Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . .
But I didn’t buy the book on my Kindle last night, even when I was totally psyched and ready to make an impulse buy. Which has had me thinking about ebook pricing all night and today, and discussing it with friends via Twitter this morning.
You see, intellectually I understand that the paper is the cheapest part of production for a book. Intellectuality doesn’t really fit with the word impulse most of the time. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it at a price I thought was fair.
What strikes me as strange about my behavior though, is that I know for a fact if that book had been $9.99 instead of $11.99 I would have bought it out right. Something in the language of that $2 difference gave me pause, and time to reconsider my purchase.
But $9.99 is what I will pay for big six hardcover in digital format. I found myself yesterday not buying a romance book because it was $7.99 on ebook. It is $7.99 in paperback as well. That gave me pause. I would have paid $5.99. Maybe I just have issues with things that end in .99.
I think it is more about knowing I own something I paid for. I don’t feel ownership with my ebooks in the same way I feel it with physical copies that I’ve bought and brought home. At anytime my Kindle/Nook/iPad can break and even thought intellectually I know that the files are saved and I can get them on my next device, not being able to access them takes my feeling of ownership away.
Also I know that Nook had a policy at some point that you could only put your file on five different devices. So after five devices of mine die, I no longer own that ebook that I paid $11.99 for. I can’t access it, I can’t reread it, and if I wanted to I would have to buy it again, and probably pay the same $11.99 for it.
EDIT: (Below Melissa tells me that my overly dramatic B&N guy was wrong. Whether this analogy is right or not I think that digital ownership is still a problem.)
I’m sure that the other devices also have a limit on how many devices you can add your book too. It keeps you from buying a book and giving it to everyone in your family. Which I can do with my hard copy.
So where do you draw the line on pricing? Do you have different rules for hardcover, paperback, mass market, and trade?