Day 14

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%.



  1. You might be the one who gets me into reading e-books. In order to get a bigger scoop for this 'book-baby' of yours you might want to get on Twitter. I come across quite some young writing talents out there. On top of that is your book Jane Austen inspired and for example Elizabeth Eulberg does promote her newest release 'Prom&Prejudice' by this way. Seems to work for her:I did order her book because of the many links she shot at me and the reviews I got to read. Don't worry I want to buy yours as well! I will for sure because I am a true Janeites and those want to get their hands on everything where there is a connection to be found. Congrats once more and also very nice that you share your experiences in such a way like this!

  2. Isa - There is a facebook Kindle Book Club. Get on there, and I suggest, instead of just saying "read my book please" like the pleb authors, maybe say you will discuss it and so on... offer something more.

    On pricing... Forget about Europe, the pricing is prb all linked into their 3G costs, as Amazon pay the internet charges. Doesn't matter though. Your friends might be in Europe, but if your ambition is to sell to your friends, and their friends, then I reckon thats limited. The reality is that the biggest market, and biggest pool of users is in the US. There must be some online groups for US bods, where you can plug the book. Connecting to a handful of people unconnected to you is going to be way more satisfying thatn selling 100 books to your friends surely? And there is no rush... the book is out there, it will remain so. Let it fly a bit. Too much too soon aimed at people you know, might alienate them?