So I was wandering through Amazon this morning, digitally of course, checking how the freebie promotion for Through A Dark Mist was going (Free for two more days! Get your copy now while the getting is good *s*) when I happened to notice the new and odd pricing for my Scotland trilogy, The Pride of Lions, The Blood of Roses, and Midnight Honor. For the past few months since authors have been uploading their backlists at reasonable prices, from $2.99-$4.99, RH had significantly lowered their prices to stay in competition. All three of the Scotland books had been priced around $4.99.
So this morning, when I saw POL priced at $10.14, and the other two at $11.27, I thought it surely must be a glitch in the Amazon system, which happens occasionally. Imagine my surprise when articles started appearing about Random House’s new pricing policy. I’ll quote one of them here:
Random House announced their library ebook pricing, effective as of March 1, which will dampen some of the enthusiasm for the house’s commitment to the “unrestricted and perpetual availability of our complete frontlist and backlist of Random House, Inc.” in ebook form. The new prices, which librarians tell The Digital Shift represent up to a tripling, are calibrated to “bring our titles in price-point symmetry with our Books on Tape audio book downloads for library lending. These long have carried a considerably higher purchase price point than our digital audio books purchased for individual consumption.” The new price structure for library wholesalers is:
New hardcovers, “for the most part” are $65 to $85.
Titles available for several months, or generally timed to paperback release, move to a range of $25 to $50.
New children’s hardcovers are $35 to $85.
Older children’s titles and children’s paperbacks are $25 to $45.
eBooks were already sold to wholesalers at prices close to the print retail price. A library ebook sale of an expensive hardcover like Robert Massie’s Catherine the Great, for example, now wholesales for $105–which is actually 10 times what Random House receives for the individual consumer sale of the same ebook, agency-priced at $14.99, and yielding them $10.50. A lower-priced harcover, like Anne Rice’s THE WOLF GIFT, yields a library ebook wholesale receipt that is more like 8.5 times the yield of a single consumer ebook sale.
Random House says their “new library e-pricing reflects the high value placed on perpetuity of lending and simultaneity of availability for our titles. Understandably, every library will have its own perspective on this topic, and we are prepared to listen, learn, and adapt as appropriate.” They say elsewhere, “We believe that pricing to libraries must account for the higher value of this institutional model, which permits e-books to be repeatedly circulated without limitation. The library e-book and the lending privileges it allows enables many more readers to enjoy that copy than a typical consumer copy. Therefore, Random House believes it has greater value, and should be priced accordingly.”
Seriously? With a bazillion indie books being uploaded daily, most of them priced around the same as a good cup of Starbucks coffee…RH is raising prices to nearly double what they were a week ago? The price for a paperback copy of The Pride of Lions is only $7.99, so why would anyone download the ebook for over $10???
I don’t know exactly what brought around the demise of Borders, but they were the only store that didn’t have a dedicated reader. Barnes and Noble came out with the Nook, Amazon had the Kindle… Borders scratched their…uh…heads and wondered why their sales were falling way behind.
Now Random House is doubling, and in some cases tripling their prices for ebooks. Does that make sense in any man’s language? Even bean-counterese?
Please, dear readers, do me a LARGE favor and DO NOT BUY any of my Scotland books. If sales drop below a certain number, I am entitled to request the rights back, and when I get the rights back, they will, like my other backlist books, be reissued at coffee-cup prices that everyone can afford.
Some things just make you shake your head.