Not good, skiffy fans.
Well, not really. More like good for us, bad for our collective fiscal solvency. Apparently, publishers have finally figured out that if you give people like me (and probably you) the option to click a button and receive an eBook for the price of a Katy Perry song or two, the results tend to be somewhat predictable. Unlike two consecutive blog posts invoking She Who Kisses Girls and Likes It. Who saw that coming?
Let's take a look at three different publishers who have been pummeling my
Orbital Drop" Program, mostly in the form of discounted and bundled backlist books. It's one newsletter you won't regret signing up for.
But Orbit isn't just focusing on their back catalog. In addition to this month's deal [3 of Gail Carriger's eclectic Parasol Protectorate novels for 9.99], Orbit is willing to part with two of this year's biggest books for less than a penny a page. Ten bucks will get you over 1 kilopage of Daniel Abraham goodness with the double eBook edition of The Dragon's Path and Leviathan Wakes. Even better, people who bought the eBook edition back in March received Leviathan Wakes three months before the rest of us. An advance edition premium for eBooks could be interesting, although I don't see it working in the long run.
All things considered, Orbit's strategy seems to be centered around limited time offers on bundles with the intention on introducing you to a few new series with the hopes you'll stick around for later volumes. I don't know what the audience overlap is between The Dragon's Path (fantasy) and Leviathan Wakes (SF space opera) but you can be sure FREE will help blur the lines a little more. And while Orbit does have some below double dollar deals [Kevin J. Anderson's The Edge of the World for $1.99 (Kindle Only)], they don't seem too eager to get into a price war with their bundle deals still pricing out between $3.33 and $5.00 a book.
- The Dragon's Path & Leviathan Wakes - Daniel Abraham / James S. A. Corey -2 for $9.99
- The Parasol Protectorate: Books 1-3 - Gail Carriger - 3 for $9.99
- The Edge of the World - Kevin J. Anderson - $1.99
Enter the eBook.
Unlikely their corporeal counterparts, their is little to no cost in producing an eBook "print run" of an infinite number of copies. Each book might not sell a lot of copies during its twilight years but what it does sell is sure to be almost pure profit. When you combine the two (infinite supply and high profit margins) you've got a fantastic formula for lowering prices to generate demand. Which is exactly what NSB is doing.
The latest volume of Eclipse might cost you $7.99 but the first volume is a down right affordable $2.99. And like the cosmic crack dealer they are, you better believe they are hoping to hook you on that first taste. I'm not sure what the driver is for dropping the price point (end of the print run? 3 years old?) but we can all be glad it's there.
In addition to their anthology business, Night Shade also makes a point of using eBook promotions to expose some of their newer authors to the hungry masses [at least for some eBook readers]. Recently, Brad P. Beaulieu's The Winds of Khalakovo and Will McIntosh's Soft Apocalypse were given away for free for Nook users as part of Barnes and Nobles' Free Friday Program. While one can argue that those downloads mean fewer sales, there's no denying that 77,229 extra copies of The Winds of Khalakovo in the wild will generate a lot of interest in a format that can't be easily lent to other readers. Not to mention the boost it should give to the second volume.
Here is a sample of a few of Night Shade Books' more attractive deals. Sadly the free Nook giveaways have since ended.
- The Living Dead 2 - John Joseph Adams, ed. - $2.99
- Eclipse One: New Science Fiction And Fantasy (v. 1) - Jonathan Strahan, ed. - $2.99
- The Living Dead - John Joseph Adams, ed. - $2.99
- The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of The Year Volume 1 - Jonathan Strahan, ed. - $2.99
- The Best Horror of the Year Volume 1 - Ellen Datlow, ed - $2.99
If I published eBooks, once a series went to three books, I would give the first volume away for free (or close enough to not matter). No exceptions. And then watch my backlist sales climb as the new readership returns to the characters they've become invested in. Assume you've got 5 books in a series for $5 a pop - would you rather sell 0 books for $0 or 5 for $20?
Here's some of the goodness Pyr's got going for it at the moment.
Bright of the Sky: The Entire and the Rose, Book 1 - Kay Kenyon - FREE
Sasha: A Trial of Blood and Steel, Book 1 - Joel Shepherd - FREE
Empire in Black and Gold: Shadows of the Apt, Book 1 - Adrian Tchaikovsky - $1.99
[Side Note: Empire in Black and Gold costs $9.59 on the Nook! And Bright of the Sky isn't available. Are you kidding me?]
Now at this point, I'm sure you're thinking that I've finally lost it - that I'm nothing more than a glorified publicity machine for "Big Book." Don't worry, I haven't sold out, I'm just completely selfish. Every book that I can help sell is another step toward convincing publishers that $1.99 is a price point that works. Which is good for
Authors, publishers, and distributors? Not so much.
So get to it, my