Even Major Authors Experimenting With Bargain E-Books

Crime writer George Pelecanos’s latest book is going on sale today for a dollar.

If Pelecanos was a self-published author like Amanda Hocking that would make plenty of sense. But this is George Pelecanos, author of (by our count) 18 books and producer for two seasons of The Wire.

So why is his latest e-book a buck?

“Our goal is to increase George’s audience,” Reagan Arthur, editorial director of Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, told the WSJ. “We’re saying, if you’re curious about his work, why wait?”

Pelecanos stands to make 17 cents for each copy of “What It Was.” Even if 100,000 people purchase this book (and according to the WSJ, his previous best-selling novel sold 29,000 copies), he won’t make money, he told the WSJ. “But the assumption is that if the majority like the book we’ve brought them into the tent. Hopefully, that will trigger sales in my library.”

This is a fast crime novel, sexy and violent, and perfect for this kind of promotion,” he said.

We hope this strategy works out for Mr. Pelecanos. We also hope it doesn’t become a required strategy, because soon a lot more authors will be struggling for money if they only get 17 cents per copy sold.