence, and a practice that I think is harmful to the reader, the author, and even in the long run, to the publisher.

  5. Tom Semple Says:

    If a book is $2.99 or less, and seems to be of interest to me, I’ll buy it, especially if the price offer appears to be a temporary reduction (as in the case of the recent ‘Sunshine Deals’—I bought probably 3 or 4 titles I would not have considered otherwise).

    Otherwise, I tend to just download a sample, and wait until I’ve cleared some reading backlog before purchasing anything. I find my interest in any given book (whatever its merits) may fluctuate. I don’t have time to read everything that is of interest, so there’s no point in buying anything until I’m ready to read it. Depending on where a given title is in its release cycle, the price may fall, or I may find it available from a library, and I can save my money for something else.

    When I make a purchase decision, I look through the samples I’ve downloaded, in the course of which deleting any which no longer interest me. Finally considerations about pricing and TTS enter in, but I don’t take a hard position on either. It’s nice when something I want to purchase is under $10 and has TTS enabled, but it seems that a large percentage of the time, you get one or the other.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      So, you also are affected by philosophical buying, since you have a price point. Logically, there wouldn’t be much difference between $2.99 and $3.00…well, a penny’s difference. 😉 I could see a clearer break at $2.99…since that would mean the publisher could only get the lower royalty plan, although that wouldn’t be a motivator for me, or, I would presume, for you.

  6. D. Knight Says:

    My basic philosophy is to read interesting and worthwhile (to me) books for as cheaply as possible 🙂 Since I’m eclectic reader, this is actually quite easy to on the Kindle.

    Aside: There are a myriad of possible exceptions to my basic philosophy. Just one example: Before I got my Kindle, I got most of my books from a couple of online swap sites. I managed to collect quite a few of my favorite author’s books this way. When I got my Kindle, I was a bit put out that I was actually going to have pay for books–and then I realized my favorite author never earned a penny from me! That struck me as wrong, so I have purposely bought several of this author’s e-books at the normal full price.

    I am convinced that in a few years–once e-books become more mainstream–the going price is going to drop dramatically. Just like VHSs, CDs, DVDs, etc did before them. There is a “sweet spot” of number sold vs price–that is, the price that will convince the largest number of people to buy such that (number sold) x (price) is the highest. I think publisher’s are trying to find that sweet spot. I believe that they’re *eventually* going to find that the sweet spot is much lower that what they’re asking now.

    In the meantime, there’s a *ton* of great reading material available for little or no money. If I have a compelling reason to read a book now instead of waiting, I’ll buy it–although the higher the price, the more compelling the reason has to be.*

    *For example, my reason for wanting to read the Landolt-Bornstein Nuclear Energy e-book has not been compelling enough to pay $6K+ 🙂 Although I have read the reviews.

  7. Christine Says:

    I’ve recently paid 19.99 for an older ebook which is the 2nd in a trilogy – partly because I wanted it and partly because I was lurking in an online book discussion of the trilogy (I had read the 1st book earlier this year). What pushed me to one-click was the fact that the author is also participating in the discussion so I felt it was worth it (as she’s one of my favorite writers). I grabbed one Cat’s Cradle during the Sunshine Deals (I’m not sure how I’ve – at 43 – never read any Kurt Vonnegut). I’m currently reading a freebie. I don’t worry too much about price because it seems to all average out. I am more likely to impulse buy something from an author I know. I don’t think I’ve ever looked to see if TTS or lending is enabled before purchasing.

  8. morgan Says:

    thanks for another thought-provoking post Bufo. i’ve been contemplating why i buy, or don’t buy, a book for hours now. you kinda stumped me- price can play a role, but not always. name recognition can make a click buy, but not always. same story for reviews, cover art, friend recommendations, etc. samples help but even then… not always. ya know, i just don’t know :-p

  9. Bob Fry Says:

    I just rejected buying some books the other day, and my rationale is fresh in my mind.

    I had bought Murder Alfresco: A Sunny McCoskey Napa Valley Mystery on sale ($1.99), liked it, and looked at the author’s other books in the series. They were not on sale and were $7 to $8. Given these would have been just a single-read for me, and I couldn’t then give them to a friend or donate them to my local library or charity, that’s too much money. Since e-books are considerably more restricted in what I can do with them, I think they should be about 1/2 the price of a paperback book.

    I wrote a review for the above book, comparing it favorably to Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series. I thus looked at Ms. Grafton’s books on Kindle: again, the $7 or $8 range, and again I am unwilling to pay that much for a single-read e-book. Also no discount for buying the entire series at once, which I certainly would have considered if they had been priced at $2 or $3 each.

    So at this time, with about a month owning and using my K2, I am still very price sensitive. That may change as I continue my reading and work through all the free and cheap books I have on the K2. But for now price is very important since an e-book novel is something I’ll use just for a few hours then never return to it.

