Kindle ebooks pricing: May 2014 update
This post is getting views because pricing is a hot topic, so two years after I wrote the original post, let’s look at ebook pricing again. My views haven’t changed. However, we’ve got new elements in the ebook marketplace in fiction — serials, and bundles. On with the post, then more on serials and bundles below.
My opinion is always: charge what you like. Don’t concern yourself with what others are doing. Your stuff will either sell at the prices you set, or it won’t. If it doesn’t, you can change it.
If you’re “selling” your ebook for free, realize that you’re not getting buyers, you’re getting people who download stuff.
Try to figure out WHO your market is, and how to appeal to them.
I like this post from Zoe Winters, Ebook Pricing: Or… Where Zoe Says Something About Publishing « Zoe Winters, Paranormal Romance Author, she says:
“Some are inordinately worried about 99 cent and free ebooks glutting the market and forcing us all to price our books in the toilet. But what you need to understand is… there isn’t ONE market. There are many markets. Not just in genre but in price. It’s hard to fully process this if you are in one market and can’t understand that not everybody else thinks like you.”
Golden words: “there are many markets.”
You just need to find your market.
* It will take you more than one book to locate your market;
* Conditions are constantly changing;
* You need to focus on writing good books, and building your readership;
* You need to experiment. What works for others may not work for you;
* You’re in charge of what you do, no one else.
Over the past six months, the big publishers have been experimenting with ebook pricing. (2014 note — 2 years later, they’re still experimenting.)
You can do the same. I get the giggles when I see an ebook published by a major publisher which was priced at $6.39 now priced at $12.99, but c’est la vie. I won’t buy the ebook. I’ll nip to my local bookstore to buy the print version which is cheaper, if I really want the book.
(More likely I’ll wait until the publisher’s experiment stops, and get the ebook for the $6.39 I was prepared to pay, but I digress.)
Here’s a tip: stop taking everything so seriously. You charge what you charge. Run some experiments. See how many ebooks you sell at a price point. You need your own data, so get it.
Stand up for yourself on pricing. No one else can do it for you. Be bold, be brave. 🙂
2014 update: serials and bundles
Serials are big now (May 2014.) I’ve seen some authors selling episodes (parts?) at 99 cents each. Then bundling the issues at $4.99 when the serial is complete. Other authors charge $2.99 per episode, and then make the first episode permanently free once they’ve written three or four episodes.
Look at what other authors are doing in your genre. However, don’t feel that because they do something, you have to follow along. Who knows? Maybe they’re wrong. Everyone experiments.
An idea: the first episode is a free download on YOUR website
I’ve talked about building your mailing list. Making first episodes free on your own website is a great way to do this. BUT — beware Amazon. If you read the TOS for KDP, there’s something about not pricing lower elsewhere for substantially the same product.
So, either remove the first episode from Amazon (add the download instructions with a link to your website to the back matter of the rest of the serial episodes), or write a prequel, or similar, which is exclusive to your own website.
In a nutshell: everyone is experimenting with prices. You should too. If someone wants to buy an ebook, the $2.99 or $5.99 price won’t deter them.
Take the long view — look after your readers
Look after your readers. Follow your intuition, and then watch your numbers. If you always keep your readers in mind, and write the best you can at this stage in your career, you’re on the right track. 🙂
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