Okay, it’s time to wake up

I’ve sat down several times to write today’s post and each time I find my fingers poised above the keyboard and I know what I want to write. Then it disappears and I find myself once again wondering at a comment I saw in a private group this morning. It was one of those messages that make you stop, reread, do a little research and still scratch your head and wonder what the heck happened to common sense during the night while you were sleeping.

The price of e-books is not a new topic here at MGC, or just about anywhere else where authors talk about the value of their work. Some of us have a higher threshold for what we are willing to pay than others. The one thing we have all agreed upon is that an e-book should not cost more than a paperback and most certainly shouldn’t cost almost as much as the hardcover. That’s not only common sense but basic accounting. It simply doesn’t cost as much to produce an e-book as it does the print version.

But this morning, the comment that had me wondering if I had fallen down some sort of warp hole into an alternate reality came from someone who was looking for recommendations for e-books to read. From the comments made by this person, it sounded as if they were like many of us. They had budgeted a certain amount for books and did not want to go above that amount. There’s nothing wrong with that. Many of us, myself included, do that.

So far, so good.

But where the person lost me was with their explanation for why they weren’t buying a certain book. The book, Conquistador (by S. M. Stirling) was first published in 2003 by Penguin. The Kindle version currently sells for $7.99. That seems a bit high to me for a book that has been out more than 10 years but it is pretty much in line with what traditional publishing charges for e-books. Oh, you will find some that sell for a bit less but that isn’t what the OP was complaining about.

It seems the OP looked at how much the other versions of the book were selling for. The mass market paperback version, apparently still in print, sells for $7.99. Okay, I have a problem with that. E-book and print versions should not be selling for the same amount. It is a slap in my face as a reader because it assumes I can’t figure out that it costs a publisher more to print, store, and ship the print version than it does to convert and transmit the digital version. But even that wasn’t what the OP was complaining about.

No, the OP’s reason for not buying the e-book came down to this: the hardcover version sells for as little as $0.40. Yes, this is for a used version of the book. Yes, tax and shipping and handling have to be added. The lowest price, after all that is done, would be approximately $4.40. But not even the fact that the total price would be less than the mmpb or e-book wasn’t what the OP objected to.

What was, you ask. Simple. The OP felt that if people valued the book so little that they were willing to sell it for $0.40 for the hardcover, then it most definitely couldn’t be worth the $7.99 they would be spending for the digital version.

Apparently it didn’t matter to the OP that there are 129 reviews of the book posted on Amazon and that the book has an average rating of 3.9 out of 5. Nope, they glommed onto the fact that approximately 8 folks were reselling a book that is more than 10 years old for approximately $0.40. They apparently didn’t look through all 9 pages of resell listings to see that the price for the book went into the $50.00 range. Nope, all the OP saw was the first page of listings for $0.40 and above.

So what does that mean to the rest of us as authors? I’m not sure, other than it is yet another instance showing that we need to educate ourselves and our readers on the economics of publishing. I would rather someone resell one of my print books than trash it, even though I will get no royalty from that second sale. Why would I prefer it? Because that person buying the used book might like what they read and then buy new versions of my other work for themselves. Even if they don’t wind up buying new copies, they might recommend my work to someone else and that can translate into sales.

That is all very good.

But we also have to take this as a cautionary tale. Readers are looking for the best bang for their buck. Not all of them will look through all the used book listings to see if that really low price is the norm or an abnormality, nor will they think to add in shipping and tax to see what the final version is. So, if our e-books are priced at or near what the mmpb cost is (for new), then we very well may be doing ourselves a disservice. (Or our publisher is.)

Just a little food for thought.

So, here’s a question for you. Do you look at the price of used print versions of a book before you decide whether you will buy the e-book version? If so, at what point do you choose the used book over the e-book?

77 thoughts on “Okay, it’s time to wake up

  1. My only quibble is that most readers do not care about publishing costs. They have an idea about what they think it should cost and are not going to pay more than they need to. I’m not saying don’t educate them. Just that pushing this too hard will probably annoy readers.

