Op-Ed: The Indie Scam

Awright, I’ll toss in here. I’m not complaining about tradpub’s overpriced books. They sell at the price point the market will bear or they go out of business. Thus, if HogRowling wants to sell a hardback for $32.00, people will pay that because they consider it worth $32.00 (first edition!).

Back to the Indie pubs. I was conversing with someone who had a 176k first book. My thought? Divvy it up and sell the first half as an introduction to your work for $1.99, then sell part 2 as the $4.99 supplement. That’s 85k per book, and if you price #1 low enough, you’re essentially selling trust. Once they see that you’re not going to typo them to death or use commas in a homicidal way, they can buy #2. Either way, the intro book, either 176k or 85k, is going to have to be priced low enough for the unknown writer to sell any copies, so they may as well capitalize by having two full size books and get paid a bit more. I think the market knows the sequel thing is happening and that yes, some of those are novellas. If you get a book of only 30 k, then you have to consider, “Is this worth pursuing?” They’ll Publishing Clearning House CDs for Only $1 you to death. Sure, that first CD is a dollar. But the rest, they’re cheap. It’s the $15 shipping and handling that you might not like.

But what happens when someone sells a novella, a 30 k book, and only charges $1.99 for it? The reader feels like they were ripped off, because that guy over there is selling his 300k monster for $1.99, too. So the question is to the reader, why is the 300k book so low priced? Doesn’t the author value his work?

Unusual Things

There are a lot of blogs, posts, and news articles out there decrying the pricing of the big publisher’s books. They make regular appearances on smaller author’s sites, reddit’s r/books, and very frequently in the circles of indie authors. “Publishers are making their books too expensive!” they cry. Look at the price of these books!

And to be fair, they have a perfectly valid point. One I was reading last week pointed out the ridiculously high cost of a new fantasy title ebook: $14.99. Too high, the post claimed, and I agreed.

Then came the bit I didn’t agree with. That everyone should flock (and was flocking) to ebooks and indie because the prices were so much better.

The problem is, this isn’t always true.

Let me tell you a story. About a year ago, I was attending a con and talking with a bunch of authors about ebook sales and…

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