TROY, I ALSO HATE TO KNOCK OTHERS HUSTLE, BECAUSE I DON'T NEED ONE TRYING TO DO THE SAME TO ME, BUT I WAS ALWAYS TOLD WHEN YOU BUY CHEAP YOU GET CHEAP: HENCE 99-CENT STORES!
I agree with you on both sentiments. I try not to knock others' hustle too. And I also believe that 99cents means cheap and that you shouldn't expect high end quality if the prices are dirt low. HOWEVER, you just might find a diamond in the rough. And that holds especially true for "cheap" books.
HICKSON, I've read in other posts where you say that the lowered prices placed on e-books hurts professionals like you. I can somewhat see how that could be the case, but then again, it might not
be the case.
Right now I'm looking at this topic from a reader's perspective. I've downloaded enough of the zero-$0.99 books to where I already KNOW when I go that route not to expect miracles. But honestly, I think that most people who dare to muddle through 99cent land know that there's a good chance they'll end up hitting the refund button. The word is already out about the multitude of cheap e-books that aren't worth one's time. You can find several blogs out today where people are bitching and moaning about how finding a good book (especially by indie's) is like finding a needle in a haystack. Matter of fact, one of MY first posts here was centered around that problem. And then the books coming out by major publishing houses aren't all that great either.
My overall experience with buying books online tells me that the pricing doesn't mean a whole lot. (Troy didn't you just say that?) I've purchased e-books for $9.99 and have felt totally ripped off because the book was poorly written and I waited too late to return it for a refund. And I've downloaded free-$0.99 books that were awful too. So, basically what I've done is gotten real good about starting the book immediately after I buy it, so that if I do need to return it for a refund, there's no problem, except for the fact that I can't get back the time I wasted trying to read it. Could have been writing.
But anyway, back to the point I was trying to make. People who like to read learn how to find out where the good books are. And then when they find those authors that they truly love, they likely will start spending some money to support them. I know that I never had a problem paying top dollar for books from authors that I truly trusted would deliver. So I don't think you should worry too much about $0.99 books. If your books are good enough to draw a fan base, AND you're great at marketing (which you seem to be) AND you get some luck AND I'm sure there's a list somewhere that I got from Troy but I can't find it right now, then naturally you're going to have the upper hand against the 99cent folks - and any other folks for that matter.
Readers like good books. Period. People who need toilet paper may go to the dollar store to get a roll because they have no choice. But readers have far more choices than to have to be stuck reading crappy books (be it at $0.99 or $9.99). Like Troy mentioned, the library is a great option. These days, I personally would rather go to the library than to buy a book, unless it's a book I want to collect, or unless it's a book I prefer to have on my Kindle for whatever reason. So am I now part of the problem that's ruining the publishing industry? And I'm also selling a book for $0.99. And I also encourage people to loan my books to their friends. So, I'm really looking like the bad guy here if your assessment of the situation is correct. I just don't know if it is
P.S. I think the problem w/the sluggish publishing industry may have more to do with the readers than with the prices of the books. Maybe people just aren't heavy duty readers like many from past generations. And maybe those of us who used to read regularly have simply gotten to stages in our lives where there's no time - and nothing we really want to read. I think Troy and Cynique touched on this in other threads. Maybe the generations coming after us haven't gotten hooked on books. And so, who's left to buy this stuff? Now we've got a huge supply and little demand. So prices start dropping...etc etc...but it all goes back to the readers. If people don't want to read, well then...
Then again, people could be waiting for the next great creative trend to kick off another era of lots of reading. I don't know...it could be anything. I'm just going to keep on writing. Maybe somebody will find my stuff after I'm dead and gone, but dag-namit they'll know I was here! lol