The Blinders are Still in Place

Ten years.

That is approximately how long it’s been since Amazon first allowed the infidels to dip their toes into the sacred waters of publishing.  From the beginning, traditional publishing has taken a two-pronged attack against not only indies but readers. They have told us that e-books were a passing fad, something that wouldn’t last. They also warned that allowing just anyone to publish without having to prove themselves by finding a way past the gatekeepers would allow nothing but dreck into the holy waters of publishing.

Well, almost 10 years into this so-called experiment in mediocrity, e-books are still here and more and more indie authors are earning more than pocket change for their work — and the blinders are still, at least as far as most of those in traditional publishing are concerned, firmly in place.

We’ve seen the Big 5 (which used to be the Big 6) and Apple run afoul of the Justice Department for price fixing in an attempt to undermine Amazon. All that accomplished was costing everyone involved in the conspiracy money in the form of fines and payouts to customers who got caught up in their antics. Oh, and let’s not forget about how it started readers asking why traditionally published e-books cost so much.

We’ve seen a few traditionally published authors condemning their counterparts, not only those who have never been traditionally published but also those who have chosen to go the hybrid route of both indie and trad publishing. Friendships have been strained and, in some cases, lost and over what? The fact someone didn’t take the same route as another? (yes, I’m rolling my eyes.)

In this time, we’ve seen not a gradual acceptance of e-books by traditional publishing and its proponents but a continued attack on them. All you have to do is look at the prices charged for the digital release of new titles to see what I mean. Here’s a perfect example. Echoes in Death by J. D. Robb is available for pre-order right now. The price? $14.99.

Yes, you read that right. By the time you add tax, you will pay more than $15 for an e-book.

Nor is this an anomaly. Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs sells for $13.99. Fast & Loose by Stuart Woods sells for $14.99. There’s more, much more. All you have to do is look. When you do, you’ll discover a couple of more things. Amazon, not being a fool when it comes to marketing, makes it clear that these high prices aren’t set by anyone except the publisher. Also, if you, as a reader, check the terms of service when you buy your e-books, you’ll discover a couple of things. First, I bet you dollars to doughnuts that almost every e-book you’ve purchased from a trad publisher is filled with DRM (there are a few exceptions, like Baen). Second, you will discover that you haven’t actually bought the book. You purchased a license to read the book. Now, in some ways, that’s nothing new. It’s what you do when you “buy” software from most software publishers. Still, it rankles but the DRM rankles more because that smacks of the publishers telling us they don’t trust their readers not to do something evil like — gasp — loan the book to a friend, exactly what we do with our hard copy books.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a line in the proverbial sand when it comes to how much I will pay for an e-book. It’s a line that I will very rarely cross. I’ll admit I will rarely even get close to the line. That price, for me, is $9.99. It used to be lower but I had to change that when Baen finally got into Amazon. I groused, like a lot of others, because that move meant Baen now charged more. However, there are several Baen authors I will pay that much for instead of waiting for the price to come down. But paying $15 for an e-book when the publisher won’t even admit I own the book? Nope, not gonna happen. I will wait for the price to come down or, if it doesn’t, I will borrow it from the library.

The problem is that doesn’t really hurt the publisher but it does hurt the author. I hate that part but there isn’t much more I can do to voice my displeasure — not that the Big 5 listen.

A perfect example of how they don’t listen and don’t pay attention to market trends is this article from Publishers Weekly. Sure, the article is about how e-tailers are continuing to survive but the premise is what had me shaking my head. According to this post, e-book sales are down. Yes, it did say e-books by traditional publishers but then it basically acted as if those are the only e-books out there. That is the same sort of premise the Big 5 works under. They seem to think that the fact their sales are down for e-books, they are for everyone. No, what they need to do is look at their pricing, something indies and readers have been telling them for years.

Unfortunately, the idea that “the more I charge, the more I make” isn’t limited to trad publishers. Indies suffer from it as well. Pricing is a bitch to figure out and to make sure you are hitting the sweet spot. Part of the equation is also figuring out that the higher the price the fewer buyers you will have. So, while you may be getting more money per sale, you are actually losing money in the long run because you are losing readers. But that’s a post for another day.

But, to me, even more of a slap in the face when it comes to the Big 5 and their ilk is the insistence on trying to lock their e-books with DRM. That is especially egregious when you look at how much they charge. Sorry, but if you want me to pay more than $10 — heck, who am I kidding? If you want me to pay more than, well, anything — for an e-book, I’d better own it just as much as if I bought the hard copy version.

