Discussion

{DISCUSSION} Paying per Page

What if we paid for books by the page?

Books are expensive. I don’t think anyone will really argue with me on this, especially any voracious reader. Anyone who burns through books faster than they burn through calories knows how quickly the price of books adds up.

And it’s a shame. If you can finish a book in a day or even a book a week, that means you’re either re-reading a TON, waiting a LOT, or spending an exorbitant amount of money on new books. (Or you’re that person who spends plenty of time at the library. You smart person you. :p) Whichever path you choose, you still must come across the possibility of buying new books at some point or another. Thus, I wonder:

How are prices set for books?

I mean, who decided at some point that $20 was a good amount for consumers to spend on a book? Is that what the entertainment value is worth? (That means it has more value than a movie in a theater, at least.) Was it based off a statistic of how fast people generally read and therefore priced by the amount of time spent consuming the story? (In this case, some people could very well be getting more for the money than others, aka me because I read so dang slow. :p)

Some people might claim that the price set for the book is based off production costs, but I don’t believe that. I know that books don’t cost that much to print. Of course, there is always going to be an influx because the publisher needs to make money. And the author needs to make money. Though, they don’t make nearly as much off the book as one might think.

Another concept could be what the book is made out of. Unfortunately, I’ve seen books in the same section of the same quality by the same publisher priced anywhere from $10-$30. I have still yet to determine where the prices come from. Though, it’s obviously not based upon hardcover vs paperback.

Normally, this wouldn’t bother me. The price is just a number you pay for the book and if you want it, you’ll find the money somehow (or you’ll wait for the library.) But, what I’m a little irked about is that short books are priced just as high as longer, full-length novels.

You would think that a shorter, smaller book would cost less. After all, you’re getting less product. I mean, that’s how it works with everything else: toiletries, food, household products. Granted, some products are based on brand name/quality, such as clothing, but books don’t have brand names. Sure, certain publishers may be bigger than others, but they don’t put out better quality stories/books than other publishers. Still, I’ve seen novellas that are only 100-200 pages priced at the same price as a novel that is 500+ pages.

WHY?!

Wouldn’t it make more sense to price books out based upon the length of the novel? Wouldn’t it be easier to pay for a book based upon the number of pages in the story? Sure, longer books may get more expensive, but I don’t see the point in paying $20 for a novella that’s only 150 pages. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

But what do you think?
Would you rather pay per page for books?
Let me know in the comments below!


And check out my discussion from last week:
Judge a Book by its Cover

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44 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Paying per Page”

        1. Yeah. I think we’d likely see a price gouge for books if this did become a thing. And maybe different publishers would set different prices per page based on paper quality, font type, etc. etc. I mean, how many would go to large print for the money?? :/

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  1. Ahh yes the price of books does often seem arbitrary- especially when you see prices getting hiked up to exorbitant amounts (I still remember when a hardback was £12.99, now it’s £19.99?!?) And I definitely agree that, even if there’s a justifiable reason to charge huge amounts for a novel- a novella has got to cost less!! I can’t even stand when they charge too much for them on a kindle- I just get really mad because I already know it’s basically a money making scheme- so why should I be parted with the price of a full length book for what is essentially filler? I just never buy them for that reason.

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    1. I… never used to pay much attention to book prices. Granted, my parents were just happy I was reading. So, they would buy them (and I didn’t buy many as I was always a picky reader, apparently.) But I imagine increase in prices likely has to do with inflation. (Though, I can only attest to the American market.) Shame, really. I want to support authors, but… with those prices. :/ Makes it hard.

      OH MAN! I’ve seen some kindle books cost just as much OR MORE than the paperback. Like WHAT?! Are you kidding me?! How does that even make logical sense? THere’s not even cost of paper or ink to worry about with a kindle. headdesk

      Yes, in my opinion, novellas are filler content and unnecessary. I don’t buy them in general for that reason, but I’ve thought about a few in the past and stopped because the price just didn’t add up. 😉 (pun intended,)

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      1. Ah I used to buy books even more rarely as a child, because there was less access to cheap books and second hand ones. That said, I have noticed the massive change- but yes, of course it’s down to inflation. I understand… it just makes me sad :/
        YES!!! That drives me mad!!! I can’t understand why they’re so expensive because they don’t have the printing costs. And like you I’ve seen them as being more expensive than the paperback- what?!?!
        Yes- exactly!! I know right hahahaha

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        1. I guess I was lucky because I just didn’t read as a child. That wasn’t a thing. Of course, now I’m like… way behind the bar and attempting to catch up through some form of science that I literally don’t understand… aka magic. :p

          It always makes me sad when books are too expensive to justify buying. :/ But… it’s not like there aren’t hundreds of other inexpensive books to buy. Reasons why I stock up on used books when I can find them. You never know when there will be a dry spell at your favorite bookstore. 0.0 The horror!

