Oct
26
2011

How to Set Ebook Prices

I get this question a lot. Mostly, I say “I don’t know.” It’s not that I don’t have opinions or ideas, but I don’t want to give advice on something that could, potentially, lose someone money.

But iampariah did in the video below, and I think he did it super well. I think there’s another price range, $3.99 – $4.99, that deserves it’s own range, though. Just my opinion, but what he said about $3.99 – $8.99 is really more for the $5 – $8.99 range.

I’d be interested in what people think of the $3.99 &ndash $4.99 range, both from readers and from authors who’ve experimented with that price range.

From a theoretical standpoint, I like that price point. It’s fair and good payment for the author, and still cheap for readers.

Mostly I’m thinking fiction here, by the way.

What do you think about ebook pricing?

10 Comments »

  • Eric Mayer says:

    I wish I knew. Our ebook editions from Poisoned Pen Press priced at $5.99 and $6.99 are selling, essentially nada and I have urged and urged PPP to set the prices at $2.99 just as an experiment. Unless you are a very well known author I don’t think you can sell an ebook for $5.99. Yeah, eooks are undervalued but I don’t know what you can do about that.

  • Angie says:

    I’m with on on being dubious that $3.99-$8.99 is a useful range. I think $3.99, $4.99 and $5.99 are all significantly different prices, if only emotionally. $6.99-$8.99 is all sort of “Ack!” and $9.99 is just ridiculous for a novel IMO. But suggesting that a $3.99 price is essentially the same as an $8.99 price is just bizarre.

    Angie

  • Between 5.99 and 8.99 seems like a lot to pay for an ebook.

    • Angie says:

      Charles — it’s definitely on the upper end of what I consider acceptable. [nod] I’ll pay $6.99 for a long novel (like 100K words or more) but beyond that I start looking for vendor sales.

      Amazon’s $9.99, which all the New York publishers thought was so scandalously low, strikes me as ludicrously high for a novel, no matter how long. And some of the small publishers are creeping up that high. [eyeroll] They definitely get bought on sale, if at all.

      Angie

  • Tom Welch says:

    I read about one well known fiction writer that sold his novels for 99 cents and got over a million downloads, some serious Kindle dollars I’d say.

  • Tom Welch says:

    I’m planning to price my 1st Kindle business book @ $4.95 after carefully reviewing the competition. Also, remember that you can only earn 70% royalties if the Kindle book is priced over $3.00. eBooks under $3.00 can only earn 35% royalties, best to experiment to get a higher ROI. A book priced high that generates few sales means you may be better off lowering the price to generate more sales, zero dollars is still zero dollars if the book is missed price.

  • Judith Tramayne says:

    For first time, first Fiction book Authors, the 99 cent price is good because it will let your readers test (read) your writing skill.

    If it’s good, they will recommend it to their friends and even write a good review which also helps increase your sales.

    When you have 5 or more ebooks, your prices should increase because you’ll have a fan base of readers.

  • Hittman says:

    I didn’t find the video at all useful.

    I know that when I’m shopping for Kindle books, a 99 cent novel is a no-brainier. It’s nearly zero risk, so if it looks at all appealing I’ll grab it.

    As the price rises, so does the perceived risk, and it becomes less likely that I’ll buy it on impulse.

    For unknown authors $2.99 is the ceiling for me. At $3.99 I’m probably going to pass, because hey, there’s a .99 book over here. I have, on occasion, paid 3.99 to 4.99 for authors I was very familiar with and liked, but that’s maybe 5% of my kindle purchases.

    $1.99 just seems like a funky price, like the author thinks it’s worth more than a buck but not worth three. I don’t think I’ve bought any $1.99 books.

    Pricing is the most difficult part of selling anything. Discard your personal opinion about what Your Great Novel is worth and think in terms of the bottom line. Cost of goods and distribution is zero, and the supply is infinite, which makes the calculation much easier.

    You make $2.09 on a $2.99 kindle book. You make 35 cents on a .99 book. If you sell three times as many 99s as 2.99s you lose money. If you sell six times as many you break even. If you sell seven times as many you make more (and have seven times as many people reading your stuff).

    I just put my first book up a day ago, (Blood Witness, it’s great, go buy it!) (sorry) and priced it at 2.99. Every piece of advice I’ve seen on pricing says to experiment with it and see what works. I’ll try this at 2.99 for a while, then in a month or two announce a 99 cent sale and see what happens.

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