    • Bob Fry Says:

      OH, and BTW, Text-to-Speech has no importance to me. I find it a little hard to understand the speech. It’s worse than natural accented speech, and far worse than a native-language reader, and I can read much faster than I can listen to it. I don’t drive long distances so have time to actually read. And I learn and understand visually much better than orally (audio).

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Bob!

        I do drive quite a bit in the car, and I have hours more with my books than I used to have. 🙂

        It can take a little practice to get used to it, and it’s worth playing around with the six voice options (two voices, three speeds).

        That doesn’t mean that you’ll like it or use it, though. 🙂 I’m not a very visual person. I do sight-read more quickly than the fastest voice…but not when I’m driving. 😉

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bob!

      Welcome to the Klub!

      Actually, I find e-books much more valuable to me than paperbooks. There are different restrictions, certainly, but you get things with e-books tht you don’t get with p-books (paperbooks), as well as vice versa.

      While things have changed considerably since I wrote this about two years ago, you may find this interesting:

      https://ilmk.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/whats-it-worth-to-you-the-relative-value-of-e-books-and-paperbooks/

      It’s interesting: one thing I’d assume is that you don’t have other people on your account? When I buy a book on my account, it isn’t just for me, but for the other people on currently on my account and those who may be on the account in the future. Instead of your kids inheriting boxes of books (in my case, a room’s worth), they can simply access the library. Instead of the book being a burden, they are a plus.

      It’s funny how we value things. I don’t know if you go to the movies in movie theatres, but you could certainly be paying being paid that $8 for two hours of entertainment. A book would likely take you longer than that to read…and it’s an extraordinary movie that equals a mediocre book for me…and I love movies. 🙂

      Discount for buying the series? I managed a brick and mortar bookstore, and you wouldn’t have gotten one there. It doesn’t cost them much less to sell you ten books with a discount than it does to sell you the ten books individually, unless they are in one bundle. Unless it results in them selling you books you wouldn’t have bought otherwise (and you can easily go from one book to the next…there is often a link to click at the end of the book), it probably wouldn’t justify them giving you much of a discount.

      You can get all the cheap and free books you want for your Kindle. I list free books here, and there are over 250,000 titles in the Kindle store that are three dollars are less (with more added frequently).

      As time goes on, you may find yourself paying less on average for e-books…many people do.

      Check back in with me later, and let me know. 🙂

      • Bob Fry Says:

        Interesting you bring up the entertainment cost per hour. I started thinking this way years ago, and should have mentioned it in my post…I probably didn’t because by that measure my reluctance to pay much for e-books is wrong ;-). That is, I agree with you, that say $8 for an e-book which will take 2 to 4 hours to read is cheap entertainment. Nevertheless I balked. Well, the books I mentioned above aren’t going anywhere and I might well buy them a year from now. BTW I don’t go to movies much and then seek out the cheaper matinée price. Few movies capture my imagination like a good book can.

        I am willing to pay more $/hour for experiential entertainment, for instance, travel. I am a private pilot and pay a lot more than a few dollars per hour to fly. But that is a really participatory experience, unlike watching something (TV or a movie). I will pay more per hour for live music or theater.

        As for a cheaper price to buy a series of books, why not? Especially e-books. The unit production costs are nil, and by selling in bulk they can avoid perhaps some advertising costs. Well, it’s still early days in the e-book market, and authors and publishers continue using the old methods. As the young generation ages and gains positions of power they will change things throughout society. They, who do not know a world that is not connected, will reject commuting long distances to a workplace, will reject authority that depends on information hording, and will reject old market styles, based on physical production, for intellectual property.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing again, Bob!

        I like your observations on the entertainment costs!

        It’s interesting, but it is actually more expensive for them to sell you an omnibus book than it is for them to sell you a bunch of individual files because their delivery costs go up (paid to Amazon based on file size…at least for those books going through Kindle Direct Publishing). It’s cheaper accounting because there are fewer transactions, but that may not balance it.

        Buying in bulk being cheaper seems old-fashioned to me, rather than forward-looking. Where there is no mass, there is no bulk. 🙂 Paperbook omnibuses were cheaper because they were made more cheaply.

        As to the upcoming gens, they don’t think about owning stuff as much as the older generation does, in my opinion. They don’t say, “I’ll get all of the books in the series now”, because they consume things as they want them and then count on someone else to have them. I think the idea of buying the series in bulk reflects people owning physical objects more than cloud storage.

        So, the simple answer to your question, “As for a cheaper price to buy a series of books, why not?” is that they’ll make less money and I don’t see a parallel decrease in costs.

        I think the culture is transforming from “Look at the stuff I own” to “I’ll get it when I want it.” No CDs, no DVDs, no paperbooks…

        You could be right, though…it’s just speculation.

