Books, in my mind, can be priceless when you look at the impact they can have on society and individuals. There’s no doubt that books have led people to turn their lives around, switch careers, change religions, stay in a relationships, laugh, love and find happiness. They also have fermented seeds of hatred, caused violence and inspired suicide. The words and images revealed in a book are so powerful and inspiring. So how does one put an exact price tag on a book?
Maybe people should pay after they read a book. They can determine its worth only after experiencing the content and seeing how it is reflected in their lives. Perhaps for books that disappoint, a reader should get compensated for lost time and duress. For books that neither inspire nor cause us to recoil in anger, the book is free. For books that move us forward and serve a need or help us toward a goal, there is a scale of compensation to be employed.
The price of a book is often set by a few factors, namely number of pages, format, packaging, and competition. There are few surprises. Trade paperbacks are in the $12-20 range; hardcover is $20 to $35; eBooks are 99c to $10; audiobooks $15-$30; digital audio is less; hardcover children’s picture books are $10-$18; etc.
So what if you charged for a book based on perceived value, where you actually create the marketplace you’re looking to crack? Howard Schatz, an internationally respected, award-winning photographer has done just that.
Schatz's work includes having images featured on the covers of The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and other illustrious glossies. Vogue, American Photo, Time, and so many institutional publications have shown and reviewed his work. He’s published 20 books on a variety of subjects, ranging from professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities to homeless people and pregnant women. Now he has a beautiful two-volume special edition set that captures 1,100 of his best images – out of a professional collection of 4,000,000 photos. These images make you feel, think and look in awe. What would you pay for such a book collection?
He’s offering up the 18-pound pair of books for $500. Now, to be fair, that’s a special introductory pre-launch price. It’ll rise once the book is released in May. There are 500 numbered sets to this limited release. It is a collector's item to be treasured.
Part of the price is dictated by cost. To put together such a book – factoring in printing, editing, design, packaging, and shipping – not to mention the value of his time and to reward his creative genius engenders a higher price.
His books embody not only the beauty of life, but the beauty of physical books. It’s meant to be held, touched, and displayed prominently. A work of this magnitude can’t be shrunk into a digital box and be viewed in the dark. Long live print!
I had the pleasure of promoting one of his earlier books, At The Fights, and now I am promoting his latest accomplishment, Schatz Images: 25 Years with the help of the public relations firm that I work for. If anyone warrants commanding his sticker price it is him. The art of producing great photography takes years of dedication and his books delivery plenty of amazing images. It’s about time we see books as valuable as a mini-iPad, a pair of designer shoes, or a nice restaurant meal.
What’s your book – or any book worth? The answer lies between its covers and how the reader consumes and values your work. Some books are certainly worth more than others and Schatz’s may prove to be more valuable than most other books. You decide.
For more information, see: www.HowardSchatz.com and http://www.SchatzImages25Years-glitterati.com.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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