Testing out e-book prices to get the right one

Amazon_Kindle_3Last week, I talked about pricing physical copies of your books. That is going to seem easy compared to pricing e-books. Book pricing can be compared to sailing a boat. Physical books are like cruise ships. You set your course and go. If you need to turn, it takes some time and planning. E-books are like sailboats. You are always trying to catch the wind to keep moving forward.

Occasionally, you will find e-books that are priced like physical books. The two instances I have seen this happens is 1) pre-releases that haven’t set their real e-book price and 2) academic books with a limited audience.

This is a pricing strategy that doesn’t work because e-books aren’t physical books. Because there are no production costs involved with e-books, they should be priced lower than physical books. It’s also a matter of perception. Readers can see they don’t have a book in hand that can be traded and sold, and because of that, they expect it to be cheaper.

As an author, you are paid higher royalty percentages. Amazon Kindle pays a 70 percent e-book royalty minus a small delivery charge for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. I get $2.04 for each $2.99 Kindle book I sell (.7 x $2.99 = $2.09 – .05). That is roughly the same royalty a mainstream author gets for a $20 or $21 physical book.

So here are some things I have gleaned from e-book pricing:

  • Non-fiction books are generally priced higher than fiction.
  • To get Kindle’s 70 percent royalty, books need to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99.
  • Other e-book retailers also have a “sweet spot” for pricing where you can earn a higher royalty percentage.
  • Kindle books priced under $2.99 or above $9.99 are paid a 35 percent royalty.
  • Amazon Prime members can read Books in Kindle Unlimited free. Authors are paid a page rate that changes from month to month.

Here’s how I generally price my e-books.

  • Free – I had tried permafree books but have moved away from it. I still use free pricing for short promotions, generally for the first book in a series.
  • $0.99 to $1.99 – This is what I regularly price my short works (short stories, novella, small collections). I also use this a promotional pricing for my novels.
  • $2.99 to $4.99 – This is my price for a first book in a series.
  • $5.99 to $6.99 – I will price my older novels at this level.
  • $7.99 to $8.99 – This is my regular price for new novels and many non-fiction books.
  • $9.99 + – I try to price my boxed sets at $9.99 to stay in the sweet spot, but on occasion, I may try higher pricing.

The beauty of e-book pricing is that you can change it within a few hours. This makes it easy to run limited-time promotions or to experiment with price changes to see what price works the best for you to maximize sales and profit.

So experiment a bit with your e-book pricing. My guidelines are based on what works best for me and my readers. However, I also continue to try new pricing strategies from time to time and evaluate how it works for me. You can start with my guidelines and move your prices up and down based on the results that you get.

Here’s the post from last week:

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One Response to Testing out e-book prices to get the right one

  1. Pingback: What I learn teaching | The Gettysburg Writers Brigade

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