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        Let me throw a few sticks on the omnibus fire. In an ebook world for me this falls into one of two buying patterns.

        If I’m reading a series (as I currently am — John Locke’s Donovan Creed), I could buy the titles one at a time or all at once (for Locke, there are seven titles in the series to date each @ $0.99 — so costs aren’t going to factor into the buying pattern choice). Even though buying an ebook from Amazon is duck soup, I prefer to buy a series all at once rather than one at a time — it’s just more convenient for me. Once the books are bought and downloaded, I move them into a “TBR” collection before I start reading. For ebooks the differences are minor, but I prefer to purchase in the aggregate — so that when I finish one, I can immediately start reading the next.

        The other pattern is the true omnibus edition. Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels are appearing in omnibus editions of three titles per book. Sue Grafton is also doing this with her alphabet mysteries.

        Interestingly, Connelly is doing it in both print and kindle editions. The kindle editions of the omnibuses are priced $18-20, which for three titles is a decent price. Grafton is doing it mostly in print — although there is one 4-title omnibus on the kindle (QRST) priced at $32 — not quite as good a deal as Connelly’s.

        So, presumably, there is some economic advantage to omnibus editions even under agency pricing rules on the kindle — it would not surprise me if their profit is better on these than on first publications.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        If you didn’t get the titles all at once, though, the only difference would be waiting for the download. The link is right at the end of the book, typically (with the new “Before you go” feature). You could be reading it within a minute. Now, if you had a whole onmibus on your Kindle, it would mean you wouldn’t have to connect to the wireless to get that next book. I do have omnibuses on my Kindle, but they have some disadvantages. One of the key ones is that I can’t tell from which book a highlight comes.

        The advantage to the publisher would be if you wouldn’t have bought the books otherwise. If you would have bought them one at a time, I’m not sure there is much plus for them (except for accounting costs).

        I like an omnibus, and I think its good for companies to offer them…but I don’t see it happening with much of a discount, at least regularly. I see the Bosch books probably are a significant discount (for three titles at a time). Hm…I wonder if it would be more likely to happen with titles that didn’t sel as well….don’t know…

  10. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I guess the only hard and fast rule that I have is based on the notion that the only thing of value that I own is the time of my life; and I don’t know how much (or little) of that I have — so I think it’s generally a good idea not to waste it (although I do this — frequently — but mostly that’s my choice 😀 ). I only buy a book, if I’m going to read it (it’s kind of like my mother saying : “eat everything on your plate”). It’s rare for me to start reading a book and then to stop saying: “this is a waste”. So once started, it gets finished; so don’t buy a book unless you read it; reading takes time — don’t waste it.

    It would be easy to buy a lot of $0.99 books, but I suspect (for many of these) I’d be inordinately wasting time. So funnily, I spend far more time researching a potential book buy, the lower the sale price. At the higher price ranges, I’m governed by authors and genres I’m familiar with, and if it’s a favorite author, or series, price doesn’t factor in too much (if it’s in the middle of “favorableness” I might elect to defer the purchase and await the 6 month/1 year after publication price drop — but as you say (and I believe as well) these may ultimately be replaced by endlessly fluctuating demand-based price changes).

    And it is ironic, but I am finding lots of enjoyable newly written stuff in the below $6 price range.

    • Edward Boyhan Says:

      Oh, and since I’ve had my kindle (almost 2 years now), I have bought maybe 2 DTBs (and those were because my brother gave me a BN giftcard for Christmas — no Nooks here :-)).

      If it’s not available in ebook, I forego the pleasure. Recently, I became interested in the publishing phenomenon of “The Paris Wife” bestseller, a fictionalized account of Hemingway’s time in Paris in the mid 20’s. Hemingway, himself, wrote about this time in his life in “A Moveable Feast” (published posthumously, twice: once by his last wife, once by a son and grandson). It is not available as an ebook (at least not from Amazon) — too bad. “The Sun Also Rises” which he wrote during this time, and which loosely mirrors the characters and lifestyle of his time in Paris, is — so I bought that, priced at typical agency levels ($11.99). For this backlist title, the price is appropriate; for many others, this would be way out of line.

      As a contrarian aside, Hemingway gave the rights including the movie rights) to TSAR to his first wife, Hadley, when they separated. She died in 1979. I do not know who owns the rights now, but I think it a fair question to ask why it’s not in the public domain? I know the law on this, but I am questioning the rationale for copyrights lasting so long after the author’s death?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing again, Edward!

      It’s funny, but I’ve always gotten books figuring they were for other people, too. I’ve always pictured their legacy value…and with those wonderful simultaneous device licenses, multiple read them now.

      I get pretty much all the freebies for that reason…so future people on the account have access to them. There are some, though, I wouldn’t be comfortable having.

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