I don’t avoid or purposefully look to see if a book is self published when I’m looking to buy, but I can usually tell from the get-go (except, ironically, for most of you self published authors represented here on Wattpad like @AlecHutson. That’s why I regard all of you so highly, I can literally see the evidence of your experience).
Honestly, I have no problem paying upwards of $20 dollars for a book if I really, really like it and I’m interested. I frequently pay $5.99 for books without issue (or rather a bit more with the Canadian dollar, but I get it.) Thing is, the book has to interest me $20 or I won’t though. I just bought the ebook of Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne for just over $17, but I’m interested because I follow her YouTube channel and tracked with all of her editing, etc. I’m interested in reading a book that I know so much about the process behind it from start to finish (plus sci-fi is my favourite genre so there’s genuine interest in the plot).
I’m naturally looking for the best deals still though, thus I prefer ebook because typically they’re cheaper than paperback. It also just naturally happens that I’m more willing to take a “risk” on cheaper books. If I find enough interesting books cheap, it can become “I can get these three books, or this one book.” And that’s just the thing, it has to be worth more in my eyes for me to pay more, but if I want it I’ll save to buy it. Frequently though, if an author has captivated me with a cheaper entry book (say 4.99) I typically end up spending 7.99 to 9.99 on higher priced sequels without balking.
One thing about self published books, is that I can’t get them in the library, so if I want to read I have to pay. The latest Stephen King I can get on the wait list and take out of the library, and if I don’t like it I don’t buy it later. But if a self published book peaks my interest, I’m more inclined to buy it if the price is right.