There are many reasons why I self-publish. Among them is the fact that I want my writing to be affordable to as wide a range of people as possible.
There’s an author I like reading by the name of Seth Godin. Seth writes about differentiating yourself, standing out from the crowd, how technology can be an enabling force. Stuff like that. The first book I ever read from him Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, changed my view on life and was part of what made me start writing full-time at 43.
The other day I decided it was time to pickup some more Seth Godin inspiration. I went to buy the Kindle version of his book Tribes: We Need you to Lead Us. Until I realized the ebook was more than the hard cover edition. I couldn’t believe it. This price gouging stuff has been going on since ebooks came on the market. There is absolutely no moral justification for it. Ebooks are cheaper to produce than their paper equivalent by several orders of magnitude.
I emailed Seth inquiring about why his ebooks are more than their paper cousins and got this reply:
I hear how frustrated you are. It’s logical to assume that authors have anything at all to do with Kindle prices, but of course, we don’t. Penguin is a giant corporation, and they set the prices, not me.
If it were up to me, I think I’d bring a different strategy go the table, but they’re not ready to change a company-wide policy at my suggestion.
Sorry for your disappointment in me.
I thought it was classy that Seth responded within an hour. However, and I say this gently, he can fire his publisher anytime. It’s hard to support authors who support the blatant price gouging of publishers like Penguin/Random House. I get that Seth needs to make a living. So do I.
There’s still no way it makes sense to charge $17 for an ebook. That’s a ripoff anyway you slice it.
I value my readers and thank each of you for every word of mine you’ve read. I encourage you to withdraw you support from authors who enable “agency pricing” that is designed solely to enhance big publishers bottom line. That only makes the work harder for people with smaller pockets to obtain. Information and stories should be affordable to everyone.