Sunday, December 26, 2021

Do We Need To Fight Book Pricing Deflation?




Inflation across America is growing at its fastest pace in nearly four decades. But the official number is not accurate. Things are worse than the numbers say. Some things are doubling in price at a rate similar to how fast Omicron seems to spread. Ask anyone who bought an appliance, car, or house — or pays for healthcare, college tuition, a meal, or gas. But amidst soaring inflation on just about everything, one thing seems to have stagnated: book prices.

On the one hand, keeping books affordable ensures more purchases, greater readership, and a more literate society. On the other hand, writers can barely afford to write, and many publishers are becoming more conservative in taking risks on who and what they publish. For the industry to grow, we need to fix the ecosystem.

The main problem, as I see it, is that too many books are:

*Given out for free.
*Sold as e-books for 99 cents.
*Starting with a low sticker price.
*Used as a loss-leader to achieve some other result.

There is a conflict going on here. For the industry, free books flood the market, leaving consumers less time to read books that they might buy. But for individual authors, free is a great way to build a brand.

Similarly, selling a book at a low price creates one less barrier to readers taking a chance on buying a book, but the artificially low prices spoil readers into expecting to pay sub-minimum wage amounts for all books. Further, these e-reader discounts create such a disparity in price to printed books that we are raising readers to ignore print for dirt-cheap digital. Bookstores and publishers lose when print book sales aren’t robust.

Many paperback books, especially those put out by small indie presses and self-published authors, are priced low in hopes of getting more people to buy in. But people will not invest their time in a book unless they think it will be worthwhile. Sometimes, a low price hints at a book to be of low quality. Don’t do it. You won’t make money that way.

Now, some authors gladly don’t care if they make money from a book. They have a different agenda. For instance, especially in the case of a non-fiction book written by a professional services provider — lawyer, financial planner, doctor, CEO, motivational speaker, consultant — the book is s calling card. It is intended as a lead generator for clients and customers of their business. Others use the book as a branding tool or a way to get attention for a story, idea, or issue of importance to the author.

In all of the above scenarios, authors feel they are winning, but the industry as a whole, loses from it.  There is no easy answer, but prices across the board must rise. It is the only way to ensure a healthy marketplace for the long-term.

Your book marketing plan can be your blueprint for success, but be ready to adjust it as needed.

Please Contact Me For Help

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 


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