The Price of a Book

When I was a kid…I keep going back to those carefree days.

I was twelve years old when I bought my first paperback book.  The price was twenty-five cents.  For a quarter of a dollar (plus a penny for sales tax), I received a weeks worth of an exciting tale, taking me to places I never dreamed I may really go someday.

Not long after I started reading paperbacks, my dad got really sick.  He was in the hospital for a long time.  I did not know he liked to read but learned his favorite genre was Westerns.  So my twenty-six cents went to Zane Gray.

The author Zane Gray was a member of Penn's va...
The author Zane Gray was a member of Penn’s varsity baseball team in 1895 and 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then one day I went to buy a book and they were up to fifty cents.  I had just enough money.  I planned to buy two.  That was okay, Dad was not working but was starting to get around.

By the time I graduated high school, paperbacks were up to seventy-five cents.  There was no money for college and my grades were not good enough to think of a scholarship.  The Vietnam war was raging, and I had a choice:  Get drafted and go straight to war or enlist.  I would get enough training to keep me alive.  So, enlist I did.

During those days of training, I learned that cold was not a totally bad thing and that an hour of sleep spread out over twenty-four was actually a lot.

Reading any type of novel was out of the question.

Some years later, I went past a drug store that had rows of paperbacks to buy.

My father passed away not long before.  So when I started looking at the books, my first tendency was toward the Westerns.  All the ones the store stocked I had already read.  It didn’t seem right to read Westerns any more.

I bought another book.  That cost me a dollar & twenty-five cents.

Since those days I have bought many books; a great many at used book stores where most were slightly discounted.

One day at a used book store in St. Louis, the owner and I were talking about what a new book would cost to publish.

He explained things simply:  A person takes a year of their life to write the book.  Then they spend money for the edit.  Perhaps, the person lands a literary agent who gets 15%.  Then if it gets sold to a publisher, they have the cost of cover design, printing, stocking and distribution.  For that they get 50% or a little more.  The book store that sells the book also gets a percentage.

At this point the poor author who thought he hit the mother lode is, for the time and energy to write and promote a part of his life, the recipient of the smallest amount from each sale.

On a twenty dollar paperback he makes maybe $5.00 per sale, but more like $3.00.

That made a great deal of sense.

Now I am an Indie author.  I pay those costs out of my own pocket.

I am lucky enough to have a wife who is not just a business manager but does as much as a creative consultant.  She did my cover design, as well as the book trailer.  Sandy stays up with what I have going and need to attend.  My wife designed the webpage and tends to it.

The Wolf Moon by Patrick Jones

My paperbacks sell for almost $17.00 per copy.  My e-book sells for $4.99.

I am not saying anything bad about a person selling their book for 0.99 cents, but ask yourself:  Would James Patterson or Stephen King?

Nope!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s