I have been wondering a lot lately about why “hot” books don’t cost more than ordinary books and also how a Rising Scale Payout might work in our new eReader world of direct book distribution:
I can also see a rising scale that, as a text becomes more popular, the price will rise 1 percent of a penny or so for each one sold — so hot texts will become hotter faster as readers will want to jump on the train before the price becomes too high. Then, as the text begins to die, a sliding scale tips in that will more quickly reduce the price of the text down to nearly free — unless it gets hot again!
I’ve never understood why hot “books” are discounted so deeply and ordinary books have such a high price. I understand the thinking that a hot book will sell more at a lower price — but what makes a hot book? A low price? I don’t think people care about price when they want to really read a book.
In order for hardcopy books to flourish — and for eBooks to sell — we need to re-assign our expectation for publishing industry profit.
Big books don’t need a lot of pricing help, so pushing up the price on those books — while encouraging the sale of lower-priced great books that are not well-known — is important for us to support.
By giving smaller authors a bigger piece of the pie, we are better able to create equity in the publishing long-term — and as some of those amateur authors blossom into professional authors of financial merit — we can then sustain their success with a more dutiful pricing that fairly allows for profit sharing while also creating the next generation of authors who will not have to starve to reach their own apex in the sky.