Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How much should you pay?

Yesterday I ordered a book I've been meaning to get for a while: Jane Wenham-Jones' Wannabe A Writer We've Heard Of? I bought her previous how-to-write book, Wannabe A Writer? a few years ago and it's an entertaining and useful read, so the follow-up was a must.

On Amazon, it's £3.50. With free p&p.

BUT - the book's publisher is Accent Press. I like to support small independent publishers (one day I might be sending them all my novel....) and I have a soft spot for Accent. They've always been very supportive of women's magazine writers, having published several Sexy Shorts anthologies which were largely populated by womag writers. They're also Della Galton's publisher, and will publish a new charity anthology next year in which yours truly has a story.

So I went to the Accent Press website to order the book direct from them. It's £9.99 there, plus £1.95 p&p. That's nearly £12.

£12 and stick to my principles, or £3.50. Hmm.

I ordered from Accent in the end. I know the book will be easily worth £12 to me. But what a difference in price! I remember being shocked a while back, when I read on Sally Zigmond's blog that small publisher Linen Press actually made a loss on every book sold via Amazon. I've tried since then to always buy books from small presses direct from the publisher and not from Amazon.

Not easy though, when the price difference is that much. Anyway, the book'll be here in a couple of days and I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing it!

You might note, my link above for the book is to Accent. If you want the book for £3.50 you'll have to search for it yourself on Amazon, but please, if you can afford it do consider buying direct from the publisher.


blogaboutwriting said...

I am offering Jane Wenham-Jones’ book as part of a ‘book bundle’ prize on my blog. I bought it from Amazon (it was more expensive than you’ve quoted though – I think I paid about £7 a couple of weeks ago) but I feel bad now that I didn’t buy it directly from Accent press. Thanks for raising this issue – it was something I must admit I wasn’t aware of and I’ll certainly consider it next time! Helen

Helena said...

Well done for buying direct! However, expect you will be in the minority, as for most people a difference of £8.50 for the same book will be difficult to justify.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of the book though, as I bought the first one and thought it was brilliant. Definitely one for the Christmas list - although suspect whoever buys me it will use Amazon.

Anita Marion Loughrey said...

This is a very good point. I am surprised that Amazon can cut the price so low.

JO said...

Thanks for the sensitive way you have raised this. some of us who turn first to Amazon are on very limited incomes. Borrowing books from libraries is great - but 'how-to' writing books need to sit on the shelf and be referred to. I can't justify £12 for a book - but if I buy it cheaper and it improves my writing, then it's just possible that one day I'll haver a bit more money and be eager to go direct to the publishers.

Anonymous said...

hi everyone, my latest book was discounted heavily by Amazon too this week - 65 %. I was a little bit shocked. It's not brilliant for the author either when a bookseller discounts so dramatically - as a lot of authors get 10% of net profits. But is it better to sell books for very little than not at all. The latter I guess.
Also I think Amazon were only doing this deal for a week - so the prices will rise again accordingly.
A tricky one though.
Della Galton

Anonymous said...

As with everything, it's always nice to help smaller outlets - buying from your local butcher rather than the supermarket for instance - but with the rising cost of living, people look for offers wherever they can find them.

I certainly can't afford to pay £12 for a book which I could get for £3.50!

So although I understand what you are saying, I don't think too many people will pay the extra.

To be honest it seems crazy to me to pay £12 for something when you can get the exact same item for £3.50 - even if you are rolling in money!

womagwriter said...

Some interesting reactions to this post. Good point, Della, about the fact that Amazon discounting hits the author too.

Crazy to pay £12 when you can get the same item for £3.50? I suppose the way I looked at it was that I was doing more with my £12 than just buying the book - I was supporting an independent publisher. I was happy to pay £12 for the book; I'm lucky enough to have a well-paid day job so can afford to; so why not?

Sue Moorcroft said...

I'm an Accent author, too, and I know they value the sales through Amazon because of the Amazon reviews - they even put my Love Writing through the Amazon Vine programme to garner more reviews - and because of the coveted Amazon ranking. They even suggested that I buy my author copies through Amazon because Amazon were selling them more cheaply than I could buy them! It adds to the ranking, so that's what I did.

It's a complex question.