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Author obligation to purchaser when price drops

Bondi Beach

Author puts book up for sale. After some period of time, author decides readers are more important than income and drops the price to U$D 0.00.

What, if any, obligation does the author have to those who purchased the book? Offer refunds? Some kind of credit for a future purchase (no idea how that might work)?

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graybyrd
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


What, if any, obligation does the author have to those who purchased the book?


None. You buy a new Cadillac Escalade at list price. Next week dealer has a big sale. You expect to get a refund betwixt what you paid, and the new sale price?

Caveat Emptor!

One can always fire a "Dear Sir, you cur!" letter at the author, but that won't get you any credit.

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

What, if any, obligation does the author have to those who purchased the book?


None. The paid more for the privilege of getting ti before others. Some of my books had contractual limitations on what i could offer them for, so when I first put them up at Lulu they were a lot dearer than they are now. The contract expired and I lowered the price since I was no longer required to maintain the price.

However, since I've done a lot of revisions over the years I do offer a free copy of the latest version to anyone who can provide me with reasonable evidence they bought and earlier copy.

Crumbly Writer

It's typical practice to start with a high price, while the product is at a premium, then drop the price once the demand falls off. Sometimes demand drops especially fast, or simply never picks up. In that case, in order to save the product, and help their other books, many authors offer the book for free, figuring readers will appreciate if they read it, despite the dreadful reviews (or lack of them).

It's was never intended as an insult to the purchaser, though often it can feel like you've been slighted. Instead, it's a sign of desperation, evidence that he's not doing well. One never discounts products that are selling like hot cakes, only the items they're trying to get rid of at any price.

Bondi, if it's an online Indie-publisher, I'd write and complain, just to get it off your chest. You won't get your money back, but you never know, he might send you his next book for free!

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

After some period of time, author decides readers are more important than income and drops the price to U$D 0.00.


This is often done to garner new readers.

I've some books I wrote and regard as community help items which are available via B&N, Apple, Amazon, Kobo, and Apple free. To date I've sold (for nothing) a couple of thousand copies of the two about writing and making e-pubs. I've also had a couple of people write and tell me those books got them interested in looking at what else I wrote and they bought some of my other books from Lulu for money.

Crumbly Writer

It's also not uncommon for an author to mark the first book in a series to free, in order to promote the other books in the series.

I'll usually drop the price of the first book, leave the others at one price (always lower than when they were first released), and the (current) last book in the series is marked up slightly (since readers are more committed to reading the conclusion by that point).

Replies:   graybyrd
graybyrd

@Crumbly Writer

It's also not uncommon for an author to mark the first book in a series to free, in order to promote the other books in the series.


And THAT is my weak spot!

I've got an eReader full of sci-fi series for that very reason. First book free; I get hooked, and the rest are sure to follow (at $#.## each).

There's a good reason few folks catch fish with a bare hook; ya gotta offer a fat, wiggly worm!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@graybyrd


And THAT is my weak spot!

I've got an eReader full of sci-fi series for that very reason. First book free; I get hooked, and the rest are sure to follow (at $#.## each).

There's a good reason few folks catch fish with a bare hook; ya gotta offer a fat, wiggly worm!

I'll see. The big "Read an Ebook" sales promotion started today, and so far I've sold several books, but they're all for free, and they're all my older, thicker books which no longer reflect my current writing style. So I'm wondering whether I'm giving away stories for free which may cost me new readers, rather than drawing in new fans.

Guess I'll see if I have any follow-up paying customers later in the week (where they get a 50% discount on my other books).

Replies:   sharkjcw
sharkjcw

@Crumbly Writer

CW, If you are selling on Amazon. You might try the Kindle Unlimited option for your books. At least you get a small stipend for each read. rather than "selling" for $0.00 which gets you $0.00

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sharkjcw

CW, If you are selling on Amazon. You might try the Kindle Unlimited option for your books. At least you get a small stipend for each read. rather than "selling" for $0.00 which gets you $0.00

Sorry, but I don't sell at $0 (I was mentioning that i tried discounting 100% instead of 75% for the first book in each series, and it was a massive fail. I 'sold' a bunch of first volumes, with only 2 sales of every book in my catalog, none of which were discounted, but the discounts didn't sell any other volumes in the series, which was the whole idea). I try to differentiate my books based on quality rather than discount, because of the size and volume of each book.

I tried Kindle Unlimited, as it didn't go well. To sell well with Unlimited, you need a bunch of other free books (i.e. high volume on Unlimited, behest by very short novellettes (under 30,000 words, in most cases). My first experiment got 1,000 reads the first afternoon, which petered out over the next week as those readers finished, and I earned all of $2 for the first month (before I was even allowed to run any countdown deals)! Big whoop.

Since I don't write for the Unlimited market, I'll stick to my existing market rather than changing my approach. It works for several people, but it's a highly specialized market.

Chris (?) made a big deal of hawking KDP Unlimited, but he wrote little but porn, each under 10,000 words (little more than short stories, shorter than most of my single chapters). We long argued about whether Unlimited would work for anyone not writing specifically for it, and I'm now convinced it just doesn't mix.

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