    1. James, I’m not saying we beat them over their heads with it but that we continue doing what we have been. I know what I’m like when someone tries to pound something into my head — I get very stubborn and usually refuse to listen, at least at first. But it never hurts to keep talking from time to time about the realities of our profession.

  2. Let’s hope that person was part of a very small minority because that reasoning is just stupid. I can’t even wrap my brain around it.

    I don’t think about used book prices when I buy a book. At least not that way. Usually, if I want a book NOW, I buy the ebook. If it’s a book I suspect I’ll want to hold in my hands and keep on my shelf, I’ll scan through the used book listings to see if anyone has a quality copy I can afford. If not, I buy the new paperback. I can’t afford the hardcovers anymore and with my bad wrists, they’re too heavy to hold.

    1. That’s basically my motivation. I have a top price I will pay for ANY e-book. There are a few authors I will pay more for than for others but that is a very short list and I have a top dollar limit there as well. I will pay more for non-fiction than fiction, mainly because I would be paying more in print. And, yes, I buy almost exclusively digital now because of lack of space for more print books.

      1. I tend to go e-book for space, price, immediacy – but I don’t look at used book prices to decide if the e-version is worth it to me. It either is or it isn’t.

        This morning I had a weird reversal. I saw the review mentioned on Nocturnal Lives and looked at the book and was disappointed there was not a paper version. I will likely get the ebook for myself, but I wanted a paper version for someone who prefers paper – as they prefer to minimize complications with electronics.

      2. The entire reasoning behind be buying a kindle was so that i didn’t have to figure out where to keep more print books.

    2. He just posted on Baen’s Bar with a 1-liner asking for kindle recs, since Conquistador was obviously a ripoff.

      The guy’s 8th post ever, The next most recent one (feb 2014) he led off with:

      “I don’t like most books, and will actively avoid paying for them usually. Moreover, there are popular books that I guess I just don’t like.
      I read Lest Darkness Falls, and honestly I thought it sucked. Would give 2/5 stars. I liked the rebuttal podcast (which is free!) much better.
      I read poul Anderson’s The high crusade and that is good. Like what I imagine a four star hotel is like.”

      The others are an announcement that he likes spam sushi (apparently a hawaiian thing), asking for help navigaing the site, and trying to ID an old short story.

      Something tells me he’s not core audience.

      I replied with the link to this article.

      1. Let’s not quote from a private group, please. I was treading close to the line just referring to it with the name of the book. But let’s not go further please.

        1. Apologies – This is what I get for reading the web before caffeine (and thus judgement and filters).

          Feel free to delete my post.

  3. I buy the print book when the kindle version is the most expensive. I don’t usually buy the print version because I’m running out of storage room in my house. I consider the average new print price. I don’t consider the used price. I hope I’m not the OP you mentioned in this post.

    I am not an author and don’t wish to be one. Do you think that the outrageous pricing of ebooks ($12.99, $14.99) by publishers is designed to get readers to buy print editions?

    1. Emily, no, you aren’t the OP I was talking about. I, too, look at the prices of new print books vs. the digital price. If the e-book costs the same or almost the same, I give a long, hard look at getting the print version instead.

      As for the pricing many traditional publishers are placing on e-books, yes, I do think they are trying to force readers to buy print instead. If they weren’t, we would see the digital prices more in line with what paperback prices are when the title first comes out and then that price coming down dramatically when the mmpb version comes out. What is happening, instead, is that a lot of readers are turning to small presses and indie authors and buying more and more from them.

    2. At least part of the reason. I read an article about pricing a few days ago but can’t remember the one who posted it so i won’t try to name him. He went into the whole thing about costs to a publishing company and how the profit from e-books priced this high were part of what helped pay the other costs for print versions, as well. Big publishing companies with lots of employees. The article was much more detailed than this but this was the gist of it.

      1. Christopher, I think I read the same article. The irony is, while pricing e-books so high in order to capitalize on profit to help cover the costs of the other editions, publishers are actually losing sales (and therefore money) because most readers don’t want to — and won’t — pay mere pennies less for an e-book than they would for a hardcover. They especially won’t when the price of the upcoming mmpb is already listed and they can see it will be dollars less than what is currently being asked for the e-book.

