High or Low? How should you price your e-book?


If you’ve been following the DOJ lawsuit against Apple and several big publishing companies, it may have gotten you thinking about the pricing of your own e-books.

If some of the major publishing houses are allegedly trying to raise their e-book prices, should you raise yours as well? Would they sell? What are people willing to pay for an indie published book?  Should I lower my price to be more appealing to those who are disgusted by what Apple and other publishing houses are accused of doing?

These are all questions you have to answer for yourself, but take the time to do some research and ask around. In fact, come back to this blog on Thursday and I’ll have some data for you (help take part in adding to that data by answering this quick 10 question survey)!

Some opinions of mine:

– No full length novel should have a permanent price of $0.99.  I *KNOW* the kind of work that goes into writing and editing and formatting a novel. Your work is worth so much more than barely a dollar. I think it’s perfectly acceptable for a short story or as a short term sale price.  Don’t sell yourself short.  For some extra insight, read this article about the DOJ lawsuit paying special attention to the last two paragraphs.

– Don’t be afraid to put things on sale or change your price permanently. Things are changing and people are willing to pay more than you might think for an indie published book.

– If you’re working on a series, there’s nothing wrong with pricing the books differently. Perhaps you make the first book cheaper to entice and hook the reader and then raise the price on the following books. I often find subsequent books in a series are longer as well so that’s another reason to consider raising the price.

– Keep an eye on other books in your genre. See what the pricing trend is and consider following it. Remember if someone buys one “vampire” book for $4.99 then they’re likely to be willing to spend the same amount on other “vampire” books.


10 responses »

  1. Been wondering if I should up the price of my book a little. A lot of other authors I’ve noticed have gotten away from the $2.99 mark. I’m just not sure because, personally, I’ll pick a $2.99 book over a $4.99 book. Maybe if money wasn’t an issue for me, but it is and I can’t get all the books I want. *sniff*

  2. Thanks for this. I’m trying to figure out my pricing on my indie book release in a couple weeks and while it’s a pretty lengthy book, I’m worried because it’s indie I should stick to $0.99. My initial reaction was to push it at 1.99 but I’m almost worried it won’t entice readers to buy it. Eek! Looking forward to reading about your survey!

    • I’ll tell you, my first book is out there for $3.99. I just could not bring myself to sell it for 0.99. Have I had amazing sales? No, but I’ve had decent sales (especially since changing over to Amazon’s KDP program) and I’ve had pretty consistent sales.

      Honestly? Do enough PR and find a way to get people to review it for you and I think readers will be willing to pay a lot more. They will want to know what the hype is about!

      Also, look around. You’ll see that 0.99 and even 1.99 isn’t so common these days unless something is short or on sale.

      • That’s a good thing to keep in mind (the good PR/word of mouth, I mean). I don’t think I’ll price it any higher than 1.99, but it’s good to know that other people have these issues, too. For 356 pages, I feel like they’re getting their money’s worth at least, you know? Thanks!

  3. All my short stories are 99 cents (because they are short stories and I don’t think I need to make more on them) and my YA novel is $2.99 (had it at $3.99 but dropped it down to $2.99 as i’m not really having any sales of it). The few sales I’ve seen on my short stories haven’t amounted to anything worth writing home about but I’m cool with it because they are short stories. The novel I’m working on now will probably be listed at $3.99 because it will be longer than my YA.

    Even not on KDP select sales are not very high for me, but maybe I’ll get there one day. I’m not renewing my short stories in the KDP select program due to not seeing stellar sales on anything. I just ran all three stories for free last Friday and as of checking my report within the last few minutes, I’ve gained like 3 sales overall (all countries).on two of the titles. Maybe going back to smashwords and nook will help – but only time will tell.

    I don’t believe any ebook is worth over $4.99 and there are a few on my wish list that are over that but I can’t see paying that much for any book that doesn’t involve overhead costs.

    Just my 2cents worth – E 🙂

    Elysabeth Eldering
    Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
    “The Proposal” (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance 2nd place winning ebook
    “The Tulip Kiss, a paranormal romance 1st place winning ebook
    “Bride-and-Seek”, a paranormal romance ebook

  4. Pricing of ebooks seems to be a complex issue. Personally, I agree with you and do not think full-length novels should be priced at £0.99 (or 99c). I’m writing a series and I’ve published two short story prequels. One is free (under 4000 words), the other is £0.99 (under 15,000 words). I’m planning to price Book 1, when it’s published, at £2.99 and sticking with that pricing.

    • I think you’ll find that probably works well for you. People will like that there are free & “cheap” prequels. It’s a good way to get people interested and wanting to buy more without them having to take a “major” monetary risk in the beginning. Good luck!

  5. I’ve just upped the price of my novels from $3.99 to $4.99 and not seen any reduction in sales. I price shorts at $0.99 and collections and novellas at $2.99. I think I’ll stick at those prices now, I wouldn’t want to push them any higher. I do also offer the first book of my series, together with a short story prequel as free now and that’s been the best marketing tool I’ve ever used!

    • Glad that has been working well for you! Once I get the sequel to Near Death done and up on Amazon, I will probably do several free days so people can get the first book for free hopefully prompting them to pick up the sequel! 😀

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