I get the .99 bundle. I really do. As an long-time ebook industry professional, I know that if you can offer the first book in a series, or a 20K short in an otherwise series full of novels, as part of a multi-author bundle, it will get a bunch of new folks exposed to your work. Hell, I buy bundles happily. For the reader they make the book budget stretch and allow us to try new authors with little commitment.
Still, I can't help but think of an old professor I had in college who doubled as an art and English professor. He often talked about devaluing art, about how people would exclaim, "My dog could do better work than this!" and about how damaging that statement was to the arts in general.
See, maybe the dog could do that. Maybe anyone with a PC and a Harlequin formula guide can write a romance.
The thing is, though, that it takes practice, persistence, and nerve to make art, literature, or music, whether classical or popular, and to share it with the world. So, we have to place a value on it.
Do I believe we should charge 15.99 for an ebook because that's what we charge for a paperback? Heck, no. But I do cringe when I see someone complain that they paid 1.99 for a lousy 5000 word story. Ouch. I mean, I wrote it. I didn't think it was lousy. Neither did the reader. They loved the story, but doesn't that author know they can get a bundle for .99?
So many people already question the validity of writing and reading romance. As a genre, we get the pats on the head, the sorrowful chin waggle. Our local indie bookstore here in Albuquerque has a mystery section. Horror, sci fi. Not romance, even though we account for fully a quarter of all books sold in the world every year.
So, I have to wonder. If we don't put a higher value on our genre, on our work, how will anyone else?