Today’s post comes to you from R.A. Padmos, whose new book The Bookshop was released on February 9th. Enjoy!
THE PRICE OF A BOOK
Anyone buying romance books in e-book format can’t help but notice that many titles are being sold for around one dollar. As a reader I can understand why some of my fellow readers argue that a romance story in e-book format, with let’s say 100 pages, is worth a dollar to them, because that seems to be the standard. I have a very limited budget too, and why would I pay more than double for something that I can read in an hour or two?
As a writer, however, I know it’s a bit more nuanced. Let’s compare an e-book with a cup of coffee. Any coffee enthusiast does a happy dance when they find a place where great coffee is being served for a price that usually gets you a plastic cup of something that is only just drinkable. But, does anyone feel robbed if a good quality product cost quite a bit more? Does anyone say, “It is the exact same amount so why do I have to pay more?”
So why do some readers think that only the word count should decide how much the publisher asks for a romance e-book? After all, you can drink that cup of coffee only once, while a book can be re-read as often as you like.
Whether you as a reader finish a book with a deep sigh of bliss or one of annoyance is a purely personal matter. Perhaps you just discovered a lifelong friend, or you wonder why others see what you don’t. But, if you are an experienced reader, you will probably notice if writer and publisher took serious trouble to make a book that respects the reader. Making mistakes is human, but at least the text isn’t riddled with problems any editor worth their salt could have easily corrected.
More than that, a well-written book has nuances and layers; it makes you not only ask the questions, it also invites you to find your own answers. It makes you go back for that one lovely sentence. It gives you not only an insight in the mind of another human being, but also in that of your own.
Writing (or even trying to write) such books takes time. The initial inspiration might hit a writer like an unexpected but totally awesome gift, great ideas alone do not make great books. Great ideas plus a lot of hard work make great books. Or at the very least books that make a reader say, “Sadly it wasn’t quite to my taste, but I recognise the value of the product.”
Selling books for a very low price for a limited time is a way for many writers and publishers to showcase the products they have on offer. It’s a great way to discover new writers or to treat yourself to something you might not be able to afford otherwise. As a reader I wish all romance e-books could be that cheap all the time and still be of the depth and quality I prefer in my reading material.
As a writer, I know this is only possible if we find it acceptable that the vast majority of romance writers get next to no payment for their work. I do mean, all their work, not just the occasional give-away or ten great romance stories by your favourite author only this week for $0.99.
Only part of that one dollar goes to the author. You can imagine that a writer has to sell a hell of a lot of copies to make even minimum hourly wages after weeks, sometimes months, of research, writing, re-writing (repeat several times) editing and more editing. And writing faster for a higher production almost certainly means something else has to go.
Many of us writers actually feel shy about asking for money for something we do simply because it’s what we do. So part of me is inclined to say, “Sorry that you have to pay for my book” even though I know exactly how much time and knowledge went into that quiet whisper of a novella called The Bookshop.
But there’s also another part of me, that believes that if you are willing to pay more for an excellent cup of coffee or a nice piece of pie, then a book written and edited with care and love is worth no less.
About The Bookshop
Even I, who had resisted kicking and screaming, had to admit defeat. Why would love be impressed by the protests of a simple bookseller?
Jakoba has had enough. It is 1999 and she looks back on her life that began at the start of the century. Her arrival was unexpected, but joyfully welcomed, by her middle-aged parents. In a time where a middle-class girl has one destiny, namely to become a wife and mother, Jakoba is allowed to start working at a bookshop. Books become one of the loves of her life. Later she will inherit the shop.
She values friendship, but romance has no meaning for her. She values her independence too much and knows all too well what price women pay for being married.
It is German army photographer Armin who will change the course of her life. Jakoba is forty when she meets him. Armin is almost thirty, and Germany has occupied Holland. It does not matter. For him, she’s the one, and despite her hesitation both because of the war and because she can’t understand what this handsome man sees in her—a plain woman—she has to admit her feelings for him.
Such love has consequences for both of them that will reach far beyond the war and in ways Jakoba could never have imagined.
Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/book/the-bookshop
Or any Amazon shop of your choice
my blog: https://rapadmos.wordpress.com/