Monday, December 16, 2013

Sometimes Publishing Gets Weird

From time to time I check to see how my books are doing on I check the ranking, review the descriptions, think about cover design and whether or not I can afford to have a better one done.

And, I look at the price. Now, since I set the price when I publish the book, that might seem odd, but the fact is that I only set the suggested retail price. Amazon can change the price at which they decide to sell the book, and so I sometimes see it available for a lower price, which I will occasionally announce so that anyone who's thinking about buying it will be tempted all that much more.

But today I looked at the price, saw that has Blowing It! available in paperback for $6.75, which is 75 cents below list—nice—but that someone else has it new for $6.32. Now, I have recently made the book available for expanded distribution, so that retailers other than Amazon can carry it. Now, this seller charges $3.99 for shipping, and if you buy it from Amazon with an order totaling $35 in eligible items, you can get it shipped for free, so Amazon is probably still a better deal.

It doesn't, by the way, make any difference to me.

But what was truly bizarre is that the price for used copies of Blowing It! start at (are you ready for this?) $19.05. For a used copy of a book that you can buy new for $6.32. Makes perfect sense.

And even stranger is that one seller (I'll leave it to your curiosity to find out which) sells the book for $999.11! If I could sell even one copy for that price, I would be very happy indeed. In fact, if you are of a mind to pay that kind of money for a copy, shoot me an email and I'll arrange it. I'll even throw in the shipping (which this seller doesn't)!

And let me make something perfectly clear. Blowing It! and Eric's Secret are print-on-demand titles. There is no such thing as a first edition, and they will be in print for as long as I want them to be. Each book is printed when you order it and not a moment sooner. There is absolutely no reason to pay more for a used copy of any of my books than for a new copy (although if you can find a used copy for less, jump on it).

Perhaps someday, when I'm dead and gone and my heirs decided to withdraw the books from circulation, existing copies will be worth the extra money, if only for the novelty. But for now, save your money and buy a new copy or a Kindle edition, and have a good read.

And use the money you save to buy some balloons. $992.79 will buy enough balloons to fill a house. And that, I can get next to.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Misconception

I'm not going to clarify anything about balloon fetishes in this post, but I am going to lay a myth to rest. And it goes like this:

"I would love to buy the Kindle version of (insert name of book here), but I don't have a Kindle."

I don't have a Kindle either, but I not only write books for the Kindle but I read them. On my computer, on my phone, and on my non-Kindle tablet. Kindle reading applications are available for iOS and Android, and for Mac and Windows. There's no official reader for Linux, but you can still read as long as you are connected with the Cloud Reader. If you can post to Facebook, you can read a Kindle book.

That said, there are a couple of advantages to print, enough that I bothered to put the short story Eric's Secret into print although it's only 34 pages. First, as I once heard someone say, the only hand-held device that doesn't lose its charge is a book.

And then there is the question of ownership. You may think you own the Kindle books you buy, but your access to them is controlled by Amazon. You can lend Kindle books for a short time, but you can't give them away or resell them.

Now for me, the author, this would seem to be a good thing. But the way I look at it, if you lend, give, or sell my book to your friends, I have another potential reader, who might recommend my books to others who will actually purchase their own copy.

And I personally think that if you buy a book, it should be yours to do with what you please as long as you don't violate my copyright in doing so.

That said, I do buy Kindle books, because they are convenient, often more affordable, and sometimes the only option.

But I'm trying to give you whatever options you choose.