        1. Agree. I don’t know what the actual cost differential is but I expect an e-book to be about $1 less than the paperback.
          And then I look at the inflated cost of the paperback itself. I’m seeing a lot of 9.99 out there which is above my balk price even if you knock off the dollar.
          Maybe I’m just too old, but I just reached over to my bookshelf and pulled a paperback (by Larry Niven) out with a cover price of 1.50.
          10 bucks is probably a bargain in today’s dollars for the entertainment value but my inner tightwad remembers that buck and a half.

          1. I have a problem with a lot of mmpbs being sold at $9.99. I’ve bought too many that fell apart in my hands during the first reading — and I don’t mistreat my books. That’s another reason I’ve gone digital. They don’t fall apart and lose pages.

        2. Seems to me publishers, if they were smart, would start at a price point a little below the hardback and gradually reduce it. They’d get the sales of people who want it as soon as it’s released, and other people later.

          Customers would know that if they wait they can get a better price, but at some point they’ll decide to buy it now instead of waiting 6 months or so more to save a buck.

  4. For non-fiction research books, I will cross check the print and e-book prices. 70% of the time I then ILL the book for $3.00 postage. If it is something like a fat biography I can get cheap-ish, then I’ll go print. It I know I’ll refer to it over and over and over, print. Otherwise e-book is usually less expensive than used.

    Fiction? It depends on he price, the author, the age of the book, if I can find it at all anywhere else, if Cancer is ascendant, moon phase . . .

    1. For non-fiction research books, I tend to go with print. I’m still one of those who likes to be able to highlight and write notes in the margins, etc. If it is non-fiction being read for enjoyment, I will usually go digital. Fiction, I can’t remember the last fiction mmpb I bought for myself. I still buy a few now and then for my mother but even she prefers e-books. Hardbacks, well, there are a few authors I will still buy in h/c but that number is down dramatically from what it used to be.

      1. Yes, there is a certain satisfaction with a bookshelf of (hardback, but not essentially so) non-fiction reference type books. There are some things I want available even if the power is out and the batteries are down – and they aren’t “how to rebuild everything” but just stuff I find… comforting.

      2. For most research books, I prefer print over digital, because I can get up, go to my library, and skim the spines for the topic, then grab and flip through index and skim through book til I find the info I need.

        You cannot do that with a digital book.

        I’ve found that digital books of either kind tend to get lost in my file library, and since they’ve not made a ‘nix accessible Kindle reader…

        Kindle on my phone = I’ll have to plug in the phone at some point.

        I’ve lived through too many experiences where you lose power regularly and for hours if you’re lucky, days if you’re not, to move completely over to digital.

  5. It varies in this household. For books that are almost certain to be trash-binned after one use (my daughter’s required college textbooks, generally)? Find the lowest used price, from somewhere that has a decent rating on Amazon.

    For most books now – ebooks. Even at a bit of a premium, to be honest; I have the problems in common with many of the space restraints AND the dust issues with paper copies. Some of them, for my top authors, even a very high premium (thinking of the Baen EARCS, here…).

    OTOH – there are some that I would buy in print no matter what. If handed $1,500 in disposable income tomorrow, I would get the Ginny edition of RAH.

    1. I remember the days of buying text books for my son. We did as much from Amazon, and hopefully used, as possible. Even new, they were almost always cheaper than buying them on campus. Most everything else is digital.

      YES! I would do the absolute same thing if I could afford the Ginny edition.

      1. I kind of liked the deal I got for my (second) round of college.

        I spent a flat $210.00 for the equivalent of a semester in credits, every semester. But – it was all electronic, and an instructor almost always required pieces of three or four different books (much better for the instructor there). Plus usually about a half-dozen articles that are in paywalled journals (and that I would have had to hope to find in the local public university library, and then pay copying fees to take home).