And then they wonder why people figure out ways to break DRM or why they go to pirate sites to find the book they want. It’s a lesson publishing should have learned from the music industry and didn’t.

Finally, for one more piece of “Huh? How is that going to work?” we get this announcement. Bill Clinton and James Patterson are teaming up to write a book. The premise is that the President goes missing. Okay, that alone isn’t all that strange. Where I did a double-take was seeing that the book is being published by both Knopf Doubleday and Hachette. Oh, and it is supposedly going to be edited by the chairman of Knopf Doubleday and the CEO of Hachette. Am I the only one going “riiiiight?”

Let’s look at this for a moment. By doing it this way, the publishers split the costs of production and distribution (one would assume). They both get the benefits from the promotion of the book and I guarantee you this book will be promoted. Hell, the publishers won’t even have to pay for it because the media will be all over it. They also get to split the advances. Of course, that might not be such a big saving for them because I have a feeling both “authors” are getting close to their usual advances.

However, it also means they will split the monies coming in from the sales of the books.

It is going to be interesting to see how this impacts their bottom lines over the next few years. Not that I expect them to admit if the book fails to perform as expected. Remember those blinders I mentioned earlier?

10 years and publishing has changed and yet, in all too many ways, the same mindset continues to permeate the ivory halls of NYC publishers. Sigh.

Next Tuesday, Battle Wounds, the third short story set in the Honor and Duty series universe, will be published. So, a little promo for two of the titles in the series.

Vengeance from Ashes

(Book 1 in the series)

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.

Taking Flight

(1st short story)

Duty, honor, sacrifice. That motto meant everything to newly commissioned Second Lieutenant Ashlyn Shaw. She thought she understood the meaning of those simple words. Little did she know.

Challenged by those who believed she made it through the Academy on her family’s coattails, a roommate who just wants to see “some action” and a gunnery sergeant determined to make a real Marine out of her, Ash soon realizes what it means to be a Marine. As the signs point to war on the horizon, she is determined to do everything she can to serve Fuercon and do the Corps proud.

79 Comments

Filed under AMANDA, WRITING: PUBLISHING

79 responses to “The Blinders are Still in Place

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Yeah, the ebook prices charged by the “Main Stream Publishers” are crazy.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen idiots who price their “self-published” ebooks at insane levels.

    Come on idiots, $50 for an ebook from an author that I don’t know? [Shakes Head]

    • I know. Hence the “that’s another post” or words to that effect. It would have been too easy to get sidetracked into that topic this morning.

      • Oh yeah. Do not get me started on academic presses and e-book prices. $180 – 650 or more for an e-book? Really? Especially the ones where you have to go to a separate website and log in to see the illustrations and tables “because of memory space and image reproduction quality.”

        • Tell me about it. I am so glad my son is no longer in college. Between the e-texts and those dead tree reference books that were required — and had to be purchased from only one source at a huge markup — his textbooks were insane. His last two years at TAMU I felt lucky if his least expensive textbook came in under $100

          • And on top of that, most of the textbooks are “rented” for only one semester. So you’re paying over $100 for one semester’s worth of electronic text, and you can’t even keep it as a reference later if it’s useful.

            • Oh yeah. That chapped me almost as much as paying close to $400 for a book he had to have and then having to shell out $100 or so more for the updates that weren’t included in the “new” book.

            • aacid14

              That is one thing I am very glad for. I got out as most of that was coming in and still have all the books from my major after my sophomore year. Don’t break em out often but good to have.

              • In lower division, I was at a community college which offered very good terms on buying back used textbooks – so a lot of mine went straight back to the college bookstore for half the original face price. I kept a few of them, though – a couple of all-in-one English lit compendiums, the two volumes of Greek and Roman lit in translation, and the humongous Art History tome.
                I think I had it easy as an English major – many of my classes only required me to read the novel – which I could get from the library. The professors were not Nazi about it, back then.
                But my daughter, though – the cost of textbooks were more than her tuition, for the three or four terms that she was in college. And the GI assistance office was so slow about cutting checks. She eventually opted out – and in her late twenties, I am home-schooling here. Yeah, motherhood – the job that never ends.

