Some of it is due to necessity. I’ve got several avid readers in my house and the library is, sadly, not able to purchase the new titles that are frequently on our to-be-read lists. If there’s limited availability at the library, I’ll buy the books we want to read.
I’ve also found that I’m reading more and more with my Kindle. It’s easy to get books. If I wake up with insomnia in the middle of the night (a common occurrence), I can download a book, where I couldn’t drive to a bookstore or the library.
Reading on my Kindle has made me more apt to give new authors a try. I’m also more open to impulse buying. This is, I’m almost certain, because there’s not a big financial risk in doing so—ebooks are (usually) inexpensive. I’ll read about a book on a blog or I’ll see something on Twitter that looks interesting and it’s instant gratification—I download it immediately before I can forget the author and title.
I think, in fact, book pricing is especially important for that very reason. It’s important for a reader to either feel confident that they’ll like a book enough to buy it, or that they’re not losing much money in case they don’t.
I’ve read lot lately about ebook pricing on different blogs. The impression I’ve gotten is that $2.99 seems to be a good price point. Then you can run sales on your book, bringing it down as low as $.99 or free….then return it later to the $2.99 (where you still get a decent percentage of the book sales as royalty.)
As a reader, $2.99 doesn’t make me blink at all. That’s not much of an investment for hours of reading time. That’s so low that I wouldn’t think twice about downloading something that’s not a genre I usually read or from an author I’m not familiar with.
This being said, most of my ebooks are $6.99 and up. :) That’s because my publishers have set the price (yes, I’ve gotten emails from readers before…not that I have any control over the pricing, but they think I do.)
I think that traditional publishers will eventually be lowering ebook prices for their mass market and trade paperbacks (I’m not sure about bestsellers/hardbacks.) Otherwise, long-term, I’m not sure how well they’ll be able to compete in the book market.
What kind of price range are you either publishing in or looking for, as a reader?