        And, although long graduated, I have lifetime access to the entire library still (well, assuming I don’t lose the password).

        I think I got sufficient bang for the bit over $1K I put into the “books.”

    2. Also if you buy ebooks you never have to worry about book worms and I used to think that was just an idiom for someone who studies all the time

  6. Why pay anything, when the local public library is free? For values of “taxation is theft” anyway…

    1. I support my local library with overdue fines more than with my taxes. [Sigh] I need to be better at going online to renew.

    2. Looking at the numbers, there are roughly 20,000 public libraries in the US and 98,000 school libraries. If a book is in demand enough that even half of just the public libraries buy two copies for their readers to read, that’s an immediate 20,000 sales. Now that’s a paycheck.

      On top of that, readers of that book may decide “Wow, this book was great!” and go buy a copy. Or want to read more by that author, causing a library somewhere to pick it up.

      Libraries are great, for authors and readers. If you want a book, don’t pirate, just bug your local library to get a copy.

      1. Also, people don’t realize, libraries don’t get books at a discount bulk rate. They pay above list for their books.
        If your library doesn’t have what you want, most now have online forms for submitting suggestions for books to purchase.

    3. Because I don’t enjoy being treated like a piece of meat and/or a convicted felon every time I want to check out a book. Seriously, the staff at my local library is the surliest, most miserable crew of people I’ve ever had the displeasure of being forced to deal with. Supposedly things have changed now that the township has hired a new head librarian, but I haven’t headed down to see for myself. On top of that, their selection is pretty lousy, at least in my areas of interest. I’m not into romance, the “classics,” local history, or how-to manuals, so there’s really nothing there for me.

  7. Check used book prices before purchasing an ebook?


    But then when I purchased used books, I got worried about the condition of the lower priced used books.

    This was after I purchased a used copy of (IIRC) Little Fuzzy that I was afraid to read because I thought it would fall apart. [Sad Smile]

    1. I hear you, Paul. I’ve been known to return used books and let Amazon know why when they haven’t been the quality the seller advertised.

    2. Some years back I bought a used copy of the “big” biography of Oscar Wilde, and when the book arrived it stank so bad of mildew I couldn’t bear to handle it enough to send it back. I dumped it into the trash can with two fingers and then washed my hands twice. Fortunately, I was out only $4. I’ve been a little more careful buying used print books since then.

  8. As a reader, no, I don’t check used book prices for the most part. At this point in my life, the biggest price of print books is how much space they take, so even at fifty cents plus shipping, a hardcover isn’t worth it for me. I’ve pretty much given up on print books. They are cumbersome, the search algorithms (going shelf to shelf trying to locate book #3 of the six book series I wanted to revisit) suck, and I’m getting lazy in my old age. I don’t have any attachment to the feel/smell of print books; I’m all about the words and the feelings they evoke. I’m sure I’m still a minority when it comes to my preferences, of course, but I think that’s the way the voracious reading public is headed. Not the casual readers, though, the people who buy less than five books a year; those are likely to keep buying hardcovers and paperbacks, and there are millions of them. Trad pub will continue to cater to them, while they treat midlisters as a farm team, culling those who fail to produce a best-seller in the allotted time.

    As to ebook prices, I consider anything above $9.99 to be excessive. I’m willing to make an exception (S.M. Stirling is one of them, amusingly enough) for my fan favorites, but that list has been pruned down a great deal, from a dozen “must-buy” writers back in 2012 to… two. For my day-to-day reading nowadays, I rely on my Kindle Unlimited subscription, supplemented by reasonably-priced trad publisher ebooks (mostly Baen) and the aforementioned two “must buy” authors.

    1. C.J., I see more and more folks talking about having to go digital more and more because of lack of storage space, allergies, etc., as well as how great it is to be able to carry your entire library with you on your phone or tablet. Will print die? Not in our lifetimes and possibly not ever. There will be a niche market for it. But my son is the perfect example of what I feel is happening. He grew up with computers and then tablets and smartphones. He would just as soon read on his Kindle e-ink or tablet than a print book. The only exception is reference books he will do as I do with — mark up, highlight and annotate. It is still easier to do that on a physical book than an e-book.

