Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Amazon and the pricing of eBooks

It's a contentious issue on the web - Amazon getting it's grubby paws all over the prices of our ebooks.
Pricing is an art. Do I think my readers deserve or are interested to pay more than $1.99 for a short story of around 30 pages? No. But as we're based in South Africa, that's exactly what's happening.

The price I'm charged for Charles Cilliers's A Grain of Sand:
The price a UK/US-based buyer is charged:

The price it's listed at and applicable to US/UK buyers:

Look, I get it, if we want to list on Amazon, we abide by their rules. But it punishes local readers from a new market - one we're specifically trying to say to: "hey look, books are awesome, buy them online because they're cheaper there."

This is not a tax issue, by the way, that's a different story and we've paid our due. We're told explicitly that the price difference is because we're based in South Africa. And our royalties are based on the list price.

I've had a book blogger insist that Amazon won't ever raise it's prices above the listing price. Why not? Did they pinkie swear?

This issue is why it's absolutely important that Amazon doesn't become the only big player in the industry. If there's no real competition, ebook prices could go up to match those of physical books and leave behind a large section of the world's population that needs access to cheaper books.

Currently, A Grain of Sand is $1.99 on Kobo, click here to buy it. Or if you have an email address in the UK or the US or are based there, buy it here and here.