Pricing an eBook
Who you are selling your eBook to may be more crucial than what you are actually selling when it comes to identifying the best price. There is a skill to pricing an eBook and you must do your research before assigning a price to your eBook.
There is often the belief by many retailers that a particular product is worth only a certain multiple of its cost and no more. That is, if your product cost you $1 to produce then you should sell it for $2. This belief when it comes to eBooks and other digital products is not necessarily valid.
The low cost of production for an eBook is different from that of a physical product, such as a book, where there are on-going and ever-increasing costs associated with producing that book. These costs are built into the price, hence the higher costs for print books.
The beauty of selling eBooks is that there is really no on-going cost, except a commission to a retail store for selling your eBook.
So when it comes to an eBook there are different factors in play when deciding on a price. And one of those factors is understanding your target audience and what price they are willing to pay for an eBook.
Certain genres have already established the ‘acceptable’ price point for new and unknown authors, self-published authors and best-selling authors.
Regardless of whether or not you are self-published or traditionally published; trying to sell your genre fiction eBook for greater than $10 will run into heavy resistance. That’s because your audience has too many other options to buy eBooks in their price range.
You may believe that the time and effort you put into writing your eBook justifies a price over $10 but unfortunately it is of little comfort to you if you cannot sell your eBook because your potential customers are saying it’s priced too high.
Also, on the opposite end, some readers will judge an eBook’s quality by its price. So pricing it too low may send the wrong message. There is never one right answer when it comes to pricing an eBook. It comes down to the author, the eBook, the eBook’s genre and the people who are buying it.
The articles in our Author Academy about ‘pricing your eBook’ are guidelines and tips. Ultimately, it will come down to every author and eBook to decide on the best price for their eBook that will give it the best chance of selling.
In the research phase for planning your eBook you should have identified the key characteristics of your target audience. This would include their age, gender, income bracket, country and also the volume of eBooks bought in this genre. You should have also researched your competitor’s eBooks and what price they are selling for.
Forget about the prices of best-sellers for now as you are not a best-selling author with a known brand so you cannot expect to demand such a price just yet. James Patterson and JK Rowling can, but an unknown author must work their way up to this level of popularity.
So using a textbook formula to price your eBook is not really applicable. It can often be more about perceived value. The context in which your eBook is presented and delivered may also affect the assigned price.
As a non-fiction author, you will be able to sell your eBook at a higher price if you have established yourself as an expert or if you are highly regarded in your field and have a strong platform to sell your eBook from.
Take the following two self-published authors for example. Veronica Roth is the best-selling author of the ‘Divergent’ series and has dominated the best-seller list in recent months. Roth sells her eBooks above $5. On the other hand, self-published author Laurelin Paige, has just taken over the top position on some best-seller lists for her Fixed Trilogy Bundle.
Laurelin sells her eBooks for $0.99 which is about a fifth of the price of Divergent. The $0.99 is also about a seventh of the average price of a top-25 best-selling eBooks this week. Selling eBooks for $0.99 as a self-published author is a great way to kick start your writing career and to make your eBooks available to those readers who only want to spend this amount for an eBook.
I have published several eBooks for the tennis industry. In particular, for tennis coaches. In understanding who my audience is I was able to price my eBooks at $8.99. This is a price I could never put on a fiction eBook. However, I knew that the majority of my audience came from the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand where tennis coaches often make in excess of $70 / hour for giving a tennis lesson.
So, paying $8.99 for my eBook would not be an issue for them. Another eBook I wrote ‘Mental Training for Tennis – Your Winning Mindset’ is currently priced at $7.99 which is selling well from my online tennis website and from the feedback I have received from customers it is a fair price for what they receive.
My point here is that no one model fits all. eBooks have become best-sellers at varying price points. Non-fiction eBooks can often be sold for a higher price than fiction eBooks as that is what the market allows.
What is a valid point is that there is some skill in pricing an eBook based on understanding the market and what people would pay for your eBook. Not what you think it is worth, but what your audience believes it is worth.
Throw out the ‘textbook formulas’ for pricing your eBook and focus more on your audience and what they would be prepared to pay for your eBook.