Today, I want to talk about pricing.
Pricing is, after marketing (or rather, before) one of the most complicated aspects of self-publishing as an e-book.
What price do I think is the right price? What price will perfect strangers and potential readers think is the right price?
Here's how I went about it. First, it makes sense to me that the price would be less than that of a paperback. Now, I accept that others may feel differently, but to me a physical copy of the book has a higher customer value than an electronic copy. So, using that logic, that gives us a ceiling of about $10.
But where's the floor? There has been a trend of $0.99 e-books. That's the same price as a song on i-tunes. A song takes about 3 minutes to listen to. I estimate my book will take at least 4 hours to read. Never mind the 9+ months to write. I just can't bear to price my baby at $0.99.
Now, Amazon's royalty structure comes in to play. Amazon lets you choose between 35% and 70% royalties. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Except to get the 70%, your book has to be priced above $2.99.
Which now gives me a floor. I have $7 to play with. One price to pick. It's like pin the tail on the donkey.
In the US, a grande latte from Starbucks costs $3.29. So this is the kind of price many people are willing to pay "on a whim", and rather regularly. Seems like a good as way as any to pick a book price.
So I picked $3.49. A foamy whisker above the price of a latte. I like it. I feel good.
Until I realize that I did that all for nothing.
I think (but I cannot confirm) that In the Past Imperfect costs $3.49 in the US. But I don't live in the US. Nor do most of the people I know. And outside the US, e-books cost basically whatever Amazon feels like making them cost. Case in point: Switzerland. Where the book costs a whopping (and random) $6.31.
And not just that, but for all sales outside the US, the applicable royalty rate is.... 35%.