Wednesday, December 12, 2018

some price comparisons on different editions of Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll in which the Spanish language editions are notably pricier than English language editions

We've had a few posts about the Mark and Grace Driscoll book Real Marriage over the years.

But of particular relevance to today's post is a publishing agreement from February 28, 2011 regarding Real Marriage, published here at Wenatchee The Hatchet at roughly the start of 2016.

At the time the agreement was settled the working title of the book was A New Marriage to the Same  Spouse.  That is, in many respects, a more honest-seeming title.  But we don't need to recite at too great a length the extent to which the narrative of the 2012 book retroactively cast doubt on the veracity of any number of stories or summations Mark Driscoll gave from the pulpit about how happy he was in his marriage from the years 2000 through 2007 or in statements to church members.

No, we're going to focus on a segment from page 4 of the agreement known as Section 1.4.8, "Foreign Language Publication Rights". There's reference to the publisher and English and Spanish language versions of the book that is the subject of the agreement.

Well, the book came out in 2012 and the Janet Mefferd conversation with Mark Driscoll in which the the plagiarism controversy that Mark Driscoll had about his works was in later 2013.  What's the significance of that for pricing in different language editions?  Not sure there's any, actually but it does seem worthwhile to note that the prices for Real Marriage in its English and Spanish language formats are pretty different.

This is most vividly apparent with the Kindle editions.  The English language Kindle edition of Real Marriage, today, goes for $1.99.  How much does Matrimonio Real go for?

So why would Harper Collins have the English language Kindle edition at a penny under two dollars while the Spanish language edition is a penny under ten?  This is even more vividly apparent if we go hunting for Kindle editions with Grace Driscoll as the search category.

We're going to get around to reviewing Spirit-Filled Jesus, the first book Mark Driscoll has formally published through a publisher that he seems to have completed since A Call to Resurgence.  But that can wait until 2019 and since it seems the new book may not even have charted there's a couple of levels at which whatever he says in his new book is actually in some ways not as intrinsically interesting as a potential portrait of pop Christian publishing as the substantially different prices for the English and Spanish editions of what is arguably his most famous book.  Whether or not Dan Allender's work receives an acknowledgment in the first edition of the Spanish language Matrimonio Real might be something someone else can tackle.

By early 2019 Nadia Bolz-Weber is going to have her book out on the topic of sex and perhaps we'll just wait until then to do a potential compare or contrast between Bolz-Weber and Mark Driscoll.  For now, it's interesting to notice how much more the Spanish language editions of the Driscolls' book currently cost than the English language editions.  If one were to ask why on earth there's such a price difference could it be because of how many copies of the English language editions were printed?  Or did the plagiarism controversy have any role in what seems like a substantial price drop?  Of course the fact that a self-help book from 2012 might cost little in Kindle could be an effect of Kindle books getting cheaper (unless you're getting academic monographs!).


Commenter Eric Love mentioned that the price could be lower because Kindle books could be resold, which could drive the price down.  I'm not sure that that's necessarily the case about Real Marriage specifically. Amazon's site states that in both the English and Spanish language editions the Kindle price for Real Marriage and Matrimonio Real are set by the seller, which in this case looks to be Harper Collins.

Amazon can have discounts on Kindle and ebook formats, to be sure, but in this case it would seem that Harper Collins set the respective prices and Amazon has noted that. 

But on the American site I'm not seeing that you can find Kindles in the third-party "used" or "new" categories you could with more traditional books.


Eric said...

The $1.99 price is due to the large number of copies available for sale. Prices shift according to supply & demand.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

This doesn't exactly explain why Kindle editions can be so much cheaper than physical copies for non academic publications; and it doesn't quite explain why the English language Kindle edition of Real Marriage looks to be a fifth of the price of the Spanish language Kindle edition of Real marriage. Is there some upward limit of Kindle editions that can be published in terms of some kind of mechanical licensing constraint?

Eric said...

I don't think there's a limit to how many copies of a Kindle book can be sold 'new'. Amazon also allows you to sell a Kindle book you're finished with, so those are second-hand prices you're seeing. As there are a large number of people who've bought the English edition and put it up for sale, this would push the price down, while there are less Spanish copies for sale.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Interesting. I had not heard that Kindle books could be resold by Amazon, whether through Amazon or third-party vendors.

Amazon's website indicates the price was set by the seller and there's no indication of an option of third-party vending in the categories of "new" and "used". Will have supplement up in a bit to the original post.

Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

as of 7-14-2019 the English language Kindle edition price has risen back up to $6.99.