An unexpected side effect of reading self-published books.

There is an overlap that happens between traditionally and self-published books. Meaning, there are traditionally published books and self-published books that are equal in writing, character development, and story premise. And they could easily switch places and no one would be the wiser.

So if I have a choice between two books I’d enjoy and one is between 10 and 12 dollars and one is between 99 cents and 4.99 – guess which ones I’ll purchase and read? So yes, I’m buying less traditionally published books because the quality level of self-published books is on the rise and they are less expensive.

Recently, I searched traditionally published books and read the first pages. There were certain books I’d wanted to read but based on the reviews and the sample pages I decided to hold off. The writing wasn’t bad, just not great. I wasn’t hooked.

So if I’m to purchase a traditionally published book it has to be extremely well written with a great premise. I expect more from them. And I have such a wealth of great books on my Kindle waiting to be read that I don’t buy the “just okay” books.

Here’s my reading report of late:

Under The Never Sky (Traditional)- Absolutely gushed about this book. Free from library and I probably wouldn’t have purchased because my interest in dystopian is fading. Unless it sweeps me off my feet. As did Shatter Me too.

Wanted: Dead or Undead (Indie press)by Angela Scott – Currently reading and I’m really liking it. Great emotion and writing. Free during a one day promotional event.

Will purchase and read: The Pledge (Traditional) by Kimberly Derting. The opening pages sold me.

Will purchase and read: (Self pubbed) Finding Emma by Steena Holmes. Loved the opening pages.

What’s your reading report of late?

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24 Responses to An unexpected side effect of reading self-published books.

  1. Andrea March 29, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Interesting, Laura. I am still adjusting to reading books on my e-reader. The different format makes me focus more on the writing and the words. I end up reading what I might skip over in a print version. For my e-reader, I’ve either bought sale books I’ve heard about on-line or favourites that I like to re-read and want take with me when I travel.

    • Laura March 29, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      Recommendations are a huge part of my purchasing habits, even if the recs come from reviews on Goodreads or Amazon!

  2. Frankie Valente March 29, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I have had my Kindle for over a year now and have downloaded over 250 books on to it; a mixture of published and self-published books. The difference in price does become a factor when you buy so many books. I have downloaded samples of lots more books than I have ultimately purchased, and I have noticed that there is not much difference in the number of books that I don’t like the look of after reading the sample, in terms of whether they are published or self-published. Sometimes it is hard to even tell whether someone is self-published or not. I have been shocked to find that some badly edited books have been “properly” published after all. But I think the overall effect of the Kindle is that there is more choice – and it is quicker to get hold of a book, and there is more “chat” about books on things like Facebook and Twitter which is great for getting a recommendation.

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh March 29, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    You’re right, those ten dollar books need to really rock to justify the purchase. Most of the ones I purchase are in the $2.99-$7.99 range, so it’s a mix of both. And most are really good.

    • Laura March 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      The agency pricing seems to be hurting the sales of those published. It’s no longer encouraging me to purchase the print – I’m just not purchasing. Unless it’s really good! And then I do purchase the print instead.

  4. India Drummond March 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    This happened to me when I got my Kindle. I started paying less attention to the author’s name (there was so many I hadn’t heard of) and I wans’t influenced by prominence on a bookstore’s display.

    Instead I found myself reading samples and my reading selection became SO much more varied. I discovered dozens of new authors whose works I adored. I judged it based on the blurb and cover, then on the writing in the sample.

    When it came time to decide what to buy, did I want Sookie Stackhouse #10, which got mediocre reviews? Not when it was first released at the same price as the hardcover! Even now that it’s only £5.00, I still can’t help but think that I could get at least two books for that price, since so many titles are anywhere from 99 pence to £2.99.

    I have been published by a small press and I have also self-published, but when I buy books for pleasure, I suspect I do it the same way ever other Kindle owner does.

    • Laura March 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      I didn’t even notice that trend until recently. And yes, I’ve discovered so many good authors. Too many that I can’t read them all! So a book over 8 dollars has to be stellar! Maybe when publishers drop agency pricing and lower ebook prices…

  5. Lon Dee March 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Great posting. I’d expand this, however, to indie music and movies and other non-traditionally produced media. There’s certainly some great traditionally-produced media, but for me, it’s got to be really good to be worth the extra price.

    Although, with so many free and $.99 books out there, I hope that indie authors aren’t hurting ourselves by pricing things so low. I worry that there’s an expectation building in readers’ minds of always getting things for free.

