You've got to laugh at some of these third party sellers, especially the ones on Amazon! Do they really expect anyone to pay $130 for a 164 page young adult novel, which isn't a rare book with a cover made of solid gold? That's how much a seller called Orion wants to charge for my book Goalden Girl on Amazon.com! They've listed the title separately on the site, which I think is hilarious. At the time of writing it's saying its currently not available - don't tell me some balloon has gone and bought it! I doubt it very much!
If you look at the other third party sellers their prices are much more reasonable, and some prices are as low as I would really like to sell them for, under £5.00 or $5.00 (of course there's postage to pay on top). Unfortunately I'm an indie author using Lulu.com's global distribution package, and that means my books are overpriced. I set my prices in GB pounds of course, being in the UK, and I set them as low as I possibly can. Unfortunately Lulu insist that I receive a loyalty, which is nice, but it's not that important to me. I just want my readers to be able to afford my books!
I look at titles in the same genre, usually traditionally published. Their prices are much lower than mine; so are their sales ranks. The marketing efforts of the authors must help, of course, with all the free online advertising like author sites, FB and Twitter, not to mention book launches (OK, so I haven't had the nerve to go that far!) as well as reviews from mainstream press - if they can get them, and none of them are interested in POD books! - but then so must their pricing. I feel kind of sad and annoyed about it at the same time that the higher prices of my books could be preventing readers from wanting to buy them.
Is it any wonder that my Kindle edition of Goalden Girl is selling, even in Germany now? (I've sold two copies in two days!) I've got a lot more control over Kindle pricing than Lulu pricing, and I've set the Kindle version at a low price so people can afford it!
So I'm seriously considering cutting out the middle man like Lulu and going straight to Lightning Source, who print my books anyway. They seem to allow the 'publisher' (they won't work with authors, wink, wink, say no more) price the print copies much lower, too. What concerns me slightly is their retail distribution, it doesn't seem to be as far-reaching, and they're more expensive than Lulu for each book (£100 compared to Lulu's £49). However, I am registered with Nielsen's as a publisher, too, so maybe that will help.
The other thing with LS is they don't really work with authors, or what they call 'amateurs', who don't know about pdf files or covers; I can do both - OK, Keith does the covers, that's his department - and I can't publish more than one title a year. Will I get away with it?
Meh! It's enough to make me want to give up this whole writing malarkey, but I can't, really; I have too many books left in me to do that!
Meanwhile I've decided to shift the finish of Big Brother to 2012 to be on the safe side. I think 2011 is pushing it now, sadly; and I've started making notes on a Goalden Girl sequel, so I'm keeping myself fairly busy.