By Taylor Coil

Pricing an eBook takes more thought than slapping a number into Amazon and watching sales skyrocket. There are essentially three factors to think about when discussing ebook prices:

  1. Perception of value
  2. Number of units that will sell at set price
  3. Revenue earned per unit at set price

Let’s look into all three.

1. Perception of value

When we talk about perception of value, we’re talking about how the consumer (or reader) percieves the value of your book based on the price that is set. We’re not talking about how highly YOU (the author) value your book – because that’s obviously a lot (or should be).

The average price of the top 20 paid eBooks on Amazon right now (September 25th) is $7.92, the cheapest book being $0.99 and the most expensive being $19.99. It seems that NYT bestsellers are consistently priced between $7.99 and $12.99 on Amazon. Logically, books priced in that range would have the same percieved value as those NYT bestsellers. But that’s not the full picture.

2. Number of units that will sell at a set price

The biggest problem with price-matching your book to a NYT bestseller? You’re going to price out a bunch of would-be readers. NYT bestsellers will sell a lot of units at $7.99 because there’s tons of buzz surrounding the book and people are clamboring to read them (hence ‘bestsellers’). Doesn’t matter if INFERNO is $2.99 or $12.99: a lot of people are going to buy it.

Not the case with an author trying to get a bunch of new readers without the buzz that comes with huge bestsellers. Purchasing decisions for books that a reader hasn’t heard of are more about price than for a book with a ton of buzz. Unfortunate, but true.

3. Revenue earned per unit at a set price

This is the most confusing part of pricing an eBook. Self publishing platforms have different royalty percentages, not to mention Amazon’s royalty schedule. You’ll earn a 35% royalty on Amazon for books priced below $2.99. You’ll also sell more books, because $0.99 isn’t much of a gamble from the reader’s perspective. If they don’t like the book – eh, they’re out a buck.

So what’s the sweet spot?

We’re going to agree with Catherine Ryan Howard and say $2.99. As Catherine puts it:

At 99c, you make a 35% royalty, or about 35c. That means you’d have to sell around 286 copies to make $100.

At $2.99, you make a 70% royalty, or about $2.09. That means you’d have to sell around 48 copies to make $100.

$2.99 isn’t so expensive that lots of would-be readers won’t try it. It’s not too cheap to significantly lower the percieved value of your book. And you hit the sweet spot of the 70% royalty. Plus, you qualify for a Bargain Booksy Feature at $2.99.

Authors, do you agree? Does $2.99 work for you?

About the Author

tdc social media picture 100x100Taylor is our Marketing Manager. She loves reading dystopians, depressing books, and any tome remotely related to food. You probably can’t beat her in Harry Potter trivia, but you can try if you enjoy failure.



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