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…
COST PER WORD: BOOK VS. SONG
Consider the song “Sail” by Awol Nation (for example):
At $.99 for this 131-word song on Amazon.com, 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.”)