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The Value of Entertainment

Jeffrey L Kohanek

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s an old saying but still holds true today. Art, in its various forms, is subjective as is its value to an individual. Entertainment is often a form of art, whether it’s a film, TV show, music, video game, or in written form such as a book or magazine. In our digital world, the range of prices one might pay for entertainment is quite wide, ranging from a free download to hundreds of dollars for a concert ticket. In the end, the human mind and spirit require some form of entertainment to make life more enjoyable. Once you forego all forms of entertainment, life becomes dull and gray.

As a reader, I have spent as much as $30 on a newly released novel that I just couldn’t wait to read. At the same time, I have downloaded free books onto my Kindle and have come to find that they can provide just as an immersive and imaginative reading experience as the $30 hard cover. Which is correct? What value should be placed on a wonderful 8-hour journey of the imagination, which undoubtedly required hundreds or thousands of hours for the author to create?

Every day, millions of people willingly spend $11.00 at the cinema or $14.99 for a DVD, resulting in three hours of entertainment. Yet, I find readers who balk at any eBook listed for more than $2.99, even from an author who has proven to generate high quality novels. If three hours of movie entertainment is worth $14.99, shouldn’t a 300-page novel be worth twice that price?

Narrative-driven video games often fall into the 8-10 hour range for a single play-through. Even if the game is stellar, much like reading a book or watching a movie, replay value is low until time passes and you’ve forgotten enough of the story so that another round feels satisfying and fresh. Such games retail for $50-$60, yet some readers cry foul if they must pay $20 for a print copy of a 400-page novel that provides the same amount of entertainment.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as is the value of entertainment. I ask readers to place a little more value on the print medium if they wish authors to continue to write and for the medium to continue to exist. Next time you see an eBook priced equivalent to a McDonald's value meal, consider its entertainment value. The eBook will last far longer and consuming it is a much healthier alternative.

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  • Jeffrey L. Kohanek on

    Fair enough. Value is a subjective thing with each person’s opinion valid from their own perspective. This blog post certainly was not directed toward you in any way, it is instead meant to encourage consumers to consider what value they place on entertainment and on books in particular.

    As I have stated, my second book will end up on KU this year. In fact, I’ve been told that it will be on KU around November 1st. If you read it, let me know what you think. Reader feedback/reviews is one of the most rewarding aspects to being an author. Even critical reviews (though I dread them) have value when they point out areas where an author can improve their work.

  • crpgnut on

    A consumer’s point of view:

    Supply and Demand is your answer. In any given month there are hundreds, if not thousands of books on KU. I spend $10/month for the right to read as many as I can in 30 days to provide value. If your series is on KU, it gets read and recommended. If the rest of your series isn’t, then I don’t mention it to the 70 or 80 people who follow my book recommendations as most of us are KU subscribers.

    If your series ends up in KU, and I ever happen to run across it once that happens, you’ll have a hearty nod from me. Your first book was very nice, but not nice enough to spend $7 on top of the $10 I pay/month. It is extremely obvious that a good writer will make a living from KU sales. There are more published authors than at any other time in history thanks to eBooks. The medium will continue to exist with or without any 1000 authors.

    Let’s say that only 15 of my friends rent your book. That still would profit you more than the possible zero you will make from them now. 15X1 is >6.99X0. This assumes you only make a single dollar per KU read. I have no idea of the breakdown and don’t care. I have read a little over 700 fantasy novels on KU since it became a service. I have liked one series enough to actually go out and purchase it at full price. I have also bought a few 1.99-2.99 books. Overall, I spent around $500 for eBooks in that time, mostly from the KU subscription.

    Your book was great. I hope to read the others someday. To be honest though, there are so many books that I will forget this one, even though it was great, in a few days or a week. I typically read one book every couple days.

    P.S. I did review the book on Amazon, as that is only fair. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss.

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