Konrath on Readers vs Fans

Joe Konrath uploaded an interesting post on his blog a few days ago. He argues that an author should concentrate on developing his fans but not his readers. He reasons that fans are more likely to spend extra  because they like the author (that's what separates them from readers). I disagree with him somewhat.

Mr. Konrath thinks that indie authors shouldn't price their ebooks too low because it would leave money on the table. I agree; he's right on this one. Ideally I'd like to see the authors I read get paid enough that they can do this for a living. But then he goes one to suggest that an author should price his books much higher because fans will buy them. I disagree here.

As I see it, the difference between a fan and a reader is that a fan will spend extra (like pay to see you at an event). But a reader will still buy the authors books. I know something about readers and ebooks that he doesn't, and it affects how an author sets prices.

I am a fan of several authors, but I am a _reader_ of a couple dozen. Let me tell you something: when I find a author I like to read, I will often go out and buy the author's  complete backlist as ebooks and put them in my TBR pile. But I will _not_ pay fan level prices. If the book has been out for any length of time I will not pay more than $6 or so. It's only anecdotal, but I know several other people who buy their ebooks the same way.

But  Mr. Konrath and I are mostly in agreement on prices. I check the Kindle Store, and all of his ebooks are in my price range.

BTW, you generally have 1 chance to get my money. If nothing is available or if it costs too much I will not buy. But the good news is that you have the chance to sell me your entire backlist.

About Nate Hoffelder (11589 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Comments on Konrath on Readers vs Fans

  1. I agree with you, Nate. As a reader, I buy all the books written by an author I like IF the prices are reasonable. I am unwilling to pay “big” bucks for temporarily leased ebooks (yes, I know that DRM can often be removed, but if I have to go through that trouble, the author should pay me to do so by reducing the price of the ebook; my labor isn’t free, no matter how quickly or easily it can be done). And if the author becomes one of my select favorites (e.g., David Weber, Harry Turtledove, LE Modesitt), then I “reward” the author by buying their books in hardcover as they come out. But would I buy a David Weber T-shirt? Would I pay a premium price for a David Weber ebook? No.

  2. He forgets that fans come from readers. If he starts developing only fans, he will lose first the readers and then the fans.

  3. I think that’s a good point you have about not overpricing to the exclusion of your readers. I am a fan of a few authors, and I indeed have purchased everything I can get by them. However, I would imagine that in some markets, the “fans” are very willing and capable of purchasing the entire back catalogue even if the items are overpriced. It somewhat depends on the market I suppose. I am more willing than the average person to purchase a high priced item if I feel the author’s past work indicates the purchase will be of high value.

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