Bookish Discussion

Getting Wordy: Have YA Prices Gotten Out of Hand?

Hello friends! I’m a bit worried about posting this discussion, because it’s a broad, slightly controversial topic, and it’s always scary to share your two cents about something like this. As you’ve probably gathered from the title, today’s post will concentrate on the price of events, swag, and other items or content that relates to Young Adult literature; in other words, content that is supposed to be aimed at teenagers.

This idea has been building inside me for years, since my own teen years, and I’ve been actively working on this post in the past few months. I tried my best to see the issue from multiple perspectives, but given that I’m no longer a teen – I’m 22 – it felt necessary to include a few teens’ perspective.

This is how I came to asking Ann (UK), Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea (the Philippines), and May @ Forever and Everly (US) to answer a few of my questions related to this topic, and in doing so, help me write a more nuanced post than one person could on their own. Throughout the post, you’ll see me quoting and mentioning their ideas and thoughts, which have been an immense help in creating this post. For one of the issues at hand, adult readers/reviewers Mith and Holly are also quoted in this post. It was thanks to their tweets that said issue was brought to my attention, so it felt right to include them here.

I’m so thankful for everyone’s contribution, without which this post could not exist. πŸ’œ

Potential Issues of This Post

The one thing this post is definitely missing is an opinion from the publishing world, as the four of us cannot see behind the scenes of publishing. Sadly, I do not know anyone who works in publishing, nor did I feel comfortable trying to track someone down and potentially make contributing to this post intimidating/scary for teens.

All this means is that we don’t have the solutions; we see, or feel the problems, and can comment on those – as well as on the positives – however, it’d be impossible to say “that’s how you should/could change these prices.”

A tiny disclaimer I would like to make is that our aim is not to pass judgement onto any publisher, or author, instead we’d like to start a conversation. That’s a reason why I avoided mentioning authors by name – with the exception of one, whose identity I had to disclose for context. Even so, it’s significant to remember that authors do not set the prices of their novels, nor do they typically have much control over the promotion of their work.

Subscription Boxes and Events

I discovered subscription boxes a couple of years ago, and I remember wanting to purchase one so badly. They were immensely popular and seemed like something the “cool” bookish people – e.g. bigger bloggers, booktubers, and bookstagrammers – could easily access, so, obviously, I decided I needed to subscribe to a book box. Seeing the, let’s admit, high prices, I did agonizing research, trying to find one I could afford.

Teenaged me proceeded to go to my mom with my findings, but sadly my “yes, it costs approx. $45 with shipping, but it’s so worth it, don’t you see!?” argument didn’t really convince her. I wonder why…? I really have to credit and cherish her, because despite not seeing the point of subscription boxes she did offer to get me one as a birthday present, but I was over them by that point. I’ve always gotten over things fast, I suppose. πŸ˜…

In 2019, your average subscription box costs just above $30; and I admit, for a hardcover book and some swag, this may be a very reasonable price for many readers – after all, these boxes are popular for a reason! – but I find the price too expensive given that this is aimed at teens. Or is it?

As Ann points out, “most teenagers can’t afford most of the subscription boxes or events” and she confirms what I myself have experienced – it’s effectively impossible for teens to afford most events and subscription boxes out of their own pocket. She knows, because she’s tried; “{in the UK} the pay for under 18s is really small, it took me like a year and a half to pay only a little bit for going to YALC.” (Note: YALC is a Young Adult literature con hosted annually in London.)

It’s not only bigger events like the UK’s YALC, or the US’s BEA that can cost a small fortune. A few months ago I saw the peeps of twitter discuss an event (a signing, if I’m correct) that costs $35 to attend. This would be fine if the price included the book… but it doesn’t.

This way, as May points out, “{The final cost} would probably be around $50, including the purchase of the book, and any parent that a teen has to rely on for money is probably very reluctant to spend that much money for a simple book signing.” She adds that she herself wouldn’t want her parents to pay that much for a signing, which is similar to what adult readers of YA thought of this issue.

Mith, one of the first people I saw tweet about this, says the ticket price is “definitely unreasonable.” That becomes especially true if we consider the extra costs; as Holly points out “{teens} likely wouldn’t be taking themselves to the event, especially if they live far away.” Thinking of teen readers Mith adds “I never would have had the money when I was a teen to attend so the pricing is messed up.”

