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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Soapbox: Cost of Books

I’m going to be painfully honest and say, it’s very hard for me to buy books. I usually loan my books from other friends or check them out at the library. The last book I had the ability to buy was Julie Kagawa’s Iron Queen. Why is it so hard to buy books?

With Borders going out of business I thought I’d take advantage of the sales and get some of my favorites that I haven’t had the ability to purchase. I spent a little over a hundred dollars on nine books. Not bad right? Considering most of them were hardbacks and brand new. However, once I got home I looked at my receipt and noticed something. 

Books are freaking expensive. No joke. I bought, Divergent, The Girl in the Steel Corset, Anna and the French Kiss, Die For Me, 13 to Life, The Goddess Test, Falling Under, Dreams of Joy and Last Letter From Your Lover. (The last two are for my sister and not my cup of tea.) One hundred thirty two dollars and ninety four cents. No one can say I don’t support the authors when I have the ability to. 

Seriously though, why are books so freaking expensive? What makes them cost so fricking much? 

Let’s think about something really quickly. The books I bought were teen/young adult reads.  The cheapest one originally priced was 9.99. Let’s round up to ten. The normal price (when I say normal the average of the other seven I bought for myself) was 17.99 originally priced, we’ll say eighteen. Around twelve and twenty after tax respectively. Can I provide some food for thought? 

A teen/young adult is what? A middle school/high school kid, right? If they’re lucky they work part time after school on some days and on the weekends. If they’re not, they hopefully get an allowance from mom or dad or both. In what right dimension do these prices seem affordable for a dependent? Especially if they’re supposed to be saving for college or homecoming or prom? 

Don’t get me wrong. I love to read. I pray one day I’m fortunate enough to have a library of my favorites. However, right now, I’m a full time college student, with not only student loans, but my car loan, my cell phone, my rent, and the food in my belly.  Tell me where am I supposed to get the spending money for books too? This is why I borrow from friends or the library. I wish I could support more often but I quite literally can’t. It’s too costly. 

I can’t even afford to buy the ebook as it’s the same price as the hardback. Can I ask why an electronic file costs the same as ink and paper? Is there something special about the epub file that makes it worth the same amount as being able to physically hold and smell the book? (I love the smell of books, someone should patent that as a perfume.) 

I hear and see a lot of stuff about authors complaining that they don’t sell enough books, or they’re mad that people pirate their books. But when you look at it this way is it any wonder why? And in today’s economy what parent in their right mind is going to let their kid pay twenty dollars for a book? 

I just needed to put that out there. There are a lot of great writers in this world. A great many great authors. I wish with all my heart I could support all my favorites. However, with the economy in crumbles, food outrageously priced, and college demanding my first born child in payment, it’s not possible to support everyone. I pray there are others who are well off enough that can, so I may continue reading their great stories.  

How can this be fixed? I honestly can’t say. Lower the cost of ebooks? Find cheaper ways of printing that can lower the cost of a physical book? Who really knows? I wish I did.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. Books are too expensive, e-books from traditional publishers are outrageously so. It's ridiculous to be asked to spend $10 or more for a computer file. Eventually, publishers won't be able to charge that, as more and more people switch to e-readers and competition from indie authors forces them to lower their prices.

    Luckily for us, there are libraries. I've made great use of mine, and when I come across a book I really love, then I buy it. But usually in paperback because I just can't see spending over $20 on a hardback book.