Is it just me…?

caught in timeI was double-checking some of my listings for upcoming new releases tonight and doing a little pre-ordering when I saw something that made me scratch my head a bit. Tell me if I am being weird or just plain cheap, but one of the listings made me do a double take (and then some). I really enjoy the Kendra Donovan mysteries from author Julie McElwain – think time traveling police procedural romance – and I have the first two books both in hardcover and e-format. But when I went to order the third book, Caught in Time, I was hit with sticker shock.

On the Canadian version of Amazon, Caught in Time is $34.95 for the hardcover (which is pretty much the norm now). But the Kindle version? It’s $23.79. TWENTY THREE SEVENTY NINE freakin’ bucks. I am used to paying in the 15 or 16 dollar Canadian range for a new release that is offered in hardcover, but I have never seen one that high. It is over $18 on the US Amazon site, too, but it works out about the same when you consider the exchange rate. Wow.

Of course, the author has absolutely no control over pricing, so I am not throwing any jabs at Julie McElwain at all. It just seems a shame that some people might be turned away from picking up a good book by that kind of price tag. Me? I will pick up either the hardcover or the kindle copy this time around, but not both (and I always get both for series where hardcover is an option). Even though I drop money like crazy, I can’t justify spending $60 on them. I guess I really do have my limits.

So, am I weird? I don’t usually pay attention to pricing all that much, but this one really jumped out at me. What is your spending max for an e-format book?


23 thoughts on “Is it just me…?

  1. Omoye says:

    I definitely don’t see any reason to pay over 17.99 for a kindle read granted it’s a legit author with a brand new installment. Even then pre orders are typically cheaper and Amazon does price matching. Otherwise, these books ought to cost no more than 10 on a bad day and 6.99 on a good day.

    • kaleigha says:

      I am actually going to try and keep track of the pricing on this one to see how the pricing changes, and how long it takes for it to happen. I haven’t done that before.

  2. library addict says:


    I have no issue paying $11.99 or $12.99 for digital releases where the print is in hardcover. I figure it’s the “have to have it now” price on books I am unwilling to wait the 6 or 12 months for the price to come down to $6.99 or $7.99 when the paperback releases.

    St Martins was the first that started jumping the price up to the point where it’s now usually $14.99 per release. To be fair Penguin and the others soon followed suit though Penguin/Berkley usually caps out at $13.99. Truth be told I am sad that Nora Roberts left Penguin for St Martins as I resent paying that extra dollar for my In Death fix twice a year.

    In the past few years I have simply redone my book budget and dropped a few other authors from my ‘Must Buy on Release Day’ to the ‘Wait for a Sale Unless You are Going to Read It Today’ list. I admit paying $13.99 for an ebook is tough for me though and there are only 3 authors I would go that high for on a regular basis (Nalini Singh, JD Robb/Nora Roberts, and Jayne Ann Krentz). I’ve bought the last few GhostWalker books on release day since it jumped to hardcover, but I am not sure if I will continue to do so. I may start just get the book from the library to read and buy once the price drops.

    It’s times like this that I so miss Fictionwise. I miss paying full price for the new release but then getting 100% back in micropay to buy other books. I think the end of that bookstore/system is the thing I resent most about Agency pricing to be honest. But c’est la vie.

    I also now wait to pick up the hardcover editions at my local library sale or via ThiftBooks. (I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who buys both formats).

    TL;DR I agree $18 is too much for an ebook , especially a fiction one. I would be hard pressed to pay that even for a Psy/Changeling book 😦

    • kaleigha says:

      Usually, I find that the Canadian hardcover new release pricing is about $17, which I don’t find all that horrible. Because I am trying so hard to not have a TBR pile (but I keep shooting myself in the ass with that one), I have really cut back on what I pick up. The days of ordering 3-4 books a week have gone bye-bye.

      I don’t really have a budget, but I do find that I have to brace myself every March. The cha-ching is full speed what with buying so many titles in both hardcover and e-format in the same month. Thankfully, April is usually pretty much a dud so it evens out a bit.

  3. Lisa says:

    I’ll pay up to 16.00 max for electronic “hardcovers”, but only for my absolute fav authors. I’ve been buying this particular series after the price goes down (about a year after release). I haven’t read the books yet bc I don’t want to be tempted to pay the higher prices. I know, weird.

