The Cost of Kindle Books – Pay Up or Shut Up

This post, by Kristen Tsetsi, originally appeared on her site on 10/28/11.

There’s an entire thread on Amazon’s discussion forum dedicated to the “high” cost of Kindle e-books. One commenter, J. Bryan, writes

I only buy books that are $3.99 or less. If the publishers and/or Amazon want to be greedy, that is their choice,but I will not pay.

J., I understand your position. $3.99 can seem like a lot of cash for a book. But, if I may…


Consider the song “Sail” by Awol Nation (for example):

At $.99 for this 131-word song on, you’re paying approximately $.007 per word.


25 of those words are “sail.”

14 of them are this: “La la la la la la oh!”

5 words, “Sail with me into the dark,” are sung three times, so they account for 15.

Which leaves 74 original words at $.012/word. (I happily paid the $.012/word for “Sail.”)

Now, consider John Grisham’s Kindle version of The Client, well above your acceptable price range at $7.99.

The Client is 496 pages.

Cost: $.0161 per page (which is just a bit over the price per word for the song “Sail”).

Average word count per page: 250

Cost of The Client per word: $.00006

(Note: Even if some of the words in The Client are repeated, for a book’s repetition to match the repetition of a song, whole paragraphs or chapters would have to repeat, so we won’t count the “and” and “the” and “a” words as “repeats.”)


Read the rest of the post on Kristen Tsetsi‘s site.

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