Why 99 Cents is NOT a Fair Price for an eBook!

Part of communication is perception.  Perception plays a huge role in whether or not something is accepted and whether or not something is deemed worthy of time, attention and monetary compensation. And, if so, how much is fair. The Information Age has changed these views in recent years. Here are my thoughts: 

The Age of the Information Superhighway:

The Information Age has changed the way society views many artists and writers.  While they may value their work enough to give it their time and attention, they often don't value it enough to believe it is worthy of a price tag...or at least not one that is more than 99 cents.

Most people these days point to Amazon's 99 cent promotions and the fact that an eBook doesn't require a publisher to spend money on printing as the only issues in the valuation of the material. However, the cost of the printing a book is only a small portion of the cost to that author/publisher. In reality, it's the ability of the information to enrich your life which contributes to its value and price tag.  In the case of textbooks or other nonfiction work, that value is dependent upon the experience of the person teaching. 

What's the experience and expertise behind Art of Eloquence Materials:

I have a degree in speech communication from a university that was ranked 7th in the nation for it at the time. I have over 37 years of experience in the field and I've taught online as well as offline classes.


I have several years of experience producing an online communication convention event featuring some of the most popular homeschool speakers who agreed to be interviewed because they understood the value of effective communication in their lives. I hosted an Internet radio show for a few years where I interviewed successful people about the role of effective communication in their career and personal life. I have contributed tons of free articles to my Facebook fan page as well as on ArtofEloquence.com for the last 14 yrs.

I've contributed many articles about communication skills to magazines like The Old Schoolhouse, Homeschool Enrichment, and sites like Crosswalk.com and DrLaura.com. Just to name a few.

Lastly, the Art of Eloquence materials have been reviewed and endorsed by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine and awarded their Homeschool Approved Seal. We are also recommended by HSLDA.org with a link from the Home School Legal Defense Association website.


The MISinformation Superhighway: 

Just a few things about Googling free information: 

1. Not all free information is good information. I'm sure you've found a fair amount of misinformation and bad information on the internet before.  Not all of the information you can find for free is worth the trouble to find it.  

2. The amount of free information available on the internet doesn't mean we should never pay for it.  There's a ton of free advice, but we wouldn't go to the internet instead of consulting a doctor would we?    

3. By the same token not all free info is bad info. People see free and think it's not worth the time to read simply because it didn't cost anything. I've received a LOT of really valuable information for free. If the person really knows what he/she is talking about, the info is valuable. So, if you get information for free or 99 cents, consider it a gift!  

4. Don't confuse fiction with nonfiction because even among those who feel 99 cents is a fair price for a novel, there is a majority who admit that textbooks and other information is worth much more because it solves a problem affecting their quality of life.  If you look at college textbooks, you'll find they cost anywhere from $100-$200 new.  

I found this online: "Determining the final cost for a textbook requires several considerations. For example, the current price of the updated textbook 'Human Anatomy and Physiology' is listed at $150.49 for a new book, $49.49 to $88.10 to rent a book, and $93.96 for the electronic edition."  

When I went looking for eTextbooks for college communication and public speaking courses, I found that they generally range anywhere from $20 to $150 with the average price being around $46. Art of Eloquence materials range from $17-$25.

Benefits of downloadable materials:

1. Immediate delivery. No waiting for anything to come in the mail.  

2. No shipping costs.

3. Embedded links to even more materials you can find on the net.

4. Saves trees!  Environmentally friendly.  

5. As most self publishers are small business owners, you are supporting families when you purchase a digital product. Small family owned and operated businesses choose digital in order to compete with the big companies who have much more capitol to fund their businesses.  

Downloadable materials have their downsides for the publisher as well: 

1. Since they are viewed as less valuable, it's more difficult for us to grow our business even if our materials are of higher quality than a hard copy material found elsewhere.  Art of Eloquence materials are not only easy to use, but are fun, engaging, and creative as well as highly educational.

2. Downloadable materials are often shared openly on the internet leaving the publisher little recourse to recoup any income lost by those who post pages of our materials on their blogs and websites. Many people don't even realize this is a violation of copyright and don't even give the publisher or author credit for their work when they post it.   

The laborer is worthy of his wages:

The Information Age is bringing with it a new era.  Both publisher/authors and consumers will need to adjust.  1 Timothy 5:18 says "For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,' and, 'The laborer is worthy of his wages.'"  

It's the knowledge, talent, expertise, time, and so much more that goes into the value of a book, artwork, performance, CD, song, seminar, class, or coaching package that makes up its value. If the information itself wasn't valuable, Google wouldn't be so busy.  

I invite your comments...


  • JoJo Tabares

    If you want to persuade people of the value of an eBook, you can use the points I have made in this article or you can forward the link to this article to them. If you are talking about the value of a particular eBook, it will of course depend upon the experience and expertise of the author. Some eBooks are quite valuable and others aren’t worth the time to read them. It all depends. It’s just like any other product or service. My point here is that an eBook, digital product, or service isn’t intrinsically worth only 99 cent simply because it isn’t printed with ink on paper.

    Digital books come in many forms. I’m not a techie so I don’t know too much about Kindles or Nooks, but I believe they are devices that allow you to store them. PDFs are a popular format for eBooks which can be emailed to the purchaser or downloaded from the website after purchase. I’m not sure how a Kindle or Nook works as I don’t have those devices.

  • Barbara

    I would like to know how to convince people that ebooks are or can still be quality books. Do you have suggestions for how to show someone that an ebook has value?
    Also how can you give someone an ebook? Is a kindle and a Nook the same thing or almost the same? Like if you buy a Nook can you purchase ebooks from Amazon using it or do you absolutley have to use a Kindle?? ( I just thought of these questions when you were mentioned ebooks.)

  • JoJo Tabares

    Very good point, Jaimie! It goes for all who invest time and money and experience into their profession.

  • Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    While I was training to be a music teacher, we often fought similar viewpoints. People don’t think they should pay for music lessons when we are just sitting there, not using any resources other than a book and our ears and minds for a half hour. But that doesn’t account for all of the training we had invested in and our own talents. If anyone could do it, they wouldn’t be seeking out the resources they need. And it isn’t fair to expect someone to invest so much of their time into giving away their knowledge and information.

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