What’s it worth to ya, huh?

Posted 5 March, 2015 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Discussion | 37 Comments

The other day, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and a ton of people were recommending a certain science fiction novel, which sounded right up my alley. I’d read a couple of reviews about it and, since it was out, figured I needed to purchase said book so I could see what all the fuss was about.

But it was $9.99 for an ebook.
And by an author unknown to me.
So I didn’t buy it.

But wait. Here’s another story for you: Again on Twitter. Another talked-about SciFi book — this one a space opera — popping up my feed (actually, it was kind of an insidiously quiet “psst! Awesome book! Pass it on…” kind of thing. No one openly promoting the book, just chatting about it and telling one another to read the darned thing.

It was $4.99 for the ebook.
Also an unknown-to-me author.
I bought it in a heartbeat.
Read it that night (Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells. Pretty darned good so, worth the money.)

It’s that price point, guys. I really can’t bring myself to pay more than $6.99 for an ebook, even if I absolutely adore the author (actually, if it’s a fave author, I’ll most likely buy the physical copy, even though it’s more expensive). And it’s worse for an unknown/debut author — I don’t like to pay more than $4.99 for someone new’s work.

On the flip side, I have a hard time downloading free ebooks from new-to-me authors (a little less so when it’s one of you awesome blogger friends but still…there’s some hesitancy. I know. I’m so weird.). I suppose some of that hesitancy comes from my TBR *really* not needing another book — physical or ebook — added to the pile. Another part of me wants every book I pick up to be awesome (yeah, that’s not surprising. We all want that.), and I’ve been burned too many times with those free ebooks. Plus, I don’t really mind paying a little bit and taking a chance on a book. I like to know that I’m supporting an author by paying them for their work.

So, how much are you willing to pay for an ebook? Does it change when it’s an unknown author? Or a favorite?

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

37 Responses to “What’s it worth to ya, huh?”

  1. I totally know what you mean – the impulse e-book buy is SO much easier when it’s like $5 and everyone is chatting about it. I don’t think about my massive TBR pile or the money, I just want it asap and do it. But when it’s full price, I auddenly remember that I have tons of review copies, books I’ve bought, etc. that should come first. It’s not exactly that I don’t want to spend the $, it’s just that it slows my thought process down enough to stop the impulse buy. 🙂

    And like you, I usually prefer physical copies of authors I love if I’m going to pay full price.
    Lauren recently posted…Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Little Peach by Peggy KernMy Profile

  2. I’m with you Mary, I would definitely balk at a $9.99 price tag for an ebook as well. Like you said, if it’s a favorite author, I’d rather pay the few extra bucks and just by a physical copy, but a new-to-me author would need to be more reasonably priced for me to buy it. I also balk if something under 75 pages is $3.99 or $4.99. I can’t bring myself to do it. Yes, $3.99 is clearly not going to break the bank, but when I only get 50 pages out of it I have an issue.
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Review: Dark DebtMy Profile

    • I can’t get over the super-short books (under 200 pages) being over $2. Guess I’m cheap. Helps that we get books for review, though I do still spend quite a bit of money on books (I just can’t help myself)!
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  3. I would say somewhere around $4.99 is my limit for an e-book. And then I would have to limit myself to a certain # for the month.

    I used to get crazy with the .99 deals and didn’t realize how much I spent total. (I got a CC statement pages and pages long with .99 lol – my DH thought someone stole our CC!)

    If it’s above that price and I really want it I’ll just buy the physical copy.

    I don’t dl as many freebies anymore because honestly, most were bad, but if it’s an author or series I’ve been meaning to try it’s a good way to jump in.
    Karen recently posted…Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle KennedyMy Profile

    • Those .99 deals are so sneaky, aren’t they? It’s just so easy with that 1-click option, too. And then I don’t always read them!! I do like the freebies for authors I want to try but I do that sparingly.
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  4. That $9.99 pricetag on the ebook is just not do-able for me, I want a physical copy for that price. I am much quicker than you, it sounds like, to download a free ebook to read, but I do enjoy them and have found some authors that I love because of some free reads. I’ve read a few stinkers though but I’m just happy that I didn’t spend any money on those titles. (: ALSO, I keep wishlists for the ebooks that I want. I check them pretty much everyday and when these $9.99-ish books go on sale, I buy them at that time. I don’t mind waiting usually and if I can’t wait, that’s why I buy the physical copy or use the library until I can get my Kindle copy for rereads. The most I’ve ever spent for a Kindle book is $6.99 and that was much higher than any other ebook I’ve bought, and only because it was a romance in a series and was not out in print yet. I don’t regret that one! It was not a new to me author, though. I doubt I would have done that.

