Smart Bitch Test Driver Liz has a major beef with St. Martin’s Macmillan. Have a look.
How To Lose Sales And Really Enrage Readers, St. Martin’s / Macmillan Style
How do you take someone who loves Lisa Kleypas so much she read first person contemporary romance in hardcover and make her unable to discuss the shiny new release Tempt Me At Twilight without resorting to the type of language that requires the ingestion of a soap bar? (Because if this conversation included video, you would see the bubbles frothing out of my mouth right now. It’s entirely possible that steam is coming out of my ears, but I’m too blinded by anger to look.) As it turns out, it’s incredibly simple. All you need to do is show utter contempt for her most loyal readers through an astonishingly cynical cash grab.
Don’t believe me? Wonder if I also think we’re living in End Times? Oh, stay with me. You’ll need the soap too.
During the media blitz for Tempt Me At Twilight the price of $14.99 was floated. This led to the very natural assumption that the book was probably going to be a trade paperback. Since Lisa Kleypas’s last two books were hardcover – a great deal right? Then, when the loyal reader of Ms. Kleypas is offered the e-book at $9.99 (or $12.99 depending on your e-tailer) it seems like something you can swallow. Sure, it’s more than a mass market, but it’s not as much as a hardcover and you won’t have to wait a year to read one of your favorite authors. Ok, let’s buy it!! So you do. And then you go to Target to buy some Cheerios. Cereal is cheaper there and we’re all watching our money these days.
Wait – why is Tempt Me At Twilight on the shelf as a mass market? With a list price of $7.99? And a sale sticker making it $5.99? What the (buy extra soap, here’s where you start needing it) um, heck is going on here? You might, if you bought it from Sony, rush home to find out why Sony was cheating you. You might find that all the e-tailers have this price listed. In any other world, you’d return the overpriced product and stop shopping at that store. But e-books cannot be returned. You realize that Ms. Kleypas is most likely not making an additional cent due to this pricing structure but the publisher will be earning an extra $4 to $7 per e-book due to a deliberate increase in price for the right to have a copy of the book that did not need to be bound, shipped, shelved or returned and that cannot be traded, loaned or donated. Sure, we could argue about if hardcovers cost the same as trades cost the same as paperbacks but it’s pretty hard to tell me that a highly restricted digital copy is worth twice as much as a traditional paper copy released on the same day. In short, the publisher has extended a finger one does not use in polite company to e-book readers and author loyalists.
Here. Have another bar of Ivory. You get used to the taste.
The fluid pricing of digital books is a long-standing topic of much ire and frustration, as Jane at Dear Author wrote last December, and it’s still fluid, it’s still frustrating, and it’s still pissing otherwise devoted digital readers off.