Hello readers! I come to you today with news! And also, with a question.
The news, first. But those of you tempted to skip it, don’t. The question is tied deeply into it, and I would prefer feedback from you, the readers.
So the news: Shadow of an Empire is almost available in print. The proof has been ordered! That’s right. At long last, those of you who loved your sun-soaked journey across the desert Outlands of Indrim will be able to order a paperback copy to sit on your nightstand or coffee table!
Now, this is a chonky boy of a book. At the same trade size as Axtara – Banking and Finance, Shadow of an Empire has smaller text and is still twice as thick. It’s gonna be a hefty volume (and this isn’t even my longest work by far). But as you might expect, this comes with a catch.
See, the print cost is more than double what Axtara‘s is as a result. And when combined with expanded distribution that allows it to show up in bookstores, libraries, etc, that means that the price point for Shadow of an Empire‘s paperback is … significant.
How significant, you might ask? Well, for it to be available in bookstores, libraries, etc, the prices needs to be … $21.99.
Yeah. For a paperback. A good quality one, if Axtara‘s paperback quality is anything to go by, but … yeah, still high. Granted, it’s not too much higher than most similarly sized paperback books of similar quality. Dune is what, 500 pages and that’s retailing at $17.99 or so right now.
But here’s the thing. If I don’t allow for expanded distribution, IE, no libraries, bookstores, etc … then that cut doesn’t exist, and the price could be $15.99 … a full six dollars less.
Now look, I know what my answer is. I would love to see Shadow of an Empire get the expanded distribution. Axtara got it, and I’ve loved seeing it in libraries and up for sale in bookstores. The thing is, this is a “one or the other situation.” I can’t sell it at one price and the other. It has to be one or the other.
Now, that isn’t to say there’s no difference. When ordered from Amazon directly (not a bookstore) at the $21.99 option, I get a much nicer royalty than the $15.99 option. From a bookstore I’d make $0.35. Monetarily, I see a better return in the long run going expanded. But a $22 paperback, even if it’s a massive one, is a bit of a tough sell for some. The ebook, as a reminder, is $3.99. But then again, the ebook is always cheaper, unless you’re with a Trad-Pub.
But I want to see what you think, readers. Those of you planning on buying the paperback of Shadow of an Empire, how much would a price jump from $15.99 to $21.99 impact you? To those of you not planning on buying it, but curious, does a $21.99 chonk of a paperback feel reasonable if you see it at a bookstore?
Now, below there is a poll. I’m not saying the most popular pick here is going to be what I do. I really do want that expanded distribution. Even at a higher cost (which does support the bookstore, in fairness), Shadow of an Empire is a solid hefty book for your buck.
But I want to see what you think. I haven’t made up my mind yet. Yes, I’m really leaning toward that expanded distribution, as I’d rather not be limited to “just Amazon” as a storefront.
But I want to hear what you think, readers. After all, you’re the ones reading my pages. Hit your poll, and if you have any other thoughts, leave a comment below.