Do $$$ Effect How We Rate?

I just finished Time Heist by Anthony Vicino. It’s been on my TBR for awhile, and I got it on sale for $0.99 so it was a steal. I like Anthony’s writing, sometimes a bit overelaborate, I’ll give you an example at one point the helicopter thingy (not his words) is crashing and the windshield cracks. This is what Tom the main character thinks Asphyxiation on account of too much air felt too paradoxical a way to die. Though, in the end, I suppose breathing eventually does us all. I was thinking what would have summed it up better? Oh shit. But that’s me, not a writer. And there are times when the clarity of Anthony’s writing is just stunning to me. Tom is addicted to a drug called Quick Sliver. There is a moment when he is detoxing in the middle of the, well everything honestly, and he really doesn’t have time for it (yeah that’s a pun, time) so his partner gives him a hit. It’s then he thinks this...I pitied the living. The dead were my idols. This drug was my god. I read that and thought Anthony you talented s.o.b.

But that’s not what I’m really talking about, what I do want to know is this, I gave this book 4 stars because for $1 it was quite good. In fact if I liked the ending I would have given it 5 stars and written glowing reviews to high heaven everywhere I could think of. But what if the book cost $7 or $8? Now if the ending was different I would have gone with 4 stars, but if not 2-3 stars. And that got me thinking, should my reviews have price factored in? Is that fair, especially if your dealing with a published author who has no control over the price? I do it because I think I was always raised that, the more you pay for it, the higher standard it must adhere to. But is this a proper additude to have in my book reviewing? I’m feel like it’s almost unconscious for me but I’m curious to hear others thoughts on the matter.

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33 thoughts on “Do $$$ Effect How We Rate?

  1. I think my opinion is swayed less by price and by my expectations going into it. If I go to big concert for a major band where the ticket is $100, then damn right I’m going to judge that experience on a higher standard than if I’m going to a small bar to see a local band play for the price of two beers. Same thing for watching a ‘small’ movie like Chronicle versus a blockbuster like Avengers 2. Like you said, I think it’s an unconscious thing that most people do, whether that’s fair to the ‘Big Boys’ or not.

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    1. I would say yes and how we read too. Ana and I disagree on whether books should be sold for $0.99. I think only if your promoting (for a week, as a marketing tool), otherwise not less than 2.99, for an ebook. What do you think about getting Authors to agree to that, with competition being what it is?

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      1. It’s funny you brought that up because I bought both Ana Spoke and Anthony Vicino’s books because they were on sale for $0.99 but I think they are both worth $2.99. I know that’s very contradictory of me, telling everyone else to pay more but waiting myself for them to be on sale. I can say honestly if they had come up in my TBR as their turn to read and I still didn’t own them I would have paid full price.

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      2. Sorry my answer seemed long. Basically I wish authors could stand together but I think you’ll always get some that will break rank and everyone will have to follow…it’s a vicious circle.

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  2. For me, the price point doesn’t sway my review much, but the number of reviews that author already has may sway whether or not I read it. I tend to read more Indie Authors lately and like to feel as if my review counts. Maybe that’s just me though. Back to the point though, I’ve read some great .99 cent books and some terrible $3.99 + books, so I feel you don’t always get what you pay for.

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  3. I think it’s fair – in parallel, I know that as a “frugal” gamer I think of games in terms of $/hour of entertainment. If it’s a fantastic $60 game, but only has a few hours of gameplay and no replay value, I’m going to be pretty bummed out that I spent so much on it (unless it’s really, really, REALLY fantastic, which is a rare thing, to be honest).

    I think books are the same, especially since not all of them may have reread value for you. I think the best thing is to just self-evaluate, and if you realize that the price is going to impact your review, be sure to mention it. That way your audiences whether they should expect something that is “pretty good” or “fantastic…for a dollar :)”.

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  4. I hardly ever remember what I paid for my books, I take off the price sticker as soon as I buy them. And when I finish a book, I’m never like – “Oh, that was a good/bad book for $3”. No, the book is either good or bad, despite what I paid for it. So I don’t think it influences my reviews, and I’m not disappointed or angry when I’ve paid a bit more for
    a not so good book. You win some you lose some.

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      1. To put it bluntly, yes. That is a writer’s dream. HAHA. I kid, but it does have a bit of truth to it. We’d love to have our books read without anyone looking at the price. Of course, we’d like to sell them for $20 too. I concur with the sentiment, a good book is a good book, and a bad book is a bad book, regardless of the price.