      1. Makes sense about reference books. I don’t think it’s going to be as bad for print books as it is for, say, music CDs, but it’s not going to be pretty. And overpricing ebooks isn’t going to help print publishing.

  9. I’ll buy paper copies for reference, and something like the Rubber Book (Handbook of Chemistry and Physics) I bought used for about $20.

    But ebooks? I get them for enjoyment, usually. Sometimes for reference (like “How to format your book for KDP) but rarely. I LIKE being able to fold corners, and my Kindle just doesn’t take well to that. 😉

  10. For work-related books (we have a “book club” and I get points towards stuff when I read these books) I go to the used books. I know I won’t read it in e-book, even if I can get it cheaper there, and with a physical book I can pass it on to the next employee to read. Otherwise, I try to go with eBook or new dead tree version so my favorite authors can buy more coffee.

    1. Aimee, I tend to do much the same. Physical books, especially for reference, are to keep or to be able to pass on. Fun reads tend to be digital. I also tend to buy new for most of my fun reads because I want to support the author.

  11. I’ll look at the price, the author, the blurbs, the reviews. If it sounds interesting to me, then I’ll look at the price again. For an established author that I enjoy their work, I’ll go up to the $7 to $9 range. I won’t go above that. For a new author that I’m taking for a test drive, I prefer the $3 and under ranges. I don’t compare used book prices to new book to e-book, I simply look at my budget.

    1. There are a few authors I will pay $9.99 for their e-books and even fewer I will pay $12.99 for. I won’t pay more than that for an e-book I am buying for pure enjoyment. I will think long and hard before paying more than that for non-fiction e-books. The bulk of my e-book buying falls in the $2.99 – $5.99 range.

  12. Someone said, on GoodReads, that Daphne du Maurier’s novel (might have been Rebecca), in ebook, was on sale for 0.99 (I believe it was a UK forum, so that would have been in pounds).

    I remembered reading it a long time ago, and enjoying it, and was willing to pick up a copy for 0.99. So I went looking – and didn’t find that offer. The ebook was significantly more than that, and modern copies from the publisher were too expensive for an impulse buy of an old novel.

    But I found, in the used books, a hardcover volume with FOUR of her Cornish novels, including two I hadn’t read, for less than $2. So I ordered that – and will enjoy reading it when it arrives.

    I’ve done that before: asked what the value to ME was (and wondered who is profiting from the current sales, since the author isn’t with us any more, I think). Knowing how little a traditionally published author gets from either ebook or hardcover, it didn’t bother me too much to pick up a cheap copy.

    Sad – but typical for those of us who understand the economics. The traditional publisher will go on, collecting those little bits of revenue, passing a tiny portion of them on to whoever is the literary heir, but I got a bargain. And don’t feel particularly bad about it.

  13. I did the exact same thing, and it was an S.M. Stirling book, even. I had tried The Thrones of the Crimson Kings from the library (I am risk averse…) Loved the book. Wanted my own copy. The ebook, which I would have preferred, was *completely* unreasonable in price, especially for something that had been out for a while, I had already read, and was an ebook that couldn’t be resold. So I got a used paper book (hardback, even!). From Amazon. Because it was less than half the price of the ebook.

    Could I have afforded full price? Yes. Not the point. I can afford things because I think about all those little purchases that add up. And it was a luxury, meant only to provide instant gratification when I wanted to re-read the book vs. waiting at the library for a copy. Not lifesaving medicine. So, I went with the cheapest option that gave me what I wanted.

    And then I had a few dollars extra of discretionary income to buy a new indie ebook that looked interesting, and maybe introduce me to *another* author I could get addicted to….

  14. I have no faith that used book prices have any real meaning. Someone could be having an “I’m moving next week to a smaller house” fire sale instead of throwing them away. They might hate the author for some personal reason. The book may be physically trashed. Low ball used prices are a useless indicator.