    • kaleigha says:

      Whatever works. I didn’t think I had a max price, but it looks like I found it. It is hard to justify over $20, especially since I am sure that the author isn’t raking in any more than the ones whose books are selling in the standard price range.

  4. Dawn says:

    My max is around $13 (maybe a couple bucks more if it is a compilation or anthology), and even then it is only for one or two authors now, whereas a couple of years ago it was maybe a dozen.

    I think I’ve said it before, but I really have a hard time with how much they charge for an e-book, period, whether it is coming out in paperback or hardback. All the “hard” work is already done for publication already (and I don’t mean to say the editing and formatting is a piece of cake, because it can be a big pain in the rear, I did something similar for a report for work once – without additional compensation – and it was more difficult than my first year as a brand new teacher!), and there are no physical costs involved in an e-book.

    So for a regular book out I paperback, I have a hard time justifying a cost that’s more than $5 to myself, unless it’s one of those “gotta have” authors.

    It was a sad, sad day when Waldenbooks was bought by Borders, B. Daltons by Barnes & Nobles – and then Borders ended up closing, basically leaving us with the choice of B&N or Amazon (for a good selection).

    • kaleigha says:

      I felt the pain when Book Depository was picked up by Amazon. The days of $5.00 paperback (with free shipping) died a fast, painful death.

  5. saidahgilbert says:

    I just checked the US site and the book is $12.99 for the Kindle version and $20.76 for the hardcover version. I’m really cheap. Even paying $5 for ebooks is too much. I’d rather wait for it to come out in paperback in my country and buy it on sale. This year, I didn’t buy the ebook version of Ocean Light because now I know to wait for the price to go down. I almost cried tears when I discovered the Silver Silence had dropped to around $6 and I bought it on release day for more than $10.

    • library addict says:


      At least with Nalini’s Psyc/Changeling Trinity series you only have to wait 6 months for the price to drop rather than a full year.


      I have issues with the Agency pricing system and I do think $9.99 and up can be too much for an ebook. However, I think most of the Big 5 finally understand ebooks aren’t going away. The formatting, editing, etc costs are budgeted and split between the print and digital versions. And there is a cost for the publisher when they add DRM (that’s a whole other conversation!)


      Leaving aside the lack of being able to sell or loan the digital version as you can with a print version, I am leery of saying digital books aren’t worth as much as print. Only because I read 99% in digital now and I think the books in-and-of-themselves have value. If I choose to buy the digital version that doesn’t mean I don’t think the author, editors, cover designers, etc. deserve to be paid for their time. On the other hand, I won’t pay $9.99 for a new-to-me author. The authors I am willing to pay that much for are all auto-buys who have earned a level of trust from me. And the “worth” for a book by a new-to-me author is unknown.

      I love paying 99¢ for a book as much as the next person, but that price point is unsustainable and I think the flood of indie books priced that way in the long run do a disservice to both authors and readers, Authors because they would have to be a mega-seller to make every book priced so low be worth the effort they spent writing it and readers because our favorite authors may stop writing all together.

      As a reader my only obligation is to buy the author’s book or get it from the library. I don’t have to review it or tell other people about it and it’s disillusioning that so many indie authors have the attitude that we (readers) owe them a review. Those letters to the reader to please leave a review irk me. It’s not my job to make sure authors make a living and trying to guilt-trip me into thinking otherwise is annoying. But I have on-line reader friends who came of age in the digital book era and they don’t think twice about it. They never had to haunt used bookstores or snail-mail other USBs across the country trying to find backlist books by their favorite authors. Every book has always been available to one-click.

      So there’s the pricing dilemma from the indie/self-published end and then on the other side of the scale the Agency books which often seem “over” priced. There are a lot of factors involved and I have conflicting thoughts about ebook pricing. But in the end, authors’ books aren’t interchangeable the way other products are, at least for most of the readers I know. If I want to read Ocean Light but the price is too much, I can’t just pick some other release to simply replace it.

      • kaleigha says:

        Reviewing is weird for me. I don’t do it well, and when I try to make myself write one it feels like I am doing work – which is the opposite of what I want. I have very kindly been given a few ARCs, but honestly I would rather buy them myself than try and come up with a cohesive, appropriate review (and I have bought a copy of everything I have been given an ARC for, too).