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  5. This is an interesting concept! It’s also something I’ve taken into consideration when deciding the prices for my books and what’s fair versus how much work and effort I put into writing my manuscript, making the covers, and trying to get the word out about the release. Still, those particular things are the concerns of indie authors, so yeah, there *is* a difference in who the price reflects on, the author, or the publisher, but it’s hard to gauge how that might influence someone in the decision making process to read a book from the get go, let alone review it.

    For example, you might find a .99 cent read with a mediocre cover, and think “oh, this won’t amount to much”, but then read it just because it’s cheap and you’re bored, only to learn you would’ve paid 10 bucks for the story if you’d known how much you’d like it before committing to buying/reading it. On the other hand, I’ve bought 10 dollar stories by bestselling authors with amazing covers that I haven’t been able to even finish because halfway through the book, I simply couldn’t stop thinking “what in the world am I reading?” LoL

    So I don’t think cost should necessarily be barred from reviews. A case by case basis might be ideal, however, like if you were truly over/underwhelmed by the story, and are surprised you paid as much/little as you did for it. Some readers want to know if they’ll get their money’s worth as well, and may appreciate knowing if you felt you’d wasted your own (though the overall review itself would also be considered a deciding factor). And lastly, there’s the matter of different strokes, different folks, as in someone else might feel like the story they read was definitely worth the price while the reviewer said otherwise.

    Don’t know if this helps or not, but it’s just my (probably longwinded) two cents on the matter 😀

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  6. Until you made this post, I honestly did not even consider that the price of the book would be a factor.

    But I have a confession: I hardly ever pay for books anymore! It’s not because I have something against it – I’m just cheap and use the library! (I have a librarian friend that is very supportive to my book review cause 🙂 ) Or borrow from friends that I know have a copy, or just browse the free section on my kindle or use review copies. However, if I love a book, or it is part of a series and the next installment has come out, I’d sell my left kidney if that was the cost to get my hands on a copy – very impulsive. I guess you could say that I have a “try it before you buy it” attitude.

    And since the majority of books that I review are free – I don’t think I’m biased toward the price. Hmmm…I’ll have to go back to my reviews and check if I’ve ever made a comment about the price in relation to the quality of a book.

    Thanks for making me think!

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  7. Great topic, Kar! In thinking about the topic, I guess I fell somewhere in the middle. By that I mean, my first impression is that price should not be a consideration. But in reality, I know that if I loved a book that I got at a great deal price-wise, I am even more happy than if I had paid full price for it. Conversely, if I pay normal price for a book, but disliked it, I think I am even more bummed. So though I might want to think price should not have a place in the review, human nature tells us otherwise, simply because of the emotions described above. Should it enter into the review? I don’t think there is any problem saying we were more happy with a book since we were lucky enough to find it at a great deal. Some readers might appreciate knowing that, especially if they find it at a great deal, also!! 🙂

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  8. As an Author … I start that way a lot, hmm. Anyhow, as an Author, I self-publish. This means I control the price of my books. I am not sure entirely how traditional publishing goes, but if it was on Amazon for $0.99 my guess is that it might be something that can be controlled. That being said, I think there is a bit of a “you get what you pay for” stigma when it comes to most things, for books I think that price can influence the satisfaction of what you’ve read, but it doesn’t redeem or doom the story IMHO. I think that $0.99 is a great deal for any book, but a review is whether or not you liked the book and what you liked about it. I would keep the price out of it. If for no other reason than say an author giving you a free copy to review, I’d hate to see a good or glowing review because of a sale or a deal. Not that you would, but I feel it gives the connotation of being bribed for a better review because it was free or reduced price. So in closing I’d say forget the price and let us know what you thought of the book.

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  9. My massive issues with lack of internet has had these notices piling up in my in box for a while, so I am late to the party so to speak. However, I liked your question. I always buy used or discount (or my favorite, discounts on used) and I never pay for the books I review, so I rarely even look at the price. It’s worse than that though. I just have no idea what new books are selling for. An author I beta read for asked me what I thought she should set her prices at and I gave her one based on what I would pay and just glancing at comparable books since then, I totally low balled her. I think I might only consider the price of a book if I really hated it, but I don’t think I would mention it unless I also paid for it.

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  10. I call them as I see them, sort of speak. The price doesn’t matter to me. Usually by the time I get to read the book, I have forgotten what I have even paid for it. However, one thing that does influence my opinion is how long I have to wait for a book that has ended on a cliffhanger. I have been waiting for the final book, One with you, in the Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day.I was very upset when the fourth book didn’t end the series like it was supposed to, and I felt the fourth book was rushed and it was a marketing ploy. But, I will leave that argument for another day. But One with You best be top notch or my review is going to reflect my opinion on that subject. Okay, off my soapbox for now………….

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