Welcome back to the pricing series on e-publishers! Here I focus mostly on publishers that offer m/m romance and erotic romance so we’ll continue in that vein. So far I’ve looked at 6 publishers and you can see the series HERE!
Today’s look is at another author invitation only press, MLR Press. MLR claims to offer the highest quality stories in their genre. I find this a lofty and somewhat erroneous claim since the quality is very subjective at MLR. I find their editing atrocious and on par with some of the worst editing in the genre. Perhaps their editor is overworked but the errors are horrendous and thus putting their claim of quality in much question. Not to mention their covers are seriously some of the worst in the genre. They can make stock photos look bad.
However, it’s not the editing or eye scaring cover art I’m evaluating (although you the reader should) – it’s the price. So looking at the (ugly) MLR website, there is zero information about their book length or pricing. There is a link to the new MLR bookstore which offers electronic copies of books. I believe MLR started out as a print only publisher and only recently offered e-copies. Or am I wrong? Someone correct me please.
As it is, MLR currently offers 80 ebooks through their website, 78 on Fictionwise, 66 on All Romance Ebooks. The average length is 67,000.
The shortest ebook offered is 16,508 and the longest is 103,000 words. The prices are between $3.49 and $6.99, with one ebook listed as $16.99.
On the MLR bookstore site, 8 books are listed for $3.49, 2 for $6.99, and 69 for $5.99.
The 8 books listed for $3.49 range in word count from 16,508 to 32,500. Anything over 40,000 is $5.99.
There are a few exceptions to this however as some authors command a higher price. For example all of William Maltese’s books and Angela Fiddler’s books are $5.99 regardless of length. This causes some inconsistency in pricing but it’s clearly author based. Other than that it seems anything under 40k is less than $5.99 (prices do vary) and anything over 40k is mostly $5.99.
For the majority of titles offered, there is no difference between MLR’s bookshop and ARe pricing. There are very few exceptions. However, Fictionwise is considerably cheaper than MLR/ARe by quite a bit. All MLR books were $3 or less on FW*.
$3.49 MLR / 26,000 ARe for $3.49 / 26,169 FW for $2.09
$5.99 MLR / 20,000 ARe for $3.49 / 21,089 FW for $2.09
$5.99 MLR / 101,000 ARe for $5.99 / 103,016 FW for $2.80
$5.99 MLR / 65,000 ARe for $6.99 / 69,726 FW for $2.80
$5.99 MLR / 60,000 ARe for $5.99 / 99,065 FW for $3.00
Other than this price discrepancy based on author, I found MLR very consistent. For such a small catalog, it’s mostly going to be $5.99 for just about any book you want so it’s incredibly easy for the reader to make a decision if it’s worth the money. Comparing the price per word of MLR/ARe and Fictionwise, it looks like this:
Clearly the best price is through FW, which offers the MLR titles at up to 60% off.
However, comparing MLR with other publishers at the same length, gives the following. Keep in mind I’ve excluded the short story lengths (anything under 16k) since MLR doesn’t offer that.
Here MLR is the thick red line and is one of the cheapest of the group. Due to the standard $5.99 for just about all books, it’s relatively inexpensive and consistent.
And if you buy from Fictionwise with their discounts, the discounts are amazing. That far, far, far, far bottom line? That’s the cost of your MLR books from Fictionwise.
MLR pricing is based on author so some authors may cost more regardless of length. However for the most part you’re likely going to pay $5.99 for your book unless it’s a single short story from an anthology then the price is usually $3.49. You pay the same amount from MLR’s electronic bookstore as you do from ARe but in this case you save significant amounts of money by shopping from Fictionwise.
Will this FW sale last? Well after doing this analysis, I discovered this sale is FW’s end of the year sale. So I doubt the discounts will be as steep after the new year – although I’ll be checking and updating this analysis when the sale is gone. Even without the sale, the analysis is still valid. We’ll just have to see if the pricing comes more in line with MLR website and other retailers or continues to offer a discount.
For the most part MLR Press is pretty cheap – which may be the reason the editing is shoddy and the cover art is horrible. They clearly aren’t using their overhead to enhance the business. However as with anything, quality is subjective and each reader can make their own determination.