20 January 2011

When the price & the length of a book don't fit

This week I got a preorder (a YA romance) I was excited to read. The book cost around 14 Euro, was a hardcover and I forgot to look at the length when I made my preorder. However for the prize I was expecting a book with around 400 pages. When I got the book I was very surprised when I realized that the book only contained  270 pages. Ok, the cover was pretty and nice but still I expected more pages. The  same thing happened to me last year when I bought a book (a contemporary romance) for 9 Euro and then realized that it only had 190 pages.

Normally I don't mind the money I spend on books (and I spend a lot). I buy a lot of books because I love reading and owning them. And I think that buying books is the best way to support authors.  However I don't like it when a publisher sells a book for a higher price than is ok for the length of the book. Then I feel a bit cheated and used.

I learned from these two events to always look at the number of pages and to don't automatically think that a book for over 10 Euro is a full-length novel with around 400 pages.

What do you expect from a book that costs about 14 Euro (or Dollar)? Do you think that a book with a length of 270 (or less) pages should be market and sold the same way as a book with 400 (or more) pages? 


  1. 14€ and 270? I've got one that's even better: I was just surfing Amazon and looking for a book I read years ago at the local library. And I found the book. And was shocked. I knew, that the book, a book for children/teens about trans sexuality, doesn't have many pages, it was something to read within a few hours. So I couldn't believe what I saw: 12,90€ for a paperback with no more than 184 pages.
    Of course, the content is quite brilliant but nevertheless the price is really, really high, too high in my eyes.
    That's something I'll never quite understand, why can't prices match the length of a book?

  2. I'd be just as disappointed as you are to find out I paid $14 for a book with less than 300 pages. I have noticed that particularly in YA the book length can be shorter but the price is still the same. I'm definitely going to keep your experience in mind as I shop for books online.

    Have a great one!


  3. I'd be vexed about that too. I find that with all the various swap sites around that I participate in - readitswapit, bookmooch, friend swaps etc - plus all the books I have on my shelves still waiting to be read, I only buy a book if it's one I really, really want in a hurry and even then I won't pay more than £7.

    My daughter and son are big readers too so between the 3 of us I'd be broke and penniless trying to keep us all in books.

  4. I have never thought about that, because here it doesn't matter. They are all the same any way

  5. I'd be disappointed as well! In the bookstore I almost never buy books with less than 300 pages, it just seems too much money. I always find it odd that a book like The Pillars of the Eart that has about 1100 pages is cheaper than some books that have only 200. I know it was published years and years ago, but still.

  6. But it's not really length you are buying. If you get a book that is amazing even if it is 100 pages, it would be worth it. Conversely, if a book is 1000 pages and it is utter crap, then I would not want to pay very much for it at all. Kids book are especially expensive and they are definitely not very many pages long~~

    Another point is that a lot of small press books are more expensive because it costs them more to produce a book (per book) than a bigger publishing house.

    Sniffly Kitty
    Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

  7. Sniffy Kitty, I agree. However both books were from big publishers and pretty average books.

  8. Yes the cost of a book can be very expensive... And for 14€ I would have expected like you a "real" content, a heavy book with a lot to read!
    But here, in France, 14€ is the average price...

  9. What really annoys me are the trade paperbacks. The "big" ones. Some are only 180 pages, the length of a harlequin novel and the cost is $14.00 or more! It is ridiculous.

  10. It really depend whether you buy online or at bookshops. Chain bookshops like Borders tend to overprice their books - a 270 pages YA paperback can easily price anywhere from $20 - $26 dollars ( 14 euros + ). Overpriced but then they have to hire buildings and workers etc.

    Online if you're paying that much money you're being ripped off. Especially pre-orders which are way cheaper.14 euros is nearly $20 australian dollars and honestly that's too much for a 270 pages novel. Most of my books cost less than $15 ( 6 euros)

  11. I agree, I try to look at the page length before I order. Feel cheated if I paid a lot for a short book.

    Carol Wong

  12. I always look at the length and compare it to the price. I read so fast that no matter how good the book is, the higher price usually isn't worth it to me unless it's longer. YA is particularly bad - I can't believe how much they charge for those books and what really amazes me is where in the world do teenagers get the money to buy them? Is it just that their parents are so happy they are reading that they are willing to pay those prices? I don't know, when I was a teenager, I was broke so I never bought new books - I either got them used, or borrowed them from a library.

  13. I totally understand where you are coming from, I think there are many factors that go into it, but I hate paying 14-25 dollars for some books, especially kids books that are so short and get ruined quickly!

    I gave you an award! http://acozyreaderscorner.blogspot.com/2011/01/stylish-blogger-award.html

  14. I actually don't really associate price with page number, I associate it more with hardcover vs. paperback and when it's been released.

    I've always thought of it as paying the author for owning their book, and not paying for a number of pages.

    This is an interesting thought though. I'll have to look at tha t next time I'm buying books- try to figure out what the average ish price per page count is.

  15. you know i actually never thought about price corresponding with the length of the book before...but it makes for a very good point. you are paying for less pages really...doesnt seem logical.




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