How much is a good story worth?

If it’s in paperback, less than $10.00.
If it’s hardback (and new, and not on sale), around $30 to $40.
And if it’s been out a while, you might be able to take your pick.

…umm, wait. Isn’t the same story in BOTH books? Word-for-word identical? So when you buy a hardback book you’re essentially paying a 300% markup just for a format that lasts longer and has a better cover. Or maybe you’re paying for the privilege of reading it sooner rather than later.

But how much is the actual STORY worth, separate from the format? You can assume that the cost of a paperback is closer to the cost of the actual content, but how “close” is “closer”? I’d need somebody in the publishing industry to tell me that, and I’d be really interested in the answer.

But there’s another way of looking at it. Maybe a story (independent of format) is worth five bucks to you. That’s just an “out of my ass” ballpark figure. How much do you think it’s worth to the author, though? You BUY a story for five bucks (plus anywhere from 5 to 35 EXTRA dollars for presentation and format)… how much did the author sell it for? A HELL of a lot more than five bucks, I’ll tell you that. From the author’s point of view, that story may be worth anything from a few car payments to a new car. Sure, you don’t pay that much individually, but collected revenue from all the people who buy those $5 stories adds up quick.

So how much is a story worth to ME? $100 a month? $1000? I’m not really sure… but whatever figure I come up with can’t POSSIBLY be the same amount I ask from an individual before he reads it. That doesn’t make sense, even on the internet. We… you and me… need to come up with some kind of middle ground.

So tell me… how much is a good story worth to you REGARDLESS of physical format?


  1. nate, December 17, 2008:

    The money is only part of it. For me, the time it takes to read a good story is part of the cost. I’m not multitasker when it comes to reading a good story. I want to turn off the TV and be alone so my imagination can turn the words into a film. If I sit for a couple of hours reading, that’s time that I spend and consider part of the cost for the story.

    I rarely ever purchase a book these days. Hardcovers, especially first runs, are just too expensive. Even paperbacks are expensive. Sure, there’s an occasional book purchase every year or two, but for the most part if I don’t get it as a gift I wait for the library to get it or just do without.

    This site is a minor exception. I have been supporting the efforts here at a minimum, but that’s more than I spend on books from the stores. Gone are the days of the monthly or bi-monthly updates that were full chapters, but I still check this site almost daily because it’s good writing. COTA isn’t my favorite, and honestly it’s a bit hard to follow. I WILL go back once it’s finished and read it in entirety.

    I guess I’m rambling again. DI, I just want you to know that I read everything you write that I find, and have enjoyed all of it. Some of it more than others of course, but it’s all been worthwhile to me. Whatever 2009 brings, I’ll be here to see it as long as the site is available.

    Would long-time fans pay $5/month for full chapters of a December novel? Crusade? I don’t know. That’s $60/year for a novel that would probably take 2 years to complete, working out to $120/novel. Quite steep for the consumer, but not worth the author’s time, unless he’s got 100+ people purchasing EVERY chapter.

    1279 members listed on the stats of Asylum Walls. If only half of them bothered to contribute monthly that would mean over $30k/year for the author, and make the stories worth his while. Where are all the people? Even long-time fans have disappeared. I know life goes on and things change, but the few who still visit and look for certain stories need to make it worth the author’s while to write them.

    Man, if work ever picks up and I get busy I’ll have to quit browsing around in these old posts and trying to start trouble.

  2. Kragon, December 17, 2008:

    I see where you are coming from nate. I’ve been reading DI’s stuff since the old site was up. I came in around 2000, maybe a little later. It was a little after he started the Crusade. I didn’t sign on to the Asylum Walls until a few years ago.

    Where did everyone go? Who knows. But as you did say, life goes on. People move on. And it is sad.

    Would I pay $5 a month for a story or even a chapter? Hell yes. But one or two people doesn’t make it work. DI tried that and I believe it was just me, you and one other person that was buying those stories. Which is sad.

    I would love to see this site back into full swing again. I would love to see DI work with Werewolf and OZ, and everyone else from the Dragons Inn again. But as you have stated before…

    Life goes on.

    Who knows. Someday someone may sit down at their computer and asked themselves…

    What the hell ever happened to that crazy black man with the kick ass stories?

    Then they will type in and realize he went nowhere. It was them who have left. But until that day comes we do what we always do.

    We sit in the darkness, and we wait.

  3. nate, March 3, 2011:

    Still sitting, Still waiting…

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