Monday, June 08, 2015

The Price of a Painting Versus the Price of an Ebook

Over the weekend I stopped by a Farmer's Market in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to the food vendors were several artists selling their paintings.

The prices, I knew before looking, were steep. $100 for a small painting. Bins with small prints inside plastic wrappers: $50. I wish I could support local artists and buy their paintings but my wallet screamed at me to stay away. I'm not doubting for a moment they are talented artists.

When I saw the price tags on the paintings, I immediately thought of my own ebooks on Amazon's Kindle store, and those of so many other writers. $2.99. And $0.99. Heck, skilled authors are giving away their books free of charge! Some very talented writers are selling their creative output for a mere fraction of what you must pay for a small work of art--and we're not even talking originals, but just prints and things of lesser value than the original.

I think the writers (myself included) who sell on Amazon are as talented at what we do as those painters are at their chosen artistic medium. Yet 50 of our ebooks could be bought for the price on one small work of art at that market. Ebooks are a far better value than paintings. How many authors can put a price tag of $100 on their ebooks and expect to sell any? How many copies of their paintings do those artists sell?

Even the most popular writers on the planet sell their books for somewhere between $5-$10 and lower prices can be had through regular sales promotions.

Ebooks sell much better than paintings, I suspect. Millions of books are sold every year. Paintings? Far fewer. Suppose they were priced the same as ebooks? Why aren't they?

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