Why #books are the price they are…. #thepriceofbooks @GunnCrime #WritingCommunity

I spotted this on twitter and got permission from the author Ali Gunn to share on the blog.

I am always liking a bargain, but never realised just how the money was divvied up, distributed around.


I’ve been asked why my books are “so expensive” at £2.99 for the #eBook. Here’s why. Authors have bills to pay too. Pay the damned writer. #WritingCommunity #Sustainability #Fairness #MinimumWage

But if you pay £2.99 – less than a sandwich or a pint of beer – the author only has to sell 9,363 to make minimum wage. It’s still a HUGE ask for a very meagre reward but it’s much closer to being fair.

So then, what is a fair(er) rate? How about £4.99? That’s roughly a pint of beer here in #London. Authors still need to sell a remarkable 5,559 #books per year in order to make #minimumwage (BEFORE costs – which aren’t small). Still think £2.99 is “too much”? #WritingCommunity

What about £9.99? Apart from the fact NOBODY is paying that much for an eBook (except academic textbooks), it still takes a lot of book sales to make a living. NB – above £10, Amazon DROP the royalty rate to 35% killing the prospect of pricing above £9.99. #WritingCommunity

All the above numbers are off by a massive margin: they ignore all the COSTS that professional authors incur. Here are a few of them. These can quickly add up to thousands per year… and that’s before I tackle discretionary spending like advertising. #WritingCommunity

And then we’ve got discretionary spending. No graphic this time because I can’t show you how long a piece of string is. Think book signings (unpaid time, travel expenses, hotel costs, etc). Think festival (often unpaid). Think PPC advertising (which can be extortionate).

The reality is that writing books is a high risk, low reward industry for the VAST majority of authors because the industry relies on spec work. Editors, publishers, publicists get paid a wage. Authors don’t. But there’s no option to work ‘in house’ as a fiction novelist.

And the final thorn in my own numbers: I’m using minimum wage. Minimum wage isn’t enough to live on here in London and writing is a highly skilled job (as evidenced by the fact there are so many authors in the top 100 with postgraduate degrees). Perhaps “fair” is thus 3x above.


After reading this, I have definitely been educated

Thank you very much to Ali for allowing me to share on the blog and for opening my eyes


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