For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers
I’ve been reading a lot of threads lately about Amazon and Kindle and how Amazon is changing the algorithms to promote books that are more expensive. It makes good business sense if you think about it. You need to sell five ninety-nine cent books or just one five dollar book. If you put equal amount of promotion into each book, naturally the five dollar book will make more money if both books benefit equally from the same amount of promotion. Make sense? There is also the ‘perceived value’ aspect of book buying. People will eagerly download free books because, well, they’re free. It doesn’t matter if they’re terrible. But I think people who download a ninety-nine cent book opposed to a five dollar book will have the preconceived notion that the five dollar book will be better and the ninety-nine cent book may have some flaws. So, on January 1st 2013 I will be raising the price of my books to $2.99 each. I believe my novels are worth the price since they’ve all been through the ringer professionally, gotten great reviews, and have been edited by some of the best in the business. Check out the free sample chapters on Amazon.
I've been yammering about ebook pricing for a while (most recently in my "News and Notices..." on my blog). Here's my take: Anyone who gives his book away now (i.e. after the Amazon algorithm changes take away the incentive) or sells it for less than $2.99 is either stating his book is crap or seriously undervaluing all his hard, creative work. So your action is the correct one. Moreover, $2.99-$5.99 seems to be the golden spot in pricing. I figure in how hard it was to write the book, whether it's been serialized on my website (Evil Agenda, for example), whether it's a second edition (Full Medical), how many words long, and the genre (The Secret Lab is at $0.99 because it's a YA sci-fi thriller and young adults have that kind of cash setting around). For my books with Infinity and Xlibris, I accepted their pricing (with hindsight, nowadays I would change that). Good luck with your books.
I could be wrong, but my take on pricing is that there are two separate tribes of readers; electronic readers and book in the hand readers. E-readers want books cheap or free. Book in the hand readers hang out at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores drinking coffee and reading books for free, but will occasionally pop for a hard cover or paperback on sale. Others cannot travel or go for an extended vacation without at least two books in hand. I charge .99 for e-books (I have 21 of them) and for paperbacks 9.99 or 14.95 and I get better sales with my paper books lol. Most of my books are for teacher lesson plans in various disciplines and it makes more sense for them to download the cheap .99 file, but they buy the books (or the school or school library) buys them. Some of this doesn't make sense to me, but, hey, it's their nickel.
Arthur H Tafero
Professor of Strategic Management
Jimei University, PRC