On the Prices of Books & Preorder Campaigns

Many people could and would brush off these concerns, saying that these things are extras – you don’t have to buy swag, boxes or attend events to be a reader, to be a fan, a supporter of an author. But it’s not just these ‘extras’ that are getting out of hand with their prices.

A few months ago Mackenzie Lee shared that she is publishing a novella about Monty and Percy, titled The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky. This was originally sent out to those who pre-ordered The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Now, however, it can be bought by anyone, and is being released digitally and as a hardcover both. Fun, right? It would be if a copy of it didn’t cost $14.99 – this is a novella we’re talking about, with a length of 128 pages according to Goodreads, and one that’s already been sent out to those who pre-ordered the book.

Ann, Caitlin, May, and I all agreed that $14.99 is not exactly a reasonable price, though, we also acknowledge that authors and publishers need to earn enough money to keep producing content. Furthermore, May makes a valid point when she writes, “if the novella had been released on its own without being a preorder exclusive, I feel like $14.99 wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable.”

Also, before we get into pre-order campaigns, we do have to give some credit to publishing houses, as “marketing usually tells you to get a copy from the library, or at least to tell your library to get the book” Caitlin says. This means that publishers do give tips to teens on how to acquire books they cannot afford, however, Caitlin clarifies that this is only a viable option for non-international readers – she herself has no access to a library.

Going back to the issue of pre-orders, I do believe that pre-order campaigns are great. They encourage readers to pre-order books which count towards first week sales, so this is a win for everyone – you get something fun and exclusive, while the author has a certain sale on first week. However, I do balk at the idea of short stories and novellas being given only to pre-orders – lots of people don’t like to pre-order, or can’t afford to do it, and to see them excluded from content relating to a series and characters they love is… not pretty.

May makes a point of mentioning that many teen readers will not be able to pre-order books, which is why she is “not a fan of how there have been more YA authors lately providing novellas only for those who preorder certain books.” Something I feel is necessary to add here is that one needs a bank card to pre-order a novel, and so those teens who get their own pocket money in cash, may not be able to pre-order at all. While Ann has had a bank card for a long time, I got mine when I was 18, and Caitlin hasn’t yet gotten her own.

To Conclude

To end this post, I want everyone to remember that authors should never be blamed for the price of their works or events, and nor should we complain to them about not being able to afford these things. They cannot change the prices of their books, and nor should they, because, frankly, most authors are already underpaid.

For more information on author’s salary, I recommend reading this short article on how much debut authors can earn, with contributions by bestselling authors Wendy Higgins and Jeaniene Frost. This Guardian piece on how much (UK) authors are paid in general may also be of interest.

Speaking of how much authors are paid, we should always remember that there are multiple ways to support authors, because our favorites 1000% deserve our support. As Caitlin puts it: “as a teen who can’t buy physical books and doesn’t have access to a library, i try and support the author through free means, like yelling about the book on my blog and social media.”

Much Thanks to Everyone Who Contributed to This Post!

Follow Ann on Twitter and Youtube.

Follow Caitlin on her blog and Twitter.

Follow Holly on her blog where you can follow her writing journey and on Twitter.

Follow May on her blog and on Twitter.

Follow Mith on Twitter and on Instagram.

Let’s chat!

Do you think these prices are fair to teens? Do you like subscription boxes, or attending events? Why/why not? What’s your take on pre-order gifts? Do you have anything else to add to this topic?

35 thoughts on “Getting Wordy: Have YA Prices Gotten Out of Hand?

  1. This was a very interesting post, Veronika! I get very frustrated about book prices. Whenever I look at the USD price vs. the CAD price I get very annoyed lol. This does deter me from buying a lot of books. Normally I have to wait until I get Chapters gift cards before I can actually justify buying one. I completely get that authors have no control over this. I just wish that there was some way to make YA more accessible to people who don’t have that much money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Emily! πŸ™‚ Yeah, I understand that even with these prices, a lot of YA authors are underpaid, but it can be hard to afford the books we went, especially when they are only published in HC and ebook at first – paperback would be much preferable to me for multiple reasons.

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  2. This post is AWESOME, and I think you did a phenomenal job covering ALL sides of the argument. I wholly agree with you, especially on these two things:
    1. 99.9% of authors are underpaid;
    2: Prices are absolutely unaffordable, especially for their target teen/young adult audience.

