Print Books Are Not Dead … by Darla Luke

Print Books Are Not Dead. That’s one of the lead stories in the USA Today dated 6-28-12, and although I’m excited about the rise of self- and indy-published electronic books, I’d be the last person to say that the print media is going to go the way of the dodo bird and dinosaurs.

The (publishing) times, they are a changin’, to butcher a quote from … someone. I love books. The feel, the smell, the covers (some of which are a textile delight with raised covers or slightly rough or slickly smooth). But to carry every book I’ve ever bought on my phone to read when standing in a long line, or waiting in the doctor’s office? Sheer delight! My phone is almost always with me, and with electronic publishing, so are my books. I can even change the font for easy reading. What’s not to like?

That said, I also buy just about every print book my friends and fellow Rose City Romance Writer’s publish. Often I get their signature and they write a pithy message meant just for me. Each one has a special place on my bookshelf. When a friend publishes an electronic book, I still purchase it … but don’t have a treasured spot which to put it on display. It saves room, but isn’t quite the same. I’ll adjust I’m sure (as I’m writing this, I realize that I can frame one of their promotional items and display it on a wall in my office. I can even get it signed. There, problem solved – you saw it here first, friends :-))

Onto the real reason you showed up today. Here are the self-pubbed books that made the USA Today Top 150 Best-Selling Books list for the week of 6-28-12*:

This week #24 (last week #37): Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (Smashwords) $2.99

This week #67 (last week #61): Easy by Tammara Webber (Amazon Digital Services) $3.99

This week #75 (last week, not in the top 150): Flat-out Love by Jessica Park (Amazon Digital Services) $3.99

This week #149 (last week, not in the top 150): Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Amazon Digital Services) $2.99

I’m noticing an interesting trend here, and not what I – and many of my writer friends – believed to be true … the above list doesn’t include even one book at a $.99 price point! Holy cow, what a paradigm shift in thinking! As a self-pubbed writer, you don’t have to sell your book dirt cheap in order to get on the USA Today Top 150 Best-Selling Books list!

Now I want to know what you think. Would you only pay $.99 for a book from an unknown author? If that’s not your criteria, what’s the top dollar you’d pay for an author you’ve never read before? Do you need a sample chapter before you buy? I do, because I’m an extremely picky reader these days.

*Okay, just so you know … I’m human and do make mistakes (a shock to some of my friends, I’m sure!). If there’s a book on this week’s list that I missed, please let me know. If I misspelled/mistyped an author’s name or book title, I’m extremely sorry.


About Darla Luke

Darla Luke spent her childhood making up stories in her head, when she wasn't devouring every book she could get her hands on. If someone would have told her she'd be a writer when she grew up, she would have laughed herself silly. Now, writing is her passion, and she loves telling stories (especially ghost stories) and believes they all should have a happy ending.

Posted on June 29, 2012, in General and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Hi Darla – isn’t it nice when the Janes let you take over their blog 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    The price tag is not what determines the books I buy — I’m most swayed by a friend’s review. Or that a friend wrote it. Or a friend-to-be that talks to total strangers in the bookstore and recommends one of their favorite books. (print books will never be dead for me). That’s how I find the best new authors.


    • Hi Jessie! Their arm was twisted behind their back (which is tough to do, BTW), LOL! A recommendation is a great way to find new authors, especially when you read the same genre. Sometimes I look at what Barnes & Noble and Amazon recommend based on books I’ve bought from them. So many books … so little time.


  2. Print books aren’t dead for me (I started Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day back in 2010 to try and help make sure they won’t be dead for the seventh generation either 🙂 but I definitely buy and enjoy self-pubbed books. I pay the POD price on the cover for my paper versions…and many of them do get treasured spots on my bookshelf 🙂 I’m glad to see if authors can charge more than 99 cents as I think most books are worth more. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, groans, laughter, and love go into writing a book. Thanks for this post!


    • Jenny – Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is a great concept! I’d love to see it catch on. And I’m all behind getting the next generation interested in books, no matter the media 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  3. I’ve never been one to believe that lowering your price to 99cents was wise. In the beginning of the great ebook self-publishing revolution, I know people were doing it to get noticed. But I think that time has passed.

    In addition tot he self-pubbed books on the list, I also noticed some small press digital first imprints on the list as well.

    #14 Marriage Bargain – Entangled Press
    #134 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Quirk Books
    #139 Gabriel’s Inferno – Omnific
    #146 Cynful – Samhain

    As for what I’m willing to pay for an ebook, it depends on the book, the author, and how much I want it “right now.” I’ve paid $9.99 for some YA books. My personal sweet spot for most ebooks (without much thought other than general interest) is under $6.00. I don’t personally believe a physical print book is worth more. I haven’t purchased a print book in almost three years (since I got my first Nook). Not because I don’t like print, but because I don’t have the space. In fact, I get angry when a publisher does NOT make a new release available in e-book for six months or a year in order to get more print book sales. Anymore, I can’t imagine every buying a print book unless it’s a coffee table book or picture book.

    As for all those author autographs, I’m working on a solution for that. 🙂


    • Maggie – so good to ‘see’ you here 🙂 Thanks for update on the small-press imprints. Right now I’m going to focus on self-pubished authors and indy-published books that have made the USA Today list each week. Oh, yeah, publishers that hold back the e-print books make me angry also. I’m not holding my breath that they will get with the program and publish both editions at the same time, they don’t have a great track record with pleasing their readers.

      I await with baited breath to know what solution you came up with!


  4. I’m good with 2.99 or so. What pisses me off and I will not cater to is an e-book published 1 or more years ago for 9.99. I really want to read Gillian Flynn but refuse to pay that much for a book I can’t touch and smell.


    • Gina – I’m with you. I don’t normally pay $9.99 for a print book, much less an electronic one. Especially not for a new-to-me author. Now, for those authors that have me hooked on a series?? And I *have* to have it ASAP. Yeah, I will – reluctantly – pay the $9.99 price for it.


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