1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Ebook Pricing: Low vs. High?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Black Dragon, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. Black Dragon

    Black Dragon Staff Administrator

    2,922
    1,364
    163
    In your experience, is it better to price an ebook low or high? On one hand, a low price could encourage more readers to try something new. On the other hand, a higher price may convey that there is value to the book.

    What have you tried as far as pricing is concerned?
     
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Valar Lord

    3,854
    1,160
    163
    I know the music industry a little better than I do the book industry [of which I know next to nothing].
    It is close to becoming close to accepted wisdom that you can't easily sell the content [the music]. You have to sell the experience [the concert, the gatefold vinyl album, the tee-shirt etc.]. Of course this isn't a direct analogy and I think it is profoundly depressing. But how this applies to writing? I'm not sure. I know that I don't like ebooks. I have yet to find a medium to read them that doesn't give me a headache after ten minutes. I much prefer a nice hardback and know that my shelves are stuffed to overflowing [and beyond] in the knowledge that probably it all could fit on a Kindle [other e-readers are available].
     
  3. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

    1,235
    602
    113
    I dont know, but I would like to experiment with pricing it low. The idea being, lower price means more accessible to more readers, more readers means more people buying at a low price. Hopefully quantity of buyers does better than quality of price ;) But...I've not really actively tried to sell one yet. Seems not be to my interest. I just like creating them.

    I suppose I would say, If you want to make a killing on your book, write a college text book. Those things are way overpriced.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

    5,113
    3,203
    313
    How would we know? Those of us who are still struggling just to break even, there are so many other variables--visibility being the main one--that raising or lowering a price might have no effect at all or be crucial. When you sell six books one month, four another, then none, then ten, pricing is not likely the key. If one is selling six hundred books a month, then twiddling with price might be worth the time.

    I do not believe, and this is supposition rather than fact, that setting a price low is a bad choice for the unknown author. Setting the price high--say at the level of leading books in any category, the $10 to $12 price point--is probably a bad idea if you've got six reviews and you personally know everyone on your mailing list (besides the bots).
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,344
    2,887
    313
    You've got to have a price that's right for your work, and not one that fits what you're supposed to do. To me, a lower price, like 99 cents, screams "desperate nobody." I guess that's the harsh way of putting it. But maybe you are a "desperate nobody," and what else are you supposed to do? A price in the $8-12 range screams "you want this because it's popular and what else are you going to do? Miss out?" But how can you be popular before you even set the price?

    So I would start between $3.99 and $7.99, depending on the length, general quality, strength of the "wow factors," whether you're niche or have mass market appeal (i.e., will a young guy and an older woman both find it interesting?), and your ability to market it. Longer, better, wowee, mass appeal, and good marketing? Price it higher.
     
  6. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    5,213
    2,239
    313
    I'm currently pricing high, but will probably change that pretty soon (because I'm a desperate nobody).

    Lost Dogs #1 is currently at 3.99 which to me feels a bit high for a novella from an unknown indie author. I decided to give it a go though, because I'd heard other writers didn't notice any significant difference in sales when going from 2.99 to 3.99. My hope was also that the higher price would encourage readers to give the book a chance on Kindle Unlimited.

    I've had a few sales, but not a massive amount, and I haven't been in the game long enough to say if the book sold better when it was at 2.99 (and I don't remember when I changed the price).

    I'm going to give it a little longer, and then reduce the price to 0.99 instead. Like Devor says it does hint a little at desperation, but I think that until I have more reviews under my belt, it's probably better to reduce the barrier to entry. The rest of the books in the series will still be 2.99.
     
  7. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    1,063
    671
    113
    I price medium range; so $2.99 for novellas and $3.99 for novels. Two of my books are free and a third on free promotion for a month. It's hard because there's fierce competition in my genre and niche with other authors pricing similar or slightly higher, the catch being they're all light years ahead of me in terms of career, craft and audience. The lower I price, the more I sell, but then I'm not making money. I make a little money when I keep my prices high but sell less. In a way, I'm cutting out an audience of readers and I'm okay with that.
     
    Svrtnsse likes this.
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,344
    2,887
    313
    Maybe I'm mistaken here, but I'm convinced that the limiting factor for a reader buying a book is the reader's time, and not the price of the book. Under that hypothesis, your goal with pricing would be to find a price that serves to honestly reflect the nature of the book, and accurately set the reader's expectations, rather than to expect that a low price equals more sales than a higher one.
     
  9. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

    1,837
    1,044
    163
    All of these answers are for people thinking of making money.

    Here is my experience: When I priced at $2.99, I don't recall the exact number, I sold X number of books. At my normal price in the same period of time, at $5.99, I sold X/2. In my time framed experiment, the income difference was zero. Huh. it was something damned close to 50/25. But here is another thing... when you promo down to $0.99 from $2.99... Pfft. So what. Future pricing, I want $2.99 to look like a bargain so I get the 70% Royalties, heh heh.

