Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How much should you sell your ebook for?

As we scribists get closer to production time on our ebook anthology experiment, questions like this are plaguing us.

Unlike the big publishing houses, and physical-copy self publishers, we don't have to pay for the substantial existence of something: paper and warehousing/distribution. So we know we don't have to charge the $9.99 or so that you are still seeing out there. This item has been left out off most of the pro epub articles I've read lately.

We were thinking a little more like these guys. Another blog using J. A. Konrath as an ebook reference-his name is popping up everywhere-even here.

The message from the technium is clear. With the tipping point upon us, more and more people are going to sell ebooks at dirt cheap prices. I've seen some people cite the strategy to "sell" their ebooks free for about a month on the kindle store to make it on the top 100 list and then start charging for it once it has the visibility.

Many have pointed out that selling ebooks for dirt cheap isn't much better than contracting with a major publisher (keep in mind there wasn't nearly as much overhead) as far as royalties are concerned. But that's where sales and marketing strategies come in. The more we can sell a book for, the less this will matter. So lets say we charge a bit more for a book, but have a sale every once in a while. It still gives people a chance to get excited about a dirt cheap book, but lets us sell at a higher price the rest of the time. You all know you love it when you see a sale! I know I do.

But there are other reasons than padding sales strategies not to sell at dirt cheap. Even Amanda Hocking, who's sales have been outstanding, charges more than 99 cents.

First of all, it won't pay rent...

The other reasons are innumerable, but one technicality is that certain ebook outlets have limited price formats. The apple store, for instance requires ebook prices to end in .99. so you can either sell for $1.99, .99 or free. Not too many options there.

While there has been a lot of evidence supporting the "the cheaper the better" platform, I don't think it will be the wisest move for us. But we'll keep you posted about our pricing when we make that decision.