Today I did something so weird I probably shouldn't talk about it in public. It was one woman's fit of pique, but it does bring up issues. I went to the Kindle store to buy Thomas Perry's new book, STRIP, which I am frankly perishing to read. I'm a long-time fan of Perry's and it isn't often he writes a funny book, but this one sounds like the biggest side-splitter since METZGER'S DOG. So you'd think I'd pay anything, right? Certainly $9.99 for the convenience of being able to get it NOW, without driving to a bookstore or waiting for the mail.
Well, I would have. Gladly. But the Kindle edition was $14.30! I wasn't ready for that. Sure, I knew all about the electronic price wars, I just hadn't yet been hit in the pocketbook. I realized that if I waited for the paperback edition, I could get two for very little more and have one to give away. Plus a real object to keep and cherish. I balked. I wouldn't do it. I thought about the implications for the rest of us, too. What if that were me? How are any of us going to make a living when....you know, there isn't any print. (You've gotta consider the worst case.) Okay, the question came up, but I didn't think it was going to be by charging the cost of two paperbacks for a licensed non-object you can't even lend. I didn't buy the book, but I didn't cost Perry a sale either. I'm still going to buy it--but in hardcover, which may be what his publishers intend.
Still, I was shopping in the Kindle store because I wanted something to read NOW. Well, I knew where to find a cheap book. I read J.A. Konrath's hard-sell marketing the same as we all do. So I went and bought one of his books for $1.99. Take that, Big Pub! (But don't take it amiss--I love ya, babe, I'm not like Konrath, I just want you to get real.)
On the other hand, what if Konrath's wrong? What if, sometime in the future, people really are willing to pay large bucks for a virtually non-existent commodity? Well, if I that's where the market goes, I'll probably go with it-- after all, I just saved twelve bucks and 31 cents toward a huge digital purchase--but that time isn't now.