Marie Force Blog

Things I Want You to Know

I got an email last week about the $7.99 preorder price of Fatal Frenzy, Fatal Series book 9, on Amazon. The reader pointed out that earlier Fatal books were considerably less expensive and wanted to know why this one is more. I explained the reason to that reader, but thought it warranted further explanation to everyone. The Fatal Series is published by a division of Harlequin, which was acquired last year by Harper Collins. Harlequin is now under the corporate umbrella of Harper Collins, which has a deal with Amazon that the publisher–not Amazon–will set prices for Harper Collins books. Harlequin didn’t have that same agreement before, but Harlequin books now fall under that agreement. In the past, when Fatal books were available for preorder, you might’ve been able to purchase the books at a discount from the list price of $7.99. Now there are no discounts because of Harper Collins’ agreement with Amazon.

I know readers often think these things are a “money grab” on the part of the author or publisher, but sometimes it’s actually much more complicated than any of us can imagine. I like to pass along this info to readers so you’re aware of what’s going on behind the scenes. I know pricing of books can be a subject fraught with all sorts of opinions, but I tend to come down on the side of anything up to and including $7.99 is reasonable for an ebook, and I’ll tell you why. Books take MONTHS to write. For self-published books, authors are often responsible for paying for cover designers, editors, proofreaders, formatters, advertising and other expenses. For traditionally published books, authors share the revenue with their publisher and agent, making for a much smaller payout for the person who created the book. Now how often do we spend $8 on a salad, a movie, a coffee, a pizza and other forms of entertainment? Many of us don’t think twice about spending more than $8 on some of these things that take minutes to make and minutes to consume, but we balk at paying $8 for a book that took months to create, edit, proofread, package, etc. I know there’s tons of debate as to whether an ebook is as “valuable” as a paperback, and I get why some people feel the more “tangible” paperback has more value. I will only add that if we try to look at it as the “delivery of a story” in whatever format we choose to use–the author’s time is no less for an ebook than it is for a paperback.

I’ve always tried to be very respectful of my readers’ budget constraints and whenever possible–and when it’s within my control–I’ve tried to keep my books between $5 and $6 for new titles, and often $3 or $4 for older books. I realize there are tons of opinions about what an ebook SHOULD cost vs what it DOES cost. Please know that if a title is published by ANYONE other than the author, the author does not set the price. And sometimes we don’t necessarily agree with the prices, but we have to live with them. With this post, I am merely trying to provide some behind-the-scenes perspective to shed some light on the WHY of pricing. If you have questions, I’ll try to answer them!

As always, I appreciate your support of my books, and I never forget that you spend your hard-earned money on them when there are certainly lots of other things vying for your entertainment budget. I hope you know how much I appreciate every penny you spend on my books!


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  • June 23, 2015
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Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. Her indie-published series include Gansett Island, First Family, Treading Water, Butler Vermont, Quantum and Miami Nights. She’s also the author of the Green Mountain and Fatal Series.

Her books have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller more than 30 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, as well as a Speigel bestseller in Germany.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

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