        For some reason, I stay away from the cheapie books. I think most of the time my cover-snob rears her ugly head and makes me run away from a lot of the indie books. I am trying to do better, but a snob is a snob.

  6. Charleen says:

    Same her, $12.99 for Kindle and I agree with SAIDAHGILBERT I’m waiting for the paperback on a lot of books now, so that the Kindle price drops also.

    • kaleigha says:

      I have never actually waited for a price drop, strange as that sounds. I am a release-day gal with poor impulse control, but I am going to give it a shot on this one.

  7. Sara says:

    I miss Fictionwise for the same reasons the above poster mentioned.

    Ran out of space when I was a voracious reader. Since I was a high-volume reader I only bought hardback if they were on the clearance table for less than a paperback. I personally no longer buy print books. Having extra book money in retirement is much more important to me than paying high prices now. Unless I have absolutely nothing to read and just can’t find something to re-read, I won’t pay more than $10. Even desperate I find I just can’t make myself pay more than $12-$13. Yes that means I miss out on some books but I have learned to live with it.

    I don’t think I have ever purchased books in two formats.

    • Sara says:

      Second time I have commented on your blog. Second time it stayed in ‘awaiting moderation’. Don’t like wasting my time so my support of your blog has ended.

      • kaleigha says:

        Hey Sara…thanks! I work 10-12 hour days, 6 days a week, so sometimes that whole making a living thing gets in the way of my hitting the approved button in a timely manner. I do appreciate those who take the time to comment, but it is probably for the best that you move on.

  8. cheryl says:

    I have converted back to more library books since the increase of release day e-books averages 13.00 or more US dollars. I have maybe 3 authors now that I buy and am willing to spend more if I just can’t wait. I just waited a month for a new release from the library and I survived the read it now urge.
    Ilona Andrews, Eileen Wilks and Anne Bishop The Others series are my buy it now group. I have put J.D. Robb on my library list or price drop. New to me authors I won’t even try for that price point… I dislike buying an unknown author and finding out it is a clunker of a read.
    In the minus column Book sellers have lost a lot of money from me because I would buy 4 or more books in a 2 week period and now I am doing at most 2 or 3 a month.

    • kaleigha says:

      I got a bit snippy when I was reading Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin books. I was only paying $9.99 (I think) per book, but then I starting skimming them so I was going through a whole book in a couple of hours. I kept telling myself I couldn’t give the series up, but then I had a hard time spending $20 in one evening for something I wasn’t even really reading.

  9. Kim says:

    My TBR list is about 3-4 years long, in that I am reading books I added to it over three years ago! I have emails from bookbub and other sites that will occasionally have cheap ebooks that I pick up then (Liliana Hart was a recent bargain) I add the series to my TBR list as they are published (or when you do your what’s coming out soon posts!) I regularly go through and check if the ones I still need to buy are a ‘bargain’ on ibooks, Amazon or Kobo and if I don’t have them by the time I get to that part of the list I buy them then. I have several ‘treat myself’ authors who I love so much I let them jump to the head of the queue, like Anne Bishop, Ilona Andrews…..

    • kaleigha says:

      I had the monster TBR, and it made me so guilty. Even now, I have less than 12 books on there, and I still felt weird picking up some new-to-me authors when I already had that many. I keep having to talk myself out of deleting the ones I already have and just re-buying them when I am ready for them somewhere down the road.

  10. deborahkehoe says:

    HI! I’ve never heard of this author, how did I miss this! I just looked on my Overdrive App (connected to my local library) and they have all three- audio books also for the first two. Do you have something similar where you can get thee books through your library? That way when you want to keep reading a series like Jennifer Estep’s and don’t want to spend the money you can blow through them? Just a thought! Thanks for turning me on to this author, I just checked out the first novel. 🙂

    • kaleigha says:

      I live in a small town, so unfortunately our library is not what one would consider well stocked. Most of their PNR and young aduld PNR books are ones that I donated. It would be a great way to try new authors, ideally, but no luck.

      • deborahkehoe says:

        Oh no! Through Overdrive you get to borrow ebooks, but you’re right, it does rely on your library getting them. If you have a friend in a bigger city whose number you can access you may want to give that a try!

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