    On another note. I read some books at the library on principle. I will not pay stupidly high ebook prices. Weber’s Safehold series for instance.

  15. Depends. When I looked at how much it would cost to get digital copies of all the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories I danged near had a heart attack, and quickly confirmed that I could get a brand new set of paperbacks for significantly less. And used versions were positively cheap. (Except for the cost of adding shelf space.)

    1. Too late now… but I picked up ebooks of the first 5 titles for 2 bucks each late last year. Maybe subscribe to a site that tracks price drops for you?

  16. I never form an opinion of a book based on price, new or used. The bulk of my purchases are e-books due to space considerations, but I have bought used books I knew to be quite good for under a dollar. I’ve bought new books from discount bins for low price. When I see e- books at hardback or paperback prices, I balk. I also compare quantity of material to price.

    The idea of judging book quality by price, particularly used book price, is . . . strange.

  17. I view Amazon as the infinite used book store which I can visit in my underwear.

    I usually check used book prices when I buy an older title. Far too often a used copy is cheaper than an ebook, so I buy print.

  18. What’s important to understand is that while used book sellers may indeed love books, that book they have at offer is a commodity up for sale, not a treasured volume they care about. And too, those ridiculously low prices are a marketing trick pure and simple to entice a buyer when the real profit is in charging twice the actual shipping costs.

  19. I have come to view the e-book and print book as non-equivalent products. I buy them for different purposes. If I am going to read it for pleasure I will probably buy the print book. If it is an old favorite, I will probably buy an e-copy of the work so I can take it with me on travel. If the e-book is cheap enough, I often buy an e-copy when I’m not nearly as sure that I would buy it in a print version, both because it is cheap enough that I don’t have to think about it, and because I don’t have to store the print copy — so I will often buy an e-book of an author I’m trying for the first time. I prefer paperback to hardcover not just because of price but because I need to minimize the storage volume for the book.

  20. I’m a reader, not a writer or publisher, so my perspective may differ from yours. No offense intended, simply explaining how I think about price.

    I don’t care how hard you worked to write it – the labor theory of value is silly.

    I don’t care what sex or color you are, or what sexual orientation your characters are – boring message fiction is the leading cause of puppy-related sadness.

    I don’t care how much it cost the publisher to publish it (Larry Correia had a great column about it recently) – making a buck is the publisher’s problem, spending it wisely is mine.

    I care about my bang for that buck: do I think I’ll get $7.99 worth of entertainment out of this Kindle book? Or, based on my experience with this author, the reviews (and, if we’re being honest, the cover art), do I expect to get only $2.99 worth of entertainment from it? Only then can I tell if it’s priced too high, too low, or just right.

    I routinely download the free SF on Amazon so I can sample unfamiliar authors and when I find a good story, then I’m willing to spend $0.99 on the second book and if that pans out, $2.99 on the third, etc.

    I just pre-ordered the next Rivers of London book, something I NEVER do, because I’m simply dying to read it and I fully expect to get every cent worth of entertainment when it finally arrives. Imagine if they unearthed a genuine lost Heinlein novel . . . well, I don’t really need that second car, do I?

    What’s the right price for a book? All the traffic will bear.

    1. Unfortunately that viewpoint of all the traffic will bear is viewed by the big 5, Yes I would pay that much for a lost Heinlein or even just a lost Pournelle, but not for your new Author that ticks all the boxes for who we are supposed to be reading and has been pimped heavily on various sites.

      I don’t check the prices for used paperbacks, I do however get sticker shock if I see the ebook costs $2 or more then the new paper back.

      I also had a surprise last week I had not realised It was a pre-order until I got to Amazon page but according to Amazon I was saving $15.27 by pre-ordering. I am supposed to believe that ebook is worth well in excess of $20??

  21. If there’s a hard copy, I buy that. My biggest complaint with a lot of indies is that they only do ebooks. I don’t trust any device that long term. If I like it enough to buy it, I like it enough to reread and to gift. Also, my library won’t buy ebooks, so I can’t recommend ebooks to them, either.