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  2. This is interesting. I very rarely pay full price for books anyway so I really don’t know if they should be priced per page. However I definitely agree that novellas shouldn’t cost the same as actual novels. That’s why I always buy them as ebooks for about $2

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    1. Yeah… I’ve started to realize that paying full price for books just… isn’t worth it any more. I mean, I’m not up-to-date on half the books that are being published anyway. So, it’s not like I’m scrambling to get a new book the moment it hits the shelves. I don’t care if I wait a few year- months! to get a book. :p

      Though… I still can’t get behind buying ebooks. :/ I just… can’t do it. The lack of tangibility really bothers me. 0.0

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        1. Hahaha! I usually don’t even find out about a series until the last book is published. :p I really am like the worst book blogger.

          Mm. Convenience is pretty important. I’m starting to realize that more… Still… I’m stubborn. 😀

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                1. Hahaha! I was a total hipster when it came to HG. I was like: “It’s popular? Nope! walks the other way” But I did actually quite enjoy it at the time. I just… don’t like to follow the crowd. :p (I did the same thing when Fall Out Boy was big. BAHAHA!)

                  And you’re absolutely right. You read it when you want to. Sometimes it’s actually nicer to read something after the hype goes away because there isn’t as much pressure to like it.

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                    1. Ah. But ignorance is bliss, is it not?? Some people would prefer to not know the end is coming. I know the end is coming, but I can hope that it’ll all turn out okay in the end. 😉 Realists for the win! Can we start a club? :p

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                    2. But is it really fake ignorance?? I mean… I actually worry about some people. :/

                      Yes! The realist club! No. That’s lame… Um…. The real club! It’s really… real. >.> kind of actually loves how cheesy that slogan is and it’s a quote from Happy Feetneeds a life

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                    3. For some, maybe not. But for a good amount of people, yes I think it’s fake. At least from my experience, people choose to believe what they want despite the fact that it’s different from the truth

                      Hahaha I literally watched Happy Feet two weeks ago on Netflix. So I love the slogan, no judgement over here

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                    4. Ah. Yes. That I will agree with it. People do like to pretend like the sky isn’t falling, even though it just hit them in the face. What ya gonna do? …besides have more room after the apocalypse. HAHAHAHA! is a horrible person on top of being a realist

                      YES! A second for the slogan! It is decided! has no idea what to do in the real club

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  3. I think you see more price-per-page strategies in the self-publishing realm. Major media industries need to recoup up front costs from authors, editors, cover artists, marketing, etc. Then still try to turn a profit. That said, the addition of so many “middle men” is their own doing. Once upon a time, there were these things called “compact discs”. They played music, and cost roughly $1.75 to create, but cost $20 when they were on a store shelf. Something happened to them, not sure what, but I don’t see many of them around these days.

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    1. Hey!! Are we talking about cassettes? I remember cassettes! isn’t that young 😉 Though, I wasn’t old enough to be able to buy them myself. So, I can’t attest to the cost. Sadly, like all tech, it became obsolete. I mean, the tape wore out and became unplayable, just like vinyls would become scratched, and cds would become scratched. Now it’s almost all digital. Though, I hope that doesn’t become a thing for DVDs. I’m not trusting someone to store all the movies I’ve bought. Uh-uh! Nope!

      And yes, I understand there are a LOT of people that go into marketing the book. People we don’t generally think about, but whom play an important role. I understand them needing to be paid now that I remember they are there… Oops. >.>

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      1. Cassettes were kind of overpriced too, but they cost way more to manufacture than CD’s. I think there will always be a place for print books, but they’ll need to adjust their pricing strategies to meet the expectations that customers now have due to eBooks. That said, (counter-argument) I’d always prefer a great 175 page book to a crappy 300 page one.

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        1. Oh. I can imagine cassettes cost more to make. I mean… the amount of plastic on those things! And who knows how much the actual tape inside cost. :/
          But I agree. While readers will always love print books more than ebooks (at least, the not-crazy ones 😉 ) there will come a time when ebooks will just be more cost effective. You know… assuming they continue this idiocy of pricing the ebook more than the paperback (and yes, I’ve seen this before.) Who knows. Prices will continue to go up for everything, though, as long as inflation continues. :/

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  4. I actually like this idea. It’s also part of the reason why I shy away from novellas and tend to go for the big Stephen King epics. Value for money! As a writer of what will likely be a big fat volume, I’d be really happy with pay by the page!

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    1. Hahaha! :p That makes total sense. I don’t buy novellas either. I just don’t see it as being worth the money (but I’m also anti-novella anyway. So… >.> )

      And I will sadly not be writing any big fat novels, but such is the way of the YA. Under 100k or out through with rejection pile. 😉

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