  2. It’s sad, but I stopped buying Brigg’s books (used to get them on hardcover as soon as they came out) because a) I don’t read hardcovers anymore (it’s gotten to the point it’s uncomfortable) and b) I’m not paying hardcover prices for an ebook.
    But that’s okay from the BPH’s point of view, since they see their loss of ebooks’ total market share as “proof” the ebook market is in decline. Their decline is indies’ profit. Almost makes me want to buy more trad books as a thank-you for all the support they’ve provided for indies by essentially handing the ebook market to us.
    Almost. Still not paying hardcover prices for ebooks.

    • There are a number of traditionally published authors I’ve found myself no longer buying for just those reasons. My reading these days is almost exclusively digital. I can toss my Kindle Oasis into my purse and have any book I might want there. That beats breaking my shoulder carrying a few print books with me. As for price, yeah. Not gonna pay as much — or more — for an e-book than I would for the hardcover. In fact, if I wanted to pre-order the Robb book I linked to in the post, iirc, the hardcover costs less right now on Amazon than the ebook does. And publishers wonder why their ebook sales are down.

      I can tell the in one sentence why they are — they cost too much.

      • Exactly.
        And, the joys some people apparently find in the smell of “real” books to the contrary (strangely enough, I don’t sniff my books, except the one time my cat decided to make his opinions known via the calculated deposit of bodily fluids all over a bookcase and I had to decide which of my sprayed tomes would have to be disposed of honorably), I find having a Kindle incredibly convenient. No more worrying about having a second book along on a trip, not knowing if you’ll even finish the first (or, worse, that for some reason you’ll read them both before the trip is over). No more struggling to find a comfortable position to read a hardcover in bed. And so on.

        • Yep, and with the Paperwhite or Oasis, you don’t have to worry about having a light to read in the dark — or it being to light outside when you want to read. Yes, I read on my tablet as well but I’m finding I am reading more and more on the Oasis because there are no distractions like on the tablet. No social media to run and check, etc. Besides, it’s smaller than my tablet and weighs less than my phone in its protective case.

      • A. Nony Mous

        The high price on eBooks is quite deliberate. Publishers still trying to protect their precious paper books with hideously overpriced electronic ones, so people buy fewer of them and they can keep claiming that “eBooks are just a fad.” All that does is create a whole class of people who habitually pirate the books rather than cave in to the bastards.

        • Absolutely. They have wanted to quash the e-book market from the first moment they heard of the possibility. They continue to refuse to understand what a boon it could be to the industry, if handled properly. Idiots.

          • A. Nony Mous

            In the longer term, they’re creating a difficulty for themselves. Habits are hard to break. Fictionwise KNEW how to market eBooks, and with their destruction, I went on the warpath. Only one publisher was on my “buy” list, because they were zero-DRM and the prices were reasonable. Everybody else? Let’s just say that you CAN find anything on the net.

            I’ve pulled back from that, but it took literally years. If a publisher is both DRM-free (or I can remove the DRM after purchase) and reasonably priced, it’s buy it or do without. The major publishers? You can find anything on the net.

            • Pretty much my approach. But my view of reasonably priced differs greatly from what most trad publishers think it means.

              • A. Nony Mous

                Trad Publishers: If you’re not paying full list price (hardcover) for an eBook, we’re being robbed. If you switch from ePub to Kindle (or vice versa), you have to buy it all over again.

                Note: Baen Books is _specifically_ excluded from the above.

        • Would you PLEASE stop telling BP they should lower their ebook prices! One of these days they will accidentally acquire an intelligent CEO for a while and do just that, and I won’t look like a bargain any more.

  3. Smashwords does statistical studies asking where the price points are. I gather that there is some dependence on genre.

    • I haven’t paid much attention to Smashwords for some time — since Coker basically decided it was more important to support trad publishing’s war against Amazon than to cater to the needs of those who publish with him and those who buy ebooks from him. (my opinion, of course). However, Amazon has the same sort of tool that shows you where the sweet spot is for similar books to what you are about to publish.

      And it does depend on genre, from what I’ve seen, especially for indie publishing. However, I think that is starting to even out with the sweet spot for novels still falling around $4.99 for an established indie author and $0.99 for short stories. There comes that point where, as I said in my post, you have to weigh cost vs. numbers bought and that, as I also said, is the grist for another post.

      • If anyone finds “this one simple trick!” for indie book pricing, please let us know! But not with icky illustrations in the ad, please.

