The great e-book pricing debate

One of the hardest things about publishing my first novel, ‘Evershades’, was deciding what price the e-book should sell at.

As an independent author using CreateSpace to publish the paperback version of my book, it wasn’t hard to determine a price because the print costs basically dictated what it had to be if I wanted to earn any royalties. Publising the e-book edition through Kindle Direct Publishing was another matter altogether. How do you price an item that costs nothing to make?

The first thought was to price at the lowest level of US$0.99. I thought that making it ‘cheap as chips’ would attract the largest possible audience, such as those looking for something to read on the train or airplane who were willing to take a chance on not having heard of the author before. However, as my wife pointed out after having a look at the listings of e-books already in that category, would the $0.99 price tag make people think that the content wasn’t actually good enough to be priced higher?

I read a few blog posts and articles on various websites which suggested that an e-book the length of ‘Evershades’ could be priced at $2.99 or even higher. That sounded good to me as pricing at that level would let me earn KDP’s highest royalty percentage. But then again, if I put myself in the shoes of a potential reader, would I be willing to risk $2.99 or more on an e-book written by an unknown when I could go to the supermarket and buy a cheap paperback for the same price? Unless I was purely dedicated to e-book purchasing over building a physical library of hard copies, the answer was probably not.

In the end, after much debating in the household, $1.49 was decided upon as being a comfortable position at which my e-book might not look ‘too’ cheap, but at which it could also be construed as being worth a gamble without wasting money that could be more gainfully used.

So far the e-book has been the more popular choice for those that have purchased ‘Evershades’, but I will admit that not as many copies have sold as I would like. From that you can correctly presume that I am not writing this blog post from a tropical beach with a large cocktail sitting on a table next to me. Oh well.

I would be very interested to hear if others have had the same problem with deciding on the pricing of their own e-book, and whether the amount you settled on is working for you. If you are sitting on the tropical beach because you got it right, let me know.

Evershades © Dale Spiller 2013

Evershades’ is a fiction novel. Suitable for ages 18+, it is available as a paperback or an e-book for Kindle, Apple iPad and Apple iPhone.

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