The Price of Literature (A Rant)

The question, it seems to me, is how much is art worth? (And yes, I include writing in “art.) Is it the work itself that is important when considering price? Or is a digital copy worth less simply because it has no substance and is more easily accessible?

In this age of digital works, it seems that the latter is not necessarily the case. It’s not that a digital copy is worth less, it’s that it costs less to produce compared to a physical copy, and is also less shareable than a physical copy. (Or at least, I don’t really think of loaning out an e-book like I do my other books.) It’s also that we’re moving towards a new model, one that takes full advantage of the digital platform instead of simply trying to mimic the physical world, one that involves lower price points as part of a larger process.

TL;DR Go read this if you produce, consume, or are interested in digital literature and other art forms. It’s food for thought.


I keep tripping over this question about the price of e-books. I stumble over it in blog posts, it sneaks up behind me and shouts BOO during podcasts, and I’m pretty sure it stole my popcorn at the movie theater last night.

It is an important question, both for traditional publishers and the indie crowd as well as for readers. I read 2-3 books per week, and at certain price points ($9.99/book) it would exceed what I spend on lunch during the work week ($25.00). Recently, I have become more conscious of my buying behavior and have a few thoughts on the below.

Marketing Considerations

In the last 30 days, I saw three books I really wanted to buy. Two were traditionally published, one was indie published. However, all the books were priced at $9.99. I didn’t buy them. This made me realize that I have a limit on what…

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