brianfeinblumBook publicist Brian Feinblum tells authors to embrace controversy, if possible, in pushing their wares. Done, Brian. Here’s some free PR for your BookMarketingBuzzBlog—inspired by the following headline: Ebook Sales Sink—Great for Industry.

“Ebook prices are rising and sales are slumping, according to the Wall Street Journal,” Brian begins . “This is terrific news for the book industry.

“If consumers think an ebook isn’t worth paying more than $10 for, then publishers will have a hard time. Why? First, they need to perfect print. If the price gap of print to ebook is too great, more will opt for ebooks. When print is protected, the industry is healthier.”

Great. Forget about books vs. other forms of entertainment. The only competition is between E and P, right? Never mind that the typical U.S. household spends several thousand on entertainment of various kinds but only $100 or so a year on books and other forms of recreational reading. Let’s see if we can get the $100 down to $75.

If Brian and likeminded people care about books—which I know they do—they should stop thinking about consumer gouges as a way for the industry to grow revenue. Instead, through means such as a national digital library endowment, we need to expand the universe of readers. Big publishers should halt their embarrassing war against their customers and instead push for genuine solutions.

About BookMarketingBuzz: All in all, a useful source of tips. I just think Brian’s all wet on this particular issue.

Related: The Wall Street Journal article, as well as commentary from the Observer, headlined Do E-Books Earn More Money at Lower Prices: At the least, raising prices doesn’t appear to be helping the bottom line at big publishers.


  1. As an ‘avoid the hassle by publishing it myself’ author, I can’t understand why so many people get hot-and-bothered by major publishers who keep their ebook prices high.

    “The higher their price, the better,” I say. Why should I want to compete with the marketing muscle of Penguin Random House? If I had some covert way of administering a ‘stupid pill’ to all the Big Five publishing executives, I’d find using it tempting. Let’s see more not less $24.99 NYT bestselling ebook. Heck, raise that price to $49.99 with my blessing.


    Sadly, all this chatter about price illustrates what a number talented writers committed to the craft of writing are saying. There was a time not too long in the past when books were discussed mainly in terms of what they said and how well they said it. Quality was central. People might disagree about what was quality, but they agreed that it mattered.

    Now the discussion centers on price, price, and more price. I can understand why Jeff Bezos wants to turn the chatter in that direction. Cheapness is Amazon’s only real advantage over your local bookstore. But what I can’t understand is why so many others have been seduced by that siren song. It’s the herd mentality at its worse.


    Actually, no other entertainment media can approach the value of books, either printed or digital. As tastes go, enjoying reading is one of the best of them—paralleling the importance of daily exercise or a health diet. But like them, what we read needs to be constructive.

    Take one I am reading right now, Richard Evans The Third Reich in Power. At over 900 pages, it is a majestic overview of how Nazism ruled between when it assumed power and the start of WWII. Never forget that Nazi Germany is the only major illustration we have of a modern, industrialized democracy being transformed in a mere months into a repressive dictatorship. There’s a lot to learn there.

    What does Evan’s book cost? A new paperback (sigh, yes from Amazon) retails for $13.29 plus shipping. Mine is a used copy that with shipping came to about $6. I’ll spend weeks reading and thinking about it. That’s pennies an hour for something of far more value than a book like 50 Shades of Stupidity. I’m reading the fruits of thousands of hours of study rather than utter silliness.

    And how does that contrast to other media? I won’t even discuss how much it’d cost if I went to a mere two-hour movie and bought refreshments. A DVD that’d last under three hours would be at least $10. Then there are the miseries of advertising-riddled TV. When I made a major move in 2012, I gave up on TV, I’m too far from any stations to pick them up without an outside antenna. I’ve not missed that. Instead, I enjoy the added free time.


    There are host of reasons why most people read too little and why those who do read often read unimaginative trash. I can’t go into all those here. But I will say that fussing over the price of books and ebooks is merely a symptom of our troubles. It is not its cause. For the value good books bring into our lives, they are very cheap.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

  2. @Michael: Thanks for your perspective. In social terms, yes, many books offer incredible value. But that’s different from the laws of the marketplace. No matter how much we extol the virtues of books, people will think about price. The B5 execs will be competing not just with self-published books but also with other forms of entertainment and information. Meanwhile, enjoy the extra sales that their consumer gouges will mean for you! Those S pills are definitely real and working. David

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