      • Any sense on what it is for a nonestablished indie author? Asking for a friend

        • Alan, I have a feeling we’ll have a post on pricing in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

        • Based on my experience, $2.99 is a fairly “friendly” price point for a novel. Also, I’ve had good results making a debut book $0.99 and using some of the cheaper and more open promo sites to push it (AwesomeGang doesn’t have a minimum review number, frex, so it’s a good place for a new release), to increase visibility during those important first thirty days.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            The $0.99 introduction price works best for When I Know The Author.

            Otherwise, it shouts “poorly written stuff” not worth my time.

            I’ll admit this is unfair to many new writers but that’s how my mind “thinks”.

            On the other hand, when I’m browsing Amazon for “new ebooks”, the cover or title may “shout loud enough” to get me to “check it out” in spite of the $0.99 price. 😉

            • I totally understand that. My tactic there is to grab enough early adopters and cheapskates (plus, in my case, fans who know my work and subbers to my mailing list, who I like to reward with a cheap price) to get me a good enough rank on the lists that when I raise the price to $3.99 the more discerning buyers such as yourself will find it in the Top 100 or Also Bought lists 🙂

            • With me, it depends. Author I know, but a new series – or an author that has been recommended by a trusted person – I’m more likely to take a look if the “first taste” is $0.99, or in KU. If I do end up liking the series, or the author, I’m going to go back and buy the full-price books (finances permitting).

              SAH got me hooked on the Darcy mysteries just that way – I don’t read mysteries, but I knew Sarah – so was willing to do the first one on KU. Went back to buy the first, second, and just bought A Fatal Stain at full price.

              I analogize this to restaurants and cuisines that are new to me. I’m perfectly willing to try it – when someone I trust is recommending it – and is paying! Got into Thai and Vietnamese food that way (although I also confirmed that sushi is just not for me, no way, no how…).

          • Good info. Thanks, CJ.

        • $2.99 for anything under about 60K words. $3.99 up to 100K and $4.99 above that. readers won’t pay much more than that for an unknown, even if it’s a huge thing.

      • I’m still bouncing back and forth between $3.99 and $4.99 (mil-sf). For now, I’ve stuck to $3.99 but I’m tempted to try a price bump when book five of my series comes out.

        • When we do the post, be sure to chime in and let us know what your experience has been. That sort of information sharing is what helps all of us.

          • Glad to – MGC has been extremely helpful to me and other newbies, and I’d love a chance to begin to repay the favor. 🙂

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              Me too. I’ve learned more about the writing business here the past few years than I ever have before.

              • This is another thing you have to keep your eyes on. What’s the price of comparative works? It changes. Probably won’t rise much until we’ve for an actual recovery.

        • Uncle Lar

          One of the classic indie marketing approaches with a series is to offer a deep discount on the first book, say 0.99 or even free for a short time leading up to the release of the latest. Of course when you drop below $2.99 the Amazon compensation algorithm changes, something to keep in mind.

          • When you’ve got a bunch of books out, discounting the first in a series is a good idea. Not so much for someone just getting into the market. Don’t under price yourself to the point that it looks like even the author doesn’t think the books are worth much.

            It’s easier to drop your prices (and talk up the “Now on sale!” all over social media) than raise them.

  4. paladin3001

    c4c

  5. Due to the Big 6/5 ebook pricing strategies, the tried and true “word of mouth” tends to run into a brick wall. Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera sounds interesting, but not for $10 per book. Maybe I’ll check it out if I find a giveaway paperback, but it certainly isn’t at the top of my wishlist.

  6. Draven

    The only time i want to pay more than $10 for a fiction ebook is an e-arc from baen.

    • Even then, I’ll be honest, I’m looking at how long until the actual book comes out. I love the e-arcs and have a number of them, but they aren’t quite as “special” as they used to be and when you are talking only a month or two difference, shrug. That’s a couple of other books I can buy and read in the meantime.

    • I admit I’m a sucker for e-arcs. Ringos and Correias in particular 🙂

      • I buy Correia’s e-arcs. Then I buy the hard cover. Because fanboi!

        But otherwise, I haven’t bought a book in ages. Too busy writing. After this one is finished it is time for a break. I’m going to cut down some trees, build a shed, fix the truck. Manly stuff. 🙂

        • aacid14

          But that tends to be the exception. I do the same (got my vendetta leather bound last week) except I don’t earc. But when you have the option of an ebook for 15 and a tv season for 20, the fun of price per hour comes up.

