Page raises prices of own ebooks because they’re fucking worth it

I have put up the prices of the ebook versions of my stories. 

I’ve not just put up the prices, I’ve tied rocket packs to them and shot them through the roof. In a time of rampant inflation, in the middle of an actual cost of living crisis, this is of course a sensible thing to do. 

Back in the original day, like any good independent writer/publisher who learned everything he knew about marketing books from Twitter and blog posts and ebooks written by people who knew nothing about marketing books, who were considered authorities simply by dint of writing blog posts and Tweets and ebooks about marketing that they made up and no other reason, I set my prices extremely low — as low as they could go, as low as KDP’s pricing system would allow and I even gave books away, and like all other independent writer/publishers, I did this in the hope that this would maximise the volume of units shifted. This would give me lots of exposure, lead inevitably to a snowball effect, and in no time, I would be sitting pretty in my Cotswold mansion, flicking grape seeds and my own snot at the servants. 

Recently, I expanded the distribution of my ebook publications, making them available on Apple Books (and others to be announced). While doing this, I revisited my stories, I revisited the platforms, I saw what was available from established and legacy authors/publishers and how much it cost, and I thought to myself: You know what? Setting the ebook prices as low as possible, it’s like I’m apologising for putting these things out there. Whatever the legacy publishers are charging, I was charging a fraction of that. It’s like I was saying, my books aren’t as good as these other guys so I’m going to charge a pittance. I’m sorry I published them, really I am, but you can have them for next to nothing, just please like my books, PLEASE LIKE THEM!

Bollocks to that. My books are every bit as good as anything out there. Weed is better. I have nothing to apologise for. 

And as for a sales strategy: well you know the low-as-you-can-go strategy works by all the independent authors living lives of luxury on Caribbean islands that they have have bought themselves. 

So I put the prices up. You get what you pay for or, better, you pay for what you get. 

These stories represent hours of hard work. Plotting is difficult. Plotting hurts my head. People who have read my stories have said nice things about them. And being outside the mainstream, they have some credible claim to originality. 

So how do you price these slices of life and time and hard work? How do you put a tag on imagination? Do you price blood, sweat and tears by the litre or the kilogramme or the bucket? How long is a string of goldfish poo?

I have no idea. 

Of course, I don’t have the overheads of a legacy publisher, so I’m not going for their price point. I don’t need to keep myself in country mansions, private jets, glamorous mistresses, cocaine or party poppers. But I do have to feed a cat and escape from the demeaning, soul-destroying drudgery of my appalling day job. 

The price of a pint? How about that? That always seems like a good baseline to me, a yardstick. It strikes me that when paying out for books or CDs or live shows I agonise about whether I can afford the price of what is likely to be a rewarding, lasting experience, yet, when in the pub I’ll be splashing the cash as if money were made of bits of tin and paper. But the price of a pint where? London? Morecombe? Ulan Bator? What if you don’t drink? 

Which brings us the whole bigger issue of artists being paid appropriately for their work. You get what you pay for and you pay for what you get — clearly, in so many areas of life you don’t. However, I want to finish this post so I will leave that thought for another day. 

But dear reader, what do you think? What is a fair price for an ebook? A paperback? Is it the price of a pint? The price of eggs? The price of a Lamborghini? How would you like to see ebooks priced? I’d very much like to see your answers in the comments below or on Mastodon or Twitter. 

Weed, King of the Undies World, The Underpants Tree, Sanctioned, Another Perfect Day in Fucking Paradise, Un-Tall Tales: more expensive than ever. Because they’re fucking worth it. 

On Amazon and Kindle as paperback and ebook. Free ebook with each paperback. On Apple Books as ebooks only. Going up on Google Play and other platforms soon (or eventually).

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About chrispagefiction

Author of the novels Another Perfect Day in ****ing Paradise, Sanctioned, Weed, King of the Undies World, The Underpants Tree, and the story collection Un-Tall Tales. Editor, freelance writer, occasional cartoonist, graphic designer, and all that stuff. At heart he is a London person, but the rest of his body is in long-term exile in Osaka, Japan.
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