Does What You Paid For A Book Affect How You’d Rate It?

This post by Jane Litte originally appeared on Dear Author on 2/23/14.

When I first started buying my own books some twenty plus years ago, I had very little money. My favorite authors were starting to come out in hardcover (Julie Garwood, for example) and unless I wanted to wait to be the 80th person at the library to read the book, I had to fork over $22.00 or more which, at the time, was a lot of money for me. It basically meant I wasn’t going to be able to buy another book or maybe even eat anything but ramen and macaroni for the month.

Most of the time, however, I bought my books used at the Half Price Bookstore or some other used bookstore that sold romances for $0.10 or $0.25. And when I bought the hardcover, I knew that I was sacrificing at least four other reads for that one book.

As I got older, I was able to buy more books but my reading habit got to be really pricey so I instituted a book budget of no more than X amount of dollars to be spent a month. Because I read three to five books a week, I was only able to purchase about eight titles a month new and the rest would have to be library lends or used book store purchases. During the heydey of chick lit, I was really struggling!

Price has always been a big thing for me when it comes to books and from what I’ve heard from industry professionals, mass market purchasers are very price sensitive. Most romance readers are mass market purchasers although the new readers coming in to the market after Fifty Shades are probably not.

There’s an interesting concept called anchoring. Anchoring is the tendency of humans to rely on the first piece of information offered. In economic terms, anchoring means that the first price a consumer encounters for widget A is likely the price that the consumer believes she should always pay for widget A. (Widget is an official economic term. No lie.)


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