Let's Talk with Nancy J. Cohen

Bargain and Backlist Books

June 9, 2022

Summer is coming and with it come day trips, beaches, and barbecues. Hopefully, packed in your beach bag is a Kindle device or the latest paperback by your favorite author. But what happens if the books you want get priced out of your range?

Traditional publishers set the prices of their books and writers have no say in the matter. But indie authors determine their own pricing. They bear the expenses of book production. These may include, but are not limited to, editing, cover design, and formatting. This is money that can only be recouped through royalties. The price of a print on demand book needs to be enough for the author to make a profit on a novel that may have taken a year’s hard work to produce.

However, as readers, we need to satisfy our insatiable appetite for new books to read without breaking the bank. I’ve recently run into a dilemma in this regard. I am interested in a series with 24 titles. These books would be too expensive for me to buy all new, in Kindle at over $10 each or in trade paperback at over $15 each. The alternative is to borrow them from the library, but I’d be afraid the book would vanish from my device before I finished reading it. It’s also possible not all the titles would be available there.

I’ve never considered buying pre-owned backlist titles before to get through a series, but now it’s what I might have to do to follow this author. If I go down this road, the least I can do is review each title when I’m done. Reviews are the best way to acknowledge an author for a great read. Then once I’m caught up on the series, hopefully I can buy the author’s latest title when it’s released.

Where else can you go, aside from the library, when funds are tight? For print books, try thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, used bookstores, Friends of the Library book sales, eBay for specific titles, and book club exchanges. These may offer inexpensive prices or book trade-ins. But remember, these authors don’t get royalties from your sale, so be kind and write a review.

Try these online sites for free or bargain e-books. Sign up for a daily newsletter and select the genres that interest you.

AuthorsXP, https://authorsxp.com/
Bargain Booksy, https://www.bargainbooksy.com/
BookBub, https://www.bookbub.com
Book Doggy, https://bookdoggy.com/
Ereader News Today, https://www.ereadernewstoday.com/
The Fussy Librarian, https://www.thefussylibrarian.com/

Just be careful not to download free e-books from pirate sites. Not only are these illegal due to copyright violation, but you might end up with a malware hitchhiker.

You might be lucky and discover a wonderful new author. Then you’ll want to buy their entire series. How would you acquire these backlist titles?

Enter the Booklover’s Bench June contest! It runs from June 1-18, and we have seven books in our prize vault. The winner gets to select from one of these titles. Enter on our CONTEST PAGE.

To learn more about author Nancy J Cohen, visit her WEBSITE.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Nancy J. Cohen • Tags: , , |  13 Comments


13 thoughts on “Bargain and Backlist Books

  1. Nancy.. you make some very good points. Since my husband retired and is reading far more (usually non-fiction sports or politics) than he did (and often wants backlisted books), I have encouraged him to use the library or discount sources, but I also encourage him to review the books. For myself, I keep an eye on Bookbub, Fuzzy Librarian, and a few other sources as a good way to find authors I’d like to try at a discount and then if I like them, I’m buy their newer books as they come out –this is a win-win for me as I pay less to read their older backlist (but they get the count on that day) and then I’m there when their newer books are up for pre-order.

    1. I do the same as you, Debra. I’ve found some wonderful authors whose series I devour after getting one of their books on sale. Here’s where having a genre-specific cover is critically important. As readers glance over the books in the day’s bargain newsletter, they may be looking for a specific type of art. Cozies have distinctive designs, for example. And so do scifi novels with spaceships on the cover. This makes it easier to zero in on the books we might like.

  2. Good points, Nancy! As an indie author who takes part in the Kindle Unlimited program from Amazon, I’d also put in a plug for that option. The reader pays an annual fee, but can read as many books as they want and the author gets paid each time someone reads a page. For readers who can afford it, it’s a great way to support authors without actually buying books.

    1. This is true, Terry. Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service, so not entirely free. But KU feeds the appetite of voracious readers. My early romances are available there.

  3. Ah, the delight and torment of finding a new author and then needing to read everything they’ve written right now. I try to pace myself and stick to a budget. I also subscribe to several of the ebook newsletters for bargain and free books. I read fast so I am often in a situation where I would go broke and blind if I read as much as I truly could. As someone who grew up in a rural area before the internet (gasp! horrors!), I always sought out books to show me more of people in other places. That was the initial appeal of suspense novels, my first foray into adult books. I was too young to visit the adult side of our library but the librarians would carefully curate books for me in the vein of Victoria Holt, Mary Stuart, Phyllis Whitney, and more. These days I am definitely old enough for the adult section and must remember to frequent my library more. As an author and a devoted reader, I truly hope people keep reading!

    1. Funny, the reverse is true for me now. I like reading some YA, usually in the fantasy genre. I miss going to national conferences (especially RWA) and coming home with a suitcase full of books.

    1. I agree, Vicki. I love to be surrounded by books and am usually reading three or four at the same time, depending on what room I’m in. Kindle goes with me to doctor’s office and anywhere I have to wait.

  4. Good suggestions, Nancy. I find many new authors and great deals on Bookbub. I haven’t bought a physical book or taken one out of the library in several years because publishers have made their fonts and spacing between lines smaller and smaller to conserve on paper costs. I’m hoping once I have my cataracts dealt with, that will change. For now, though, I read on my Kindle and make the font large enough to see clearly.

  5. Second time trying to post a comment. The computer gremlins are giving me a headache this morning! Anyway, this was a very informative post, Nancy, especially since so many readers are counting pennies lately. I’m a big fan of Bookbub, both for finding new authors and deals on older books.

  6. My problem is getting rid of books! I keep paring down but they keep on re-appearing! Thank goodness for ebooks and samples of same. But I do miss trolling through Half Price books (back when I lived in Texas) finding all sorts of offbeat books (they don’t have one in Florida, as far as I know). I try to buy midlist authors at retail (or read them through KU). I don’t feel too badly about buying a mega bestseller secondhand. 🙂 Of course, there is little choice but used when it comes to OOP books.

    1. I’m going to have to go used if I want to read that 24 book series. I’ll try book one first to see if I like it and then will worry about the rest. It would be too expensive for me to get them retail with trad pub prices. You’re right re OOP books. No other choice there.

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