Paulo Coelho

According to GalleyCat, HarperCollins is offering ebooks from bestselling novelist Paulo Coelho for a mere 99-cents in the United States and Canada. The prices are now in effect at Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble. The only book not included in this sale is The Alchemist.

Coelho said on his blog that he wanted to make his digital books cost as much as a song in iTunes. Further, he went on to say that purchasing all his discounted books would cost $10.89 as opposed to $74.19 at regular prices.

He says, “For years I have been advocating that free content is not a threat to the book business. In lowering the price of a book and equaling it to the price of a song in iTunes, the reader will be encouraged to pay for it, instead of downloading it for free.”

While I get what Coelho is trying to do here, I can’t say that I’ll super thrilled that someone of his stature would advocate the 99-cent ebook. What such low pricing does in the reader’s mind is devalue all the hard work that went into the creation of the book. I’ve heard some people whine and cry about ebooks when they’re above a certain price, citing their digital nature as the reason they should not be “expensive.” What we are forgetting here is the cost of editing, of cover design, of distribution. These costs must be recouped somehow.

For an author like Coelho, who has a massive worldwide fanbase, it means nothing to sell his ebooks for just a dollar. People will buy his work anyway. For someone such as myself, however, I cannot afford to be so cavalier regarding the worth of my work.

What are your thoughts on what Coelho and his publisher have done? LMK in the comments below.


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