    Exposure via rankings... Less effective than you'd hope and believe (from my experience), at least in foreign markets where Eve of Snows has hit #1 in lots of categories (including Epic). Now, if you could hold #1 in a major category like Epic Fantasy for a month, sure! I'm certain that'd help. But, on Amazon you have to be a big time author OR in Kindle Unlimited to get that spot and stay there.

    Free books, IMO, no way in hell. If I'm going to give away a free book it'll be to select people, not general populace, and I do giveaway a book here and there to "Likes" on Facebook as a promo. I think authors, with the help of Amazon and other promoters, have seriously devalued their work. People shouldn't look at a well-reviewed, 500 page book, and think they should get it for $0.99. But lots of people do.

    I have one $0.99 novella because it's short, and pure profit, because I advertise Eve of Snows, not the following Bridge Novella, and I'm a pretty good editor, so no money spent there.

    Book 2 I have preorder at $6.99, and depending on length, I'll kick it to $7.99 post release. If book 3 is long enough, I'll kick to $8-9.99, but I wouldn't go any higher than the 9.99. That is my personal book buying price point where I go... hmmm. Although, if I'm into the series, $10 won't stop me. It's over $10 for a first book that makes me say no.

    If I went back in time I would not do TWO things: a Goodreads giveaway and Kindle Select. I might raise the base price to $6.99 so $2.99 is a 50% promo. I would've gotten my also boughts slower, but I would've promoted targeting authors I want associated with. I know for some people, having rows of also boughts stuffed with KU books instead of authors they recognize, hurts. Maybe only a little, but it still hurts. Also, it's damned near impossible to get a Bookbub while KU these days, from what I hear. I got the International Bookbub promo literally days after dropping KU.

    Okay, that was a ramble... LOL.
     
    FifthView and Devor like this.
  10. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    1,063
    671
    113
    I would love for that to be the case but it isn't imho.
     
  11. S.G Smith

    S.G Smith New Member

    4
    0
    1
    I have mine at a mid range price, 4.99, for a 440 page novel. I feel that is fair, but have thought about bringing it down a bit. The thing is, having 400+ pages, Amazon sets the minimum price for the printed version, which is textbook sized, but I make about the same amount, for either one, with the major cut Amazon takes on the printed book, so I tend to suggest the e book more online ;
     
  12. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

    1,837
    1,044
    163
    $4.99 isn’t bad IMO, but down from there? What then when you have a sale? Dropping from there will add what # in sales, enough to cover the price drop? I would only go lower when you have additional books in the series, then it can be your gateway drug, heh heh. but that’s just me. I’m sure everything is different for every book.

     
    S.G Smith likes this.
  13. S.G Smith

    S.G Smith New Member

    4
    0
    1
    Thank you. Yes, that is why I hesitate. Amazon has the printed at 16.00, which I do not like, and I believe hinders sales, but such is the price, literally, that I have to pay, for being able to get the book published.
    I feel strongly, with my unique literary approach, regarding some of my unusual writing influences, that my biggest hurdle, is that of effective, widespread promotion for the book
     
  14. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

    1,837
    1,044
    163
    Promotion is everybody's bugaboo... Bookbub for the win. Or at least for a shot at the win, LOL. People who want the paperback (for the most part) will pay it, don't sweat it. I have had to tell people that it's not a tiny mass market paperback I did Eve of Snows at 6x9, which is the same page size as many hardcovers. Which was convenient for laying out the hardcover too, LOL. Now, hardcover prices are batty, but people do pay them. Most of those go to face to face sales, however.

     
  15. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Article Team

    1,704
    881
    113
    I saw a friend's Bookbub move about 40,000 copies a few months ago. It was astounding.

    And yes, about half of our sales are in paperback. Sometimes Amazon puts the paperbacks on sale, but for the most part they're about $15.99 US. Since our third book is projected to be chunky we expect both the ebook and the paperback to be more. That way we have room for ebook promotions.
     
  16. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

    1,063
    671
    113
    I'm never going to get a Bookbub, so I haven't even tried. Not only is it too expensive, I've seen it take writers nowhere, too. Suppose it could go either way but Bookbub seems like nigh impossible. The cost though...it's really what irks me.
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  17. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

    1,837
    1,044
    163
    Yeah, without even looking I'm going to say the cost for a romance promo is nuts, LOL. I know historical fiction is berserk. Fantasy is bad, but considering the number of writers I've chatted with who credit a bookbub for giving them the extra juice to quit their real job and go full time writing... It's a gamble, but I'll take it if I can get it, LOL. The international did pretty well, basically break even for me, maybe a couple bucks profit. Bigger question will be if some word of mouth brews in those countries, more reviews come in, etc. For the most part, Eve of Snows has done pretty well in the UK, sometimes better than in the US, so we'll see.

     
  18. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Journeyman

    29
    9
    3
    I'm not sure what you consider high or low for an ebook. I recently increased the price of my ebooks from $3:99 to $4:99 and saw a slight increase in sales. But I don't sell a lot of books. I have no idea whether the small change was related to the price change—to be honest, that would seem strange to me.
     
Loading...

Share This Page