    The first point goes without saying, we all know that authors do not get their due. Especially when compared to creators in other mediums. That said, I have no idea how to fix this, but I don’t think higher book prices are the issue- especially since the most expensive books/tickets/swag are sold for the .1% of authors who ARE making a good living.

    Look, I’ll be straight with you- I am a 36 year old college graduate with a full-time job and I unequivocally cannot afford a book box subscription. Not “oh I shouldn’t spend the money”, but “oh I’d be without electricity if I spent my money on this thing”. So how exactly is a young person, who is likely spending their time in school/extracurriculars, supposed to afford it? And look- I know part of it is just our crappy capitalist society. Hell, that’s MOST of it if we’re being honest. Because the teens with wealthy parents? They can and do buy them. The wealthier adult group who reads YA? Ditto them. And I know I am quite luckier than most that I can afford books in general, so trust that I am not complaining here! I just think that the average person does NOT have $50 just to meet an author. And as such, we’re creating that divide (the ever-increasing divide, I might add) between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. And the worst part is, we’re doing it with BOOKS, which just really doesn’t sit right with me.

    Honestly I could probably go on for days, but I’ll end it there, grumbling about society as a whole πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shannon!! πŸ™‚

      I completely agree – it sucks big time that it’s usually ‘the bigger’ authors who get even more money with swag, tickets, and the likes. Not to mention that, imo, if Mackenzie Lee’s series wasn’t super well-loved and popular, no one would try to sell a NOVELLA for a price that’s close to a normal book’s price.

      I fully agree and relate – the only way I could have gotten that box was as a birthday present, it’s not something we could or would just buy, especially not monthly. As a teen, when I first heard about boxes like these, it sucked to see the coolest of bookish people buy/get them while I wasn’t able to. It’s not the bookish people’s fault, but there is something so sad about joining a community, finding bloggers you look up to, and then not being able to afford what seems natural to them. Even so, I’m 100% lucky in that I can afford books, so it feels icky to complain.

      I definitely agree, there is generally a divide between those who can or can’t afford something, and it sucks to see that divide appear in the bookish community more and more. I could never spend 50$ for that event, much less think of someone else, a friend, who would also be open to pay that kind of money.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment! πŸ™‚

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  3. Aaah this post is amazing! I especially love how much thought you put into all sides of the issue and got some teen voices involved!
    I totally agree that authors are underpaid and I also agree that these prices are too expensive – particularly for teens. I was lucky as a teen that I got to attend free signings for some of my favourite books – I would have been devastated if there had been a cost involved because frankly, I was broke.
    And whilst I agree that pre-order gifts are a good incentive, I wish they were kept to “swag” rather than exclusive written content, so it is less of a feeling of missing out for the people who just cannot afford to buy. I was in this position earlier this year for one of my favourite series and it made me so upset. Especially when the new content had been promoted without disclosure that it was going to be a pre-order exclusive. Also, having said that, I remember a lot of people going on Twitter and blaming the authors which of course made everything worse.
    Aaand that’s all I have to say πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sabrina! πŸ™‚

      Yeah, the Mackenzie Lee pre-order novella appeared on twitter at first, and I thought I could buy it… only to realize it was only a pre-order gift. (NOW I can buy it, but for that price… no, thanks.) I agree that swag is the right way to go – although, something I didn’t mention is that in the case of swag I’ve seen authors spend their own money to send it out which is devastating (obviously, (hopefully) their own choice that they may be satisfied with, but I do think publishers should pay for these.) Also, a lot of the times swag is US only which is SAD – I get it, esp when the author is sending it out themselves, but it’s still unfair to INT readers. BUT STILL, swag is the best, because like you said, you are missing out, but it’s a small thing.

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      1. Yeah that is much too expensive for a novella! I haven’t read the second Mackenzie Lee book (Lady’s Guide to ?? I can’t think of the name right now), but whether I love it or not, I know I won’t be buying that novella.
        I also totally agree that author’s shouldn’t have to be doing that sort of thing themselves! That’s so sad!
        Oh yes, I also forgot to mention that the novella situation I was in earlier this year – the pre-order gift was only available to people who bought in the US! So not only would I have had to pre-order a book, but it had to be through one specific website + the ridiculous amount for shipping.

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  4. This is a very interesting post to read and I’d not really considered it. I mean, I work full time and I have to really talk myself into buying a book box and at this point, I’ve realised… they’re overrated. But I know as a teen I wouldn’t have agreed with such an assessment and I would have been dying of envy to get a hold of some of these book boxes which are released. I used to really like Illumicrate as it was only a quarterly box and that was brilliant… and then it changed to monthly and I cancelled my subscription. I work full time and cannot justify such an expense so how are teens meant to? It’s crazy.

