Archive for June 6th, 2012

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 by Bob Mayer
eBook Pricing: How Low Can You Go and Does It Make a Difference?

How low?  There’s always free.  But one thing I’ve learned as a consultant is that many people don’t respect things they get for free.  However, the ability to go free for five days has many authors flocking to Kindle Select.

Does it make a difference?  Here’s our experience:  We were selling about 10 copies of the first book in our Atlantis series a day at $2.99.  Then we dropped the price to .99 just a couple of days ago.  Then we started selling over 200 copies a day and it hit the top 20 in Science Fiction on Amazon.

That’s a big difference.

It’s not just the pricing.  We’re doing other things to promote the book, particularly being active on social media, but there’s no doubt the pricing had the largest role.

When you drop pricing below $2.99, you drop from 70% royalty to 35% royalty, which kind of sucks, but even then, I’m not making that much less than I make on a sale of a mass market paperback book.

I don’t believe all eBooks should be .99 and it’s more a promotional thing than anything.  Lisa Gardner hit #1 with a .99 eBook in the NY Times.  There are five more books in the Atlantis series and they’re all between $2.99 and $4.99.

Our goal, which we’re achieving is to get more readers.

In the long run though, I’m slowly increasing prices across the board.  I think we’ve had a sort of race to the bottom and readers have grown leery of the “good deals” in terms of quality.

There is no doubt there are still plenty of readers who are trolling for free and .99, but I believe we seeing a reverse, where readers are focusing on quality over price, especially since we’re talking a few dollars:  less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Yesterday at Book Expo America I talked with a representative from Barnes and Noble and they’re leery of following the ‘free’ route for eBooks because they also see it as a potential race to the bottom.  In the beginning Kindle Select worked well, but in just six months we’ve seen a flattening out with the effect when the book comes back off free.  It used to rise quickly onto a bestseller list; now the rise isn’t so quick or high.  The market is becoming saturated.

I believe we will see further changes as publishers and authors learn and adapt.