I may be a writer, but I'm also an avid reader. I have been since I was a kid. Like most readers, I have several writers that I fan girl all over. I buy all of their books and post my love of them all over social media. I also love discovering new authors.
When it comes to a new author, I take a more conservative approach. Before I buy, I read the reviews of other readers and download the free sample first. I also check the page count of the book. Something I never used to do.
Call me cheap, but if a book is less than one hundred pages, I don't want to pay more than $1.99. I'm always surprised when I glance at the specs of a book and see that a thirty-nine page short story is $4.99. I have to ask myself, what was the author thinking?
To be fair, it's not always the author who determines the price of an e-book. If the author has signed a contract with a publisher, it's the publisher who makes this decision. Being that the publisher is in the business to make money, he's going to price the book high enough to make a profit after shelling out author royalties.
If an author is using a self-publishing press, she may not be able to set the price. Some print on demand companies do allow the author to set the price, but some do not. Some base the price of the book on its length.
I'm sure there are some authors who feel they deserve to be paid a higher amount. It's not so unreasonable if you think about it. When you go to the movies, if you go in the evening, you spend a pretty penny on a two hour movie. Why wouldn't you be willing to spend the equivalent on a book?
I'll be honest. I'm not willing to spend the money unless the free sample really hooks me. And in the interest of fairness, I try to keep the cost of my books in line with their length. I never want to be one of those authors that makes you say; that book costs how much?