    1. On Indies only doing eBooks.

      IMO one of the advantages of regular publishers (large and small) is the economy of scale for printing dead-tree books.

      The average indie could arrange to create dead-tree versions of his books but has to pay more for creating the dead-tree versions so has to charge more for the dead-tree books than even a small press would.

      In addition, the average indie might not be able to get the dead-tree books out to where the book-buyers are.

      Even if he tries to sell them on-line, he has the problems of “how many do I print” and “where do I store them”.

      1. Print-on-demand makes this less of an issue; services like Lulu and CreateSpace print books when they’re ordered. There is no inventory. The downside is that print books necessarily cost more than ebooks, and take time to ship to the buyer. I can buy a book on my Kindle and have it in literally seconds. That’s a major and underappreciated benefit of ebooks as a medium.

        1. I’m serious about the gift thing. Most of my friends and my kids friends are readers. I have a list: I’m one shy of free shipping. Hmm . . .
          I have yet to find a way to write ‘We’ll miss you, Pastor Cherie, and wish you all the best at your new Church. You’ll be in our prayers.’ in an ebook. There’s also the problem that half my sons’ friends’ parents, like me, don’t turn them loose on devices.

  22. I refuse to pay more than eight dollars. I’ll go to the library first and usually do anyway. I might roll the dice on an Indies that’s five bucks or less, but any more that that and its got to be an author I know I’ll love.

    Side note, quite a few books I’m swing are the shook versions of books I’d read many years earlier and got used for pennies. Now and then I buy an shook version if its under that eight buck limit just for the convenience of having them, because the books are proven commodities, and to put some money in the authors pockets.

  23. Having a price-point (even if one occasionally violates it) seems fairly basic budgeting that everyone should do. Disagreeing on whether any given price is too high or too low also seems pretty obvious as not everyone values entertainment – let alone reading, let alone a particular book – the same. Judging the value to yourself based on the price someone else is asking seems insane. Estate sale was the first thing that popped into my head. Dad’s most excellent sci-fi book collection that he built over 40 years is worth nothing to me; dump it on eBay.

  24. I prefer paper for non-fiction, periodicals, or books I’m going to use for reference material, but other than that I’ve pretty much switched over completely to ebooks. Reason being that I have no more room for any more bookshelves, and the ones I have now are almost completely full.

    As far as price goes, unless it’s an author or series I *really* love, I won’t pay more than the equivalent print copy, so say $7.99 for a paperback or $16-$20 for an anthology. No way in [BLEEP!] I’ll pay hardback prices for an ebook. Heck, I don’t even buy hardbacks anymore unless it’s by somebody like Larry Correia and I can’t wait for the paperback to come out.

    1. Carp, didn’t mean to hit “Post” just yet.

      I generally don’t buy used books anymore unless the title is out of print and unavailable as an ebook. And then how much I’ll pay depends on how much I want/need the book.

      As far as libraries go, as I said earlier, I used to go all the time before we moved. But now our local library has a lousy selection and a miserable staff, so I try to avoid it like the plague.

      1. The library used to be good for the “Inter-Library Loan” program, since the local selection is mostly bestseller romances, cookbooks, and children’s books. However, it’s now a “prohibited place” to me by state law, so it’s of no use to me at all.

            1. Felons, illegal aliens, and registered sex offenders are just fine, but they draw their line at the Second Amendment.

  25. I used to buy a lot of second source used books the major concern was Price, now i buy mostly ebooks and the major concern is Convenience I mean I can carry a LOT of books on my lap top and I can also make the text a comfortable size, The individual needs to define what they are trying to buy

  26. It is ridiculous when more is charged for ebook than a paper book at a new retail price. Multiple times I’ve seen ebooks priced higher than the price of getting the same book on paper, when logic tells you it should be at least a couple dollars cheaper. Some of the main publishers figure they are charging for the convenience of an ebook. While I’m highly unlikely to buy fiction on paper anymore, even if it was discounted, I’m also not going to buy an ebook if it’s priced higher than the paperback. I’ll just read something else.
    Comparing to used is pointless though.

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