Friday, March 15, 2013
I saw a Tweet a while back that said something to the effect of: why is it that people are ok with buying a greeting card for $5 but expect a BOOK to be $.99?
It’s a good question. I was reading that as people expect E-BOOKS to be $.99 and, the heart of it, I think, is because they’re digital; they’re not tangible like a physical book and, psychologically, it’s harder to justify a non-tangible item for more money. Which is completely not fair, considering all the time spent on a book, the respect that should be given to the intellectual property of an artist, etc etc I could go on and on.
My question is: will this trend continue?
Cover your ears book lovers – I’m about to blaspheme.
I think that NO, it will not continue…because as physical books become less and less popular, and electronic books more common, there will be far less of a physical vs. digital mentality for readers to balk at.
Looking at the music industry, for example, when digital music first came on the scene for iPods and even CD burning, everyone wanted to get their songs for free. It was a big battle to end that (and well, no, it’s not really quite over) which involved a total overhaul in how music is accessed. You CAN now go to iTunes and buy a single song, or listen endlessly on Pandora or even YouTube.
But the music industry didn’t die. We’re not craving any less new music. We’re just accessing it differently.
In that time, CDs have become all but extinct. If I wanted to purchase music, I wouldn’t go buy a physical CD; I’d just go online and buy the song, or the whole album, digital. And if I DID buy a CD, I certainly wouldn’t expect it to cost MORE than the digital album. In other words: as time has passed, I’ve come to accept the cost of electronic music, and its worth, to a point that it’s just about equal in my mind, because digital is much more prevalent in my life.
Of course…there were also those huge campaigns against illegal music downloads, lawsuits, sitting in movies watching a preview that screams at me IF YOU BUY A BURNED DVD YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND ARE AN EVIL PERSON AND THE WORLD WILL DIE AHHH!!!
So that probably also played a part in instilling a respect for an artist’s work, equating it to money. The rest is time; time for technology to evolve and make physical music formats irrelevant.
Time is already changing the format of books. E-readers are becoming more affordable, which means they’ll be trickling down to more and more readers, and soon, maybe we’ll have a YouTube of the book world – a new platform to figure out how to use to our advantage.
So all we need is that second part…that campaign…that screams out IF YOU PURCHASE AN EBOOK FOR LESS THAN $1 YOU ARE SLAPPING THE AUTHOR IN THE FACE!!!!!
Or you know. Whatever. Just a suggestion. I certainly don’t want to DISCOURAGE e-book sales (and freebies and discounts are a great way to gain readership).
What do you think?