The Last Policeman: $2.99 Kindle version

I reviewed The Last Policeman a few weeks ago. I just found out that it's on sale in the Kindle store for $2.99. It's a terrific novel so this is a bargain.


  1. Not for Australians it isn’t.  $9.66 – must be the hideous expense of sending all those electrons halfway around the world by steam powered airship..

  2. Ding ding ding!  I’m getting $11.61 in the UK.  What do I win?

    BTW, that’s $1.50 more than what it quotes me for the paperback.

      1.  Amazon won’t even take my money for digital music. I am glad to see that more bands are selling it themselves, since I’d rather they get the cash.

        1. I’m constantly amazed that Amazon – who ate the lunch of traditional bricks-and-mortar bookstores by understanding the power of digital communications – consistently fails to understand the power of digital distribution. I’ve been going to non-traditional sources for music and books for some time now (Humble Bundle, Supply Drop, Feedbooks, etc.) and I’d love to see them get some more traction and undercut the big players like Amazon and iTunes.

  3. I don’t consider this price a bargain, I think it is high. Electronically distributed books shouldn’t cost more than a dollar or two. At that price most people wouldn’t bother to pirate them, as the music industry debacle has proven.

    1. I don’t agree since I think that the author should receive more than $1 for a novel-length book.  $2.99 is a more than reasonable price given that cheap paperbacks are close to $10.  If every standard book was $2.99 (and DRM free) I’d spend a hell of a lot more money on books rather than trying to get them from the library or borrow them from friends.  At that price (or honestly, even at $4.99) I’d just buy them immediately.

      1. That’s nonsensical. Excepting a few very high profile authors, an author figures they’re doing well if there’s a print run of 10-20K, of which they MIGHT receive 20% of the $15-20 cover price – so the author’s getting something between what John Scalzi describes as a “shitty” deal to a “meh” one.

        Digital distribution has no printing costs, and nearly zero delivery costs. Once the book’s been edited, you can pretty much sell it forever with no marginal increase in your sunk costs. Arguably, you could pay the author a higher percentage – say half? – as a result. So the kicker is, how many MORE books would you sell at, say, $1, than at $10? I’d venture to say it’s FAR more than 10 times as many. So, the author is very rapidly getting into a Scalzi “Shut Up!” deal, or better. The publisher might take in a lower gross, but they’re also got far lower overheads to pay for, so their profit margins would be better too.

        I dunno about you, but I’d rather have half of a hundred grand than a fifth of a hundred and fifty, any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

        1. So the kicker is, how many MORE books would you sell at, say, $1, than at $10? I’d venture to say it’s FAR more than 10 times as many.

          Except the person you’re responding to didn’t suggest a $10 price, they suggested $2.99 or as high as $4.99. How many more copies will you sell at $1 compared to $3? I doubt it would be 3 times as many.

          1. Maybe, maybe not – those kinds of profit-cost curves are for focus groups and market research to refine. Personally, I think the 99¢ price point invokes a certain magic response: “Ah, it’s under a buck – what the hell?”. It’s how I buy second-hand books, I’ll tell you that. More than a couple of bucks gives me pause, even though I can obviously actually afford it easily. If I react that way, I have to think others do as well. And yeah, I’d be willing to bet you’ll sell more than twice as many at $5 than you do at $10, but I’d also bet you’d sell more than five times as many at a buck than you would at five.

            AND, since your overheads are essentially zero, you’ve got no floor – you can go as low as necessary to maximize the return. It’d be easy enough to test this out, for that matter – all it would take would be to market one book that way, even for a limited time, and see what happened. But no, the publishers are too goddamned STUPID and hidebound to even think that way.

  4. I think $2.99 is a reasonable price, I would have felt ripped off by a higher one.  It’s a quite short book, almost novella length. (By my calculations, it’s about 45,000 words) 

    The story it tells is nice, but I felt pulled forward much more by the premise than the plot or characters. With a world-destroying cataclysm on its way I really wanted a more throughly exploration of that world. 

    1. For the record, I (like most authors I know) have super mixed feelings about the low price point. Yes, my royalty is substantially lower, book for book, than it would be on a full-price digital edition, forget about the full-price physical book. But exposure is a big part of this profession — on a book like this, the first in a trilogy, the opportunity to sell many copies to those who wouldn’t otherwise be interested, or even aware of me, is a big plus. 
       Also for the record: It’s 75,237 words. (I just opened the final manuscript to make sure I wasn’t crazy). 

      Thanks everyone for reading it. — Ben

      1. Come on, Ben. I’d be willing to bet you’ll find that the sales numbers at the lower price point will more than compensate for the lower per-book royalty. You can’t talk about royalties without also considering volume sold.

        1. Oh, sure, and let me be clear: i’m delighted if increased  sales come from a lower price point. 100%, unambiguously so. Every single time anyone buys anything I’ve written, I feel grateful and happy. Considering how hard it is to get published, and of course to write a book, it would be insane to feel otherwise.  I just meant that even though I make less per book when the price is less (in any format), there is an ultimate, long-term benefit to such sales totally aside from financial. So, by the way, if you are reading this, on this thread, and bought the book: Thank you. 

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