    And big book events are ridiculously pricey not just for tickets but for travel and accommodation too. I think it’s definitely an example of YA moving towards a more adult audience. I know some of these events are for publishers and those working in the industry, but YALC in the UK is definitely for readers so it shouldn’t be that those who YA are targeted towards can’t afford to go.

    The thing is, it’s not just YA this is happening with book prices getting higher and higher. It’s happening in the romance world as well but in a different way. I mean, it’s more US-centric but I’ve been seeing how the more that big publishing houses are picking up romance titles the more these books are being published in a normal paperback format rather than the mass market one and so the books are now retailing at like $15 or something instead of $7 and that makes a big difference to readers. And then you have Macmillan’s ebook embargo so libraries can only purchase one copy upon release and that’s another obstacle stopping folks from getting access to books. It’s craziness.

    But I guess the point is, those in less privileged situations and those who are younger and don’t have the money are the ones who feel it hardest with the rise book prices and the numerous ways they will be excluded from book events that should be for them. It feels like, at the moment, publishing is really losing sight of the people their books are aimed at and are caught up in making the most money they can from people. It’s sad and hopefully, it will change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Becky! I’m happy you enjoyed the post. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I think they are overrated, as well, mostly because I don’t much care for swag, and find a lot of it… useless? But as a teen I was sad to be left out, haha. I didn’t even know that about Illumicrate – it’s a pity they changed to being a monthly subscription box, because a quarterly one would be more affordable for many people, imo.

      I agree – with travel, accommodation, and the tickets these evens are really-really hard to afford for most- definitely agree with you there, YALC is for readers so it should be more affordable, and, tbh, it is more affordable than BEA, for example.

      Yeah, I’ve seen that happening with romance, which sucks – I’m scared they’ll one day start to pull the “first hardcover and then paperback a year later” card. I absolutely DETEST when publishers do that. Of course you can buy an ebook too, but that’s not the same – and that comes from someone who loves ebooks. But there are certain titles I want to buy a physical copy of. For this, though, I kinda blame bestseller lists as well – the YA category in the New York Times’ they only has a hardcover category.

      I’ve seen the new Macmillan ebook policy, and I’m SO MAD about it – and it’s a bad move, imo. They are actively trying to take business away from libraries… who ARE a source of income for publishers, and who are recommending/showing books to readers. And I agree – they definitely lost sight of readers… and it feels like some have even lost sight of authors. Long term, I doubt they are winning with things like these…

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  5. I think this is definitely an important topic and you are so right to be talking about it as I don’t think I see that much about it. Also I like that you brought to attention that teenagers struggle more because I forget to pay specific attention to their circumstances as it is much harder for them and these are YA book we are talking about after all.
    The book community can certainly promote consumerism, I see it myself on bookstagram where I see that pretty cover and merchandise and book boxes (yes they are very expensive) and I immediately want it which means they can almost be a divide between members of the community– those with and those without all this as much as we are all out there supporting the books and sharing our love.
    I think preorder campaigns are interesting as well as a lot of the time the price of the book immediately drops when it is released so as much as I love preordering and have been sucked into many preorder campaigns, I know that I could be saving money if I waited but I want to be included on this new book release and support. So it is a tricky topic and this whole situation doesn’t accommodate to all the different teens who all have difference situations. It isn’t the ideal situations and like you said about the novella it is a shame to think money is the reason teenagers are missing out on bonus content that they want.
    I think this post was so important and I think it was written so thoughtfully and clearly. Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m so happy you enjoyed the post! πŸ™‚

      I feel like there are a lot of adult bloggers, bookstagrammers and booktubers so it’s easy to, so to say, forget about teens. A couple of months ago, when I was writing up my nominations for the book blogger awards May hosted, I realized I barely followed any teen bloggers. I’ve been trying to fix that, because teen voices are so important.

      So true about the prices dropping after release – that’s one of the reasons why I don’t like pre-orders. Another is something I didn’t mention – a lot of the pre-order swag presents I’ve seen were aimed at US residents, and totally excluded the rest of the world. 😦 I understand that shipping is pricey, but… *shrug*

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      1. Of course I did πŸ’•
        Yes exactly you see a lot of adults with their experiences and you almost forget that teens go through a different situation within the book community!! I agree their voices are so important!!
        Yes it does put me off slightly as much as I love supporting the authors. I notice a lot of preorders aimed at US too which can be frustrsting. It’s tricky as I understand the reasoning at times but if it doesn’t include everyone it is very imperfect.

