I was thinking of doing a post about ebook pricing anyway, but the discovery of my own book under someone else’s name for the bargain-basement price of $41.70 precipitated it, somewhat. $41.70! Who on earth would pay that? I could understand someone ripping off my content and presenting it for $2.99. That way they might actually sell a few copies!

Michelle Haley's version of 'The Roman and the Runaway'

(Click on the image for a closer look)

I love the way she used my cover for the book, complete with my name, and then claims the copyright in hers. It’s quite funny, really. The book does carry a Creative Commons licence which permits sharing, so long as the book remains unchanged. So she followed those guidelines, but conveniently forgot to notice the ‘non-commercial’ element of the licence. For some reason she has categorised it under ‘Craft and Hobbies’. I suppose it was a hobby of mine while I was writing it, but it doesn’t really reflect the content that well…

Anyway, back to the pricing issue. I mentioned in another post that I’m reluctant to pay anything at all for ebooks. (Maybe that’s just because I’m mean.) I do most of my fiction reading through our excellent public library system or via freely-available online material. I do occasionally buy printed books, although I try to limit that spending, otherwise the house gets full up of books too quickly. It tends to be mainly non-fiction that I buy these days: cookery books, for example. This might change if I get some sort of ereader, but the price of those is too offputting for now, too.

I enjoyed an online lecture by James O’Donnell on the Kindle, where he described his own ebook pricing barrier: $9.99 in his case. I suspect that many people share his scruples. There’s something too insubstantial about an ebook to warrant paying more than that. Or more than $5 or $3, perhaps. $41.70 would definitely be pushing it, I feel.

I’ve reported Michelle’s pirated copy of the book to the Lulu powers-that-be and have uploaded a free version on Lulu for good measure. Be interesting to see if they take the pricey one down.