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How to price ebooks

October 13, 2013

Tags: ebooks, pricing, pricing strategy, royalties

Published 8-14-13, updated 10-13-13
This is a roundup of various pieces on how to price ebooks: Do you price high and count on fewer but more profitable sales, or do you price low to get volume? Do you charge libraries more? Do you offer freebies? Do customers expect low ebook prices? It's a wild world out there in ebook land, and the right price for an ebooks may depend on the size and type of audience a particular book attracts. Study and learn (and guess with the others):

Pricing Strategies for Ebooks (Mark Coker, Smashwords) "Some authors fixate on price alone, but it’s important to consider price as only one of several factors that influence a reader’s purchase decision. We have many free ebooks that earn few downloads, and many priced books that get more paid downloads than some of the freebies." An overview of the factors that affect pricing success.

Experimenting with Ebook Pricing (Aaron Patterson, guest posting on The Savvy Book Marketer "This is still a guessing game but all we can do is keep testing and try to find that sweet spot. The trick is to find where we can reach the most people and make the most money all at the same time, and this all comes down to marketing and a little luck."

What’s the best price for a self-published ebook? $3.99, Smashwords research suggests (Laura Hazard Owen, paidContent, 5-9-13). Mark Coker says that Most authors price at $2.99…but $3.99 sells the most copies.

Don’t price your ebook at $1.99 (Laura Hazard Owen, 9-23-13). Notes Coker: “Books priced between $.99 and $1.99 continue to underperform when we look at the book’s total earnings. $1.99 performs especially poorly. It’s a black hole. I’d avoid that price point if you can.”

How Perfect Pricing got me 1500 Sales in 2 Days (Sacha Greif, 3-27-12, guest-posting on Jason Cohen's A Smart Bear blog (Startups + Marketing + Geeks). The hidden reasoning behind his numbers.

Perfect Pricing Part Deux — More money from fewer sales (Jarrod Drysdale, guest posting on Smart Bear, 4-3-12). Drysdale on his strategy and track record on his ebook Bootstrapping Design ("Become the designer your startup needs")

Setting an eBook price & Understanding eBook Royalties (Mill City Press). Your price may affect how much you collect from the distributor. Apple pays 70% of the sale price regardless of where the price is set. For most other retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the royalties are about 50%.

The 'Other' E-Book Pricing Problem (Art Brodsky, Huff Post, 7-17-13) "While the e-book world takes a minute to digest the court ruling finding Apple conspired with book publishers to jack up the price of e-books to consumers, it's worth noting that there is another e-book pricing battle going on." Discriminatory pricing. "Some book publishers don't lease e-books to libraries at all, depriving library customers of versions of popular best-sellers. Others set the lease rates exorbitantly high, squeezing the already squeezed library budget."

Apple colluded on e-book prices, judge finds (Nate Raymond and Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, 7-10-13) In a sweeping rejection of Apple Inc's strategy for selling electronic books on the Internet, a federal judge ruled that the company conspired with five major publishers to raise e-book prices."
Apple Found Guilty Of Fixing Ebook Prices, Says It’s “Done Nothing Wrong” And Will Appeal (Romain Dillet, TechCrunch, 7-10-13)

How to Price an Ebook to Achieve Maximum Sales (Jeremy Gislason, slideshare). Understand the law of supply and demand (Give your customers what they want at a price they are willing to pay for it)

What Making an E-Book Costs, Publisher Responds (Jeremy Greenfield, Dwb, 4-23-12)

Are Consumers Sensitive to E-Book Prices? (Jeremy Greenfield, Forbes, 8-27-12)

There’s a $3 Sweet Spot For eBooks, But $6 eBooks Earn More – Smashwords ( Nate Hoffelder, The Digital Reader, 4-26-13)

Can Ebook Data Reveal New Viral Catalysts to Spur Reader Word-of-Mouth? (Mark Coker, Smashwords, 4-25-12) He posts his slideshare: How Data-Driven Decisions *Might* Help Indie Ebook Authors Reach More Readers. (A viral catalyst is "something that makes your book more available, accessible, desirable and enjoyable to readers."

Power Pricing: How should I price my eBooks? (Nathan Maharaj, Kobo Writing Life, 12-11-12) His advice: Price deliberately, responsibly, and often. "It helps to remember that “price” should be treated as a verb – it’s an action that we take, rather than a noun we define."