The New Republic magazine recently presented an article on how books are avoiding the digital decline seen in the music and video entertainment industries.
Generally, CDs declined not because people switched to digital versions that were cheaper but because they listen to songs individually…and wanted to buy only one or two songs from an album.
TV shows suffered the same fate. The packages of entire seasons weren’t always what people wanted to buy and so they turned to individual streaming of single shows.
Books, on the other hand, can’t be offered in pieces. Although some authors have found success serializing their books by releasing single chapters at a time, most readers want to consume the entire work in a single sitting or multiple sittings performed within a short timeframe. This is part of the engagement of readers in a story or nonfiction topic, so books perform better for readers when they are consumed in this fashion.
So, although prices have fluctuated for ebooks, there really isn’t any comparison that can be made for how a reader is impacted by a book. It has to be taken as a complete whole at the reader’s leisure, not in bits strung out over time.
As we move forward into this new world of publishing, remember that. Price your works accordingly, and reserve the low prices and bundling deals as short-term sales.