Disclaimer: This is a rant from a consumer’s point of view. No wait, a pissed off consumer’s point of view.
As one of your very best customers who routinely buys multiple books each month, you should care what I think, right?
So, here goes: Stop making me feel as if I’m doing something wrong – something lesser – when I buy an eBook. That’s exactly how I feel when you:
- Hold back an eBook release date until after a print book is published.
- Eliminate any discounts – the kind of discounts found everywhere on print books – by your stupid Agency Pricing model.
- And, God forbid, charge more for an eBook than a print book. What – I mean what the hell – are you thinking?
None of this makes any sense, hide-bound (ha!) publishers. The very first thing you learn on the very first day of Marketing 101 is this: Your best customer is the one you already have. Yet, you routinely kick to the curb customers involved and committed enough to reading to have laid out $100 + on the purchase of a device that will allow them to read the books they love. Hello, publishers. We bought an eReader. We are willing to spend money on books. But you think we’re lesser because we don’t buy dead tree books, the Holy Grail of publishing.
And since drawing lines in the sand is something publishers seem to specialize in, know this:
- Just because I prefer to read in the eBook format, I am not a pirate waiting to happen and I resent like hell the implication.
- I will not – repeat, I will not – pay more for an eBook than a print book. Will. Not. Do. It. And, guess what? More often than not, I will not default to a paper copy and will instead not read the book at all. Why? Because this pisses me off. Make that really pisses me off.
- When I see discounts available on print books and not on eBooks, I get an attitude and start thinking about how much I don’t really need to read the book in question. Now, who do you think that hurts, huh?
As of last summer, Amazon reports that sales of eBooks outstripped sales of hardbacks for the first time – and surely it’s not the last. It’s a watershed and if publishers don’t change their attitudes, they are going to drown.
Dear Author recently launched Lost Book Sales, a site that gives readers an easy way to document why they didn’t buy a book – be it geographic, price, or whatever – that I hope provides publishers with the kick in the pants that they really, really need. As soon as I am done with my Top 100 Poll this weekend, I’m heading on over there to document some of my own lost sales. Hey, whether you publishers listen or not – and I hope you do – it surely will be cathartic for me.
So, in conclusion, I offer you the following advice: Take your lumps, learn from them and we can all be friends again. I know that you really don’t want to lose me and readers like me, dear publishers. But it’s more than past time to get with the program. Readers are readers and a sale is a sale. All will be forgiven when you start pricing eBooks fairly and stop treating them – and me – as the unwanted stepchild.