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  6. Interesting post! I think subscription box costs are a bit outrageous, especially when shipping is included. I have only ever gotten one and that’s the Call down the hawk one because I am a huge fan and it has exclusive Stiefvater art. But I still own a lot of merch! Which I just buy from the independent stores because their shipping is more reasonable. I feel like book prices in the UK are okay. 7-8 pounds for a paperback. I could definitely, easily afford that one two weeks worth of pocket money as a teen, and as an adult it also makes me happy. Hardcovers are more expensive but as a teen I would get them as either presents or save up for them, and they felt special. So I feel like books in the UK are affordable. Events though, cost so much!! I can only afford them as an adult, and even then sparingly πŸ˜› I have other things to pay for. Which makes it harder for teens and children to go meet their fave authors 😦 I was very happy when I went to Angie Thomas event to see schools and groups of children there. And although adults were there, none of the adults asked questions and seem to unspokenly, unamiously agree to let the teenagers ask her all the questions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! πŸ™‚ Yeah, I agree – hope you were satisfied with the Call Down the Hawk box, it sounds good. πŸ™‚ Yes, buying from independent stores makes more sense, and in this case you actually choose what you want, and don’t just get given random items from a box. Yes, those are totally reasonable prices, imo, and what I like about the UK is the second hand stores – I’ve ordered HCs in good condition from English second hand stores, and my friend sent them to me, AND even with the shipping, they were still worth it. In Hungary second hand bookstores mostly have classics, or books that, frankly, no one cares about, haha. The Angie Thomas event sounds fantastic, and I’m happy the adults respected teens’ rights to ask Angie all the questions. πŸ˜€

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  7. I don’t think the price of actual YA novels has really changed for years. $18.99 for a new hardcover seems to be the going rate both for books now and for books I bought about 10 years ago. I do agree it’s a bit ridiculous when novellas get printed and are sold for the price of a full novel, however. No one is expecting to pay nearly $20 for about 80 pages of content. And I have a bigger problem with adult books, where a new fantasy can easily be $35+. From what I know about publishing, the prices of kids and YA books are actually kept lower than adult books, keeping in mind that the target audience doesn’t necessarily have the same kind of money to spend as adult readers.

    I agree that book boxes are not necessarily geared towards teens, unless we’re talking about people buying them as gifts *for* teens. Honestly, as an adult, I don’t necessarily think they’re worth the price point. I’ve bought a few, but only if I have a good guess what the book is and what some of the major items will be. It’s crazy to pay $35 for stuff I might not even want. *However,* I do think you actually get a good value in a lot of boxes. $35 for a new hardcover, a custom mug, custom socks, and other items is reasonable, and it’s often cheaper than if you bought all the items separately. But, yeah, it’s not in my budget to buy this every month, particularly if I won’t actually like some of the ideas. I can’t say the price is wrong, however, in the sense that many people buy them, and they often sell out. If no one thought they were worth the price, they wouldn’t sell.

    I also hate the idea of selling tickets to just normal author signings, but I get it. It’s again the idea that tons of people are totally willing to pay $35 to see big authors like Sarah J. Maas or Holly Black. They can’t charge it for “less popular” authors because people wouldn’t show up. I assume it’s also a way to keep the crowds down; you can’t fit 1000 people in the venue, so you cut who’s willing to show up by charging money. But I really hate this practice the most. I don’t really like anyone enough to pay to go to a book signing. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with what you said about the pricing, and I’m glad the prices aren’t increasing at least. Yes!! Adult books can cost a ridiculous amount of money, even the paperback version. Another thing I’ve seen – at least on the book depo where I get most of my books from – that less hyped books tend to be very infrequently discounted and can cost more than books by bigger publishers.

      Oh yes, they are absolutely popular for a reason – lots of people adore them and can make good use of the items. I don’t think they’re worth it because a lot of the items aren’t things I could or would use. They definitely aren’t aimed at teens, though, with that pricing.

