Will cheap eBooks destroy the book industry?Go on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble and you see thousands of books priced at $.99, $1.99, and $2.99.  Many people are worried, saying this doesn’t bode well for the industry and readers.

I couldn’t disagree more…

The industry as a whole will be fine, people are simply purchasing more books electronically.  This is just the newest trend, and since digital downloads don’t have any of the costs associated with print, they are much cheaper.  Or should be.

That’s where most publishers get into trouble

While the industry may be OK, Traditional Publishers may be in some trouble.  These days it also makes more fiscal sense for most authors to sell direct to readers through an electronic medium.  An example, Amazon splits the revenue 35/65 on $.99 book purchases, and 70/30 on purchases $2.99 and above.

So if you retained your digital rights to your next book, you could price it at $2.99 and receive a $2.09 royalty per sale instead of the standard $1.34 royalty (or 17%) from a traditional corporate publisher.  And how many more books will you sell at $2.99 than at $8.99?

There’s now potential for authors to make millions on their own

In fact, New York Times Bestseller Author, Barry Eisler, recently turned down a $500,000 advance from St. Martin’s Press on his next book, and decided to instead sell the novel direct to readers on the internet.  He cited that the royalties from many, many years of online sales would far eclipse the advance and small royalties from the publisher.

But many say $.99 is just too cheap, it’s devaluing books

But many “direct to reader” authors are using the $.99 price point to bring in new readers, essentially making their books an impulse purchase.  Then, when the readers are good and hooked, upping the price back to $2.99 or higher.

J.A. Konrath talked about this in his blog.  He adjusted the price of a novel, The List (not affiliate), to $.99 and it shot up to #15 on the Amazon Bestseller list. During the 15 days his novel was at $.99 he made $5647 and sold 1500 copies a day average.  Then he raised the price to $2.99 and made $4092 in 50 hours.Obviously not every author is going to make $9700 and sell 20,000+ books in 17 days, but many are selling thousands every month, many at $.99, and they are making a living.

If authors do well, then readers will do well

In the future I see more good authors receiving more of the fruits of their labors, which makes them want to write more, so that readers get more of what they want at a cheaper price.  How is everyone getting more of what they want a bad thing?

All of this change bodes well for the authors and the readers, just not the traditional corporate publishing industry.