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How to Price Your eBook

Have you ever thought of writing an eBook? I’ve toyed with the idea recently. After all these years, I’ve got a lot of content on this site to draw from.

An eBook is an electronic version of your writing, thus giving you the option to avoid traditional printing. It would be available via digital download to a computer or a handheld device like a Kindle or iPad. This ease of delivery has made them very popular for writers and readers alike.

But the real question is, after putting in the effort to write your eBook, what do you price it at? For example, pricing it at $2.99 a copy might feel like you are giving it away for next to nothing. You’ve put a lot into writing the book and you want to be rewarded for your efforts.

Keep in mind though that selling eBooks is all about volume. If you sell 100,000 copies at $2.99, that’s $299,000. Of course, in some instances, $2.99 might be considered too high. In another case, it might be too low. Additionally, you will have to keep all your other expenses (like royalty percentages) in mind.

In short, there are many key factors you’ll need to consider when you’re contemplating how to price your eBook. Here is a look at a few.

Royalty Percentages

If you’re selling on Amazon, BN.com or the Apple iBookstore, a fractional amount of each sale will go to the host site. The percentage varies by price point. But (as of this writing) at $2.99, you’ll keep 70 percent on Amazon, 65 percent at BN.com and 70 percent at the iBookstore. This percentage holds up to a price point of $9.99 on all three sites. Amazon and BN.com keep 65 percent of the sale price below $2.99 and above $9.99, while Apple charges 30 percent in fees across the board.

For the record, when you go with any of these sites, you must agree to uniform pricing across all three platforms. So you can tweak your price to make up the difference between them.

How Much Is Too Much?

This is the $299,000 question. Some experts recommend pricing your first book very low, like $.99 low to attract an audience. Then you can gradually raise the price until sales fall off. Then, at that point, you’ll lower the price until they pick up again.

Presumably, that interim number will be the optimal sale price. Amazon, who has a lot of experience in this area, says the optimal price falls somewhere between $3.00 and $7.00. Determining factors include the length of the book, the quality of the work, the perceived value of its content and the reputation of the author.

Going it On Your Own

Things are completely different when you’re thinking about how to sell eBooks on your own website. While you won’t have royalty fees to consider, you will pay hosting fees for your site. Depending upon your level of web savvy, you might also have to pay a designer to build your site.

At your own website you will also have to do a lot of marketing and promotional activity. You will still have to market your book when it’s hosted on those other sites, but you are more likely to miss casual sales with this strategy because your website is an island unto itself. If you have a huge following, it will be less of problem. However, if you’re just starting out, you’re going to put in a lot of work.

The Loss Leader Strategy

If you’re doing an eBook series and looking to attract attention to it, $0.99 makes the initial purchase something most people will consider low risk. Once you draw in a good-sized number of buyers and get some buzz going, you can then creep the price up into the $2.99 range (the sweet spot for most eBooks).

This low initial price point gets your book out there. If the book is good hopefully you will get some good reviews. It also helps you build your email-marketing list. Then, as subsequent entries in the series come out, you’ll have a ready audience of satisfied customers who will willingly pay full price.

Ultimately—It Depends…

In conclusion, when you’re determining how to price your eBook, take these factors into consideration:

  • the platform you choose to sell the book
  • your reputation as an author
  • the size of your audience
  • the perceived value of the content
  • the amount of money you need/want to make

When all is said and done though, you’ll want to make sure you’re competitive with other books in your genre, so you can land in the sweet spot of the prices those books command.

Questions for discussion: Have you ever written an eBook? How did you decide what to price it at? What was the outcome? What other factors do you need to consider? 

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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