Friday, August 12, 2016

The Price of Living Goes Up, The Price of Books Goes Down

There's an article online called The Great E-book Pricing Question. It's supposed to give authors and  future authors an idea of how to price their books online, but there is one problem with it. It skips over the part where the price of living has gone up. The price of everything has gone up, while the price of books continues to go down.

Houses have become more expensive. Rent increases every year. The price of fruit in grocery stores compete with the price of chips and other junk foods. Depending on what you like to eat, it sometimes cheaper to eat out than it is to cook. McDonalds no longer has the $1 menu and even at McDonalds you have to pay for water. There's a price on water.

Okay, if housing and food rising in price seems normal, remember the 6 pack underwear in Walmart and Target? Those went from $5 to now $9.99. Why does underwear cost more now? We need underwear. We also need pads, tampons, deodorant, razors (we all shave under our arms at least), and beauty products. However, when we look in the aisles for these things they have competitive prices that seem to get hire as the years go by.

However, when it comes to books the cost has dropped significantly. I remember 15 years ago when my parents would give me a $50 gift card to Borders bookstore (RIP) and I would have to budget. The smaller books were $9.99 at the time and hardback books started at $15. Sometimes I would go a little over budget with only four or five books and sometimes I would walk out with three books.

I'll admit that I don't read as much anymore. I used to be a book harder and take the time out to read every single book. Even during college years I took classes outside of my major that forced me to buy good literary fiction to read. Then I was introduced to real life. In this real life I work a job that feels like it takes up more of my time than it actually does. In real life I've had to deal with stress that buying a good book couldn't get rid of. In real life I've had to figure out how to budget paying bills with having social life and that hasn't left much room to splurge on good reading material. Even with all this real life living, I still buy books and the purchasing prices online have been real disappointing.

Authors have the same bills as everyone else, but if you look on Amazon and Kindle now there are books priced as low as 99 cents and some even free. In these cases if the author isn't a well known author whose name has been talked about in the streets heavily (the streets are Lifetime movies, HBO series, and other major networks), chances are that author isn't making enough to pay a bill.

Wait, this low pricing of books isn't just an attack on authors or good books. It's an attack on reading. How do we as a society let the price of everything else go up without a fight (well we fought for cheap gas prices) but we let the price of reading drop so low it essentially looks unimportant?

P.S. As an author, I judge people who look at book prices as too high.

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