      Yeah, I agree – seeing someone for a price, esp such a high price, would not be worth it for me. I feel like they try to cash in on big authors – I don’t know what percentage would go to the bookshop (if it’s hosted in one), publisher and author get – and if it was only about not wanting to have too many people show up they could still sell tickets, but for a much lower price. They could easily limit the number of tickets they sell, and thus control how many people attend the signings.

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  8. I think subscription boxes are primarily aimed at adult readers, based on the contents. Does the average teenager want candles and tea? I kind of doubt it? I think the price of the boxes is reasonable, based on the amount of stuff you typically get, but it is a high price point and I’ve never bought a subscription box for that reason. I also don’t see the appeal of paying so much money for a bunch of stuff I might not even like or want.

    I have seen some libraries do “subscription” boxes for teens. Basically, to keep costs down, it’s a surprise library book (to be returned) along with something like candy. I think that’s a fun way to share the idea of subscription boxes with teens who maybe can’t afford one. Though obviously they’re not getting exclusive content from the author or anything.

    I’m also okay with preorders getting special swag because, frankly, what you’re getting isn’t usually something amazing. Even when authors provide exclusive content (say in a Barnes and Noble special edition, even), the quality of that content is, in my opinion, not usually very high. It’s obviously often something kind of thrown out there to make readers feel special and rewarded, but if I don’t read the exclusive chapter told from someone else’s point of view, I can’t say I feel like I’m missing out on something.

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    1. Yeah, I didn’t even think to get into the content of the boxes but I do think you’re right there – the average teen probably wouldn’t want this kind of stuff. But then that’s another problem for me, because I do think that at least *some* subscription boxes should be aimed at teens. I’m glad to hear about the library boxes you mention – that could also work to introduce teens to the library (those who weren’t using it before) and it just seems like a fun thing.

      I agree about swag, but I do believe it is unfair to withhold exclusive stories from readers, especially teens. At the same time you’re right – most recently the B&N special edition of The Queen of Nothing had letters from a character in it, and not only were the photos of them uploaded to tumblr by fans immediately, but they also felt like a lazy addition to the novel. In the case of the Mackenzie Lee novella I think what bothers the most is that I’ve seen readers say how they felt represented by the characters, and then for these same readers to not be allowed to read this novella unless they were able to pre-order the second book in the series. NOW they can buy it, but it costs nearly as much as a full-length novel, which is not okay, in my opinion. Also, what you said about the extra content/stories feeling like not much of an addition – which, yes, should be the case so people aren’t really missing out – is not really true in the case of a 120 pages long novella.

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      1. I think the problem with subscription boxes is ultimately that, because they contain hardcover books and a bunch of other items, they are always going to be pricey. Many adults can’t afford them, let alone teens. Especially since adults usually have bills and such that would take priority over a luxury item like a subscription box.

        A cheaper alternative might have to include a paperback book and maybe less expensive add-ons, like stickers and bookmarks, instead of candles and pillow cases. But maybe that wouldn’t sell? I don’t know. I do know that the small business owners currently selling subscription boxes often sell out, so I imagine they may not feel incentivized to create a cheaper option.

        It’s also a consideration that you typically pay for subscriptions online with a credit card. Teens usually don’t have access to credit cards, so perhaps sellers aren’t even imagining a teen audience.

        I agree that novellas are usually over-priced. I don’t like them because they usually tend to be poorly written and seem like an obvious attempt to cash in on fans’ love of a book, and not like a real addition to the story. I don’t buy them because I think that, were the content that valuable to the story, it would have been written into the story in the first place. But I can see how eager fans would be upset at not even getting the opportunity to purchase.

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      2. I’ve wondered why subscription boxes always contain hardcover copies – not only are they more expensive, but there are people who simply don’t like them. It just seems like a good idea to have paperback versions. I agree with you that until they all sell out, they won’t try to change things, nor will they try to aim at people who want cheaper boxes.

        I like novellas, but prefer to buy the e-book copy of them, as opposed to a physical copy, because the former tend to be discounted more frequently. And I don’t see the point in having a printed copy of such a short book, even if I have the whole series.

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  9. (Sorry, posting this a second time because I don’t know if it went through the first.)

    I think this is a difficult discussion because:

    1) Yes, it’s sad that these items may not be affordable for some.

    but:

    2) The people selling these items have to make a living too. If you slash the prices then the people supplying the products may no longer have a business

    Authors are already paid pennies. I think my only real gripe with seeing expensive ebooks, etc. is that it’s entirely possible the PUBLISHER is pocketing the extra cash rather than the author actually getting a bigger cut. I’d be happy to pay higher prices if it meant authors were paid more. It does feel sucky to pay a really high price when you know the author is only getting pennies from that sale. I think most authors don’t even earn enough money to make writing their full time job.

