People won’t pay 99 cents for a book, but they’ll spend $10 on a cup of coffee – Damn them


I woke up this morning angry. Very angry.

One of my friends, a struggling photographer, has produced some of the most amazing pictures I have ever seen. People look at her photos in awe, repeating the word “wow” at her photo shows. Then, they slowly slip away, hoping not to be noticed by her, refusing to buy any of her pictures.

She has decided to quit, despite enormous talent and the urging of all her friends and family to keep going.

But people can only take so much.

Recently, I have written a series of self-published books, uploading them onto Amazon. I was told by many people that my writing is very good and I should “write books.” I have discovered that many of those same people who urged me to publish, are not buying.

Many e-books are either free or as little as 99 cents. Are you kidding me? We won’t spend 99 cents on a well-written book, but buying a fancy $10 cup of coffee – well, that’s a no-brainer. Authors might spend weeks, months or even years writing a book, only to have it ignored.

As a society, we have devalued the creative arts.

And yet – today, more than ever, we are in desperate need of beautiful things. We don’t understand and appreciate the therapeutic benefit of looking at an interesting painting – one that can make us calm, reflective, and see life as a miracle.

There are advantages to being the artist too.

We don’t have to be the greatest creative mind  in the world. We just need the freedom to express ourselves. But society puts very low value on creativity, despite the urging of corporate gurus to nurture it in the workplace. As a result, most of us don’t even bother picking up a paint brush, typing a story on the keyboard, or doing anything creative.

If you want to make a living being an artist or writer, even if you’re okay with just getting by, and not getting rich – you will be told that you’re crazy to even think it. People view you as lacking in intelligence.

There are those who make the argument that the arts began to die with the emergence of the industrial revolution, when the only work of any value was in the factories – and that we’re stuck in that mentality still to this day. Others say that artists got a bad name because a good number of them were “crazy” such as the mentally ill artist Vincent van Gogh (who was actually, one of the kindest and most spiritual beings on earth) and the genius writer Ernest Hemingway who committed suicide. To be creative is somehow associated with being “disturbed.”

These may be factors – but, no – I’m afraid the primary reason that creative expression is tossed aside has more to do with our insane obsession with “self”. We are people who look inward, constantly trying to satisfy our urges for pleasure and happiness, the rest of the world be damned. The “me” generation, successful at producing a caring deficit, believes that if it wasn’t “done by me, or for me” then it’s useless.

My friend on the west coast whose artistic talent rivals that of the great painters of old, spends his days as a fast-order cook. Another friend whose brilliant poems went nowhere in the published world, now posts her thought-provoking imagery on her Facebook page for an audience of 15 people.

We are in need of creativity to open our minds, to bring us back to a simpler time, to help make this a more livable world.

Have you exercised your creative juices lately? Have you tried to sell your good works and been disappointed?

3 thoughts on “People won’t pay 99 cents for a book, but they’ll spend $10 on a cup of coffee – Damn them

  1. It is really sad, Cory, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve had this experience a lot as a musician and ceramic artist. I lost count of the number of people and organizations that asked me and my band to perform for free for “exposure.” We put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into our craft, and though we don’t perform for our primary income, and we clearly don’t do it for the money, it sure puts a damper on our enthusiasm when people take our work and investment for granted.

    Priorities sure are messed up right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah. I totally agree. It is a sad state of affairs out there, but I think it will eventually change for the better as people get fed up of poor values and corporate greed. Hopefully, we can get to a point where creative talent is valued much more than now. Good to hear from you, especially on my personal blog, which tends to be a wasteland. All the best in your many ventures.


  2. And that’s why there are so many starving artists. I love art, painting and photography but chose to be a software engineer to pay my bills. I have published a few things that never sold and barely received much fan-fare. Still, I continue; a genuine artist does it for the love of it.

    The competition is heavy. I don’t know the numbers but just by looking at the daily posts on LinkedIn, there’s a significantly large amount of things to capture our attention. I believe you have to really hustle to sell anything these days (didn’t you just write about this?). A cup of coffee, even if $10, is instant gratification and easy and isn’t that what the world has turned to – instant and easy?

    Don’t give up! Do it because you love it. You may or may not (most likely not) make any money but could gain so much more!

    Liked by 1 person

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