Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Nonsense About Book Prices

Is a book judged by it's price? Would you forgo buying one of Janet Evanovich's books for five dollars, and  instead buy one of Joe Konrath's books for 99 cents because the price is lower?

That's what someone named Joe Konrath seems to be claiming. Who is Joe Konrath? A mediocre writer who for 12 or 20 years, I forget which, tried to break into the publishing business. After succeeding with a half ass police detective series, his publisher dropped him after a few books.

Though Knorath tirelessly sings the praises about self publishing  through ebooks, he recently did a deal with Ace books, which is owned by Penguin publishers, for a science fiction book. According to Konrath himself,  the book flopped in sales. Of course, also according to Joe Konrath, this is because the book price was too high. Could it ever occur to Konrath that maybe his fans are tired of his junk?

Of course not. In Joe's latest announcement, he will continue his SF "series" through his own self publishing efforts. Though he doesn't say, perhaps the reason for this is that once again a publisher, this time Ace, dropped him from their list of future books.

But Joe Konrath has not been alone in his quest to seek lower book prices. I remember a state librarian, I think his name was Bart Karne, who once proposed that the library system buy from publishers books  that didn't sell well. In other words, books that were so bad, their publishers couldn't get rid of them no matter what they did to promote sales. Bart's reasoning was that the library system could save loads of money in book purchases. That idea, and the fact that he offended several state senators, got him fired.

According to Konrath, he is extremely successful as an ebook writer. I think I read him saying he makes half a million dollars or more a year from his books. Now I will be the first to admit, this is quite an accomplishment, considering the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made only 500000 in ebook sales out of a total world wide distribution of 50 million books sold. But, really, it begs a question. If Joe's novels sell so well, why hasn't some large publisher picked him up? After all, with marketing muscle like Doubleday, or Simon & Schuster, the sales should be phenomenal with such a poplar writer.

I'll let you be the judge of that.

Meanwhile, I won't judge a book by it's price..


  1. You speak a lot of sense - I too have been getting disillusioned with ConWrath's rants - I've enjoyed several of his books though.

    1. Thank you for the feedback Gary and Jack.

      As for enjoying his books, there's no disputing taste.

      Have a nice week - Joe