Over the weekend Jane wrote a great post on authorial stickiness and self-publishing, and the comments that followed were very interesting and showed a variety of reader responses to the adventure of trying new, self-published authors and the possibility of glomming their (self-published) backlists.
I didn’t comment, although I read the thread, because I haven’t read a lot of self-published books. One of Jane’s points is that the $0.99 price makes the risk of trying an unknown, self-published author extremely low, encouraging experimentation. I would not necessarily disagree with that — price-wise, it’s less than a cup of coffee or a soda from the vending machine at work. And yet when I browse the $0.99 books, I seldom buy an author unless I’ve heard of them or read them before, self-published or not. A quick scan of my Kindle library yields self-published books by Kate Rothwell (whose NY pubbed and e-pubbed books I read first); L.K. Rigel, who was recommended in a comment thread at DA; and the Ilona Andrews Curran POV shorts and new SF-rom.
When I skim the ebook sale lists on DA, it’s based on author name and blurb. Sometimes I’ll download a free ebook to try a new author if it has been recommended, but the free or $0.99 price point doesn’t lower the barrier to new authors (or self-published authors) that much for me.
Beyond price/budget, the barrier to unknown authors for me is the cost in time of reading the book. While I will discard a truly terrible book or set a boring one aside if I get stuck, I’m more concerned about the investment of my time than the $0.99 (or $2.99) out of pocket. If a book is bad enough, I can ask Amazon for my money back and they’ll delete the book from my Kindle, but they can’t give the time back.
It’s heartless, but there it is.
How about you — do you buy self-published authors? How big a deal is the price point?