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Should I become what I beheld?


Myth Weaver
I have many, many pet peeves. One of those is gas prices. $3.89.9. Really? Bad enough that it's not $3.90, but the extra .1 cents?

I see it as an insult to the customer's intelligence.

Problem is that book prices are the same. If the book is worth 3 bucks, just charge me three bucks instead of trying to fool me by pricing it at $2.99.

But I also feel that Michael Sullivan's advice to make your self published book as similar as possible to traditionally published is good.

Do I sacrifice my principles for the almighty buck?
Well there are psychological reasons for the 2.99 structure and some historical tax reasons. Same for the 9/10ths of a cent function. Governments taxed each gallon a gas by 3/10ths of a percent. So state and federal ate up 6/10ths of a cent and to avoid eating the whole cost gas companies added in the cost plus a small fee of their own creating the 9/10ths thing. This seems weird today but back when gas was 15¢ a gallon it made more sense.

So yes do the annoying thing. It makes sense from a historical and psychological standpoint. And one should strive to be as professional looking as possible down to the last tenth of a cent.


Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Gas prices are a different beast. But most items are listed at #.99 for a reason, and it's not to convince you that it's under ten dollars when it's basically ten dollars. That's a myth.

The truth is a little weirder than that.

When you list the price as $9.99, people automatically round up to $10. That's normal. But if you list the price at $10, people automatically wonder "How much did they round up to get to an even $10?" That extra mental step of rounding up to the dollar keeps you from taking the step of challenging the nice round even numbers in the price.

You can decide your own principles from there. But yes, the fractional dollar makes a big difference.

Philip Overby

Article Team
If you price your book at $3, you're doing one of two things:

1. You're making yourself stand out amongst other authors in a good way

2. You're bringing undue attention to a price instead of your book

This is something I've noticed with big publishers selling e-books for 15.99 or something like that. While it's no fault of the author, I have seen a lot of backlash about pricing. So instead of people focusing on the book itself, they're worried about the price. So my two cents (that makes the price 3.01 now) is to try to blend in with what the rest of the industry is doing and allow your novel to stand out the way it's supposed to.


I totally know how you feel. I am the same. I HATE the whole .99 or .98 phenomenon. It doesn't fool me. I always instantly round prices up. But...

The unfortunate truth is that, as Brian says above, it DOES affect most consumers. If you go against the flow you're going to be putting yourself at a serious disadvantage compared to every other offering. It's not about being similar to traditional publishing. (And as time goes on that's going to matter less and less anyway.) It's about time tested marketing strategies that WORK. .99 works, as sad as that is. There's no sense in going against it.


toujours gai, archie
>Do I sacrifice my principles for the almighty buck?

Oh how I wish I could draw. I'm thinking Principal Skinner and a large deer.

But to answer the question: yes. I have tried shopping my principles on Ebay and it turns out they aren't worth much anyway.


Myth Weaver
I honestly don't think I've seen this many people in a row agree on a subject with nary a contrary opinion...