What can you buy for 72p? A Mars bar and a bit, just over half a Guardian, a third of cup of coffee... or the ebook of Stephen Booth's novella, Claws. Claws is one of our best-sellers, now in its third printing, with a new cover. We'd not got on top of e-books when our techie author had, so we foolishly let him do his own e-book, which has been a great success for him. Good for Stephen! Amazon sells the ebook at 72p, and the author describes the book as 96 pages, a short novella. Despite this, one reviewer on Amazon commented that it was very poor value, being a "condensed" book. It isn't condensed. It may not be very good (though we beg to differ) but it is hard to imagine how anyone can think a 96 page book is poor value at 72p. What would represent good value? 37p? 17p?
I'm not here having (too much of) a go at the reviewer (and certainly not criticising Stephen!) - but thinking about the value we, collectively, now give to books. We've done a few e-books at 99p, many other publishers are doing likewise. Are we undervaluing our products? Have we now given the impression to people that all books should be so cheap, that if a full length book is 99p a novella should be cheaper than chips? And what will that buyer think about the price of the printed copy being £4.99 (or £3 something from Amazon...)?