ENCHANTÉ – The US 99 cents craze

many books of all literary genres for sale in a bookshop
Many books of all literary genres for sale for 99 cents.

Who ever came up with the 99 cents idea? The psycho crisis in the USA! Which dummy believes that 99 cents are not a 100 cents dollar? I still have pots full with dollar cents sitting in my basement. Even the mice don’t care for them. In Holland, I remember we discarded the penny a long time ago. The Euro still has one and two Eurocents coins but people rarely use them in shops. Amounts ending below 3 are rounded down, above 4 are rounded up to 5, and below 7 are rounded down to 5 and amounts ending at 8 or 9 are rounded up. But not in the great USA: the whole sales psychology is built around 99.

Price tag label with string isolated over white, 0.99 dollar cent

This craze goes into the thousands! Items are $299.99 or 1299.99, or for cars from 29499 to 45699 and so on. Buyers think they get a “deal” when it is priced at 99. Houses are being offered at 549599. Just price it at a whole dollar and the sale goes awry! Merchandisers and Buyers are all in the same fix. Even the National Debt ends up with 99. Rounding up or down is a non-starter. We all want to be deceived, thinking we are paying one dollar or Euro less or 100 dollars or a thousand less, while in fact, we are paying the full amount.  Sales people know it, buyers know it and everybody likes to deceive or perceive that things offered are cheaper when in fact they are not.

Ninety-nine percent off. Discount 99%. 3D illustration.
Ninety-nine percent off. Discount 99%.

99 cents 2-a

I am sure the July 4th Independence sales in the USA will be full of it. From grocery sales to car sales to home sales.  Your barbecue sausage will be $2.99 a pack. Your ham slices 4.99 a pack. Your new car 23,999. I don’t know how the summer sales in the Euro countries will be priced. Maybe they have different ways how to deceive the consumer. But we WANT to be deceived. My wife always buys because “it’s on sale” at 99 cents or percent less. That’s why the basement is full of unused bottles of cleaners and other chemicals, and the freezer full of great deals from the butcher that we can never ever eat in our lifetime.


You get the idea: the ninety-nine cents is a craze and leads to clogging and clutter. And then to think that Amazon.com started this for the poor writers. Selling your “e-book” for 99 cents? A book you have worked on for at least a year, spent hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars on for research, editing, and promotion? Is that fair? I hear that daily 5,000 new books appear on the market now that everyone can self-publish a book. A lot of that must be crap. Nonetheless, they are all floating in the clouds of Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and other “on-line” book retailers at 99 cents or some other low amount ending with 99.  Thousands of “book promoters” offer their services “full price” at “a discount” to get you “known” for thousands of dollars. And the writer gets 99 cents for his e-book minus “administrative costs!”  How’s that?

I feel like starting a war to abolish the penny. If I go to my bank with all those pots full of pennies, they will faint or send me to the madhouse. I want at least one wholesome dollar for my e-book, and fifteen or nineteen whole dollars for my paperback, free of the penny craze.

Of course, my books are infested with the ninety cents craze, too: E-book “Some Women I have Known” is priced at $1.99 http://amzn.to/1QIL94B; and “Enchanting The Swan” at $2.99. http://amzn.to/1LPFw5o . That’s how the publishers want it because the wisdom is that readers buy between .99 and 3.99.

If you can’t beat them, join them! Becoming a penny-crazed idiot is contagious in this world.

Happy July Fourth!




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