One doesn't have to look far to find stories about and opinions from authors who have scored big with self-published books, who make a living by selling books for 99 cents each, or who have built up a reading public from the PR machines of mainstream publishing and are now going the low-priced e-book route.
I have no problem with such success stories. I don't think they are typical.
What bothers me is the large number of readers and writers who think e-books should be dirt cheap because they are just files. As IPG demonstrates in their comparison of print book and e-book prices, e-books require (or should require) editing, promotion, cover art, all of which will be hard to recover if the material is sold under the "it's just a file" entitlement expectations of some buyers. In addition, if the book is issued by a publisher, the pricing also has to help defray the usual overhead costs of the company.
In IPG's example, a $14.95 book that sells 10,000 copies may earn the author $11,000 and the publisher a net of $48,000. Similar results may occur with an e-book with a price of $10.00. IPG is fighting Amazon because the bookseller wants to cut the sales price down so low that neither author nor publisher can stay in business.
Of course, while everyone argues about this, the author may get lost in the shuffle because s/he isn't really expected to live off a writing career. In IPG's example, there aren't too many people who aren't independently wealthy or who don't have the benefit of a spouse with a large salary who can spend a year or so writing a book and then earn only $11,000. If Amazon has its way, the earnings will be lower.
As a writer, I can't buy into the views that (a) Two years of my work are "just a file." (That's nonsense--the reader is, in part, paying for the CONTENT); (b) That "the pride of authorship" should be worth more to me than staying out of bankruptcy, or (c) That while the author and publisher take a loss on each book, they'll make up for it on volume (ha ha).
I hope IPG stands firm against Amazon's demands and that writers who want to work for free will figure out a way to do it that doesn't help Amazon grow larger and nearly all-powerful.
You May Also Like: Please check your imagination at the door, on society's expectation that such things don't belong in the adult world.