Are We Seeing a Trend in Prices for eBook Best-sellers Going Up?
The best-selling eBooks of recent weeks have shown an interesting trend for what readers are willing to pay for eBooks that appear on the best-seller lists.
By my calculations these best-selling eBooks of the past few weeks were selling for an average of approximately $7.60 which is significantly higher than the average for best-sellers in previous months.
This is significant as the price of eBooks has been a hugely debated topic. Some say that because they are digital products and have lower costs to production that they should be a lot cheaper to buy. They are in fact a lot cheaper than printed books.
In Australia printed books will often sell for prices well beyond the $30 mark. Hence the closure of many of the major bookstores as readers become more savvy and confident in buying online.
In tracking the prices of best-sellers I have noticed a gradual increase in the last six months from around the $5 price point to now surpassing the $7 mark. It is probably too early to call it a trend as we will need to monitor prices over a 12 month period.
However, it does show that customers are willing to pay this price for an eBook. Yes, they are best-sellers and they are eBooks from well-known authors.
Self-published authors have traditionally priced their eBooks lower, often starting out at the .99 cent price mark. Many recommend the $2.99 or $3.99 price for a self-published eBook but never over the $7 mark. These eBooks priced over the $7 mark are often published through publishers.
Yet, we see eBooks from self-published authors such as Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking achieving the same success. So why should their best-selling eBooks be priced lower? Maybe as a self-published author they chose this price which is their right.
The rise of self-publishing appeared to cause a drop in the prices of eBooks over the past few years year which is not ideal for authors as it reduces what we take home. We put a lot of effort into writing an eBook and should be rewarded appropriately. This recent increase in the price of eBooks, even though they are best-sellers, is one we all hope will continue for fair value.
Of-course selling your first eBook for a low price to establish yourself and get your eBook in front of those readers who buy in this price range can be used as a marketing technique.
This eBook pricing debate poses the question; Have self-published authors pushed the prices for eBooks down? Has this expectation also pushed down the prices for eBooks by authors who are represented by a major publisher?
I would pose the question of; Why is there still a difference in the prices of eBooks between those authors who self-publish and those who have contracts with publishers? We have seen numerous self-published authors produce quality best-selling eBooks.
I believe that the positive recognition now garnered by self-published authors will provide these authors with the opportunity to also price their best-selling eBooks at an equivalent price to their traditionally published fellow authors. It will still take some time for this ‘equilibrium’ to occur but it is happening.
And self-published authors who become best-sellers can help this along by raising their prices where and when appropriate. Of-course, we constantly tell authors that they have the control and power to price their eBook at whatever price they choose.
I can foresee that soon best-selling self-published authors will also recognize the importance of pricing their eBook at the appropriate and deserved price such as the $7 mark.
To clarify my point, authors should have the right to choose the price for their eBook whether it is $0.99 or $99. The market will dictate if it is fair value.