So I was delighted when debut novel, Sugar and Snails, came out priced at the lower end of the scale. With its beautiful cover and quality printing, people queued for signed copies, a few buying an extra one or two for friends. They were happy, I was happy, my publisher was happy – until I spoke to some booksellers.
Yet people were asking where they could buy my book, and the enthusiastic reviews convinced me they were unlikely to be disappointed if they did. While a couple of places had agreed to take it at the lower level, I thought my book’s chances would be vastly improved if we could give bookshops the cut they needed. To make this possible, as of last week, we increased the price in the UK from £7.99 to £8.99, the norm for literary novels published in paperback. This still represents a miniscule profit on bookshop sales for me and the publisher, but at least it might cover the administration costs.
With some press features still quoting the original price, and a misunderstanding leading to me emailing several bookshops before the new price had officially gone through, the transition is rather messy. Frankly, I’m embarrassed and I still might not get my book into shops. But I think it was the correct decision. While it will probably be frustrating for readers aware of the price change, it’s certainly not overpriced. One bonus is that, when at events I sell it at the original price, those readers will appreciate receiving a discount.
What do you think about book pricing? Has anything surprised you the way it did for me?