As Total Boox prepares to launch its full Pay As You Read service, Donna Brown and I looked at the pros and cons of a Pay As You Read model. This service offers readers a small sample for free. After that, readers pay for however much of the book they actually read. You can read more about the service on Publishing Perspectives. After asking both authors and readers how they felt about it, these were deemed to be the main benefits, alongside the common concerns.
Have your say!
Is this great for authors, terrible for readers? Or vice versa? Or does everyone win? Vote on these polls and share your thoughts in comments – we’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for this post, Terri. I shall share the graphic on my blog and link back to your site!
Lyn from Writing on the Sunny side of the street http://www.marilynalmodovar.com
@LynAlmodovarÂ Thank you so much, Lyn!
Interesting post! I have to admit though, as a writer, when it comes to this question, whether it's "good" or not is sort of irrelevant, from my perspective…honestly, I'm not even sure what that means. It's kind of like asking if ebooks are "good." Â They're here! Deal with it, lol. Same with this model…if a certain percentage of readers want a model like this to eliminate 'risk,' and it works for them, then someone will fill that demand…probably a lot of someones. I think, in that sense, it's sort of irrelevant what writers think about its relative "goodness," they'll just have to figure out how to make it work for them, and how to engage with readers via that type of product. I know for me, as a *reader*, it sounds like a lot of work. I might do it sometimes, especially if the book was expensive, but most of the time, why bother? Buying a book shouldn't be a project…not for the price of a latte. :)
@JCAndrijeskiÂ That's a great point, JC. Perhaps it's less a case of how good or bad it is for individual authors, but rather how good or bad it is for authors as a whole. As you say, this adds a new option. No-one is forced to use it. Perhaps if this was a scheme from Amazon, it may feel like authors had less choice about taking part. As it is, I think it's very much an addition to the landscape, rather than a replacement. Â Thank you so much for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment!
@tglong Thanks, Terri! I love your posts, they always make me think. I’m still thinking about this one, as well as the resistance of some authors to the pay as you go model in general. I have a bunch of thoughts around this, but probably won’t post them all here. I guess I’m just puzzled as to why this would cause so much fear in so many writers? I would hope most of us would be confident enough of our books that we’d hope readers would get sucked in enough to WANT to read more, even if it costs them a few more cents. I saw someone on one board saying that even posting a “look inside” feature was “overconfident” which kind of blew my mind, frankly, both as a reader and a writer. The goal isn’t to “trick” readers into reading something we don’t know if they’ll like or not…it’s to introduce them to something we hope they’ll love, right? I guess I find the whole thing puzzling. Oh, and I totally disagree we have to charge less than $3 for our books, lol…that’s total indie mythos, in my opinion, not true at all. Some of the most successful indies I know are charging more than $3 a book. The bottom line is, most people are happy to pay a reasonable price for a good product. Okay, well I said more about this than I thought I was going to, ha!
So while it sounds like this is something for the publishing houses, I feel it is only a matter of time until indies like myself are expected to do this too. Hmm… I've already been told I can't charge more than $3 for my work, no matter how good it is. Now this? I think the notion of cutting back on returns is BS. My novel is very controversial, so I expect a lot of returns. From what I have heard from other authors my return rate is low. Maybe I am ignorant but I am not buying the return rate reasoning. If a person reads only part of a book, are they still allowed to rate it? In my opinion, you either mark a book DNF and state why, or finish and rate it with comments. This seems like having people pay to channel surf.
Thanks for posting. Great topic!
I can't help but still feel that the only winner in this is the middle man, in this case Total Boox. First, if a reader gets into a book purchased from Amazon, they can return the book and get a full refund. Why would they pay for a partial read if the book was that horrible. On the author's side, if a person reads over 50 percent of the book and then returns it for a reason that is totally out of the author's control, the author is penalized. The only one not penalized in these transactions is Total Boox. The get money in any twist of the transaction!Â Great racket if you can swing it!
@nblackburn01Â Excellent point, actually. But that's generally the place with art these days. The middlemen are the ones making most of the money.