Here’s a fun one, folks! About two years ago I wrote a post called The Price We Pay – Are Book Prices Too Much? which investigated a (still) common complain that books were needlessly expensive—yes, even indie books—and that the prices needed to return to what many online remembered them being when they were younger, circa 1994.
This post took that declaration to task, examining it, breaking it down, looking at how the industry operated, then using math the readers could verify themselves to show that memory and nostalgia don’t always line up, and then from there showing that a wide range of books—Indie titles especially—are cheaper than ever thanks to advancements in technology.
The post also noted that where that isn’t true, IE where prices are higher it tends to be the big Trad Pubs who have deliberately eschewed modern advances and then as a cherry on top have sent their prices even higher just because they want more money.
To this day, this post remains one of the most popular on the site, collecting a regular daily stream of readers usually arriving from a Google search like “Why are books so expensive?” or the like.
But there was another factor in that post that made it, at least to me, quite memorable. It was when I went and adjusted the (then—tail prices have since taken effect with a few) prices of my own books back to 1994 cash to see what they were worth. And we got these two nifty little charts:
As the post went on to point out, the pricing for my books was right where I wanted it to be. Even the newest release at that time, Shadow of an Empire, was still cheaper than the most dirt-cheap, loosely bound paperbacks of my youth. And I’m okay with that. That’s a price anyone can reach with even just the smallest bit of effort.
Anyway, with the launch of Axtara – Banking and Finance I decided to revisit this question, this time because while Axtara has the usual ebook release, there’s also a paperback.
Now, in fairness, I pushed the paperback pretty low. A bookstore purchase of Axtara only nets me $0.18, compared to the $11.99 + tax it sells for. And with how that’s calculated, that means that the lowest it could have gone past that would have been $11.81, at which point it’d be a net of nothing, and anything lower would mean I’d be paying for each copy that was bought. Thankfully, the printer just straight-up doesn’t allow that to happen.
But it did make me wonder. If Axtara were to hit shelves in 1994 alongside the rest of my “time-displaced” books, what would her price be? How much would a copy of Axtara cost a 12-year old girl looking longingly at the book with about a dragoness banker? Would she be able to afford it? Or would she be forced to set it down and move on?
So I repeated the process I had before, using an inflation calculator and punching in dates and prices. And from that, I got the following result:
So, in case you’re a bit stymied by tables, let me write it out. In 1994, the ebook price of Axtara – Banking and Finance would be $2.81. The paperback, in the same time period, $6.76.
That is absolutely affordable. And right in the sweet spot of where my prices feel right, I think. A young teen could easily pick up the ebook for Axtara for the cost of a cheap lunch, while the paperback, all 314 glorious pages of it, be had for slightly more … and at a price squarely in the middle of typical paperback prices for the period.
Considering Axtara‘s print quality is much higher than a lot of those paperbacks, even the pricier ones … Well, that’s just a cherry on top.
End result? Axtara is priced right where I want it to be. It’s affordable, but also brimming with quality and just slightly more bang-for-the-buck compared to its contemporaries (past and current).
Me? I call that pretty good. And those book-buyers still stuck in 1994 or 1995? Well, they can gripe about how much inflation has moved costs, but at the end of the day, they can’t complain about Axtara‘s pricing and have any leg to stand on.
Much like the dragoness herself, Axtara is a generous element. And that? I’m more than okay with that.
Have a great week everyone! And, naturally, if you haven’t yet, I really do recommend checking out Axtara – Banking and Finance and seeing why its so well-loved.