  7. Christopher M. Chupik

    Blinders full of authors? 😉

  8. Uncle Lar

    You see, pirating books is one of those either or things. Good in that it sticks a thumb in the eye of greedy evil publishers. Bad in that it cheats your favorite author, and ultimately harms the industry.
    I always purchase the Baen Webscriptions monthly release, usually eight books for eighteen bucks. Now half are usually second release, but that’s still four brand new books for $4.50 each.
    Now were I to somehow obtain a book by a living author through unconventional channels I would make a good faith effort to compensate that author in some form or fashion. Most authors have websites and a lot have a donation button. And if you gave them 20% of cover on their latest that would be more than they saw through their publisher and received months sooner.

    • Robin Munn

      Heck, there are a lot of books that I obtained in perfectly legitimate ways (thrift stores) which nonetheless don’t provide the author with a penny in revenue. And in many cases, the authors are ones I quite like. For example, I have on my bookshelves the third book of a certain Musketeer series by one Sarah D’Almeida, which I found in a thrift store for 99 cents. Now, since Sarah has gotten her rights to that series back and has put them up on Amazon for reasonable prices, I’ll probably buy the ebook at some point so she’ll get a few dollars from me (and the original publisher who screwed up the series won’t get any of that money, which I’m also happy about). But if she hadn’t gotten her rights back, I’d probably be interested in throwing a couple of dollars in her tip jar, and if the tip jar allowed me to write a note, I’d write something like “The Musketeer’s Apprentice was great!” so she’d know where that money came from.

      OTOH, if the series is published by a publisher that despises me and my ilk (*cough* Safehold *cough*), there’s no way I’m going to buy the ebook. Tor will never get another penny from me. But I’ll seek out the books in thrift stores, and eventually be able to read the whole series without paying Tor one red cent — and I will go find David Weber’s tip jar so he gets some money from me for those books. I’m not going to pirate them, but I have to admit that I’m tempted sometimes to go pirate books, then throw the author a good chunk of the list price. But because thrift stores and used bookstores still exist, I’ll eventually be able to achieve the same result — helping to kill off the publishers I despise, while still helping the authors who are stuck with those publishers — via perfectly legitimate means. And that fact helps me fight off the temptation to hoist the black flag.

      • thewerewife

        I’ve got you beat. I work for a public library and have charge of our donation bin and deleted items (talk about a cheapskate’s dream come true!), and my only hard-copy Musketeers mystery was removed from our collection in a periodic cleanup sweep. Of course, I bought all the others in e-format.

        My business is parasitic upon the publishing industry, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. If they are going to charge the honest reading person $27.99 for 90 minutes with James Patterson and his latest junior ghostwriter, I consider it a duty to make it possible to have access for the price of a bit of patience on the waiting list. Heck, I read mainstream e-books and audio strictly in the form of Overdrive loans.

        I feel you about Tor and others who take sides in the Kulturkampf. Right now I’m tempted, as the entire Gideon Smith series is on e-sale for less than $3 each … but I will read #1 print first (library copy, of course!), then consider if the author deserves my money. I wish the entire steampunk genre (or as I call it from the Yiddish, gaslamperai) weren’t so extensively contaminated with Leftism in the first place….

  9. One of my ebooks is priced at $12.95, but that is because it is an all-in-one of three linked books (The Adelsverein Trilogy) – and that is the total of the prices for all three if purchased separately. $3-5 is a good price range for me, otherwise.

    • Hugo Award Nominated Ms. Marvel: 20k
      Bwahahahahaaaaaaa! It really is the kiss of death.

      It is sobering and instructive that many of those titles are selling under 10k. more than a couple are around 6k.

      Nerd racism is a powerful force. The ghost of Pepe reaches from beyond the grave to strangle Marvel! Aghh!

    • Yep. When IPs that generate billions in movie revenues can’t get 30K people to buy a funnybook, something is seriously wrong. Maybe trying to learn what actual buyers (as opposed to the Grievance Police – guess what, geniuses, those whiners weren’t going to buy any comics no matter what) want to read, instead of telling them what they should want to read would produce better results.

  10. There are thousands of examples like this on Amazon, but my current favorite is Gene Wolfe’s 2007 novel “Pirate Freedom”. Kindle, $9.99. New physical copy with Prime shipping: hardcover, $7; paperback, $6.45; mass market paperback, $8.99. Used copy, with free shipping, $4.90.