    So it’s tricky… yes it’s nice for books to be affordable, but if they’re too cheap then authors will suffer. Here’s a frightening example: https://twitter.com/haleshannon/status/1201952135014797312?s=09 She sold over 4,000 “high discount” copies of her book and that only got her $22. That’s absolutely insane.

    Same for subscription boxes. Yes they’re pretty expensive, but I doubt the owners of those companies are rolling in cash. They have to pay for all the supplies, maybe pay the contributors, pay for running a shop, etc. Most (all?) of the boxes I’ve seen are small businesses and they’re probably just trying to make a living.

    So it’s definitely a hard situation. It would be nice if everything was more affordable, but there’s definitely a point where the people supplying these products are no longer making enough money to have a sustainable business, so then they’ll go out of business. Can’t make everyone win in a situation like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem, your first did get through but ended up marked as spam – there are a few bloggers wordpress continuously puts there, which is annoying.

      Yes, I absolutely agree and my problem, if it can be called that, is 1000% with the publisher and not with ANY authors. The articles I shared at the end are a good indication of how much an author earns, and I think it’s important to remember that even those who win awards, or have made it onto bestsellers list(s) may not be earning as much as we expect. A few years ago, I used to think that ALL bestsellers are rich, which is obviously untrue.

      I haven’t seen that tweet before, so thank you for sharing! It’s devastating, and the fact that she’s recently added a tweet saying “different books sales earn different royalty amounts” makes me sad + mad at the publishers. Firstly, I’m sure they cashed in on this sale while the author earned so little, and secondly, it sucks that readers don’t/can’t know if a sale is good or bad for the author. I’ve seen authors share sales and encouraging people to buy their discounted books, but obviously not all sales are the same.

      I agree with you, which is why I didn’t mention any subscription boxes by name – I know their owners work extremely hard, and even the bigger ones have started small and got to this point by being unique, fun, and creative. As someone already mentioned, I do find it weird that there aren’t really any cheaper ones – possibly with fewer/simpler items, paperback copies etc. – aimed at teens, but then again, those may not become popular.

      Like

  10. This is such a great post! As a broke college teen, I definitely think that YA stuff is overpriced. I wish preorder swag could be available without actually preordering… I know that preordering helps, but there are other ways to help promote a book such as say sharing a post to social media or requesting in a library (which I do quite a bit) for teens who can’t afford books… Personally I almost never buy books (I bought 1 book in 2019) much less book boxes or any of that other swag and am entirely reliant on the library and I would love to have more books or bookish merch but it’s just not worth it for the price. (I mean…buying a book or doing laundry for the semester…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! πŸ™‚ That’s a very good point/idea. I think that especially the cheaper pre-order stuff – like stickers or prints etc. – should absolutely be available to those who somehow promote the book. I remember liking Lisa Maxwell’s campaign for The Last Magician, which was more about doing certain things to promote the book rather than pre-ordering it, and she sent out prints and postcards and those who did everything could also win the book and other fun stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice post and research! I definitely agree prices have been skyrocketing as of light. I don’t think it helps when we watch influencers do un-boxings and book hauls for merchandise they were gifted. It creates all this hype that teens should have all these extra things and brand new books. Or that to have all that extra stuff is the *norm* when it’s not in the slightest. These big booktubers and bookstagrammers have a privilege that really needs to be checked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! πŸ™‚ I agree – I don’t mind hauls as long as the creators are clear about being gifted books (if that’s the case) but I do think the big creators who own, buy, and get so many books can make teens feel uncomfortable. I think my problem with booktube and bookstagram is that many of the big creators are quite wealthy, or upper middle class, and those who aren’t don’t make it far up on the ladder. They do exist!! But I rarely, if ever, see them being popular. Blogging is better this way, imo, because you don’t need to spend as much – or at all! depending on if you have libraries around you – on books, and you certainly don’t need a good camera.

      Like

  12. I am so so sorry to be getting to this post so terribly late, but I wanted to thank you again for putting this together, writing such an amazing post, and also featuring my voice as well! I loved reading everything, including the comments & discussion you sparked with this post. I’m so glad to have an adult blogger in this community looking out for teen bloggers and readers like you πŸ’—πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

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