    Also, I’m quicker to spend more money on a gifted ebook for like my kids or a reading friend than I am for myself. :/
    Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) recently posted…Making Bloggy Mistakes | Like A Book BloggerMy Profile

    • I’ve just had such bad luck with freebies from unknown-to-me authors, especially if they don’t come with a reader-friend recommendation that I’m a bit gun-shy. However, the plus side is definitely that they were, well, free (except for your time, that is!). I’ve done $6.99 once or twice, pretty much for the same reason as you.
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  5. I’m very squeamish about buying books – no matter what the price is – unless I’ve heard a lot about it, either through blog reviews or traditional media. I probably miss out on a lot that way, but I hate worrying about wasting money. Generally if I hear about a under-the-radar book on Twitter or elsewhere, I’ll wait for more buzz or try to find it at the library.
    Alison (@AlisonCanRead) recently posted…The Martian by Andy WeirMy Profile

    • I’m a book collector. I love books. I love to *own* books. I do love the library but I love to have those books in my hot little hands even more. But I totally get where you’re coming from!
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  6. Such a good discussion, Mary! If I am DESPERATE to read a book and cannot get it any other way, I will pay $10 for the ebook. BUT that’s generally from an author I know and love. I wouldn’t do that if it was a gamble in any way. I prefer to pay less than $5 for an ebook. And I try to only purchase and download when I’m planning to read it ASAP. Otherwise the book will just sit on my kindle and get lost. I’m curious what this first book is that everyone was raving about, though.
    Lauren @ Love is not a triangle recently posted…The Winner’s Crime Blog Tour Interview with author Marie Rutkoski + GiveawayMy Profile

    • $10?!? I think that would physically pain me. I’d buy it in print and force myself to wait for it to arrive. Too many of those darned ebooks do get lost on my Kindle if I don’t read them right away (happens with those eARCs, too!).
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  7. If it is an author I know and love I will pay more, but I’m with you… no more than $6.99. From an unknown author? Depends on who and how it is recommended. Even so about $2.99 or less for me (typically .99). Right now I’ve been marking them for my library and recommending titles to them to get in. The library suits my price point so much better. 😀
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Rebel Queen by Michelle MoranMy Profile

    • I feel like I’m a really picky reader so, even if it’s highly recommended by a fave reader-friend, I still shy away from more than $6.99 for an ebook. The library price point is the best, I agree.
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  8. My max is like $4.99, really. I don’t like buying ebooks. Actually, I don’t BUY that many books. I get a lot from publishers, authors, or NetGalley, so it’s not like I have to for the new publications, but every two months or so I buy 10 physical copies of books I am pretty SURE I will love. I just hate having copies in my library that I don’t like, you know? But, yeah, I mean I do buy ebooks when I’m not sure I would enjoy the book… but I’m very selective and it cannot exceed that price, lol. What? I’m a student. XD
    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books recently posted…Review: Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

    • The longer I’ve been blogging, the more books I buy. Doesn’t really make sense but I’m quirky (heh). When I was a student, though, and just starting teaching (still no money), the library was my BFF.
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  9. With my favourite authors I don’t have a problem in ordering copies of their books physical or e-book, but with new to me authors I do normally have to wait for a drop in price of their book before I buy it. At the same time I also like to carry on keeping an eye out for reviews of that book, before I finally succumb and buy it. This was a great discussion post Mary!
    Jasprit recently posted…Giveaway Hop: Lucky is ReadingMy Profile

  10. If a book is by an unknown author and it’s $9.99 I’d be hesitant too unless I have a recommend from a book friend I completely trust. I’m more apt to by a book at $4.99 as well. I try not to pick up anything unless an author has a pretty high overall rating on GRs and I know that’s not always fair, but I have so little free reading time I want to make sure I’m going to enjoy it if I take the time. 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Giveaway Hop: Lucky is ReadingMy Profile

  11. OMG, Mary, you and I are so on the same wavelength! I completely balk at spending more than $5 for an ebook. I’m like, “it’s digital – not printed pages. Why the price???”

    I actually asked a publicist friend about this and she broke it down for me so it completely made sense. Yes, the book is digital, but it isn’t as simple as uploading a word document.

    It takes a village to create one online book for one distributor. You need someone to format the text (be it in mobi, ebup or whatever), another person to make sure it can’t be pirated (or make it difficult to pirate). Plus, you still have an author, editor, and publicity team that need to be paid off of this. And the cover designer.

    So to a consumer it seems like a no-brainer, but there’s actually a lot more work involved in creating an ebook than a physical book.

    • There is SO much that goes into any kind of book (well, any well-done book, that is) so I *kind* of understand the price but, at the same time, over $5 is hard to plunk down for an ebook. (Not that I wouldn’t buy it — just in printed version!)
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile

  12. Very interesting to read the variety of responses here!

    We’re in the minority, it looks like, in that we will happily pay $9.99 (or less) for an ebook. Like you, there are factors that go into how much we’re willing to spend on each book — but that’s true for a print copy too. We still love to stock our shelves with our favorites stories and authors, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to worry about the weight or space, not to mention getting the book right away, like you do with an ebook (or an audiobook, for that matter).

    Also like you, we’re more reluctant to download freebies nowadays, because as you said, there are already SO MANY books in our TBR piles. Free to take is also free to leave.
    We Heart YA recently posted…Famous last words … and a fun quiz!My Profile

    • I like my ereader for that reason — that I don’t always have the space (especially for paperbacks! Those suckers pile up like there’s no tomorrow). I like that “Free to take is also free to leave”.
      Mary @ TheBookSwarm recently posted…Comfort ReadsMy Profile