Everything has a price
And sometimes that price simply seems wrong, especially when it comes to books. I'd love to know what all of you readers out there think. I know that more and more of you are checking out my site from America, Australia, the Republic of Ireland and even more far flung places, so excuse me when I refer to pounds sterling in this post. (Poor old pound, floundering due to Brexit and rumours of another interest rate cut in November.) You'll have to do the conversion maths; soz.
So let's take the expensive end of the scale first.
I was just looking at the blog of lovely seeming lady called Jill https://jillsbookcafe.wordpress.com/. She writes beautifully articulate reviews of books that I like the sound of and one of her missives in particular caught my eye. It was for a book called The Museum of You by Carys Bray. Great title, nice-looking cover. I went to Amazon to find out more about it. The hardcover price is currently £9.09. Not a bad price at all but I don't really like hardbacks as they take up too much room on my limited bookshelf space. The paperback is £7.99 - quite pricey, but a realistic representation of the amount of work that goes into writing a book, I'm sure you agree. But I was staggered to see that the kindle price is £9.49. This seems extortionate. I know when kindle first came out, people felt the books should be cheaper as there was no physical entity - no paper, no shipping, no bookstore space etc etc. The publishers argued, amongst other things, that ebooks have to pay VAT which actual books don't, and that the same amount of work goes into the editing, cover design, promotion and all the rest. Clearly, the book-buying public didn't - quite literally - buy this as soon kindle books started to come down in price. Most of them, anyway. In terms of The Museum of You, I will wait and try to pick up a second-hand copy or buy when it is on promotion as I don't really have spare tenners to spend on books right now.
So now onto the other side of the - literal and metaphorical - coin. Not only did kindle books start to come down in price, to all intents and purposes they never stopped falling! Many, many books now sell for 99p. My own book is demanding the elevated figure (LOL) of £1.99. Of course this doesn't in any way even begin to reflect the blood, sweat and tears that goes into writing a full-length novel but I guess the rationale is 'pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap'. (Remember that the publisher sets the price, not the writer.) There are also numerous tomes on offer for - well, for nothing. Free. I really struggle with this concept as I do find it hard to believe that anything of quality comes with no price tag at all... but then, I know for a fact that many of the 99p-ers are quality and there's hardly much difference between nothing and less than a quid. It seems publishing hovers between the sublime and the ridiculous in terms of pricing.
So there it is - something for you to consider and mull over and ruminate on. What should the price of a work of art be? Let me know your thoughts.