    The punchline? The $8.99 version was released one month ago. Amazon couldn’t make it clearer that Macmillan doesn’t want me to buy ebooks.

    -j

    • Heh. Last night, LawDog brought up a book that Peter and Jim Curtis hadn’t heard of, called “You’re stepping on my cloak and dagger”. It’s been out for 50 years, as riotously acerbic recollections of being in the OSS during WWII.

      The Naval Institute Press owns copyright now. On a 50-year old book, the kindle is $12.99, the paperback $14.96, used copies available from $1.10 plus shipping.

      So, naturally, I bought a used copy off Amazon while the gentlemen were still laughing about “little groups of paratroopers”

      • I read that book in HS – it was in the local library IIRC – I’ve wanted a copy of it since forever – always put off by the price … even of used print copies. Shall have to reconsider, now…

  11. …while you may be getting more money per sale, you are actually losing money in the long run because you are losing readers.

    Indeed: both readers of the book currently being overpriced and future readers who, having greatly enjoyed this book, would have purchased other titles from you. But to grasp this requires the dismissal of the “visions of sugarplums” that fill many heads.

    Is anyone else reminded of the old gag about the little boy selling lemonade at $5 million per glass?

    • TRX

      You have a whole lot of people (and the companies they represent) who would rather have one $10 sale than two $6 sales.

      It’s like gambling addiction; they only see the big numbers, not the little ones.

      • Robin Munn

        If they had a per-unit manufacturing cost of more than $2, then preferring a single sale at $10 does get you more profit than two sales at $6. But they’re treating ebooks like things that have per-unit cost, instead of things with a manufacturing cost of basically $0 per copy. (Storage space and bandwidth do cost money, but it’s literally fractions of a cent per copy when you’re dealing with ebooks in the 2-4 megabyte range).

  12. Reblogged this on Love's Last Refuge and commented:
    And the beat goes on…

  13. Josie

    Great article, really spotlights how blind the BPH are. About J.D. Robb: Echoes of Death, I have all the books in that series up to 2015 so I’m behind a few BUT I paid $1.99 for each of them. I just checked my order history on Amazon to confirm that. Her publisher, Macmillan is very consistent about heavily discounting the earlier books when a new one is coming. In the process, they’ve successfully trained me to wait. Good going, guys!

    • TRX

      I’ve read about a dozen of those; my wife is a fan and I’ll browse her shelves sometimes. The “In Death” books are of adequate workmanship; I can pick one up and know it’s unlikely to get walled. But the authors adhere so closely to the standard template that I always wonder if I’ve read the book before.

  14. There’s a chance that the library market is shoring up trad pub. Million dollar budgets – no returns. And all the DRM e-books can handle with Indy kept at the margins.

    • Actually, not really. Library budgets are being cut left and right. More and more libraries are renting/leasing books instead of buying them. As for e-books, most of them are having to ream up with other libraries in their region to be able to afford being part of groups like Overdrive. Then they lease the e-books at inflated rates and those leases are often good for only a limited number of check-outs. Once that number is reached, and often it is only double digits (or it was the last time I checked), then they have to buy a new lease “copy”.

      Trad publishing has never really liked libraries because they see them as non-profit makers. IE, they lend books instead of people going out to buy them. It is as if too many in trad publishing think that all those folks who borrow a book would buy a copy but for the library. They don’t get that a lot of folks can’t afford trad prices.

      • You’re probably correct for most of the U.S. I tend to forget that my library system (and the two big ones nearby) are a bit anomalous in terms of funding.

        Trad pub, however, is a bit schitzo with respect to us as a result. The year I went with my best gal friend to Book Expo we were treated like royalty. She’s a selector for one of the big 3. If your local library is able to buy graphic novels from their library’s distributor, that’s my system. But we heavily advantage the Big 5 and trad pub over indie, not entirely intentionally.

      • Or they haven’t grokked that a lot of people (myself included) liked to test-drive the book, by checking it out from the library, before committing to paying full-price for a hardbound copy.

        One of my first memorable bookstore sales for a set of the Adelsverein Trilogy was to a guy who had read it from the library – he drove a good distance to the Fredericksburg bookstore when he read in the local paper that I would be there on a certain evening, to purchase autographed copies.