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.99, 2.99 or Higher: The Pricing of an E-Book

I know there is lot of controversy about this, but I wanted to open up a discussion about e-book pricing. However, with the success of Darcie Chan, who sold 400,00 copies after she lowered her price to .99 cents, I wanted to see what success or failure anyone else has had.

What is the price of your e book? Why did you choose that price? Have you ever raised it or dropped it? What was the result? 

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I am initially pricing my e-book at $8.55 for download only from my website (partially because I'm unsure where else I can sell it from). It seemed like a fair price, being a few dollars above my printing cost, and it's not too high or too low. We'll see how it does.

I don't understand the logic behind selling for .99 cents. The customer is buying it because it's cheap, not because of any perceived value. 

Thanks for your response!

I don't have a problem with selling it at .99 cents. If I take any successful author that I know and love, and I see one of her/his books for .99 cents, I will buy it without a thought. If I see it for more than $7.00, even if I love the author, I will hesitate and probably wait. Maybe I'm a keepsake. :)

As a new author, I'm asking readers to take a risk. I've read so many new authors that I didn't like. If I put out $9.99 for something I didn't like, I would be upset...which is one reason why I tend to get books for new authors from the library before I buy it.

Lowering the cost lowers the risk for the reader.

I have encouraged my author clients to offer their book at .99 for a certain time frame in conjunction with an on line "launch".  Several clients have had .99 cent sales figures of over 40,000 units!  When you combine the sale price with a limited amount of time and strong online promotion, your book can reach tens of thousands of readers who would never buy it otherwise.  they would not consider buying a new author at $9, but 99 cents?  SURE!

Nothing sells a book like a book.  Get your book into as many hands a possible.  The perceived value is a non-issue if the book develops a word of mouth success at full price later.  And 20 people buying the book at full price vs. 200 buying it at 10% of standard retail gives you SO much more exposure!

Very good point. My problem is the "strong online promotion" bit. I'm still trying to figure out how to reach potential readers, something that is a bigger challenge for Fantasy Fiction it seems.

Why do you think it's a bigger challenge for Fantasy fiction? Just curious...

Well, going by "conventional wisdom," fiction is a story-driven market, whereas non-fiction is more about people's interests. For example, if you are an expert (or even perceived expert) in a given subject, it is easier to promote a book on a specific subject to people with specific interests. If someone wants to read about Gulf War survivors, or managing your finances, or planting flowers, it's much easier to find and reach that market.

Fantasy Fiction, on the other hand, does not so easily recommend itself to such direct targeting. The sheer number of stories that involve kingdoms, wizards, dragons, knights and damsels (mine included) can make it hard to stand out. Many authors either choose to do something really outlandish and original, or latch on to a tried and true popular trend which creates little niche markets within the genre (i.e. urban fantasy, cyber punk, steam punk, supernatural romance, etc.)

No one is really perceived as a "foremost authority" in fantasy fiction (for marketing purposes) unless they've already sold millions of copies.

Good point. However, the same could be said for romance, mystery, and other genres. Thanks for responding.

Yeah, true. I just focus on that because it's what I'm writing and what I read the most.

Me, too. And there does seem to be a lot of bad fantasy fiction out there. Maybe that's what makes our row harder to hoe. :)

For me, I believe any where between say, $ 7.99 and $ 31.99 is ebook's best pricing. Any pricing < $ 7.99 is seen as low value and not worth the effort. The buyer's thought is that if he performs a Google search, there's a higher chance of finding the same product for free. Less that 17.99, the thinking is that the product is worth buying b'coz it has something of high value that solves an immediate problem. Less or equal to $ 31.99, the buyers think the ebook has to be more valuable and justifiable to be bought and included in one's budget.

Though, this is just a guide I follow, there are various factors that one should also consider e.g. demographics (e.g. an eBook such Natural Healthy Foods; Africa's Dishes is priced differently on our platform, click here, compared to the selling it on Amazon, click here).

When you find the perfect price point, let me know :)  I chose $3.99 to mitigate risk from a newly released title, yet try to avoid the appearance of something 'too cheap' and 'if it's not worth paying for, it's not worth reading.'

I suspect a good price point also depends on fiction vs. nonfiction, entertainment vs. instructional, etc.  

My initial plan was to set it around what I would get from my print book ($17.99) minus the printing costs, and adjusted down for the market. I came out to around $5-8.

The audio format however, will be priced up around $20+ because of all the extra work and investment that went into it.


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