  6. Bryan Russell March 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    I still read mostly traditional. Self-pubbed books only by writers I know and trust. Still a little scared of the vast waters of the self-publishing ocean…

    • Laura March 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      I promise. It’s not that scary if you read samples just like you would with a traditional book.

  7. Jennifer Hoffine March 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    How exciting! Book buying is changing…and yet not. Premise, blurb and the first few pages sell most people in a bookstore…the difference is that now there are so many more options to choose from…and cheaper ones.

    • Laura March 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      So true Jennifer, that’s how I’ve always purchased books. The premise, the blurb, the writing. So true.

  8. Ansha Kotyk March 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Since I’ve had my nook (about a year) the only physical books I’ve purchased have been at signing events and are signed by the author. Everything else has been on my nook. And I’ve noticed, too, that I’m very picky about what I purchase. Samples are a wonderful way to find new ‘must buy’ authors!

    • Laura March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      I still enjoy physical books I’m just not willing to buy them unless I find one that I think I’ll love. I’m not buying just for the cover – though it’s tempting just to want a book b/c of it’s awesome cover.

  9. Steena Holmes March 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Good post Laura. Thanks for saying your going to read Finding Emma 🙂 pssstt…it’s free right now too! I read samples too and I think twice about buying over-priced books. But I’m also starting to wonder if self pubbed authors aren’t under-valuing themselves by listing their books so cheaply either …

  10. Donna K. Weaver March 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    I’m with you on the indies. Only for awesome Elana Johnson will I pay $9.99 for an ebook.

  11. Lynda R Young March 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Books in Australia cost even more. It’s crazy. As much as I want to support Aussie writers, yikes, I’d have to be certain before I spent $20 for a paperback. It’s another reason why I love my kindle!

  12. Christina Lee March 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    I hear you, Laura!

    But part of this makes me sad. Makes me think we may be hurting ourselves as writers–is our writing not worth more than $.99? And we can get into a good discussion about it all re: pricing, reasons why, traditionally vs. indie, yada yada (and believe me I already have), but I still might feel the same way.

    There are pros and cons here. The market is open wide, more writers are creating opportunities for themselves and getting better are putting quality stuff out there, and maybe even making as much money as traditionally published authors (I think Susan K. Quinn had an interesting blog post about that this week).

    But when I hear my non-writing family and friends question the price of a book (because there’s such a wide gap right now), it bums me out, plain and simple. Because I KNOW what went into the making of that book and I hope that author, whether traditionally or self-published, gets what they put in. And can make a career out of it, if it’s their hearts desire.

  13. Sherrie Petersen March 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    My purchases depend on a couple of things. I’m willing to try out an author I’ve never heard of if the e-book is priced $3.99 or lower. But for print, if I’m forking over $10 or more, regardless of who the author is, I want to know that it’s a book I want to read, maybe share, and possibly read again.

    BTW, I went to check out Finding Emma since you recommended it, and it’s free right now!

  14. Karen Strong March 30, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    I’m totally with you. My reading time is severely limited so the writing really has to get me. I have too many books on my shelf and my Kindle as is!

    I’m really enjoying SLIDE by Jill Hathaway right now and I’m itching to get my hands on THE LIST by Siobhan Vivian.

  15. Traci Kenworth March 30, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I still need to get a Kindle soon hopefully. Until then, I’m seeing a LOT of books I’d like to read but unless they’re also available PC-wise, I can’t get to them.

  16. Stacy March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Late on this, but I think you make a great point. Self-pub’d books are on the rise because more and more authors are taking their craft seriously. Of course there is the whole pricing debate, but if a book’s blurb and cover strike me, I’m willing to pay 2.99 – 7.99. I honestly have some fear of the .99 books, but I know I need to delve into them more. I’m sure there are some really good ones.

  17. Creepy Query Girl March 30, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I completely agree. When buying traditional published- I usually stick to tried n true authors whose books I’ve enjoyed every time. A newer tradi published would have to have excellent reviews across the board for me to give it a shot. That said, I have a couple self published books I really enjoyed and a few that I tried but couldn’t get through- in some cases it wasn’t that there were big errors in grammer or formating. It was mostly a lack of pull in the first chapters, pacing, or characters that were a bit lacking.

  18. Sarah Pearson March 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Price is definitely a factor. Maybe it’s unfair, but i expect more from a higher priced book. Thanks for the recommendations on your list 🙂

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