Monday, October 31, 2011

How Much Should An eBook Cost? Part #1

How Much Should An eBook Cost? Part #1

This is a big topic in the writing world. Most readers are open to paying a higher price if it is a well known author, but who does not want a cheap eBook?

I will take a short amount of time over a few posts to talk about eBook pricing in the fiction world and also in the non-fiction world.

First, we need to look at how we SHOULD look at eBooks and price/value. To think of a paperback as a per unit price/value is fine. But to take your value as an author with a per unit price for an eBook, is just silly.

The Big 6 want us to believe that price=quality. But the low priced books, (Indie or not) have shown that this is not the case. Price=Price. I say that if you have a high priced eBook you are greedy and a mean person, or maybe just hate puppies and little children. This is the truth of the matter, if you are a big publisher and have high priced eBooks you are ripping off the readers.

The Big 6 say we have low quality and I say they are greedy. eBooks are cheap, they do not cost a lot to put online and take little to maintain or manage. Where is the cost? Anyway... I could go on and on about this and we will explore it later. What should an eBook cost? As a Indie what should you price yours at and is there a better way of doing things?

Here is what you want.

Highest number of units sold:

Highest return:

If one has to give way to the other, you are doing it wrong. In the eBook world it is monthly return, not a per unit price. Look at how much you make per book per month. Not what you make per sale.

It is all about Volume baby!

So you want to price your eBook at the highest price, and still reach the most people. With some books this is 9.99 and with others it is .99.

If you reach 1000 people a month at 2.99 but can make more money at 4.99 and only reach 500 people, drop it back to 2.99. It is not about the money, (that will come later,) it is about building fans. So, if your reach more people every month, and your numbers stay the same or go up, you are in a good price per person rate.

Now if you have a book that is dropping in numbers,(Ranking or number of copies sold each month) mess with the numbers until you can stop the bleeding. The goal is to keep your book sales and numbers up.

I will give you an example. One of my books I priced at 8.99. I sold about 200 copies a month. I dropped it down to 2.99 and now sell 400-600 a month, I do not make that much more, if any, but I reach more people. Now, I have tried to sell this title at .99 and at that price, still only sell 600 or less. So I found my sweet spot, 2.99 reaches the most people and makes me the most money. I would make a little more at 8.99 but would have to give up the people.

Again, remember that to figure out your value as a writer with eBooks, it is not about the price of the book, but the monthly income. If Stephen King sold 100k eBooks at 14.99 the big publishers see that as a win. But if he would do it the way I am telling you here, he could sell 1 million eBooks at a lower price and make more money and reach more people. There is no loser except for the big publisher.

For any of you out there that still think I am giving away all my value as an author, that I am short selling my work, well... I say, are you full time? Do you want a good monthly income or do you want to sell a few books at a higher price to keep your pride intact? After all, that is what this is... pride, you want to think that you are WORTH a good high per book price, so will you let your own pride stand in the way of your own success? Because once you EARN the right, you like SK and other bestsellers can get a higher price as the fans will pay it.

We new authors, the Indie people have to build a fan base first, after that we can do more as we will have the fans to carry it all... and we will talk about will they pay more once they are used to the low price later...

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. All I can say is my $3.99 books do quite well, but sales for my $0.99 books are abysmal!

  2. Aaron, I'm doing better each month at $2.99 each for four books, but have a publisher who insists on pricing one of my books so high no one is buying it. I like your reaction to that. Wish they could see the truth of sales versus readers reached.