I’m Reading a Twenty-Six-Dollar Hardcover …

… and my thumbs are tired. They are out shape for reading heavy books in bed. I find that funny—I’m such a fitness fanatic, I think every muscle in my body is shape, but apparently not. I used to read a lot more hardcovers, and not exclusively from the library. I used to buy them without a second thought. Those days are gone. This book belongs to a friend in my book club. Is she a member of an endangered species—the full-price book buyer? According the data I looked up, she’s not, but I’ve gotten frugal since I got my Nook, and even more so since I discovered indie fiction. What do I call frugal? To me, anything priced at $4.99 and under is a bargain. It’s less than the cost of eating out, and the enjoyment lasts much longer. My book club members say they’re accustomed to paying $7.99 and up for e-books, and they think that price is a bargain. We read an indie book once as our selection for the month—they don’t normally buy indie—and the price tag blew them away. An e-book for $2.99?

To some people, though, that’s expensive. A fellow writer recently confided that she seldom pays full price for a book anymore, but looks for e-books that are on sale. She hasn’t gotten as frugal as some people, though, who won’t pay for books at all—and I don’t mean they borrow them from their local library (which I somehow don’t think of as free since the library bought the books and the community supports the library). They claim they only read free downloads.

My friend who occasionally buys hardcovers isn’t rich, and the one who primarily buys discounted e-books isn’t poor. Some of the free-only readers are on tight budgets, and some aren’t. I won’t make generalizations or draw conclusions about why some people are changing their perspective on the “right” price for books or where the trend is going, but if you’re curious, here’s plenty of data on the subject.




The Publisher’s Weekly article looks at sales. The Author Earnings reports look at earnings. (I selected the Barnes and Noble report for attention along with the whole report page since this blog is dedicated to indies who publish everywhere.) What are your thoughts and book-buying habits? My thumbs salute you if you’re still reading a lot of hardcovers.