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.
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“