Sunday, July 11, 2010

E-book prices are a funny thing

Last year when I first began uploading e-books up to Amazon for sale on the Kindle, I had no clue as what kind of prices to place on my e-books. As I would be an unknown author for nearly everyone who might purchase my e-books, my thinking was that I should go as cheap as possible. I fudged around with some pricing for a while, but eventually I settled on a price of about a dollar.

Now my e-books are beginning to sell somewhat. No, I'm not rich, but the sales are mounting and I'm bringing home enough money to help pay the bills.

City of Rogues (Book I of The Kobalos Trilogy)The funny thing is I keep running across comments online from people who have read my first fantasy novel, City of Rogues, or I keep getting e-mails from first-time readers who say the same thing: They almost skipped reading my e-books because they believed the cheap price meant the books weren't any good, but they were happy they took a chance on my material.

This is flattering, of course. But there's also a part of me that has to wonder how many readers were turned off from my e-books because of the low prices.

Right now Amazon is running a sale on my e-books (as well as those of other writers), and most of my available e-books are going for the low, low price of 79 cents. I'm glad the readers are getting a deal while I still make the same amount of money from sales.

But if the cheap price is a turn-off for some readers, should I consider raising my prices?

I have several short story collections and a couple of screenplays available for the Kindle, and those I'll keep at about a dollar. Those were short projects and don't offer potential readers the depth and reading experience of a novel.

But I have to wonder if I should raise the prices of my novels?

Another issue is earnings. Amazon now pays a higher percentage of earnings to authors who charge at least $2.99 for their e-books. So, since I'm not charging that rate, my percentage of earnings for each book is lower.

So, should I raise my prices? Maybe to $2.99 per novel? Or maybe keep the cheap rate for the first novel in my fantasy trilogy, but $2.99 for the second and third books?

I'd really like to hear others' opinions, so don't be afraid to speak up, especially if you've read any of my e-books or even my other writings.


Anonymous said...

I had a big long post written, but when i submitted it, it said I had to sign into wordpress, then I lost everything I had written. *sighs*

Anyway, I won't buy anything from an unknown author for more than .99 to 1.99. In fact, since I can't really afford it (because I buy so many books!), I won't pay more than that, usually, for any book. (There may be some exceptions.) Some people are only going to take a chance if your books are cheap. Some people won't buy them because they are cheap. Which type of person is in the majority? Who knows? When Amazon discounted one of my books to .79, I sold 6 times more books than I had the month before. Obviously, there are a LOT of readers who will take a chance on cheap novels. I had two that would barely sell at all, then when I lowered the price, sales started coming in. I figure 35% of .99 is a lot more when you sell a thousand books than 35%(or 70%)if you only sell a hundred.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say 35% (or 70%) of 2.99 if you only sell a hundred. LOL

von Darkmoor said...

Anybody buying Books 2 or 3 without buying 1? I don't think many are, so I'd bump up Books 2 & 3 to the bottom of the price range that gets you a higher royalty. Leave Book 1 and the collections where you've got them.

As for new titles yet to come, I'd lean toward the lowest price of the best royalty rate.

Ty Johnston said...

Lauralynn, hanks for the advice. I'll just keep working with the numbers to see what works best for the readers and myself.

Jason, I'm going to bump up book 3 to $2.99 and see how that affects sales. I'd estimate that about two-thirds of those who buy book 1 also buy the others, but not always. Actually, it's kind of nice when book 1 sells by itself and then a few days later there are some individual sales of books 2 and 3; that tells me some readers like the first one enough to follow up.

Ty Johnston said...

Funny thing happened today. Because authors can't sell books on Amazon for a price cheaper than the books are listed elsewhere, I upped the price of all 3 books in my fantasy trilogy to $2.99 each over at Smashwords.

I didn't think it was a big deal because I hadn't sold a book at Smashwords in at least a month.

This morning I wake up and find I'd sold 3 books at Smashwords.

Readers, can't figger 'em out sometimes.

Aktunka said...

I just picked up a Kindle and it was the low price that convinced me to pick up your books. As you said, you are not a well known author at this time, but I was looking for some fantasy on the Kindle that wouldn't cost me more than it costs for the real book. I looked at the price of yours, which was very reasonable at only 79 cents. I read the sample and was intrigued, so I went ahead and bought all three of the books from the Kobalos trilogy.

I think that what von Darkmoor suggests might not be a bad idea for Amazon. But then again, maybe I am the crazy one. The low price attracted me (although that might just be because this was my first ever Kindle purchase), but I have found nothing wrong with the books so far. Enjoying them a lot.